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Twelve stones taken up out of the midst of Jordan,
and twelve set up there for a memorial, ver. 1 - 9.
The march of the people through Jordan, ver. 10 - 13.
God magnifies Joshua, who commands the priests
to come out of Jordan, ver. 14 - 17.
The waters close again, ver. 18, 19.
Joshua erects twelve stones for a memorial, ver. 20 - 24.
1: Spake - This was commanded before, (Jos 3:12), and is here
repeated with enlargement, as being now to be put in execution.
2: Out of every tribe a man - For the greater evidence, and the more
effectual spreading the report of this marvellous work among all the tribes.
3: Lodge this night - That is, in Gilgal, as is expressed
below, ver.(Jos 4:19,20).
4: Prepared - That is, appointed for that work, and commanded to be
ready for it.
5: Before the ark - That is, go back again to the place where the ark
6: A sign - A monument or memorial of this day's work.
9: Twelve stones - These stones are not the same with those which a
man could carry upon his shoulder, ver.(5). They might be very much
larger; and being set up in two rows one above another, might be seen, at
least when the water was low, especially where it was shallow, as it was
ordinarily, though not at this time, when Jordan overflowed all its
banks. Add to this, that the waters of Jordan are very clear; therefore
these stones might be seen in it, either by those who stood upon the shore,
because the river was not broad; or by those that passed in boats.
Unto this day - This might be written, either
- by Joshua who probably wrote this book near 20 years after this was
- by some other holy man divinely inspired, who inserted this and some such
passages both in this book and in the writings of Moses.
10: Commanded Joshua - Not particularly, but in general; because he
commanded Joshua to observe and do all that God had commanded him by
Moses, and all that he should command him any other way. Hasted - That
is, passed over with haste, an argument of their fear, or weakness of their
faith; as on the contrary, the priests are commended that they stood firm,
and settled in their minds, as well as in the posture of their bodies.
13: Before the Lord - Either,
- before the ark, or,
- in the presence of God who observed whether they would
keep their covenant made with their brethren, or not.
16: Out of Jordan - For being now in the middle, and deepest place of
the river, they are most properly said to go up to the land.
17: The priests - Who stayed contentedly in the river, 'till God by
Joshua called them out.
18: Their place - Returned into their proper channel, according to
their natural and usual course.
19: The first month - Namely, of Nisan, which wanted but five
days of forty years from the time of their coming out of Egypt, which
was on the fifteenth day of this month. So punctual is God in the
performing of his word, whether promised or threatened. And this day was
very seasonable for the taking up of the lambs which were to he used four
days after, according to the law, (Ex 12:3,6).
Gilgal - A place afterwards so called, (Jos 5:9).
20: In Gilgal - Probably in order, like so many little pillars, to
keep up the remembrance of this miraculous benefit.
23: Before us - That is, myself and Caleb, and all of us here
present; for this benefit, though done to their fathers, is justly said to
be done to themselves, because they were then in their parent's loins.
It greatly magnifies later mercies, to compare them with former mercies;
for hereby it appears, that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.