Joshua 4:12
And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spoke to them:
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Joshua 4:12-13. The children of Reuben passed over armed — As they had engaged to do, Numbers 32:20-27, and Joshua 1:13. About forty thousand prepared for war — It is likely that Joshua drew out this number only of chosen men; and left all the rest to take care of their families and flocks. Passed over before the Lord — Having passed over the river, they stood in battle array before the ark, at the distance, probably, of two thousand cubits; or, in the presence of the Lord, as the expression, before the Lord, may mean, who observed whether they would keep their covenant with their brethren or not.4:10-19 The priests with the ark did not stir till ordered to move. Let none be weary of waiting, while they have the tokens of God's presence with them, even the ark of the covenant, though it be in the depths of adversity. Notice is taken of the honour put upon Joshua. Those are feared in the best manner, and to the best purpose, who make it appear that God is with them, and that they set him before them.Another set of stones is intended than that before mentioned. The one set was erected by the command of God at the spot where they passed the night Joshua 4:3; the other by Joshua on the spot where the priests' feet rested while they bore up the ark during the passage of the people. This spot was near, or perhaps on, the eastern brink (compare Joshua 3:8). These stones would therefore mark the spot at which the people crossed, as the others marked the place in which they lodged the night after the crossing; nor, as the stones would only be reached by the water in flood time, and then by the utmost edge of it, is there any reason why they could not both be seen, and continue in their place as the writer asserts they did up to the time when he wrote. 12, 13. the children of Reuben … passed over armed before the children of Israel—There is no precedency to the other tribes indicated here; for there is no reason to suppose that the usual order of march was departed from; but these are honorably mentioned to show that, in pursuance of their promise (Jos 1:16-18), they had sent a complement of fighting men to accompany their brethren in the war of invasion. No text from Poole on this verse. And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh,.... Who were settled on the other side Jordan, in the countries taken from Sihon and Og:

passed over armed before the children of Israel; the rest of the tribes:

as Moses spake unto them; or ordered them, and as they promised they would, Numbers 32:17.

And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them:
12. passed over armed before the children of Israel] Contrary to the usual order (Numbers 32:20), as if to secure that they should fulfil their vow.Verse 12. - Armed (see Joshua 1:14). Before the children of Israel. Not necessarily "in front of," but "in the sight of," as in Numbers 8:22. The Israelites were witnesses of the fulfilment of the pledge given them by their brethren. But the usual place of these tribes was not with the vanguard. See last verse, whine the same words are translated "in the presence of." This (viz., their taking the twelve stones with them and setting them up) was to be a sign in Israel; the stones were to serve as a memorial of the miraculous crossing of the Jordan to all succeeding generations. For the expression "if your children ask to-morrow (in future)," etc., see Exodus 13:14; Exodus 12:26-27, and Deuteronomy 6:20-21.
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