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Joshua 5:2-9

Context
A New Generation is Circumcised

5:2 At that time the Lord told Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites once again.” 1  5:3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites on the Hill of the Foreskins. 2  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. 3  5:5 Now 4  all the men 5  who left were circumcised, but all the sons 6  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. 7  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, 8  a land rich in 9  milk and honey. 5:7 He replaced them with their sons, 10  whom Joshua circumcised. They were uncircumcised; their fathers had not circumcised them along the way. 5:8 When all the men 11  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 12  the disgrace 13  of Egypt from you.” So that place is called Gilgal 14  even to this day.

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.”

4 tn Or “indeed.”

5 tn Heb “people.”

6 tn Heb “all the people.”

7 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.”

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

9 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).

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

11 tn Heb “nation.”

12 tn Heb “rolled away.”

13 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.

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



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