Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) February 28
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Joshua 4:1--6:27

Context
Israel Commemorates the Crossing

4:1 When the entire nation was on the other side, 1  the Lord told Joshua, 4:2 “Select for yourselves twelve men from the people, one per tribe. 4:3 Instruct them, ‘Pick up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests 2  stand firmly, and carry them over with you and put them in the place where you camp tonight.’”

4:4 Joshua summoned the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one per tribe. 4:5 Joshua told them, “Go in front of the ark of the Lord your God to the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to put a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the Israelite tribes. 4:6 The stones 3  will be a reminder to you. 4  When your children ask someday, ‘Why are these stones important to you?’ 4:7 tell them how the water of the Jordan stopped flowing 5  before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the water of the Jordan stopped flowing. 6  These stones will be a lasting memorial for the Israelites.”

4:8 The Israelites did just as Joshua commanded. They picked up twelve stones, according to the number of the Israelite tribes, from the middle of the Jordan as the Lord had instructed Joshua. They carried them over with them to the camp and put them there. 4:9 Joshua also set up twelve stones 7  in the middle of the Jordan in the very place where the priests carrying the ark of the covenant stood. They remain there to this very day.

4:10 Now the priests carrying the ark of the covenant were standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua to tell the people was accomplished, in accordance with all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people went across quickly, 4:11 and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed as the people looked on. 8  4:12 The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed for battle ahead of the Israelites, just as Moses had instructed them. 4:13 About forty thousand battle-ready troops 9  marched past the Lord to fight 10  on the plains of Jericho. 11  4:14 That day the Lord brought honor to Joshua before all Israel. They respected 12  him all his life, 13  just as they had respected 14  Moses.

4:15 The Lord told Joshua, 4:16 “Instruct the priests carrying the ark of the covenantal laws 15  to come up from the Jordan.” 4:17 So Joshua instructed the priests, “Come up from the Jordan!” 4:18 The priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord came up from the middle of the Jordan, and as soon as they set foot on dry land, 16  the water of the Jordan flowed again and returned to flood stage. 17 

4:19 The people went up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month 18  and camped in Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 19  4:20 Now Joshua set up in Gilgal the 20  twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan. 4:21 He told the Israelites, “When your children someday ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones represent?’ 21  4:22 explain 22  to your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan River 23  on dry ground.’ 4:23 For the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you while you crossed over. It was just like when the Lord your God dried up the Red Sea before us while we crossed it. 24  4:24 He has done this so 25  all the nations 26  of the earth might recognize the Lord’s power 27  and so you might always obey 28  the Lord your God.”

5:1 When all the Amorite kings on the west side of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the seacoast heard how the Lord had dried up the water of the Jordan before the Israelites while they 29  crossed, they lost their courage and could not even breathe for fear of the Israelites. 30 

A New Generation is Circumcised

5:2 At that time the Lord told Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites once again.” 31  5:3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites on the Hill of the Foreskins. 32  5:4 This is why Joshua had to circumcise them: All the men old enough to fight when they left Egypt died on the journey through the desert after they left Egypt. 33  5:5 Now 34  all the men 35  who left were circumcised, but all the sons 36  born on the journey through the desert after they left Egypt were uncircumcised. 5:6 Indeed, for forty years the Israelites traveled through the desert until all the men old enough to fight when they left Egypt, the ones who had disobeyed the Lord, died off. 37  For the Lord had sworn a solemn oath to them that he would not let them see the land he had sworn on oath to give them, 38  a land rich in 39  milk and honey. 5:7 He replaced them with their sons, 40  whom Joshua circumcised. They were uncircumcised; their fathers had not circumcised them along the way. 5:8 When all the men 41  had been circumcised, they stayed there in the camp until they had healed. 5:9 The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have taken away 42  the disgrace 43  of Egypt from you.” So that place is called Gilgal 44  even to this day.

5:10 So the Israelites camped in Gilgal and celebrated the Passover in the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the plains of Jericho. 45  5:11 They ate some of the produce of the land the day after the Passover, including unleavened bread and roasted grain. 46  5:12 The manna stopped appearing the day they ate 47  some of the produce of the land; the Israelites never ate manna again. 48 

Israel Conquers Jericho

5:13 When Joshua was near 49  Jericho, 50  he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him holding a drawn sword. 51  Joshua approached him and asked him, “Are you on our side or allied with our enemies?” 52  5:14 He answered, 53  “Truly I am the commander of the Lord’s army. 54  Now I have arrived!” 55  Joshua bowed down with his face to the ground 56  and asked, “What does my master want to say to his servant?” 5:15 The commander of the Lord’s army answered Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, because the place where you stand is holy.” Joshua did so.

6:1 Now Jericho 57  was shut tightly 58  because of the Israelites. No one was allowed to leave or enter. 59  6:2 The Lord told Joshua, “See, I am about to defeat Jericho for you, 60  along with its king and its warriors. 6:3 Have all the warriors march around the city one time; 61  do this for six days. 6:4 Have seven priests carry seven rams’ horns 62  in front of the ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the horns. 6:5 When you hear the signal from the ram’s horn, 63  have the whole army give a loud battle cry. 64  Then the city wall will collapse 65  and the warriors should charge straight ahead.” 66 

6:6 So Joshua son of Nun summoned the priests and instructed them, “Pick up the ark of the covenant, and seven priests must carry seven rams’ horns in front of the ark of the Lord.” 6:7 And he told 67  the army, 68  “Move ahead 69  and march around the city, with armed troops going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”

6:8 When Joshua gave the army its orders, 70  the seven priests carrying the seven rams’ horns before the Lord moved ahead and blew the horns as the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed behind. 6:9 Armed troops marched ahead of the priests blowing the horns, while the rear guard followed along behind the ark blowing rams’ horns. 6:10 Now Joshua had instructed the army, 71  “Do not give a battle cry 72  or raise your voices; say nothing 73  until the day I tell you, ‘Give the battle cry.’ 74  Then give the battle cry!” 75  6:11 So Joshua made sure they marched the ark of the Lord around the city one time. 76  Then they went back to the camp and spent the night there. 77 

6:12 Bright and early the next morning Joshua had the priests pick up the ark of the Lord. 78  6:13 The seven priests carrying the seven rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord marched along blowing their horns. Armed troops marched ahead of them, while the rear guard followed along behind the ark of the Lord blowing rams’ horns. 6:14 They marched around the city one time on the second day, then returned to the camp. They did this six days in all.

6:15 On the seventh day they were up at the crack of dawn 79  and marched around the city as before – only this time they marched around it seven times. 80  6:16 The seventh time around, the priests blew the rams’ horns and Joshua told the army, 81  “Give the battle cry, 82  for the Lord is handing the city over to you! 83  6:17 The city and all that is in it must be set apart for the Lord, 84  except for Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house, because she hid the spies 85  we sent. 6:18 But be careful when you are setting apart the riches for the Lord. If you take any of it, you will make the Israelite camp subject to annihilation and cause a disaster. 86  6:19 All the silver and gold, as well as bronze and iron items, belong to the Lord. 87  They must go into the Lord’s treasury.”

6:20 The rams’ horns sounded 88  and when the army 89  heard the signal, 90  they gave a loud battle cry. 91  The wall collapsed 92  and the warriors charged straight ahead into the city and captured it. 93  6:21 They annihilated with the sword everything that breathed in the city, 94  including men and women, young and old, as well as cattle, sheep, and donkeys. 6:22 Joshua told the two men who had spied on the land, “Enter the prostitute’s house 95  and bring out the woman and all who belong to her as you promised her.” 96  6:23 So the young spies went and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all who belonged to her. They brought out her whole family and took them to a place outside 97  the Israelite camp. 6:24 But they burned 98  the city and all that was in it, except for the silver, gold, and bronze and iron items they put in the treasury of the Lord’s house. 99  6:25 Yet Joshua spared 100  Rahab the prostitute, her father’s family, 101  and all who belonged to her. She lives in Israel 102  to this very day because she hid the messengers Joshua sent to spy on Jericho. 103  6:26 At that time Joshua made this solemn declaration: 104  “The man who attempts to rebuild 105  this city of Jericho 106  will stand condemned before the Lord. 107  He will lose his firstborn son when he lays its foundations and his youngest son when he erects its gates!” 108  6:27 The Lord was with Joshua and he became famous throughout the land. 109 

1 tn Heb “And when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.”

2 tn Heb “the feet of the priests.”

3 tn Heb “that this may be”; the referent of “this” (the twelve stones) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Heb “in order that this might be a sign among you.”

5 tn Heb “were cut off from before.”

6 tn Heb “how the waters descending from above stood still.”

7 tn Here “also” has been supplied in the translation to make it clear (as indicated by v. 20) that these are not the same stones the men took from the river bed.

8 tn Heb “in the presence of the people.”

9 tn Heb “men equipped for battle.”

10 tn Heb “for war.”

11 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

12 tn Heb “feared.”

13 tn Heb “all the days of his life.”

14 tn Heb “had feared.”

15 tn Traditionally, “the ark of the testimony,” another name for the ark of the covenant. The Hebrew term עֵדוּת (’edut, “testimony” or “witness”) here refers to the Mosaic covenant and the body of stipulations contained within it (see HALOT 2:791).

16 tn Heb “and the soles of the feet of the priests were brought up to the dry land.”

17 tn Heb “and the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and went as formerly over their banks.”

sn Verses 15-18 give a more detailed account of the priests’ crossing that had been briefly described in v. 11.

18 sn The first month was the month Abib (= late March-early April in the modern calendar). The Passover in Egypt also occurred on the tenth day of the first month (Exod 12:2; 13:4).

19 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

20 tn Heb “these,” referring specifically to the twelve stones mentioned in vv. 3-7.

21 tn Heb “What are these stones?”

22 tn Heb “make known.”

23 tn Heb “crossed this Jordan”; the word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied to clarify the meaning.

24 tn Heb “just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea when he dried [it] up before us while we crossed over.”

25 tn Heb “in order that.”

26 tn Or “peoples.”

27 tn Heb “know the hand of the Lord that it is strong.”

28 tn Heb “fear.”

29 tc Another textual tradition has, “while we crossed.”

30 tn Heb “their heart[s] melted and there was no longer in them breathe because of the sons of Israel.”

31 tn Heb “return, circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” The Hebrew term שׁוּב (shuv, “return”) is used here in an adverbial sense to indicate the repetition of an action.

32 tn Or “Gibeath Haaraloth.” This name means “Hill of the Foreskins.” Many modern translations simply give the Hebrew name, although an explanatory note giving the meaning of the name is often included.

sn The name given to the place, Hill of the Foreskins was an obvious reminder of this important event.

33 tn Heb “All the people who went out from Egypt, the males, all the men of war, died in the desert in the way when they went out from Egypt.”

34 tn Or “indeed.”

35 tn Heb “people.”

36 tn Heb “all the people.”

37 tn Heb “all the nation, the men of war who went out from Egypt, who did not listen to the voice of the Lord, came to an end.”

38 tn Some Hebrew mss, as well as the Syriac version, support this reading. Most ancient witnesses read “us.”

39 tn Heb “flowing with.”

sn The word picture a land rich in milk and honey depicts the land as containing many grazing areas (which would produce milk) and flowering plants (which would support the bees that produced honey).

40 tn Heb “their sons he raised up in their place.”

41 tn Heb “nation.”

42 tn Heb “rolled away.”

43 sn One might take the disgrace of Egypt as a reference to their uncircumcised condition (see Gen 34:14), but the generation that left Egypt was circumcised (see v. 5). It more likely refers to the disgrace they experienced in Egyptian slavery. When this new generation reached the promised land and renewed their covenantal commitment to the Lord by submitting to the rite of circumcision, the Lord’s deliverance of his people from slavery, which had begun with the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea, reached its climax. See T. C. Butler, Joshua (WBC), 59.

44 sn The name Gilgal sounds like the Hebrew verb “roll away” (גַּלַל, galal).

45 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

46 tn The Hebrew text adds, “on this same day.” This is somewhat redundant in English and has not been translated.

47 tn Heb “the day after, when they ate.” The present translation assumes this means the day after the Passover, though it is possible it refers to the day after they began eating the land’s produce.

48 tn Heb “and the sons of Israel had no more manna.”

49 tn Heb “in.”

50 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

51 tn Heb “he lifted up his eyes and looked. And look, a man was standing in front of him, and his sword was drawn in his hand.” The verb הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) invites the reader to view the scene through Joshua’s eyes. By calling the stranger “a man,” the author reflects Joshua’s perspective. The text shortly reveals his true identity (vv. 14-15).

52 tn Heb “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

53 tc Heb “He said, “Neither.” An alternative reading is לוֹ (lo, “[He said] to him”; cf. NEB). This reading is supported by many Hebrew mss, as well as the LXX and Syriac versions. The traditional reading of the MT (לֹא, lo’, “no, neither”) is probably the product of aural confusion (the two variant readings sound the same in Hebrew). Although followed by a number of modern translations (cf. NIV, NRSV), this reading is problematic, for the commander of the Lord’s army would hardly have declared himself neutral.

54 sn The Lord’s heavenly army, like an earthly army, has a commander who leads the troops. For the phrase שַׂר־צְבָא (sar-tsÿva’, “army commander”) in the human sphere, see among many other references Gen 21:22, 32; 26:26; Judg 4:2, 7; 1 Sam 12:9.

55 sn The commander’s appearance seems to be for Joshua’s encouragement. Joshua could now lead Israel into battle knowing that the Lord’s invisible army would ensure victory.

56 tn Heb “Joshua fell on his face to the ground and bowed down.”

57 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

58 tn Heb “was shutting and shut up.” HALOT 2:743 paraphrases, “blocking [any way of access] and blocked [against any who would leave].”

59 tn Heb “there was no one going out and there was no one coming in.”

60 tn Heb “I have given into your hand Jericho.” The Hebrew verb נָתַתִּי (natatti, “I have given”) is probably best understood as a perfect of certitude, indicating the certainty of the action. The Hebrew pronominal suffix “your” is singular, being addressed to Joshua as the leader and representative of the nation. To convey to the modern reader what is about to happen and who is doing it, the translation “I am about to defeat Jericho for you” has been used.

61 tn Heb “and go around the city, all [you] men of war, encircling the city one time.” The Hebrew verb וְסַבֹּתֶם (vÿsabbotem, “and go around”) is plural, being addressed to the whole army.

62 tn Heb “rams’ horns, trumpets.”

63 tn Heb “and it will be at the sounding of the horn, the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the ram’s horn.” The text of Josh 6:5 seems to be unduly repetitive, so for the sake of English style and readability, it is best to streamline the text here. The reading in the Hebrew looks like a conflation of variant readings, with the second (“when you hear the sound of the ram’s horn”) being an interpolation that assimilates the text to verse 20 (“when the army heard the sound of the horn”). Note that the words “when you hear the sound of the ram's horn” do not appear in the LXX of verse 5.

64 tn Heb “all the people will shout with a loud shout.”

65 tn Heb “fall in its place.”

66 tn Heb “and the people will go up, each man straight ahead.”

67 tn An alternative reading is “and they said.” In this case the subject is indefinite and the verb should be translated as passive, “[the army] was told.”

68 tn Heb “the people.”

69 tn Heb “pass by.”

70 tn Heb “when Joshua spoke to the people.”

71 tn Heb “the people.”

72 tn Or “the shout.”

73 tn Heb “do not let a word come out of your mouths.”

74 tn Or “the shout.”

75 tn Or “the shout.”

76 tn Heb “and he made the ark of the Lord go around the city, encircling one time.”

77 tn Heb “and they entered the camp and spent the night in the camp.”

78 tn Heb “Joshua rose early in the morning and the priests picked up the ark of the Lord.”

79 tn Heb “On the seventh day they rose early, when the dawn ascended.”

80 tn Heb “and they went around the city according to this manner seven times, only on that day they went around the city seven times.”

81 tn Heb “the people.”

82 tn Or “the shout.”

83 tn Heb “for the Lord has given to you the city.” The verbal form is a perfect, probably indicating certitude here.

84 tn Or “dedicated to the Lord.”

sn To make the city set apart for the Lord would involve annihilating all the people and animals and placing its riches in the Lord’s treasury (vv. 19, 21, 24).

85 tn Heb “messengers.”

86 tn Heb “Only you keep [away] from what is set apart [to the Lord] so that you might not, as you are setting [it] apart, take some of what is set apart [to the Lord] and make the camp of Israel set apart [to destruction by the Lord] and bring trouble on it.”

87 tn Heb “it is holy to the Lord.”

88 tc Heb “and the people shouted and they blew the rams’ horns.” The initial statement (“and the people shouted”) seems premature, since the verse goes on to explain that the battle cry followed the blowing of the horns. The statement has probably been accidentally duplicated from what follows. It is omitted in the LXX.

89 tn Heb “the people.”

90 tn Heb “the sound of the horn.”

91 tn Heb “they shouted with a loud shout.”

92 tn Heb “fell in its place.”

93 tn Heb “and the people went up into the city, each one straight ahead, and they captured the city.”

94 tn Heb “all which was in the city.”

95 tn Heb “the house of the woman, the prostitute.”

96 tn Heb “and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her as you swore on oath to her.”

97 tn Or “placed them outside.”

98 tn The Hebrew text adds “with fire.”

99 tn Heb “the treasury of the house of the Lord.” Technically the Lord did not have a “house” yet, so perhaps this refers to the tabernacle using later terminology.

100 tn Heb “kept alive.”

101 tn Heb the house of her father.”

102 tn Or “among the Israelites”; Heb “in the midst of Israel.”

103 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

104 tn Normally the Hiphil of שָׁבַע (shava’) has a causative sense (“make [someone] take an oath”; see Josh 2:17, 20), but here (see also Josh 23:7) no object is stated or implied. If Joshua is calling divine judgment down upon the one who attempts to rebuild Jericho, then “make a solemn appeal [to God as judge]” or “pronounce a curse” would be an appropriate translation. However, the tone seems stronger. Joshua appears to be announcing the certain punishment of the violator. 1 Kgs 16:34, which records the fulfillment of Joshua’s prediction, supports this. Casting Joshua in a prophetic role, it refers to Joshua’s statement as the “word of the Lord” spoken through Joshua.

105 tn Heb “rises up and builds.”

106 tc The LXX omits “Jericho.” It is probably a scribal addition.

107 tn The Hebrew phrase אָרוּר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה (’arur lifney yÿhvah, “cursed [i.e., condemned] before the Lord”) also occurs in 1 Sam 26:19.

108 tn Heb “With his firstborn he will lay its foundations and with his youngest he will erect its gates.” The Hebrew verb יַצִּיב (yatsiv, “he will erect”) is imperfect, not jussive, suggesting Joshua’s statement is a prediction, not an imprecation.

109 tn Heb “and the report about him was in all the land.” The Hebrew term אֶרֶץ (’erets, “land”) may also be translated “earth.”



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