10. For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over.
10. Sacerdotes autem portantes arcam stabant in medio Jordanis donec compleretur omnis sermo quem praeceperat Jehova ad Josuam, ut diceret populo: prorsus ut praeceperat Moses ipsi Josue: festinavit autem populus transeundo.
11. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.
11. Quum vero transeundi finem fecisset universus populus, transivit arca Jehovae, et sacerdotes coram populo.
12. And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spoke unto them:
12. Transierunt quoque filii Reuben, et filii Gad, et dimidia tribus Manasse armati ante filios Israel: quemadmodum loquutus fuerat ad eos Moses.
13. About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.
13. Quadraginta millia armatorum transierunt coram Jehova ad praelium ad campestria Jericho.
14. On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.
14. Eo die magnificavit Jehova Josuam in oculis totius Israelis: et timuerunt eum quemad modum timuerant Mosen omnibus diebus vitae ejus.
15. And the LORD spoke unto Joshua, saying,
15. Loquutus est autem Jehova ad Josuam, dicendo,
16. Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.
16. Praecipe sacerdotibus portantibus arcam testimonii ut ascendant e Jordane.
17. Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come you up out of Jordan.
17. Et praecepit Josue sacerdotibus, dicendo, Ascendite ex Jordane.
18. And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.
18. Porro quum ascendissent sacerdotes portantes arcam foederis Jehovae e medio Jordane, et translatae essent plantae pedum sacerdotum in siccum, reversae sunt aquae Jordanis ad locum suum, et fluxerunt sicut heri et nudius tertius, super omnes ripas ejus.
Although it is probable that Joshua was instructed by a new message from heaven as to what was necessary to be done, he is, however, said to have followed what Moses had commanded. By this I understand that Moses had carefully enjoined him to hang on the lips of God, that he was thoroughly obedient to the injunction, and accordingly was always observant of what was pleasing to God. In short, the command of Moses here mentioned was general, but God gave special injunctions to Joshua as each circumstance arose.
They again made the same promise when the camp was about to be moved as we saw in Joshua 1. But from the narrative here we gather that only a part was selected, for the number amounts only to forty thousand, that is, a third, or about a third of the number ascertained by the census taken shortly before. Now, as they are everywhere said to have performed their promise, it may be probably conjectured that it was not the intention of Moses strictly to insist that all who had assented should leave their wives and children, and do military service in the land of Canaan till it was wholly subdued. And certainly it would have been harsh and cruel to leave an unwarlike multitude unprotected in the midst of many hostile nations. Nor would the remains of the enemy, assisted by neighboring nations, have long failed to take advantage of such an opportunity to avenge themselves by massacring the women and children. It was necessary, therefore, in a country not yet sufficiently pacified, permanently to retain a force sufficient to prevent incursions. Moses was not of so stern a nature as not to consult for the helpless. Nay, his prudence and equity would never have allowed him to leave a territory lately seized by arms unoccupied by a body of troops.
We may add, that such an immense concourse would have impeded rather than assisted the acquisition of the land of Canaan. All which Moses required, therefore, was simply that the Reubenites and Gadites should not, while their brethren were engaged in carrying on the war, remain indolently at home and eat their food at ease without giving any assistance to those to whom they were indebted for having obtained the inheritance. And the good faith of the forty thousand was approved by their not declining the burdens, toils, and perils of warfare, while the remainder of their own tribes were enjoying quiet. They might readily have alleged that they were as well entitled as the others to exemption, but in proceeding with alacrity after the levy was made, to obey the orders given them, without envying the immunity given to their brethren, they show that they were voluntarily and heartily disposed to do their duty. At the same time, it is not doubtful that by accepting the flower of their tribes, the handle for complaint and quarrel was cut off. For it could not justly have been maintained that not even the aged and worn out, or the young and feeble, were to be spared. Some, perhaps, may be inclined to conjecture that the army was raised not by choice but by lot, though it rather seems to me that all who were most robust and best able to bear fatigue were enrolled.
From this passage we may learn that God specially recommends to us all those through whose hands he displays his excellent working, and requires us to give them due honor and reverence. When it is said that the people feared Joshua as they had feared Moses, should any one object that the statement is refuted by the many sedition's and tumults which they stirred up against him, not only wantonly but furiously, it is easy to answer, that it does not apply to the whole period from their departure out of Egypt, but only refers to that when subdued by plagues and softened down, they began to be duly obedient to Moses. For what is now described is a tranquil government, as if they had laid aside their ancient perverseness, more especially when the turbulent parents were dead and a better race had succeeded. Accordingly, we do not read that there was any difficulty in ruling and turning them. I now only briefly advert to what I have already explained. For when Joshua at the outset exhorted them to obedience, they said that they would be obedient as they had been to Moses.
Next follows a more conspicuous confirmation of the miracle; for as soon as they climbed the opposite bank, the Jordan began again to flow as usual. Had it not returned to its former state, and indeed, suddenly, many would have imagined the cause of the change to be hidden but fortuitous. But when God displays his power and favor at minute intervals of time all doubt is removed. The moment the feet of the priests were made wet the Jordan retired; now on their departure he recovers his free course, and that at the very instant when they reached the bank. For the term dry here means that part which was not covered by the overflow.1 Thus the river, though dumb,2 was the best of heralds, proclaiming with a loud voice that heaven and earth are subject to the God of Israel.
1 Calvin, still adhering to the view that part of the plain beyond the immediate bank was overflowed, seems to think that the priests, after climbing up the steep bank, continued to walk for some time among the shallow water. The other view which supposes that the banks were only filled and not overflowed, besides being more in accordance with the original, as was formerly shown, appears to derive additional confirmation from the language here used. It is said the waters returned the moment the priests touched the dry ground with the soles of their feet; in other words, so long as they were climbing up the steep bank, and, of course, had no firm footing, the heap of waters continued, but it was immediately dissolved as soon as they could set down their foot firmly in consequence of having reached the flat. -- Ed.
2 "Dumb." Latin, "
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