Joshua 5

Chapter 5

The Circumcision at Gilgal. 1 When all of the Amorite kings on the west side of the Jordan and all of the Canaanite kings who lived along the coast heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the Israelites until they had passed over it, they grew fainthearted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.

2 [a]It was at that time that the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives for yourself and circumcise the Israelites again.” 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath-haaraloth. 4 This is the reason why Joshua had to perform this circumcision. All of the men who had come out of Egypt, all of the fighting men, had died in the wilderness on their way from Egypt. 5 All of the men who had come out had been circumcised, but all of those who had been born in the wilderness on the way from Egypt had not been circumcised. 6 The Israelites had spent forty years in the wilderness until all of the fighting men who had come out of Egypt and who had not obeyed the command of the Lord had died. The Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land that he had promised to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 It was their children, whom he had raised up in their stead, whom Joshua circumcised, for they were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8 When he had finished circumcising the whole nation, they remained where they were until they recovered. 9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.” So this site has been called Gilgal up to the present.

10 [b]On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while they were camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated Passover. 11 The day after Passover, the very next day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and parched grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after they had eaten the produce of the land. There was no more manna for the Israelites, but that same year they ate the produce of the land of Canaan.

13 Worship at Jericho.[c] As Joshua drew near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 14 He answered, “Neither. I, the commander of the army of the Lord, have now arrived.” Joshua fell to the ground, face first, and worshiped him. He said, “What does my lord bid of his servant?” 15 The commander of the army of the Lord said to Joshua, “Take your shoes off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Joshua did this.


  1. Joshua 5:2 Circumcision was required of those who would celebrate the Passover, according to the prescriptions in Ex 12:43-48.
  2. Joshua 5:10 The celebration of Passover, the memorial of God’s intervention for the salvation of his people, accompanies the decisive moments in the history of Israel. Thus it marks the moment of the departure from Egypt (Ex 12–13), the moment of the departure from Sinai (Num 9), and now the moment when Israel enters into possession of the Promised Land. It paves the way for the celebration of the Christian Passover, the center and memorial of all the blessings that the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of the new Passover, immolated for the salvation of all, has brought to humanity. With the celebration of Joshua’s Passover the manna ceases, signifying that the journey in the wilderness has ended (see Ex 16).
  3. Joshua 5:13 The Bible has preserved only fragments of a mysterious ancient story, inspired perhaps by the story of God’s appearance to Moses in the burning bush (Ex 3) and intended to signify a solemn confirmation of Joshua’s mission as leader of the conquest. He showed his respect and subordination to God by taking off his shoes.

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