Joshua circumcises the male Israelites (again)
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
At that time the LORD
said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the
children of Israel the second time.
And Joshua made him
sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of
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.
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.
(5:2-3) The hill of the foreskins
God tells Joshua to make some knives and
circumcise all the males born during the Exodus at "the hill of the foreskins."
(It sounds like God is telling Joshua to repeat the circumcision of males who were previously circumcised. But
no, the males who left Egypt were circumcised before leaving (and were killed
by God since then). However the males born since leaving Egypt hadn't yet been circumcised. So God told Joshua to circumcise all these males
at "the hill of the foreskins." This apparently is the "second" circumcision referred to in v. 2.)
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.
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.
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.
(5:6) The children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness.
It took the Israelites 40 years to travel from Egypt to Canaan,
yet such a journey, even at that time, would have taken no more than a few weeks.
Joshua meets the captain of God's army
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
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.
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.
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.
(5:9) God tells Joshua that he has rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off him. Good to know.
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?
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?
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
(5:13-15) Captain of the host of the Lord
Joshua meets a man with a sword in his hand who claims to be
the captain of God's army. Joshua seemed to think God's captain was God himself (so he
fell on his face). Apparently the God-angel-man guy agreed, telling
Joshua to take off his shoe, since he was standing
on holy ground (as Moses was told to do in Exodus 3:5). But whoever was,
he disappeared, never to return again.
And that's it. That's all that God (or God's captain or whoever the guy with the sword was) had to say
to Joshua. "Take off your shoe, because you're standing on holy ground."