Verse one tells us that the Canaanite kings have heard of the awesome wonder of the crossing of the Jordan by the Israelites, and it has had fearsomely demoralizing effects on them. The Lord orders Joshua to have all of this generation circumcised, and the nation complies. it was a landmark occasion, and just in time to observe the Passover. The people ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes, and parched grain; and the manna ceased to fall the next day (verses 11-12). God’s people were in their land now.
Joshua sees a man standing with his sword drawn, and inquires of his intentions. He says that he is “the commander of the army of the Lord.” This was promised in Exodus 23:20-33. Joshua bows down and probably rightly believes he is in the presence of the Lord. His statement (“Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy”) in verse 15 seems to confirm that this is another manifestation of the Lord as it distinctly reminds of God’s command to Moses when He first appeared to him in Exodus 3:5. As verse 13 tells us, Jericho is close by.
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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