Joshua 3:6
And Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Joshua 3:6. Take up the ark — Namely, upon your shoulders; for so they were to carry it, Numbers 7:9. Before the people — Not in the middle of them, as you used to do. And they took up the ark — They did as they were commanded. And now we may suppose that prayer of Moses to be used, which he addressed to God when the ark set forward, Numbers 10:3. Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered.3:1-6 The Israelites came to Jordan in faith, having been told that they should pass it. In the way of duty, let us proceed as far as we can, and depend on the Lord. Joshua led them. Particular notice is taken of his early rising, as afterwards upon other occasions, which shows how little he sought his own ease. Those who would bring great things to pass, must rise early. Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty. All in public stations should always attend to the duty of their place. The people were to follow the ark. Thus must we walk after the rule of the word, and the direction of the Spirit, in everything; so shall peace be upon us as upon the Israel of God; but we must follow our ministers only as they follow Christ. All their way through the wilderness was an untrodden path, but most so this through Jordan. While we are here, we must expect and prepare to pass ways that we have not passed before; but in the path of duty we may proceed with boldness and cheerfulness. Whether we are called to suffer poverty, pain, labour, persecution, reproach, or death, we are following the Author and Finisher of our faith; nor can we set our feet in any dangerous or difficult spot, through our whole journey, but faith will there see the prints of the Redeemer's feet, who trod that very path to glory above, and bids us follow him, that where he is, we may be also. They were to sanctify themselves. Would we experience the effects of God's love and power, we must put away sin, and be careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God.They took up - i. e. on the day following. The course of events is anticipated. 6. Joshua spake unto the priests—This order to the priests would be given privately, and involving as it did an important change in the established order of march, it must be considered as announced in the name and by the authority of God. Moreover, as soon as the priests stepped into the waters of Jordan, they were to stand still. The ark was to accomplish what had been done by the rod of Moses. Take up the ark, to wit, upon your shoulders; for so they were to carry it, Numbers 7:9.

Before the people; not in the middle of them, as you used to do. And Joshua spoke unto the priests,.... On the morrow, that is, on the tenth day of the month, the day on which they went over Jordan:

saying, take up the ark of the covenant; in which the law was put, which was the covenant between God and the people, from whence the ark had this name; and in which it was typical of Christ, in whom both the law, the covenant of works, was fulfilled, and with whom the covenant of grace was made; who is the Mediator; surety, and messenger of it, and in whom all the blessings and promises of it are, and with whom it is, and will be kept for evermore: the ark, the priests were ordered to take up and bear on their shoulders; for no other way might they carry it; these typified the ministers of Christ who bear his name, his Gospel in the world, see Acts 9:15,

and pass over before the people; over the river Jordan, to direct them in the way through it, and encourage them to follow them:

and they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people; from the place where they had lodged the night before to the brink of the river.

And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. And they took up] i.e. on the day following.Verse 6. - And Joshua spake. We return now to the ordinary course of the narrative. To the priests. This was because the occasion was an extraordinary one. On ordinary occasions this was the duty of the Kohathites (Numbers 4:15). And went before the people. The people were to "follow the priests as far as they carried the ark, but no further; so we must follow our ministers only as they follow Christ" (Matthew Henry).

CHAPTER 3:7-17. THE PASSAGE OF THE JORDAN - After this they returned to the camp across the Jordan, and informed Joshua of all that had befallen them, and all that they had heard. On Joshua 2:24, see Joshua 2:9.
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