Sep 26, 2014

Thoughts on Joshua 5

Joshua 5:1–15 records Israel's final preparations before beginning the conquest at Jericho. Four specific preparatory events are related in this chapter. Here is a table noting the event and the message it is likely emphasizing.

Re-institution of circumcision (5:2–9)
Covenant with God
Observance of Passover (5:10–11)
Redemption of God
No more manna (5:12)
Provision of God
Encounter with a “Man” with sword (5:13–15)
Conquest by God

It might also be worth noting that Joshua's encounter with the "man" with a sword is preceded by the statement, "when Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold" (v. 13, my bold). The only prior occurrence of this threefold statement occurs in relation to Abraham in Genesis 18:2: "He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him" (my bold). This comparison is even more striking when one considers the theophanic nature of both encounters and that both encounters occur before the destruction of prominent cities (Sodom, Gomorrah, and Jericho). This might also link Joshua, not only to Moses (Josh 1), but also to Abraham.

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