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The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of Fayette Bible Church in Fayetteville, Georgia

This is the April 21 reading. Select here for a new reading date:


BibleTrack Summary: April 21
<< Josh 4

For New King James text and comment, click here.

Joshua 5-8  Listen Podcast

 

Circumcision REVIVED! (Joshua 5:1-9)

1 And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.
2 At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.
3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.
4 And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.
5 Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised.
6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
7 And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.
8 And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.
9 And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.

Here's what we find out from verse 6: They haven't been circumcising for the last 40 years. That's a problem for a covenant people whose primary physical symbol of that covenant is the circumcision of their men. So, all the men and boys 40 and below must be circumcised before we go any further...and just before battle to boot! Though verse 8 does say that they took time to heal before heading into battle. Remember what happens when you try to do battle right after circumcision (see notes on Shechem in Genesis 34). It's not pretty! One more interesting aspect of this mass circumcision - the ceremony. Remember the monument of the twelve stones placed at Gilgal in Joshua 4 (see notes)? Here's a different kind of monument in verse 3 where they buried all the foreskins (several hundred thousand) after circumcision and called the place, "the hill of the foreskins."

One might ask, "If circumcision was a token of the Abrahamic covenant, why did the Hebrews not circumcise for these 38+ years?" Verses 5-6 give us our answer. In short, the Hebrews were under judgment during these years "till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD," as seen in verse 6. So...for 38+ of those 40 years, Israel, as a nation, was out of fellowship with their God. As a matter of fact, we have no detailed record of their activities for that period of time; that gap in time takes place between Numbers 19 and 20 (see notes). The only record that exists concerning those 38+ years is found in Numbers 33 (see notes) where we find a listing of their camp sites.

If you were wondering about verse 9, "Gilgal" is the noun for "wheel." It was there on that day in Gilgal that God "rolled away the reproach of Egypt" from these Hebrews.

Out with the manna; in with the passover! (Joshua 5:10-12)

10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.
11 And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.
12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

Remember the manna? It stops falling the day after they observe the Passover on the west bank of the Jordan as they prepare to go in and seize Canaan. Here's an interesting deduction that we can safely make from this passage: It has been 38+ years since the Hebrews observed a Passover. Here's how we arrive at this conclusion. In the initial Passover instruction in Exodus 12:48 (see notes), the Hebrews are told, "no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof." On the occasion of the first celebration of Passover out of Egypt (first anniversary of the exodus) these instructions are repeated in Numbers 9 (see notes). In Numbers 20 (see notes) we see that 38 years have lapsed, and a new generation of Hebrews are following Moses. The entire generation of non-Levite males who left Egypt has, at that point, died in the wilderness (see explanation). Now we see in Joshua 5:1-9 (see above) that they haven't circumcised for 38 years. Since, (1) we are told that circumcision was a prerequisite to Passover observance, (2) the males during the 38 years were not circumcised and (3) we are not told that they did observe Passover during those 38 years, it seems safe to deduct that they did not do so during that time. Notice the connection in this passage between unleavened bread made with the "corn" of the land and the manna they had been eating for the last 40 years. When grain was once again available in the land to make unleavened bread, the manna stopped. Unleavened bread was an essential part of the Passover meal and the Feast of Unleavened Bread which immediately followed.

Who was that man! (Joshua 5:13-15)

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

Joshua looks up and what does he see? It's a man ready to do battle - sword drawn. Who is he? He says he's, "captain of the host of the LORD." Glad he's on our side. He tells Joshua to remove his shoes because he's standing on holy ground. Whoa! That brings back memories. Remember when God appeared to Moses in Exodus 3 (see notes) out of the burning bush? Here's what God said to Moses on that occasion in Exodus 3:5, "And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." Joshua fully acknowledges him in verse 14, "Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?" What appears in these three verses is all we know about this appearance of a "man" identified as the "captain of the host of the LORD."

Inquiring minds want to know, "Was this a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus himself?" We can't really know for certain. In verse 14, Joshua addresses him as "lord" (Hebrew: "aw-done´" - meaning master) and not "LORD" (aka Hebrew: Jehovah/Yahweh). Click here to see the distinction between the two words from the notes on Deuteronomy 10:17. However, that really doesn't prove anything; Joshua may have been talking to a pre-incarnate Jesus and not realized it himself. Whoever he is, it's good to have him on our side.

Jericho, look out! (Joshua 6)

1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
6 And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.
7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.
8 And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.
9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.
11 So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.
12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.
13 And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
14 And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.
15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.
16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.
17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.
19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.
20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
22 But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her.
23 And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel.
24 And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.
25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
26 And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.
27 So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.

What a strange way to do battle! First you have some armed men followed by the musicians, then priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant followed by the rest of the army. What are they doing? Why...they're just marching around the city playing music. And...I might point out, I'm guessing the music was LOUD! They observed this routine around Jericho for six days. I'm just doing a little guessing here. If television is non existent and entertainment is scarce, and you hear that first thing in the morning these 40,000 people are going to march around your city playing loud music before going back to their camp, where are you going to be first thing in the morning? I'm guessing you're going to be standing on the wall of the city watching the show. Ooooo! Bad place to stand. On the seventh day, the Jewish army makes seven trips around the city and then let's out a shout; the walls of the city collapse. A promise is a promise though; Rahab and her family are saved alive.

The city was to be completely destroyed with the exception of Rahab and her family, who were rescued by an advance team. No booty was to be kept by the Israeli conquering forces. The gold and silver and other valuables were to be brought to the treasury. Finally, a decree was issued by Joshua that Jericho was never to be rebuilt; the man to do so would be cursed in verse 26, "Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho." In fact, Ahab (I Kings 16:29-34, see notes) a few centuries later did rebuild Jericho. And...Ahab did pay the consequences for his actions.

I'd like to offer a conjecture here that this strange strategy had a very practical aspect to it - all orchestrated by God himself. See the accompanying article entitled, "The Miracle at Jericho" in the window to the right of this screen.

Ai, a little city with a big punch! (Joshua 7:1-9)

1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.
2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai.
3 And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.
4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.
5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.
6 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.
7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!
8 O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!
9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?

Chapter 7 doesn't keep us in suspense; we're told in the very first verse about Achan's sin. Joshua was 1-0 in wins and losses - BIG win at Jericho. Of course, his strategy was planned by Jehovah himself - who else could have thought of a plan like that? But up the hill about half a mile high and 12 miles away was Ai. Joshua sent spies. They inform Joshua that a little bitty strike force will be sufficient. Joshua's 3,000 man strike force gets humiliated. Now they're 1-1 in wins versus losses, being beaten by little ol' Ai after beating the regional giant, Jericho. Following this humiliating defeat, Joshua and the elders consult God...or perhaps we should say they complain to God.

The first mention of this little city is found in Genesis 12:8 (see notes). In that passage it is translated "Hai." That addition of the "H" at the beginning of the name indicates the presence of the Hebrew definite article. The Hebrew word, "ai" means "heap of ruins." Add the definite article to the beginning of the word, and you have "the heap of ruins." By the way, that's what it becomes when Joshua is finished with it as seen in Joshua 8:28 (see below), "And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day."

I smell a skunk! (Joshua 7:10-26)

10 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.
14 In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man.
15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.
16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken:
17 And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken:
18 And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it.
23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD.
24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.
25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.
26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.

Actually, what you smell is burning flesh - that of Achan and his equally-implicated family. Understand this; you don't bury that much stolen treasure from Jericho in your tent without getting the whole family involved. How long do you suppose the guilt-selection process took? It started at the tribe level, working all the way down to the individuals. Achan could have stepped up to the plate at any time during the process and said, "I am guilty!" But nooooo! He must have thought he could fool God. He confessed nothing until he was caught. It's war time; an example is needed. They gave him a heap of rocks for a tombstone - no eulogy required.

While not stated in an obvious way, it would appear this selection process incorporated the casting of lots to determine the culprit. The Hebrew terminology here is the same as in I Samuel 14:42 (see notes) when the lot fell upon Jonathan in that honey incident. For a more complete look at the practice of casting lots, click here.

It is worth noting that Achan was in possession of this booty from Jericho prior to the battle of Ai. While not stated, it is logical to assume that if Joshua had prepared himself with prayer and consultation with God prior to Ai, he would have been informed of Achan's transgression before his humiliating loss.

Let's take another shot at Ai (Joshua 8:1-29)

1 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
2 And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.
3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night.
4 And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city: go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready:
5 And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them,
6 (For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them.
7 Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand.
8 And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the LORD shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.
9 Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people.
10 And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
11 And all the people, even the people of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between them and Ai.
12 And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
13 And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.
14 And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city.
15 And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
16 And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city.
17 And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel.
18 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.
19 And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire.
20 And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers.
21 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai.
22 And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
23 And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua.
24 And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
25 And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.
26 For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
27 Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua.
28 And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.
29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.

It's time to take another shot at Ai, but let's try to figure out where we went wrong first. Let's see: God was the war advisor at Jericho - BIG WIN! Then, some nameless spies served as war advisors against little ol' Ai (verse 3), and...humiliating defeat! The problem: No consultation with God before the battle. In the repeat performance, "all the men of war" are involved this time. A large ambush team goes out the night before (verse 3). The next day, it appears to Ai that Israel is making an attack similar to the previous one. I'd love to have heard the residents of Ai when they saw the Israelite army flee once again as they seemingly attempted to take the city. The Ai residents had so much confidence, everybody wanted in on the action - they all pursued the Israelite army...leaving the city without protection. Verses 16-17 tell us that every man left the city in pursuit of the Israelites who appeared to be retreating. Hey guys! Who's watching your city? Whoops! Guess nobody. It's an ambush! Great game plan! Ai falls. The city is subsequently burned, leaving only the booty. The king of Ai was captured, slain and hanged on a tree. He was buried outside the gate of the city under a heap of stones to memorialize the defeat of Ai.

Photo of Mt. Gerizim and Mt. EbalNow...onto the main event! (Joshua 8:30-35)

30 Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal,
31 As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings.
32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.
35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.

Here it is - the event you've been waiting for. Moses told us it was coming in Deuteronomy 11 (see notes). He did some further preparation for this big event in Deuteronomy 27 (see notes). Moses then went over the program content in detail in Deuteronomy 28 (see notes). Finally, it's here - 2,000,000 (or so) shouting Hebrews standing on two opposing mountains (Gerizim and Ebal) with Joshua reading the law in between. What a pep rally. This was the event that Moses had pulled together before his death. Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

This had to be very intimidating to the inhabitants in the region. Can you imagine how loud it must have been when 2,000,000+ Hebrews shouted in harmony? Obviously, a sneak attack on the inhabitants of Canaan was not the plan here.

One other aspect of this Jewish exercise should be noted here - the impact on the Hebrews themselves. This would serve as a memorable milestone for them for generations to come - the day they stood on two mountains one mile apart screaming God's blessings and cursings at the top of their lungs. Memorable? Definitely! Exaggerated exercise? Yes! But that's how God made a lasting impression on them. Perhaps we should take a lesson from this incident as Believers and recognize that sometimes an event with flair makes the impression on people we're looking for. Water baptism for Believers leaves just this kind of impression. Many cannot remember as much about the details of their salvation experience as they can the water baptism that followed. Therefore, water baptism marks a milestone in a Believer's life. For more information on water baptism, click here to read the notes on Romans 6:1-14.


For commentary on another passage, click here.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner