And the LORD said to Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee . . .—Compare Joshua 4:14, “on that day the Lord magnified Joshua.” These words mark the beginning and end of the section. The details that follow in Joshua 4:15, &c., seem to be added by way of appendix. The passage of Jordan, being the principal event, is exhibited by itself; and other particulars of attendant circumstances are given separately. A somewhat similar plan appears to be adopted in Joshua 10, but the arrangement of both narratives is at first sight somewhat complex, and not quite clear.
It is here stated that the passage of Jordan was to be to Joshua what the giving of the law at Sinai was to Moses, “that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever” (Exodus 19:9). But the power which establishes Joshua is the work of the written instead of the spoken word.Joshua 3:7. This day will I begin to magnify thee — That is, to honour thee in a peculiar manner, and gain thee authority; in the sight of all Israel — As the person I have set in Moses’s stead, and by whom I will conduct them into the promised land. It has been observed by some, as a remarkable circumstance, that, from the time of Moses to that of Saul, God always signified to the people, by some miracle, whom he had appointed to govern them.Joshua 1:5, and Joshua 4:14.) Other reasons are given in Joshua 3:10; Joshua 5:1.
7, 8. the Lord said to Joshua, This day will I … magnify thee in the sight of all Israel—Joshua had already received distinguished honors (Ex 24:13; De 31:7). But a higher token of the divine favor was now to be publicly bestowed on him, and evidence given in the same unmistakable manner that his mission and authority were from God as was that of Moses (Ex 14:31).
this day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel; by working the miracle afterwards related; dividing the waters, which was done on this day, and was but the beginning of wonders; for other great and marvellous things were done for him and by him, by which it appeared he was high in the favour of God, greatly esteemed and honoured by him, and so would be great and honourable in the account of the people:
that they may know that as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee; by dividing the waters of Jordan for him, as he had divided the waters of the Red sea for Moses; which, as it was a token of his powerful presence with him, this would be a like token of it with Joshua. The Targum is,"as my Word was for the help of Moses, so shall my Word be for thy help.''And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 7. - This day will I begin to magnify thee. "Neque enim ante mysterium baptismi exal-tatur Jesus, sed exaltatio ejus, et exaltatio in conspectu pepuli, inde sunlit exordium" (Orig., Hem. 4 on Joshua. Cf. Matthew 3:17; Luke 3:22). Proverbs 15:31; here it means to rest. According to Joshua 3:2, they stayed there three days. "At the end (after the expiration) of three days" cannot refer to the three days mentioned in Joshua 1:11, if only because of the omission of the article, apart from the reasons given in the note upon Joshua 1:11, which preclude the supposition that the two are identical. The reasons why the Israelites stayed three days by the side of the Jordan, after leaving Shittim, are not given, but they are not difficult to guess; for, in the first place, before it could be possible to pass into an enemy's country, not only with an army, but with all the people, including wives, children, and all their possessions, and especially when the river had first of all to be crossed, it must have been necessary to make many preparations, which would easily occupy two or three days. Besides this, the Jordan at that time was so high as to overflow its banks, so that it was impossible to cross the fords, and they were obliged to wait till this obstruction was removed. But as soon as Joshua was assured that the Lord would make a way for His people, he issued the following instructions through the proper officers to all the people in the camp: "When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and (see) the Levitical priests bear it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it: yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it; that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way yesterday and the day before." On the expression "the Levitical priests," see at Deuteronomy 31:25, as compared with Joshua 3:9 and Joshua 17:9. בּינו, both here and in Joshua 8:11, should probably be pointed בּינו (vid., Ewald, 266, a.). This command referred simply to the march from the last resting-place by the Jordan into the river itself, and not to the passage through the river, during which the priests remained standing with the ark in the bed of the river until the people had all passed through (Joshua 3:8 and Joshua 3:17).
(Note: Knobel maintains that this statement, according to which the Israelites were more than 2000 cubits from the place of crossing, is not in harmony with Joshua 3:1, where they are said to have been by the Jordan already; but he can only show this supposed discrepancy in the text by so pressing the expression, they "came to Jordan," as to make it mean that the whole nation was encamped so close to the edge of the river, that at the very first step the people took their feet would touch the water.)
The people were to keep about 2000 cubits away from the ark. This was not done, however, to prevent their going wrong in the unknown way, and so missing the ford, for that was impossible under the circumstances; but the ark was carried in front of the people, not so much to show the road as to make a road by dividing the waters of the Jordan, and the people were to keep at a distance from it, that they might not lose sight of the ark, but keep their eyes fixed upon it, and know the road by looking at the ark of the covenant by which the road had been made, i.e., might know and observe how the Lord, through the medium of the ark, was leading them to Canaan by a way which they had never traversed before, i.e., by a miraculous way.
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