|<< Josh 4
|This is the New King James text of the passages.
Joshua 5-8 Listen
Circumcision REVIVED! (Joshua 5:1-9)
1 So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.
2 ¶ At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.”
3 So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.
4 And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of Egypt.
5 For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised.
6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD—to whom the LORD swore that He would not show them the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”
7 Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.
8 ¶ So it was, when they had finished circumcising all the people, that they stayed in their places in the camp till they were healed.
9 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to 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 who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey 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 ¶ Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho.
11 And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day.
12 Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food 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 it." 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 "food" 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 his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
14 ¶ So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” ¶ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”
15 ¶ Then the Commander of the LORD’S army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand 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, "Commander of the army 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, "Then He said, 'Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.'" Joshua fully acknowledges him in verse 14, "Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, 'What does my Lord say to His servant?'" What appears in these three verses is all we know about this appearance of a "man" identified as the "Commander of the army 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 securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in.
2 And the LORD said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.
3 You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.
4 And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.
5 It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”
6 ¶ Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to 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 to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the LORD.”
8 ¶ So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the LORD advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.
9 The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets.
10 Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.”
11 So he had the ark of the LORD circle the city, going around it once. Then 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 Then 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 rear guard came after the ark of the LORD, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets.
14 And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. So they did six days.
15 ¶ But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times.
16 And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city!
17 Now the city shall be doomed by the LORD to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
18 And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.
19 But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the LORD; they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.”
20 ¶ So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then 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, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.
22 ¶ But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, “Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.”
23 And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel.
24 But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.
25 And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
26 ¶ Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the LORD who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.”
27 ¶ So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread 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 who rises up and builds 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 regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel.
2 ¶ Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai.
3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.”
4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai.
5 And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.
6 ¶ Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.
7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Lord GOD, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!
8 O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies?
9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your 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" in the KJV. 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." Incidentally, modern translations do not include the presence of the definite article in that verse, but simply render it by it's proper name, "Ai." Oh...and that's what it becomes when Joshua is finished with it as seen in Joshua 8:28 (see below), "So Joshua burned Ai and made it a heap forever, a desolation to this day."
I smell a skunk! (Joshua 7:10-26)
10 ¶ So the LORD said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face?
11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it 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 have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.
13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, “Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”
14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the LORD takes shall come according to families; and the family which the LORD takes shall come by households; and the household which the LORD takes shall come man by man.
15 Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.’ ”
16 ¶ So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken.
17 He brought the clan 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 Then 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 ¶ Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”
20 ¶ And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I have done:
21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”
22 ¶ So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it.
23 And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD.
24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor.
25 And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.
26 ¶ Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to 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 Now the LORD said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.
2 And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its cattle you shall take as booty for yourselves. Lay 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 thirty thousand mighty men of valor and sent them away by night.
4 And he commanded them, saying: “Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind the city. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you be ready.
5 Then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city; and it will come about, when they come out against us as at the first, that we shall flee before them.
6 For they will come out after us till we have drawn them from the city, for they will say, “They are fleeing before us as at the first.’ Therefore we will flee before them.
7 Then you shall rise from the ambush and seize the city, for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand.
8 And it will be, when you have taken the city, that you shall set the city on fire. According to the commandment of the LORD you shall do. See, I have commanded you.”
9 ¶ Joshua therefore sent them out; and they went to lie in ambush, and stayed between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai; but Joshua lodged that night among the people.
10 Then Joshua rose up early in the morning and mustered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
11 And all the people of war who were with him went up and drew near; and they came before the city and camped on the north side of Ai. Now a valley lay between them and Ai.
12 So he took about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
13 And when they had set the people, all the army that was on the north of the city, and its rear guard on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.
14 ¶ Now it happened, when the king of Ai saw it, that the men of the city hurried and rose early and went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at an appointed place before the plain. But he did not know that there was an 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 So all the people who were in Ai were called together to pursue them. And they pursued Joshua and were drawn away from the city.
17 There was not a man left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. So they left the city open and pursued Israel.
18 ¶ Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Stretch out the spear that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” And Joshua stretched out the spear that was in his hand toward the city.
19 So those in ambush arose quickly out of their place; they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand, and they entered the city and took it, and hurried to 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 to heaven. So they had no power to flee this way or that way, and the people who had fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers.
21 ¶ Now when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that the smoke of the city ascended, they turned back and struck down the men of Ai.
22 Then the others came out of the city against them; so they were caught in the midst of Israel, some on this side and some on that side. And they struck them down, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
23 But 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 where they pursued them, and when they all had fallen by the edge of the sword until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned to Ai and struck it with the edge of the sword.
25 So it was that all who fell that day, both men and women, were twelve thousand—all the people of Ai.
26 For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as booty for themselves, according to the word of the LORD which He had commanded Joshua.
28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it a heap forever, a desolation to this day.
29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until evening. And as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his corpse down from the tree, cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raise over it a great heap of stones that remains to 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.
Now...onto the main event! (Joshua 8:30-35)
30 ¶ Now Joshua built an altar to the LORD God of Israel in Mount Ebal,
31 as Moses the servant of the LORD had 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 has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings.
32 And there, in the presence of the children of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written.
33 Then all Israel, with their elders and officers and judges, stood on either side of the ark before the priests, the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, the stranger as well as he who was born among them. Half of them were in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of 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 the cursings, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law.
35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living 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.