And they answered Joshua, saying, All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us, we will go.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do.—This promise of obedience may be taken as the reply of the whole people to Joshua’s orders, not that of the two and a half tribes alone. It is remarkable that they repeat to him the words of Jehovah, as most appropriate in their judgment: “Be strong and of a good courage” (Joshua 1:18).
Joshua 1:16-17. And they answered — Not the two tribes and a half only, but the officers of all the people, in their name, concurring with the divine appointment, by which Joshua was set over them. Thus must we swear allegiance to our Lord Jesus, as the captain of our salvation. Will we hearken unto thee — The same obedience which we owed to Moses, we promise unto thee. With Moses — This is not a limitation of their obedience, as if they would not obey him any longer than he was prosperous, but an additional prayer for him. As we have hereby promised thee our obedience, so our prayer shall be, that God would bless and prosper thee, as he did Moses.Exodus 13:18 note). On this side Jordan - Compare Deuteronomy 1:1, note. all the mighty men of valour—The words are not to be interpreted strictly as meaning the whole, but only the flower or choice of the fighting men (see on Jos 4:12). saying, all that thou commandest we will do; with respect to this affair of going over Jordan with their brethren, to assist them in the conquest of the land of Canaan: and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go; in what position he would have them be in the army, and to whatsoever part of the country he should send them to subdue, and to whatsoever city he should order them to besiege.
On this side Jordan - Compare Deuteronomy 1:1, note.
all the mighty men of valour—The words are not to be interpreted strictly as meaning the whole, but only the flower or choice of the fighting men (see on Jos 4:12).They answered, i.e. the Reubenites, &c., mentioned Joshua 1:12, to whom Joshua’s discourse is confined, Joshua 1:13-15. No doubt the other tribes expressed the same thing; but this is only recorded concerning these, because that might seem most doubtful, and the obedience of the rest was unquestionable.
saying, all that thou commandest we will do; with respect to this affair of going over Jordan with their brethren, to assist them in the conquest of the land of Canaan:
and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go; in what position he would have them be in the army, and to whatsoever part of the country he should send them to subdue, and to whatsoever city he should order them to besiege.And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. All that thou commandest us] A joyful answer instinct with a spirit of true fraternal love and resolute obedience.Verse 16. - And they answered Joshua, saying. We may compare this joyful willingness with the murmurings of the people in the wilderness, and their rebellion after the death of those who led them into the promised land (cf. Joshua 24:31 with Judges 2:10, 11, etc.). Obedience is easy when all goes well with us, and when it makes no demand upon our faith. The Israelites murmured when the promise was as yet unfulfilled. They rebelled against God when obedience entailed serf sacrifice. But now all was hope and eagerness. So it is often with the young Christian at the outset of life's battle, before he has begun to realise the exertion and self denial that can alone ensure him victory. Joshua 1:10-11
Preparations for Crossing the Jordan. - Joshua 1:10-11. For the purpose of carrying out the commands of the Lord, Joshua first of all directed the officers of the people (shoterim: see at Exodus 5-6), whose duty it was, as the keepers of the family registers, to attend not only to the levying of the men who were bound to serve in the army, but also to the circulation of the commands of the general, to issue orders to the people in the camp to provide themselves with food, so that they might cross the Jordan within three days, and take the land that was promised them by God. By zedah, provision for a journey (Genesis 42:25, etc.), we are not to understand manna, for that had already ceased (see at Joshua 5:12), but simply the natural produce of the inhabited country. The expression "in three days," i.e., as we may see from comparing Genesis 40:13, Genesis 40:19, with Genesis 40:20, on the third day from the publication of the command, "will ye go over the Jordan," is not to be regarded as a prediction of the time when the crossing actually took place, but to be taken as the latest time that could be allowed to the people to prepare for crossing: viz., in this sense, "Prepare you victuals for crossing over the Jordan within three days," i.e., that you may be able to leave Shittim within that time, to cross over the Jordan, and commence the conquest of Canaan. If we understand the words in this way, they are in perfect harmony with Joshua 2 and 3. According to Joshua 2, Joshua sent out spies from Shittim to Jericho, who were obliged to hide themselves for three days in the mountains after their flight from that city (Joshua 2:22), before they could return to the Israelitish camp; so that they were absent three or four days at any rate, and came back at the earliest in the evening or night of the fourth day after they had been sent out. It was not till the morning after this that the Israelites left Shittim and proceeded to the Jordan, where they halted again. Then, three days afterwards, they went across the river (Joshua 3:1-2), so that at least 4 + 1 + 3, i.e., eight whole days must have intervened between the day when the spies were sent out and the day on which the people crossed the river. Joshua no doubt intended to proceed to the Jordan and cross it within three days after despatching the spies; he therefore sent the spies to Jericho on the same day on which he issued the command to the people to prepare for crossing within three days, so that he might reasonably hope that they would fulfil their commission and return in two or three days. But as they were compelled to hide themselves for three days in the mountains, in consequence of the unexpected discovery of their arrival in Jericho, and the despatch of men in pursuit of them, Joshua could not remove with the people from Shittim and proceed to the Jordan till the day after their return; and even then he could not cross the river at once, but waited three days after reaching the bank of the river before he crossed to the other side (vid., Joshua 3:1.).
(Note: In this way the different statements in the three chapters harmonize perfectly well. But the majority of commentators have arranged the order of succession differently and in a very arbitrary way, starting with the unwarrantable assumption that the time referred to in this verse, "within three days," is identical with that in Joshua 3:2, "it came to pass after three days." Upon the strength of this groundless assumption, Knobel maintains that there is great confusion in the order of succession of the events described in Joshua 1-3, that Joshua 1:11 is irreconcilable with Joshua 3:1-6, and that accounts written by three different authors have been mixed up together in these chapters. (For the different attempts to reconcile the accounts, see Keil's Commentary on Joshua, pp. 72-75, note, Eng. trans. Clark, 1857.))
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