The Bible

 

Joshua 5

American Standard Version         

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1 And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, that were beyond the Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, that were by the sea, heard how that Jehovah had dried up the waters of the 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.

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

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

4 And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: all the people that came forth out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came forth out of Egypt.

5 For 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, they had not circumcised.

6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the nation, even the men of war that came forth out of Egypt, were consumed, because they hearkened not unto the voice of Jehovah: unto whom Jehovah sware that he would not let them see the land which Jehovah sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.

7 And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them did Joshua circumcise: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.

8 And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the nation, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.

9 And Jehovah said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of that place was called Gilgal, unto this day.

10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal; and they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.

11 And they did eat of the produce of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes and parched grain, in the selfsame day.

12 And the manna ceased on the morrow, after they had eaten of the produce 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.

13 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?

14 And he said, Nay; but [as] prince of the host of Jehovah 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?

15 And the prince of Jehovah's host said unto Joshua, Put off thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

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   Study the Inner Meaning

Exploring the Meaning of Joshua 5      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff and Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua 5: The Circumcision and the Passover

In this chapter, the Israelites are now in the land of Canaan, and local Amorite and Canaanite kings lose heart to oppose them because of God’s miracle at the river Jordan.

God tells Joshua to circumcise all the men who were born since they left Egypt, because none were circumcised in the wilderness, and their fathers who were have now all died. So Joshua obeys, requiring circumcision of all the men of Israel.

As a result, God says to Joshua : “I have this day rolled away the stain of Egypt from you.” The place was therefore called Gilgal, which means “rolling”. The Children of Israel camped there till they were healed. They then ate the Passover using the food of the land for the very first time, and the daily manna, which had been provided by God every day in the wilderness, stopped.

Then, Joshua has an encounter with an angel:

When Joshua lifted his eyes he saw a man opposite him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua asked him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” The man answered, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Joshua fell and worshipped and asked what he should do? The man said, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy”. And Joshua did so.

Note that this chapter is the very first one when the Israelites are in Canaan, and straightaway two important Jewish rituals are carried out – circumcision and the Passover. Circumcision is the cutting off of the foreskin. It means to become purified from loving oneself and the world, and the outer things of life, and to be righteous before God inwardly. (See Arcana Caelestia 2102.)

This meaning helps us see why elsewhere in the Bible it often talks about “circumcising your heart”. The circumcision in Canaan was to mark the new generation, which spiritually for us means that our regeneration always involves new states. (True Christian Religion 601)

The Passover was originally a meal to mark leaving slavery in Egypt, so it is very appropriate for celebrating entering the promised land. The spiritual meaning of the Passover is rich and complex, but, put simply, it is about the presence of the Lord with us, especially when we attribute life’s good events and blessings to the presence of God. “The Lord has done this for me… The Lord has done that for us.” (Arcana Caelestia 7902) The reason that it is a meal is that we share meals together, often in families, and spiritually everything in us comes together to be joyful and thankful.

The first camp of the Israelites in Canaan was at Gilgal, a place close to Jericho, the name of which means “rolling”. We’ve looked at its connection with circumcision but more generally, to ‘roll’ is to move forward, move on, keep going. This is a powerful early-in-the-story description of our regeneration, with its trials and blessings, both of which aim to keep us moving forward to be evermore in the life the Lord wants us to have. (Arcana Caelestia 8911)

With all this early first feeling of having finally got to Canaan, the land which God had always promised to give them, it is so very appropriate that Joshua is met by a militant angel of the Lord, the Commander of the army of the Lord. (Arcana Caelestia 7277). Note carefully that when Joshua asks if he is for us or for our enemies, the Commander says “No.” Spiritually this is very significant because the Lord uses everything – good and evil – peace and temptation – to lead us towards heaven.

The Commander declares that Joshua is to remove his sandal from off his foot because where he stands, this is holy ground. Spiritually, “holy ground” is the whole sweep of life, and our sense that all of it is the Lord’s gift to us. (See Arcana Caelestia 566, 1585)

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 1664, 1748, 1784, 2039, 2799, 6846, 8294, ...


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 458, 619

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 49

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 17:10, 18:2, 34:14, 25

Exodus 3:5, 8, 17, 12:6, 11, 13:6, 7, 16:35, 23:20, 23

Numbers 13:29, 14:33, 35, 22:23, 31, 26:64, 65

Deuteronomy 1:39

Joshua 6, 2:9, 11, 3:16, 17, 4:19, 24:7

1 Samuel 3:9, 10, 7:16

2 Samuel 19, 20

Ezekiel 3:23

Daniel 8:11

Hosea 4:15

Amos 5:5

Micah 6:5

Matthew 2:11, 28:9

John 9:38

Acts of the Apostles 7:33

Romans 8:31

1 Corinthians 15:57

Hebrews 3:11

Bible Word Meanings

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

the kings of
The kings of Media and Persia' represent people who are in faith separate from charity.

kings
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

jordan
The land of Jordan,' as in Psalm 42:6, signifies what is lowly, consequently, what is distant from the celestial, as the external parts of a...

sea
'The sea and the waves roaring' means heresy and controversies in the church and individual.

heard
'To hearken to father and mother,' as mentioned in Genesis 28:7, signifies obedience from affection. 'To hearken,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:22, signifies providence. See...

jehovah
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

dried
'Withering and drying up,' as in Ezekiel 17:10, referring to the east wind, signifies when there is no good or truth.

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

israel
'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

passed
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

melted
'To melt' denotes vanishing before the heat of lust.

Time
Time is an aspect of the physical world, but according to Swedenborg is not an aspect of the spiritual world. The same is true of...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

joshua
Joshua is first mentioned in Exodus 17, where he is told to select men to fight for the children of Israel against the Amalekites in...

circumcise
Circumcision (Gen. 17:10) signifies purity.

circumcised
Circumcision (Gen. 17:10) signifies purity.

foreskins
Heaven is filled with the love and delight of marriage, which has its origin in the marriage of love and wisdom in the Lord and...

egypt
Egyptians represent those who are in natural science, thus the natural, but the Hebrews, those who are of the church, thus respectively the spiritual. The...

war
War in the Word represents the combat of temptation when what is good is assaulted by what is evil or false. The evil that attacks...

died
'The soul going forth' and 'dying,' as in Genesis 35:18, signifies the extreme of temptation, which is when the old self dies and the new...

wilderness
'The wilderness of Sin,' as in Exodus 16, signifies the good from truth in a state of temptation.

way
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

walked
To walk in the Bible represents living, and usually means living according to the true things taught to us by the Lord -- to "walk...

forty
'Forty' means completeness because 'four' means what is complete, as does 'ten.' Forty is the product of four and ten. Compound numbers have a meaning...

nation
'A nation,' as in Genesis 21:18, signifies the spiritual church which should receive the good of faith. Nation from afar,' as in Jeremiah 5:17, signifies...

us
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

voice
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

sware
The Lord swearing by himself signifies that divine truth testifies, for He is divine truth itself, and this testifies from itself and means itself. It...

see
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

land
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

fathers
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

milk
Water represents true ideas about day-to-day life, and other drinks and liquids in general represent different forms of truth. Milk is a drink that contains...

honey
'Honey' signifies the delight derived from good and truth or from the affection thereof, and specifically the external delight. Thus it signifies the delight of...

uncircumcised
'The uncircumcised,' as in Ezekiel 31:18, signifies people lacking the good of charity.

camp
Camps in the Bible represent spiritual order – a person’s (or a church community’s) whole collection of desires for good and true ideas on how...

day
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

reproach
To revile something – or "reproach," as it is often translated – represents making a direct and deliberate attack on what is spiritually true, in...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

place
'A dry place,' as in Luke 11:24, signifies states of evil and falsity which are in the life of someone who does the work of...

called
'To proclaim' signifies exploration from influx of the Lord.

gilgal
Gilgal signifies the doctrine of natural truth, serving for introduction into the church.

encamped
'Pitch,' as in Genesis 14:10, denotes lusts. 'Burning pitch,' as in Isaiah 34:9, signifies direful fantasies.

passover
'The Passover,' in Exodus 12, 27, signifies the presence of the Lord and His liberation from damnation of the people of the spiritual church. 'The...

fourteenth
Fourteen, as in Genesis 31:40, signifies a first period of time. The fourteenth year, as in Genesis 14:5, signifies the first temptation of the Lord...

day of
'Day of vengeance' signifies a state of damnation.

month
'A month' has respect to the state of truth in a person. 'A month' signifies a full state. Month,' as in Genesis 29, signifies the...

plains
'A plain' signifies good and truth in the natural self, because 'the people who dwell in plains,' or 'beneath mountains and hills' are in the...

jericho
Jericho' signifies instruction and also the good of life because no one can be instructed in the truths of doctrine but he who is in...

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

unleavened
For something to be “unleavened” means that it's been made without yeast. Since yeast is what makes bread rise and take on its airy texture,...

parched
To roast something is, in Biblical culinary terms, to cook it over a fire. Fire represents the Lord’s infinite love for all things, so roasting...

manna
'Manna' signifies the good of celestial love conjoined to wisdom. 'Manna' signifies the good of truth. 'Manna' signifies celestial and spiritual good. Hidden manna,' as...

eaten
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

fruit
In Zechariah 8:12, 'the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground her increase,' signifies that the spiritual affection of truth produces the good of...

Land of Canaan
The land of Canaan' in the Word, means love, and consequently, the will of the celestial self.

canaan
Canaan signifies a worship in things external without internals, which arose out of the internal church corrupted, called Ham. Thus it is that Ham is...

lifted
The idea of "lifting" is used in a number of different ways in the Bible. In general, it means connecting with a higher spiritual state...

eyes
'Pairs of hands, eyes, etc.' relate to the will and understanding, or to good and truth. The right side to the will or good, and...

stood
'To stand,' and 'come forth' as in Daniel 7:10, refers to truth. In Genesis 24:13, it signifies a state of conjunction of divine truth with...

man
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

sword
The three words, sword, famine and pestilence, appear in a group in 26 different Bible verses. That's not an accident. Sword, famine and pestilence describe...

hand
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

adversaries
Foes, or adversaries, denote the falsities of evil. Foes, or adversaries, when predicate of the Lord, signifies to avert falsities derived from evil.

prince
Captains and Rulers (Jer. 51:23) signifies principal evils and falsities. Captains and Rulers (Ezek 33:6) signifies principal truths. See Chief Captains.

host
A host and an army come from the same Hebrew word and mean the same thing in Bible; when the Children of Israel were numbered...

come
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

fell
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "fall" is highly dependent on context in regular language, and is highly dependent on context in a spiritual...

Fell on his face
'To fall on his face' represents humility.

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

earth
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

worship
To bow, as in Genesis 18:2 signifies to humble.

saith
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

my lord
Characters in the Bible will often address others using the term “my lord,” and it seems to be no more than an expression of respect....

lord
In most cases, a "master" in the Bible refers to truth: knowledge, an understanding of the situation at hand, an understanding of the Lord's wishes,...

servant
“Servant” literally means “a person who serves another,"" and its meaning is similar in reference to the spiritual meaninngs of the Bible. Our lives in...

jehovah's
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

shoe
'A shoe latchet' signifies evil.

foot
The foot, as in Deuteronomy 33:3, signifies an inferior principle. To set the right foot on the sea and the left on the earth, as...

standest
'To stand,' and 'come forth' as in Daniel 7:10, refers to truth. In Genesis 24:13, it signifies a state of conjunction of divine truth with...

holy
The Bible describes many things as being holy, or sacred. The Ark of the Covenant is one very holy object. The inmost chamber of the...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 At Gilgal
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Compare: Moses and Joshua
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Joshua Kneels Before the Commander of the Lord’s Army
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Joshua Meets the Commander of the Lord’s Army
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Loose Thy Shoe
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord Is the Hero of War
Color picture of the Commander of the Lord's army appearing to Joshua.
Picture | All Ages

Commentary

 

Exploring the Meaning of Joshua 5      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff and Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua 5: The Circumcision and the Passover

In this chapter, the Israelites are now in the land of Canaan, and local Amorite and Canaanite kings lose heart to oppose them because of God’s miracle at the river Jordan.

God tells Joshua to circumcise all the men who were born since they left Egypt, because none were circumcised in the wilderness, and their fathers who were have now all died. So Joshua obeys, requiring circumcision of all the men of Israel.

As a result, God says to Joshua : “I have this day rolled away the stain of Egypt from you.” The place was therefore called Gilgal, which means “rolling”. The Children of Israel camped there till they were healed. They then ate the Passover using the food of the land for the very first time, and the daily manna, which had been provided by God every day in the wilderness, stopped.

Then, Joshua has an encounter with an angel:

When Joshua lifted his eyes he saw a man opposite him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua asked him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” The man answered, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Joshua fell and worshipped and asked what he should do? The man said, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy”. And Joshua did so.

Note that this chapter is the very first one when the Israelites are in Canaan, and straightaway two important Jewish rituals are carried out – circumcision and the Passover. Circumcision is the cutting off of the foreskin. It means to become purified from loving oneself and the world, and the outer things of life, and to be righteous before God inwardly. (See Arcana Caelestia 2102.)

This meaning helps us see why elsewhere in the Bible it often talks about “circumcising your heart”. The circumcision in Canaan was to mark the new generation, which spiritually for us means that our regeneration always involves new states. (True Christian Religion 601)

The Passover was originally a meal to mark leaving slavery in Egypt, so it is very appropriate for celebrating entering the promised land. The spiritual meaning of the Passover is rich and complex, but, put simply, it is about the presence of the Lord with us, especially when we attribute life’s good events and blessings to the presence of God. “The Lord has done this for me… The Lord has done that for us.” (Arcana Caelestia 7902) The reason that it is a meal is that we share meals together, often in families, and spiritually everything in us comes together to be joyful and thankful.

The first camp of the Israelites in Canaan was at Gilgal, a place close to Jericho, the name of which means “rolling”. We’ve looked at its connection with circumcision but more generally, to ‘roll’ is to move forward, move on, keep going. This is a powerful early-in-the-story description of our regeneration, with its trials and blessings, both of which aim to keep us moving forward to be evermore in the life the Lord wants us to have. (Arcana Caelestia 8911)

With all this early first feeling of having finally got to Canaan, the land which God had always promised to give them, it is so very appropriate that Joshua is met by a militant angel of the Lord, the Commander of the army of the Lord. (Arcana Caelestia 7277). Note carefully that when Joshua asks if he is for us or for our enemies, the Commander says “No.” Spiritually this is very significant because the Lord uses everything – good and evil – peace and temptation – to lead us towards heaven.

The Commander declares that Joshua is to remove his sandal from off his foot because where he stands, this is holy ground. Spiritually, “holy ground” is the whole sweep of life, and our sense that all of it is the Lord’s gift to us. (See Arcana Caelestia 566, 1585)


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