Joshua 5:3
And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Joshua 5:3. Joshua — circumcised the children of Israel — That is, he caused them to be circumcised, namely, such of them as were uncircumcised. And because it was to be done speedily, the passover approaching, it was necessary to use many hands in the business. Nor was it difficult to find them, as it did not signify by what hand the operation was performed. Fathers, mothers, relations, friends, might any of them perform, as well as the priests or Levites. Although it be not mentioned, it is more than probable that the Israelites beyond Jordan were circumcised at the same time, that they also might keep the passover.5:1-9 How dreadful is their case, who see the wrath of God advancing towards them, without being able to turn it aside, or escape it! Such will be the horrible situation of the wicked; nor can words express the anguish of their feelings, or the greatness of their terror. Oh that they would now take warning, and before it be too late, flee for refuge to lay hold upon that hope set before them in the gospel! God impressed these fears on the Canaanites, and dispirited them. This gave a short rest to the Israelites, and circumcision rolled away the reproach of Egypt. They were hereby owned to be the free-born children of God, having the seal of the covenant. When God glorifies himself in perfecting the salvation of his people, he not only silences all enemies, but rolls back their reproaches upon themselves.The hill of the foreskins - i. e. the hill where the foreskins, the emblem of all worldly and carnal affections, were buried. (Compare Colossians 2:11-13; Colossians 3:1-6.) 3. at the hill—probably one of the argillaceous hills that form the highest terrace of the Jordan, on a rising ground at the palm forest. i.e. He caused this to be done; and because it was to be done speedily, the passover approaching, it was necessary to use many hands in it, either priests and Levites, or other circumcised persons, who, at least in those circumstances, were permitted to do it.

The children of Israel, i.e. such of them as were uncircumcised. And though it be not mentioned, it is more than probable, that the Israelites beyond Jordan were circumcised at the same time. And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel,.... Not that Joshua circumcised them himself, any more than he made the knives himself, but he ordered both to be done, and took care that they were done. And as any that had skill might make the knives, so might any circumcise; circumcision was not restrained to any order of men, not to the priests and Levites, but any might perform it; so that though the number to be circumcised was great, it might soon be finished: and this was done

at the hill of the foreskins; as the place was afterward called from hence; these being heaped up one upon another, made a hill of them, as the Jews say (y), being covered with dust. This circumcision performed by Joshua, or his orders, was typical of the spiritual circumcision without hands, which those that believe in Jesus, the antitype of Joshua, partake of.

(y) Pirke Eliezer, ut supra. (c. 29.) Jarchi in loc.

And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at {c} the hill of the foreskins.

(c) Gilgal was so called, because they were there circumcised.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. the hill of the foreskins] or “Gibeah-haaraloth,” probably so named from this transaction. Comp. Colossians 2:11-13; Colossians 3:1-6.Verse 3. - The hill of the foreskins. The name given to the hill where the circumcision took place. There Joshua set up the twelve stones, which they had taken over with them out of the Jordan, and explained to the people at the same time the importance of this memorial to their descendants (Joshua 4:21, Joshua 4:22), and the design of the miracle which had been wrought by God (Joshua 4:24). On Joshua 4:21, Joshua 4:22, see Joshua 4:6, Joshua 4:7. אשׁר (Joshua 4:23), quod, as (see Deuteronomy 2:22). The miracle itself, like the similar one at the Dead Sea, had a double intention, viz., to reveal to the Canaanites the omnipotence of the God of Israel, the strong hand of the Lord (compare Exodus 14:4, Exodus 14:18, with Joshua 6:6; and for the expression "the hand of the Lord is mighty," see Exodus 3:19; Exodus 6:1, etc.), and to serve as an impulse to the Israelites to fear the Lord their God always (see at Exodus 14:31).
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