Joshua 3:11
Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.
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(11) The ark of the covenant.—The ten commandments are presented throughout this narrative as a covenant. So Exodus 34:28, “the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” It must be remembered that a promise precedes all the commandments. “I am Jehovah thy God.” The “ten words” that follow are the testimony to His character who commanded the covenant. (See Silver Sockets, p. 28.) The thing signified by the dividing of Jordan does indeed exhibit the law as a covenant in a way that those who followed Joshua can hardly have conceived. But history must come before prophecy, if prophecy is to be understood.

3:7-13 The waters of Jordan shall be cut off. This must be done in such a way as never was done, but in the dividing of the Red sea. That miracle is here repeated; God has the same power to finish the salvation of his people, as to begin it; the WORD of the Lord was as truly with Joshua as with Moses. God's appearances for his people ought to encourage faith and hope. God's work is perfect, he will keep his people. Jordan's flood cannot keep out Israel, Canaan's force cannot turn them out again.The living God - Compare the marginal reference. The gods of the pagan are "dead idols." On the names of the seven nations, see Genesis 10:16, etc., note. Jos 3:9-13. Joshua Encourages the People.

9-13. Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord—It seems that the Israelites had no intimation how they were to cross the river till shortly before the event. The premonitory address of Joshua, taken in connection with the miraculous result exactly as he had described it, would tend to increase and confirm their faith in the God of their fathers as not a dull, senseless, inanimate thing like the idols of the nations, but a Being of life, power, and activity to defend them and work for them.

Into part of the river.

Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth,.... Some both Jewish and Christian interpreters, because there is a distinguishing accent on the word "covenant", read the words "the ark of the covenant, even the Lord of all the earth"; so in some copies of our English Bible, as if the ark was called the Lord of all the earth, because of his presence and dwelling there; but, as Kimchi observes, either the word "ark" is wanting, or the word "covenant", and may be supplied either thus,"the ark of the covenant, the ark (I say) of the Lord of all the earth;''or thus,"the ark of the covenant, which is the covenant of the Lord of all the earth:''the true meaning is what Abarbinel gives,"the ark of the covenant of the Lord, who is the Lord of the whole earth;''the Maker and possessor of the whole earth, the whole terraqueous globe; and can do what he pleases in the earth, or in the water; and can control the powers of nature, and do what is beyond them, things miraculous and astonishing:

passeth before you into Jordan; not only unto it, but into it, into the river itself; and, by the power of him whose presence was with it, the waters of Jordan were to be divided, to give them a passage through it as on dry land, and so it came to pass.

Behold, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.
11. the Lord of all the earth] A significant title of the Most High, at a time when the conquest of the Land was contemplated.

Verse 11. - The Lord of all the earth. As He was about to prove Himself to be by the mighty miracles He wrought to establish the Israelites in their land and thus fulfil His promise. The Israelites needed to be reminded of this to support them during the crossing of the Jordan. The translation of the LXX., though rejected by the Masorites, who separate the words "covenant" and "Lord," is admissible here, "the covenant of the Lord of all the earth." If we follow the Masoretic punctuation, we must supply the word "ark" again, and translate "the ark of the covenant, the ark of the Lord of the whole earth." Joshua 3:11After this inspiriting promise, Joshua informed the people what the Lord intended to do first: "Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of the whole earth will go before you into Jordan." כּל־הארץ 'adown is a genitive dependent upon הברית ארון, the strict subordination of the construct state being loosened in this case by the article before the nomen regens. The punctuators have therefore separated it from the latter by sakeph-katon, without thereby explaining it as in opposition or giving any support to the mistaken exposition of Buxtorff and Drusius, that "the ark of the covenant is called the ruler of the whole earth." The description of Jehovah as "Lord of the whole earth," which is repeated in Joshua 3:13, is very appropriately chosen for the purpose of strengthening confidence in the omnipotence of the Lord. This epithet "exalted the government of God over all the elements of the world, that the Israelites might have no doubt that as seas and rivers are under His control, the waters, although liquid by nature, would become stable at His nod" (Calvin). The expression, "passeth over before you into Jordan," is more precisely explained in the course of the narrative: the ark of the covenant went (was carried) before the people into the river, and then stood still, as the bulwark of the people, till the passage was completed; so that the word "before" indicates the protection which it would afford.
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