Dave Burnette's Commentary

Joshua Chapter 5

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Joshua 
Date Penned: (1406-1370 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel in the Promised Land (c 1-24)
Theme: Entering the Promised Land (c 1-5)
Message: The Nation Reaffirms its Commitment to God  (v 1-15)

Joshua 5 Commentary

(5:1) The Amorites and Canaanites - The Amorites and Canaanites were the two major groups living in Canaan at the time of Israel's invasion. The Canaanites worshiped a variety of gods, but Baal was the most prominent god in their pantheon. Canaanite culture was materialistic, and the people's religious practices were sensual. After entering the land of Canaan, the Israelites continually fell into the worship of Baal. The Amorite gods also infected Israel's worship and turned people away from worshiping the true God. Worshiping these false gods eventually led to Israel's downfall

(5:2) Overcoming their Fears - The Israelites had spent 40 years in the wilderness unnecessarily because they were terrified of the Canaanites. They had underestimated God's power to bring them victory and had allowed their fear to derail their first attempt to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 13-14). Now the Israelites could see that the Canaanites were terrified of their army. The Canaanites had heard about Israel's great victories through God's power (Joshua 2:9-11). They had probably hoped that the Jordan River would slow the Israelites down or discourage them from entering Canaan, but news that the Israelites had crossed the Jordan on dry land caused any courage the Canaanites still had to melt away. Don't underestimate God. If we are faithful to him, he will cause even great opposition to disappear. Though our challenges may be too great for us to overcome alone, God can work behind the scenes to make anything possible that fits within his plan for us.

(5:3) A Sign of a Covenant - The rite of circumcision marked Israel's identity as God's covenant people. When God made the original covenant with Abraham, he required that each male be circumcised as a sign of cutting off the old life and beginning a new life with God (Genesis 17:13). Other cultures at this time used circumcision as a sign of entry into adulthood, but only the Israelites used it as a sign to show that they belonged to God.

(5:8-9) Israel's Base Camp - Located about two miles northeast of Jericho, Gilgal was Israel's base camp and temporary center of government and worship during the invasion of Canaan. Here the people renewed their commitment to God and his covenant before attempting to conquer the new land. At Gilgal the angelic commander of the Lord's army appeared to Joshua with further instructions for battle and encouragement for the conquest (5:13-15). After the conquest, Gilgal continued to be an important place in Israel. It was here that Israel's first king, Saul, was crowned (1 Samuel


(5:10) The First Passover in the Promised Land - This joyous Passover was the first to be celebrated in the Promised Land and only the third celebrated by Israel since the exodus from Egypt. The last time had been at the foot of Mount Sinai, 39 years earlier. This celebration reminded the Israelites of God's mighty miracles that brought them out of Egypt. There they had to eat in fear and haste; now they ate in celebration of God's blessings and promises. (See Exodus 12 for a description of the night God "passed over" the Israelites' homes.)

(5:11-12) The Lord's Provision - God had supplied manna to the hungry Israelites during their 40 years in the wilderness (Exodus 16:14-31). In the bountiful Promised Land they no longer needed this daily food supply because the land was ready for planting and harvesting. God had miraculously provided food for the Israelites while they were in the wilderness; here he provided food from the land itself. But now it would not appear miraculously--they would have to work for it. God can and does provide miraculously for his people as needed, but he also expects them to use the talents and resources he has given them to provide for themselves. Prayer is not an alternative to preparation, and faith is not a substitute for hard work. If your prayers have gone unanswered, perhaps what you need is within your reach and you have a part to play. Try praying instead for the discernment to know whether this is the case--and if so, pray for the wisdom to see what your part is and the energy and motivation to carry it out.

(5:14-15) This was an angel of superior rank, the "captain of the LORD's host." Some say he was an appearance of God in human form. As a sign of respect, Joshua took off his shoes. Although Joshua was Israel's leader, he was still subordinate to God, the highest Leader. Awe and respect are the responses due to our holy God. How can we show respect for him? By our attitudes and actions. We should recognize God's power, authority, and deep love, and our actions must model our reverence for him. Respect for God is just as important today as it was in Joshua's day, even though removing shoes may not be our cultural way of showing it.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Let the Lord Fight Your Battles

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Joshua with Chapter 5 and we see Israel reaffirming its commitment to God. The Canaanites were the fear of Israel but now the Canaanites fear the nation of Israel because of the testimony and working of God. In making application those who are saved will have opposition from the world. We can lash out at them in our flesh but if we are wise we can let the Lord fight our battles. It reminds me of a time where I received an attack on our Ministry. I could have lashed back in my flesh but I applied this principle and allowed the Lord to fight this battle. He did and looking back I see why the Lord allowed this conflict. It taught me that Jesus is my reputation and the Lord will fight my battles. How about you? Do you have those who seem to attack you for your faith? Let us learn from today's text allowing the Lord to fight my battles.


Joshua 5

Joshua 5

 1And 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.

 2At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.

 3And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.

 4And 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.

 5Now 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.

 6For 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.

 7And 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.

 8And 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.

 9And 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.

 10And 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.

 11And 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.

 12And 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.

 13And 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?

 14And 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?

 15And 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.