Joshua 1:18: The Commitment of the Transjordanian Tribes, Part 5

Verse 18:[1]  Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death:  only be strong and of a good courage.

[Whosoever doth contradict thy mouth, אֲשֶׁר־יַמְרֶ֣ה אֶת־פִּ֗יךָ[2]Whosoever doth rebel with respect to thy mouth (Montanus, Drusius, Vatablus), that is, thy speech (Drusius), thy word (Masius), thy commandment (Arabic, similarly Junius and Tremellius), against thy word (Jonathan).

[Whosoever doth contradict…and not obey]  That is, contumaciously.  This law pertains to the King of the Hebrews.  Whosoever is condemned by this law, is said among the Hebrews to be condemned for the sake of the kingdom; just as among the Romans, for the sake of Majesty.  In the case of this one crime, goods were confiscated, 2 Samuel 9:7; 1 Kings 21:14, 15.  But it is remarkable that Kings under the pretense of prevention judged concerning this crime pertaining to the injury of Kings, as much as Public Judges; as appears in 1 Kings 2:29, etc., and there it is noted by Levi Ben Gershon and Kimchi.  Such was the estimation of the Hebrews concerning the uprightness of their Kings (Grotius).  Other translate it, whosoever shall alter thy mouth (certain interpreters in Drusius, Malvenda), that is, shall pervert thy word by speaking or doing otherwise than thou hast prescribed (Malvenda).

In all that thou commandest him, not repugnant to God’s commands; for none can be so foolish to think, that if he had commanded the people to blaspheme God, or worship idols, the people were obliged to obey him therein.

[Only wax thou strong]  Either it is a prayer, or an exhortation:  that is to say, Only let thou be of a strong and confident soul; in us thou shalt lack nothing.  Rabbi Levi thus:  Only that thou mightest be strong and resolute in administrating the kingdom according to the prescriptions of the Law (Masius).

[1] Hebrew:  כָּל־אִ֞ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יַמְרֶ֣ה אֶת־פִּ֗יךָ וְלֹֽא־יִשְׁמַ֧ע אֶת־דְּבָרֶ֛יךָ לְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־תְּצַוֶּ֖נּוּ יוּמָ֑ת רַ֖ק חֲזַ֥ק וֶאֱמָֽץ׃

[2] מָרָה signifies to rebel.

Joshua 1:16, 17: The Commitment of the Transjordanian Tribes, Part 4

Verse 16:[1]  And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.

[And they answered]  Either, the Reubenites, etc., to whom he was speaking (Serarius):  or, all the Tribes (Junius, Masius).  But these had previously pledged their obedience to him, Numbers 27; Deuteronomy 31 (Lapide, Masius).

They answered, i.e. the Reubenites, etc., mentioned verse 12, to whom Joshua’s discourse is confined, verses 13-15.  No doubt the other tribes expressed the same thing; but this is only recorded concerning these, because that might seem most doubtful, and the obedience of the rest was unquestionable.


Verse 17:[2]  According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee:  only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.

[Just as we obeyed Moses]  Objection:  But they rebelled against Moses.  Responses:  1.  Those stiff-necked were dead; but their sons were more obedient (Lapide, Masius).  2.  At least the compliant were able thus to speak (Bonfrerius).  3.  They do not boast of obedience, but rather they acknowledge the extent of the obedience they owe (Masius).

According as we hearkened unto Moses, etc.:  The same obedience which we owed, and those of us who are now alive generally performed, to Moses, we promise unto thee.

[Only the Lord thy God be with thee]  Some interpret the רַק/only exceptively; they promise compliance as long as the Ruler himself is not deserted by God, and prescribes no other things than what things are right and profitable in conjunction with the Law of God:  Thus Kimchi, Levi Ben Gershon, and the Talmudists.  This opinion is not inconsistent with the truth (Masius).  The sense:  See to it that God be present with, and that thou withdraw not from Him.  It is a restipulation[3] (Junius, Piscator).  [Others otherwise.]  These are the prayers of the people, not conditions of rule (Lapide, Menochius).  [Masius prefers this:]  how prayers are wont to be made by the people, when they bestow authority on their Princes (Malvenda).  This is an expression of wish, not, as some think, of restipulation:  that is to say, Be not thou anxious for us; only let God favor thee, and all shall be well.  This expression, the Lord be with thee, you will see what it may mean in Judges 6:12; Ruth 2:4; Jeremiah 1:8; Matthew 28:20; Acts 18:10 (Grotius).

Only the Lord thy God be with thee:  this is not a limitation of their obedience, as if they would not obey him any further or longer than he was prosperous or successful; but an additional prayer for him.  As we have hereby promised thee our obedience, so our prayer shall be, that God would bless and prosper thee, as he did Moses.

[1] Hebrew:  וַֽיַּעֲנ֔וּ אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ לֵאמֹ֑ר כֹּ֤ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוִּיתָ֙נוּ֙ נַֽעֲשֶׂ֔ה וְאֶֽל־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר תִּשְׁלָחֵ֖נוּ נֵלֵֽךְ׃

[2] Hebrew:  כְּכֹ֤ל אֲשֶׁר־שָׁמַ֙עְנוּ֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה כֵּ֖ן נִשְׁמַ֣ע אֵלֶ֑יךָ רַ֠ק יִֽהְיֶ֞ה יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר הָיָ֖ה עִם־מֹשֶֽׁה׃

[3] That is, a counter-obligation.

Joshua 1:14, 15: The Commitment of the Transjordanian Tribes, Part 3

Verse 14:[1]  Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed (Heb. marshalled by fire:[2]  as Ex. 13:18[3]), all the mighty men of valour, and help them…

[And children, טַפְּכֶם[4]Your little ones (Junius and Tremellius, Drusius, Pagnine, similarly the Septuagint, Josephus, Jerome, Aquila in Drusius).  Thus Genesis 34:29.[5]  It signifies those under twenty years of age (Ibn Ezra[6] in Drusius and in Masius); or, those that are almost to the point that they might be educated in catechism (Gerundensis in Drusius).  But Symmachus[7] translates it, φορτίον, that is, baggage and burdens.  Thus the Septuagint elsewhere, πλὴν τῆς ἀποσκευῆς, besides the baggage[8] (Drusius).  In no word do the Septuagint translators agree less among themselves (Drusius).

[Your beasts, וּמִקְנֵיכֶם[9]]  Rather, sheep (Masius), herds (Junius and Tremellius), acquisitions (Malvenda).

[They shall remain[10]]  Hebrew:  let them sitTo sit is taken in the place of to remain in Genesis 22:5[11] and elsewhere (Drusius).

[Pass over armed, חֲמֻשִׁים[12]]  [They vary.]  Armed (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Aquila in Drusius, Serarius).  But whence had they such an abundance of arms (Drusius, Masius)?  Response:  From the spoils of the drowned Egyptians, and the Moabites and Ammonites (Serarius).  But they were obliged to trust in the sufficient protection of God (Masius).  Response:  The grace of God does not despise human works and protections (Serarius).  Others render it, by ranks of five (Montanus, Malvenda), in military order (Junius and Tremellius, Drusius).  Five at a time.  Thus generally soldiers advance (Drusius).  A great many derive it from חוֹמֶשׁ, which is that part of the body where the fifth rib is located, 2 Samuel 2:23, where the Septuagint translates it ψόαν, muscle of the loins.[13]  And it is certainly plausible that חֲמֻשִׁים is derived from חוֹמֶשׁ/loins, when it is altogether certain that חֲלוּצִים, equipped for war, a perfect twin to the former, is formed from חֲלָצָיִם/Halazaim, that is, loins.[14]  Moreover, those חֲמֻשִׁים/ Hamusim and חֲלָצָיִם/Halazaim some translate, covered with arms unto the fifth rib; others, girded with a military girdle; εὐζώνους/girded[15] (Septuagint) (so also in Drusius).  This is more satisfying to me:  It is most common in Sacred Scripture by girded loins to signify unencumbered strength and ready zeal, etc. (Masius).  Concerning this word see the many things said on Exodus 13:18 (Bonfrerius).  Pass ye over armed, etc.  Among all citizens, as there is a fellowship of law, so also of arms.  Now, these words of Moses are not found elsewhere, but the sense is in Numbers 32:6 (Grotius).

[Before your brethren[16]]  It signifies, either, 1.  that they should go before the other Tribes (Jerome and the Septuagint in Drusius, Lapide, Serarius, Bonfrerius).  For, 1.  this is fair, because these first obtained an inheritance:  2.  so that they might commend their faith and zeal to Joshua:  3.  because they had no impediments (Serarius):  4.  so that they might impart courage to their brethren (Lapide).  Thus לִפְנֵי/before is often taken, and indeed in this very narration, Numbers 32:21, 22, 27, 29[17] (Serarius).  Or, 2.  it does not signify an anterior place, but presence (Junius, Malvenda, Masius, Drusius).  For it is not plausible that they were always in the first battle line (Drusius).  Neither do I remember that it was ever mention that that was done (Masius).  In this sense לִפְנֵי/before is taken here and there:  before the Lord, and before the brethren, are used for the same things.  Therefore, the sense is, Ye shall be present with your brethren, etc. (Masius).

Ye shall pass, to wit, over Jordan.  Before your brethren; either, 1.  In their presence.  Or, 2.  In the front of all of them; which was but reasonable; partly, because they had the advantage of their brethren, having actually received their portion, which their brethren had only in hope, and therefore were obliged to more service, the rather to prevent the envy of the other tribes; partly, because they were freed from those impediments which the rest were exposed to, their wives, and children, and estates being safely lodged; and partly, to prevent their retreat and withdrawing themselves from the present service, which they otherwise should have had opportunity and temptation to do, because of the nearness of their habitations.  Armed; for by this time they were well furnished with arms, which they had either from the Egyptians, or Amalekites, or Amorites, from whom they had taken them; or by purchase from those people by whose borders they passed.  Or, in military order.  See on Exodus 13:18.

[All mighty in deed, כֹּ֚ל גִּבּוֹרֵ֣י הַחַ֔יִל]  All military men.  Not with respect to all that might be able to fight, but with respect to none except soldiers (Masius).  But this is a marvelous exposition, all, that is, not all (Serarius).  It is certain that there were more than one hundred and thirty of them numbered, Numbers 26:7, 18, 34, who were ripe for military service (Masius).  It is asked, therefore, whether Joshua acted rightly, since Moses said, Let every man of war pass over.[18]  Response:  Even if he was able to compel all, nevertheless Moses left it to the prudence of the future Leader, how many were to be summoned for this matter:  In this matter, Joshua knew the mind of Moses (Bonfrerius).  Moses signified this privately to him (Serarius).  It was not prudent to leave the Trans-jordanian regions defenders (Bonfrerius, Serarius).  Thus they render the Hebrew, men of strength (Septuagint), mighty in valor (Montanus, Vatablus, similarly the Syriac, Arabic).  The stout men of the army, that is, stout soldiers, or, men strong for military service, that is, who are vigorous in military service (Drusius).  However many are mighty in strength (Vatablus).  The most vigorous, as in Deuteronomy 3:18[19] (Malvenda).  The most illustrious for strength and experience in military matters (Bonfrerius).

The mighty men of valour; all such were obliged to go over if occasion required it, but Joshua took only some of them, partly because they were sufficient for his purpose, and partly because some were fit to be left, both to secure their own wives, children, and possessions, and to prevent their enemies on that side from giving them disturbance or hinderance in their enterprise upon Canaan.


Verse 15:[20]  Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them:  (Josh. 22:4, etc.) then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD’S servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.

[1] Hebrew: נְשֵׁיכֶ֣ם טַפְּכֶם֮ וּמִקְנֵיכֶם֒ יֵשְׁב֕וּ בָּאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֙ר נָתַ֥ן לָכֶ֛ם מֹשֶׁ֖ה בְּעֵ֣בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן וְאַתֶּם֩ תַּעַבְר֙וּ חֲמֻשִׁ֜ים לִפְנֵ֣י אֲחֵיכֶ֗ם כֹּ֚ל גִּבּוֹרֵ֣י הַחַ֔יִל וַעֲזַרְתֶּ֖ם אוֹתָֽם׃

[2] Hebrew:  חֲמֻשִׁים.

[3] Exodus 13:18:  “But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea:  and harnessed (וַחֲמֻשִׁים) the children of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt.”

[4] טַף, little ones, appears to be related to the verbal root טָפַף, to trip, or to take little, quick steps.

[5] Genesis 34:29:  “And all their wealth, and all their little ones (וְאֶת־כָּל־טַפָּם), and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.”

[6] Abraham Ibn Ezra (c. 1089-1164) was a renowned Spanish Rabbi.  At the heart of his work is his commentary on the Hebrew Bible.  He commented on all of the books, with the exception of Chronicles, and his exegesis manifests a commitment to the literal sense of the text.

[7] Symmachus (second century) produced a Greek translation of the Old Testament, which survives only in fragments.  Symmachus’ work is characterized by an apparent concern to render faithfully the Hebrew original, to provide a rendering consistent with the rabbinic exegesis of his time, and to set forth the translation in simple, pure, and elegant Septuagint-style Greek.

[8] See Exodus 12:37:  “And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children (לְבַ֥ד מִטָּֽף׃; πλὴν τῆς ἀποσκευῆς, in the Septuagint).”  See also Deuteronomy 20:14:  “But the women, and the little ones (וְהַטַּף; καὶ τῆς ἀποσκευῆς, in the Septuagint), and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.”

[9] מִקְנֶה, from the verbal root קָנָה, to acquire, can be taken more broadly for any domesticated animal, or more narrowly for herd animals.

[10] Hebrew:  יֵשְׁבוּ.

[11] Genesis 22:5:  “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye (שְׁבוּ־לָכֶם) here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”

[12] חֲמֻשִׁים appears to be related to חָמֵשׁ/five.

[13] 2 Samuel 2:23a:  “Howbeit he refused to turn aside:  wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib (הַחֹמֶשׁ; τὴν ψόαν, in the Septuagint), that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place…”

[14] See Numbers 32:29, 30:  “And Moses said unto them, If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will pass with you over Jordan, every man armed (חָלוּץ) to battle, before the Lord, and the land shall be subdued before you; then ye shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession:  But if they will not pass over with you armed (חֲלוּצִים), they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.”

[15] Joshua 4:13:  “About forty thousand prepared (חֲלוּצֵי; εὔζωνοι, in the Septuagint) for war passed over before the Lord unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.”

[16] Hebrew: לִפְנֵ֣י אֲחֵיכֶ֗ם.

[17] Numbers 32:21, 22, 27, 29:  “And will go all of you armed (חָלוּץ) over Jordan before the Lord (לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה), until he hath driven out his enemies from before him (מִפָּנָיו), and the land be subdued before the Lord (לִפְנֵ֤י יְהוָה֙):  then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the Lord, and before Israel (מֵיְהוָ֖ה וּמִיִּשְׂרָאֵ֑ל); and this land shall be your possession before the Lord (לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃)….  But thy servants will pass over, every man armed for war (כָּל־חֲל֥וּץ צָבָ֛א), before the Lord (לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָ֖ה) to battle, as my lord saith….  And Moses said unto them, If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will pass with you over Jordan, every man armed to battle (כָּל־חָל֤וּץ לַמִּלְחָמָה֙), before the Lord (לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה), and the land shall be subdued before you (לִפְנֵיכֶם); then ye shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession…”

[18] Numbers 32:21:  “And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the Lord (וְעָבַ֙ר לָכֶ֧ם כָּל־חָל֛וּץ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן; et omnis vir bellator armatus Jordanem transeat, in the Vulgate), until he hath driven out his enemies from before him…”

[19] Deuteronomy 3:18:  “And I commanded you at that time, saying, The Lord your God hath given you this land to possess it:  ye shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war (כָּל־בְּנֵי־חָיִל; omnes viri robusti, in the Vulgate).”

[20] Hebrew: עַ֠ד אֲשֶׁר־יָנִ֙יחַ יְהוָ֥ה׀ לַֽאֲחֵיכֶם֮ כָּכֶם֒ וְיָרְשׁ֣וּ גַם־הֵ֔מָּה אֶת־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֖ם נֹתֵ֣ן לָהֶ֑ם וְשַׁבְתֶּ֞ם לְאֶ֤רֶץ יְרֻשַּׁתְכֶם֙ וִֽירִשְׁתֶּ֣ם אוֹתָ֔הּ אֲשֶׁ֣ר׀ נָתַ֣ן לָכֶ֗ם מֹשֶׁה֙ עֶ֣בֶד יְהוָ֔ה בְּעֵ֥בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן מִזְרַ֥ח הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃

Joshua 1:13: The Commitment of the Transjordanian Tribes, Part 2

Verse 13:[1]  Remember (Num. 32:17-33; Josh. 22:2-4) the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.

[Remember, זָכוֹר]  To remember,[2] that is, it behooves you to remember (Lapide).  The infinitive mood is in the place of the imperative (Masius, Malvenda, Drusius).  Or, Remember, O triple Tribe.  It is an enallage,[3] either of tense, or number (Lapide).  Singular in the place of the plural (Vatablus).  Remember ye (the Chaldean in Vatablus).

Remember his charge to you, and your promise to him, which they were obliged to keep; and Joshua was to see that they did so.

[He hath given rest]  In the beginning, He commemorates the most agreeable things, whereby He gains for Himself their hearts.  And, when it is come to hard things, But ye shall pass before, etc.,[4] He flies across so quickly that He appears with one word both to wound and to heal their mind.  With such skill He weaves the admonition.  Quiet, that is, a place of quiet, and that altogether safe (Junius).  He gave to you quiet settlements (Vatablus).

Rest, that is, a place of rest, as that word signifies:  see on Genesis 49:15.

[1] Hebrew: זָכוֹר֙ אֶת־הַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֙ר צִוָּ֥ה אֶתְכֶ֛ם מֹשֶׁ֥ה עֶֽבֶד־יְהוָ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֙ מֵנִ֣יחַ לָכֶ֔ם וְנָתַ֥ן לָכֶ֖ם אֶת־הָאָ֥רֶץ הַזֹּֽאת׃

[2] זָכוֹר is formally infinitive.

[3] That is, the use of one grammatical form in the place of another.

[4] See verse 14.

Joshua 1:12: The Commitment of the Transjordanian Tribes, Part 1

Verse 12:[1]  And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying…

[To the Rubenites also, etc.]  He instructs them separately, but most modestly:  and, although he was able to compel them by virtue of his authority, he prefers to act the part of a friendly counselor, than a severe Emperor.  He commands nothing haughtily (as today those that first begin to rule are wont to do), but he recalls into memory for them the commandment of Moses (Masius).

[1] Hebrew:  וְלָרֽאוּבֵנִי֙ וְלַגָּדִ֔י וְלַחֲצִ֖י שֵׁ֣בֶט הַֽמְנַשֶּׁ֑ה אָמַ֥ר יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ לֵאמֹֽר׃

Joshua 1:10, 11: Joshua Prepares for Jordan’s Crossing

Verse 10:[1]  Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying…

[The Princes, שֹׁטְרֵי[2]Prefects (Montanus); scribes (Septuagint); prefects and scribes (Syriac); exactors (Jonathan); the more eminent (Arabic); the governors of the people (Junius and Tremellius); heralds, attendants (Vatablus); counselors (Masius).  These discharged those duties, which among the Romans were performed by Apparitors,[3] Stators,[4] Heralds.  It belonged to them to divulge to the people what things please the Magistrate, and to coerce, if needful, or to impel the people to do something.  From Deuteronomy 16:18, it appears to have been brought to pass that their individual Judges had their שֹׁטְרִים/officers (Masius).  Concerning this word we treated in Exodus 18:25.  Yet here it appears to be taken more broadly, for whatever Magistrate or Judge, or (which I prefer) for the highest Judges and the supreme Magistrates of the tribes (Bonfrerius).


Verse 11:[5]  Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for (Josh. 3:2; see Deut. 9:1; 11:31) within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.

[Prepare you rations[6]]   צֵידָהsignifies food taken in hunting[7] (Piscator[8]).  Nevertheless, it is often used for whatever sort of food (Masius), as in Genesis 42:25[9] (Malvenda).  They translate it, provision for a journey (Syriac, Arabic, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus); supplies (Jonathan); rations (Septuagint).  Question:  What then was this?  Response:  Either, 1.  Manna prepared through the usual beating and cooking (Menochius).  This does not satisfy.  1.  The Manna had not yet failed, Joshua 5:12:  is that, therefore, which was daily raining down, to be prepared?  2.  To preserve that was contrary to the precept of God, Exodus 16 (Masius, Lapide, Bonfrerius).  Or, 2.  other rations or provisions beyond the Manna, which was nearly worthless to them (Malvenda out of Masius).  The more sumptuous provisions that they had bought from the neighboring peoples, Deuteronomy 2:6, 28 (Masius, Lapide).  Or, the booty that they had taken from the kingdoms of Og and Bashan:[10]  that is to say, slaughter, cook, salt, and preserve in vessels, the sheep and oxen taken there (Lapide).  Manna was to them in the place of bread, but צֵידָה was provisions (Kimchi[11] in Masius).  From here and Deuteronomy 29:6, it is not spoken of flesh, but only of bread and wine, ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine and strong drink (Lapide).  I understand flour of wheat and of barley, which they plundered from the Amorites, which, because it would not be in sufficient abundance for them, Manna is granted to them (Bonfrerius).  Or, 3.  whatever would be needful for the journey and for the approaching war (Rabbi Salomon[12] and Josephus in Masius, thus Junius).  But that notion of this word is unusual (Masius).  Question:  But for what purpose would rations be prepared, while Manna was still raining down?  Responses:  1.  He does not prescribe, but advises and permits, the eating of more sumptuous rations, so that they might not be able to complain (Bonfrerius).  He did not want them to complaim in their first entrance.  2.  Their enemies were able, as it were, to surround them in a ring, and to harass them with unremitting battle, and so to hinder them from that collection and preparation of the evaporating Manna[13] (Serarius).

Prepare you victuals; for although manna was given them to supply their want of ordinary provisions in the wilderness; yet they were allowed, when they had opportunity, to purchase other provisions, and did so, Deuteronomy 2:6, 28.  And now having been some time in the land of the Amorites, and together with manna used themselves to other food which that country plentifully supplied them with, they are warned to furnish themselves therewith for their approaching march.

[After the third day, etc.]  That is, not with the day of promulgation included (Vatablus).  But here a difficulty arises.  How is this true?  For in chapter 2 he sent spies, who, besides the time of going and returning, for three days were lying hidden in the mountains; and, with those having returned to Joshua, the Hebrews at the command of Joshua waited at Jordan another three days, Joshua 3:1, 2 (Lapide).  Thus seven days will have elapsed from that edict unto the crossing of Jordan.  But Moses died on the seventh day of the last month, or of Adar[14] (as the Hebrews assert):  That month has thirty days:  They mourned for Moses for thirty days:[15]  The mourning for Moses was ended on the sixth day of the first month, or of Nisan:  Therefore, the spies were not able to be sent away before the seventh day, etc. (for, while that mourning continues, they think it a sin to do other things).  But it is evident that on the tenth day they crossed the Jordan (Masius).  Response 1:  The time of the death of Moses is uncertain, and concerning it the Talmudists disagree, with some thinking (as Kimchi testifies) it to have occurred in the month of Shevat,[16] others in the month of Adar.  Therefore, it could be said that on the third day of the month Nisan the scouts were sent forth, and returned on the sixth day, and that on the ninth day the people were instructed to purify themselves for tomorrow’s crossing[17] (Masius).  Response 2:  Joshua sent the scouts before they mourned Moses:  Thus Rabbia Isaiah and Kimchi.  It is not doubtful that immediately after the death of Moses Joshua was intent upon the expedition with his whole mind, and he carefully procured what he thought to be needful for its accomplishment, and so he may have sent the spies out with the mourning not yet finished (Masius); so that it is plausible that what things are related in the whole of chapter 2 were conducted before that edict, and that it is ὕστερον πρότερον, a hysteron proteron,[18] which is not unusual in the Sacred history (Masius, Lapide); and that thus the whole second chapter is to be place before this precept of Joshua (Lapide).  Response 3:  It is not at all absurd, if we say that on the same day Joshua determined beforehand three days for the people and sent the spies away, namely, on the seventh day of Nisan.  From Shittim[19] to Jordan there were only sixty stadia,[20] as Josephus testifies, and from there it was five miles to Jericho.  They were easily able to traverse this space within a few hours, and thus before evening sufficiently to spy out the city.  Having been let down from the wall on the same evening by Rahab, they were lying hidden three days, Joshua 2:16, that is, unto the third day, that is, unto the night that was closing the eighth day, and which according to the Hebrews was pertaining to the ninth day; on which night they returned to their General (Masius).  This response does not satisfy Bonfrerius.  For they did not arrive at and withdraw from Jericho on the same day, since they are said to have slept there, Joshua 2:8 (Bonfrerius on Joshua 2:1).  In Hebrew it is בְּע֣וֹד׀ שְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֗ים, which they translate within three days[21] (Drusius, Tigurinus, Masius, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius).  Thus בְּעוֹד is taken in 2 Samuel 12:22;[22] Jeremiah 15:9[23] (Masius); Genesis 4:12[24] (Drusius).  Yet three days (Septuagint); for from this point for three days (Syriac); at the end of three days (Jonathan).  But others:  after three days (Munster, Pagnine).

Within three days.  Question.  How can this be, when the spies, who were not yet sent away, continued three days hid in the mountains, Joshua 2:22, and the people passed not over till three days after the spies returned? Joshua 3:2.  Answer.  These words, though placed here, seem not to have been delivered by Joshua till after the return of the spies; such transpositions being so frequent in Scripture, that interpreters have formed this general rule, that there is no certain order, no former nor latter, in the histories of the Scripture.  And hence it comes that these three days mentioned here below, after the history of the spies, are again repeated, Joshua 3:2.  Besides, the Septuagint render the words yet three days; and the Chaldee, in the end of three days; others, after three days, as it is Joshua 3:2.  Or these three days may be the same with those Joshua 2:22, and the matter may be conceived thus:  Joshua gives the people notice of their passage over Jordan within three days here, and at the same time sends away the spies, who return ere those three days be ended. For the three days, Joshua 2:22, may be understood of one whole day, and part of two other days, as it is in that famous instance, Matthew 27:63, of which see more on that place, and on Matthew 12:40.  The spies came to Jericho in the evening of the first day, and intended to lie there, Joshua 2:8; but being disturbed and affrighted by the search made after them, they go away that night into the mountains, and there abide the time mentioned.  Joshua having delivered this message from God to the Israelites, and sent away the spies, removes from Shittim to Jordan, Joshua 3:1, being sufficiently assured of his safe passage over Jordan, whatsoever became of the spies; and after those three days mentioned here were past, Joshua 3:2, he sends the officers to the people with a second message about the manner of their actual passing over.

[Ye shall pass over[25]]  Hebrew:  passing over (Montanus, Malvenda, Vatablus), understanding, ye shall be, that is, ye shall be prepared to pass over (Vatablus); ye are going to pass over (Junius and Tremellius, Syriac).

[To possess, לָרֶשֶׁת[26]To possess by hereditary right (Junius and Tremellius, Masius); that is to say, ye go not to lay waste, or to spoil, as in Numbers 31, but so that by the right of inheritance ye might occupy and possess (Masius).

[Which the Lord, יְהוָה]  This signifies power; as your God,[27] His most favorable and paternal will.  But now, where will has been conjoined with power, nothing is so difficult that it is not easily furnished (Masius).

[1] Hebrew:  וַיְצַ֣ו יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ אֶת־שֹׁטְרֵ֥י הָעָ֖ם לֵאמֹֽר׃

[2] שֹׁטֵר/officer appears to be derived from the verbal root שׁטר, to write.

[3] Apparitors were civil servants, assisting the magistrates.

[4] Stators served the provincial governors as messengers.

[5] Hebrew: עִבְר֣וּ׀ בְּקֶ֣רֶב הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֗ה וְצַוּ֤וּ אֶת־הָעָם֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר הָכִ֥ינוּ לָכֶ֖ם צֵידָ֑ה כִּ֞י בְּע֣וֹד׀ שְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֗ים אַתֶּם֙ עֹֽבְרִים֙ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֣ן הַזֶּ֔ה לָבוֹא֙ לָרֶ֣שֶׁת אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁר֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם נֹתֵ֥ן לָכֶ֖ם לְרִשְׁתָּֽהּ׃

[6] Hebrew:  הָכִ֥ינוּ לָכֶ֖ם צֵידָ֑ה.

[7] Here, צֵידָה is being related to צוד/game, and the verbal root צוּד, to hunt.

[8] John Piscator (1546-1626) was a learned Protestant divine.  He held the position of Professor of Divinity at Herborn (1584).  His German version was the first, complete and independent, since that of Martin Luther.  Through the course of his career, his views changed from those of the Lutherans to those of the Calvinists, and from those of the Calvinists to those of the Arminians.  He remains widely regarded for his abilities as a commentator.

[9] Genesis 42:25:  “Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision (צֵדָה) for the way:  and thus did he unto them.”

[10] See Numbers 21; Deuteronomy 3.

[11] David Kimchi (c. 1160-1235) was a Spanish Rabbi.  He wrote commentaries on a large part of the Old Testament and a Hebrew grammar, as a result of which he has had an enduring impact upon the history of interpretation, Jewish and Christian..

[12] The details of the life of Rabbi Salomon Jarchi (Solomon Jarchi ben Isaac) have been obscured by the mists of time.  It is relatively safe to associate him with the eleventh century.  He commented on the whole of the Hebrew Bible, and the principal value of his commentary is its preservation of traditional Jewish interpretation.  He also authored the first comprehensive commentary on the Talmud.

[13] See Exodus 16:21.

[14] That is, February-March on the Gregorian calendar.

[15] Deuteronomy 34:8.

[16] That is, January-February on the Gregorian calendar.

[17] Joshua 3:5.

[18] Hysteron proteron is a rhetorical device which presents ideas in an order other than their logical or chronological.

[19] Shittim is almost seven miles east of the Jordan, over against Jericho.

[20] There are six hundred and seven feet in a stadium.  Sixty stadia would be just short of seven miles.

[21] Joshua 1:11b:  “Prepare you victuals; for within three days (בְּע֣וֹד׀ שְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֗ים) ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it.”

[22] 2 Samuel 12:22a:  “And he said, While (בְּעוֹד) the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept…”

[23] Jeremiah 15:9a:  “She that hath borne seven languisheth: she hath given up the ghost; her sun is gone down within (בְּעֹד) the day …”

[24] It appears that Genesis 4:12 is an erroneous citation.  Perhaps Genesis 40:13 is intended:  “Yet within three days (בְּע֣וֹד׀ שְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֗ים) shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place:  and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.”

[25] Hebrew:  אַתֶּם֙ עֹֽבְרִים֙.

[26] יָרַשׁ signifies to take possession, or to inherit.

[27] Joshua 1:11b:  “Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God (אֲשֶׁר֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם) giveth you to possess it.”

Joshua 1:9: God Commands Joshua’s Obedience, Part 3

Verse 9:[1] (Deut. 31:7, 8, 23) Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; (Ps. 27:1; Jer. 1:8) be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

[Behold, I command, etc.] The particle, הֲלוֹא, is it not that, frequently affirms more strongly, and incites rather than interrogates (Masius, Vatablus). God reassures him, 1. by Divine vocation; 2. by the efficacious presence of God (Junius). I command. Who would not obey God’s command, whose authority is unavoidable, and whose help is invincible (Masius)? Who would fear, with God as companion, indeed, as guide (Lapide)? Have not I commanded? either, by Moses, Deuteronomy 1:38; 31:7, or immediately, Joshua 1:6, 7 (Malvenda).

Have not I commanded thee; I whom thou art obliged to obey; I who can carry thee through every thing I put thee upon; I of whose faithfulness and almightiness thou hast had large experience?

[Be strong] Laws prescribe concerning all things, even concerning courage; Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics 5:3 (Grotius).

[Be not afraid[2]] עָרַץ is properly to impel by force, or to shake, or to cause to waver; חָתַת is to break, and to terrify: but here both denote to be confounded and broken in soul (Masius). Dread not, neither be terrified (Vatablus).

[1] Hebrew: הֲל֤וֹא צִוִּיתִ֙יךָ֙ חֲזַ֣ק וֶאֱמָ֔ץ אַֽל־תַּעֲרֹ֖ץ וְאַל־תֵּחָ֑ת כִּ֤י עִמְּךָ֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בְּכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר תֵּלֵֽךְ׃

[2] Joshua 1:9b:  “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed (אַֽל־תַּעֲרֹ֖ץ וְאַל־תֵּחָ֑ת):  for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Joshua 1:8: God Commands Joshua’s Obedience, Part 2

Verse 8:[1] (Deut. 17:18, 19) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but (Ps. 1:2) thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success (or, do wisely,[2] Josh. 1:7).

[Let not the volume of this Law depart[3]] Concerning which, see Deuteronomy 31:9 (Malvenda). Of Deuteronomy, or of the Pentateuch (Lapide). ה/that denotes the book of the Laws of Moses κατ᾽ ἐξοχὴν, preeminently (Masius).

[From thy mouth, etc.] Not that He committed to him the care of teaching and explaining the Law, but this is explained by what follows, but to meditate, etc. For הָגָה is to handle the mind in reflection on those matters in such a way that out of its boiling over, as it were, words also rise up into the mouth, which sort those that rehearse are wont to mutter[4] (Masius). Or, from thy mouth indicates that he is always to speak concerning that. Which הָגָה also signifies. Hence, in Psalm 1:2, Aquila[5] translates הָגָה, to meditate,[6] as φθέγγομαι, to utter (Drusius). If it depart not from the mouth, neither should it from the heart; for out of the heart the mouth speaks, Matthew 12:34 (Serarius).

[But thou shalt meditate] He shows that reading is not sufficiently useful, unless it be considered with much study and meditation in the soul (Masius).

[Day and night] It is Proverbial, as in Homer, —νύκτας τε καὶ ἤματα πάντα, throughout the night and the day.[7] Turn over the pages with a nocturnal hand; turn over the pages with a diurnal hand[8] (Drusius); that is, frequently, diligently, continually (Lapide): at any time it might be able to be performed conveniently and opportunely. Wherefore, not sufficiently judiciously did Rabbi Ishmael,[9] when asked by a certain one, whether it is lawful for him to read the writings of the Greeks, etc., respond, Is there any hour that does not pertain either to the day or to the night? For it is lawful to spend that hour alone on studies other than of the Divine Law (Masius). Truly this study is required of the Prince with good reason, whose faults are far more hurtful (Bonfrerius). Princes, as they excel the others in dignity, so also ought they to excel them in this study; so that they might prove to be the best, and instruct others by their example, and lest they err from the right in their function (Masius).

Shall not depart out of thy mouth, that is, thou shalt constantly read it, and upon occasion discourse of it, and the sentence which shall come out of thy mouth shall in all things be given according to this rule. Meditate therein, that is, diligently study, and frequently and upon all occasions consider what is God’s will and thy duty. The greatness of thy place and employments shall not hinder thee from this work, because this is the only rule of all thy private actions and public administrations.

[That thou mayest keep and do[10]] See verse 7.[11] It teaches that without this reading is not useful, etc. Hence the Talmudists, He that reads the Sacred books, but does not apply it to the situation, is like unto a woman that often bears, but continually buries her offspring (Masius).

According to all that is written therein; whereby he teacheth him that it is his duty to see with his own eyes, and to understand the mind and law of God himself, and not blindly to follow what any other should advise him to.

[Then thou shalt direct thy way, כִּי־אָ֛ז תַּצְלִ֥יחַ אֶת־דְּרָכֶ֖ךָ][12]] Thou shalt prosper thy way (Vatablus, Masius), or, thou shalt prosper in thy ways (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus), so that the אֶת[13] might be in the place of ב/in (Vatablus, similarly Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic), that is, in the actions of thy life (Lapide).

[And thou shalt understand, וְאָ֥ז תַּשְׂכִּֽיל׃[14]] Thou shalt prosper (Junius and Tremellius); thou shalt be prudent (Masius). Note that here prudence is conjoined with prosperity, as a mother with a daughter (Lapide).

[1] Hebrew: לֹא־יָמ֡וּשׁ סֵפֶר֩ הַתּוֹרָ֙ה הַזֶּ֜ה מִפִּ֗יךָ וְהָגִ֤יתָ בּוֹ֙ יוֹמָ֣ם וָלַ֔יְלָה לְמַ֙עַן֙ תִּשְׁמֹ֣ר לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת כְּכָל־הַכָּת֖וּב בּ֑וֹ כִּי־אָ֛ז תַּצְלִ֥יחַ אֶת־דְּרָכֶ֖ךָ וְאָ֥ז תַּשְׂכִּֽיל׃

[2] Hebrew: תַּשְׂכִּיל.

[3] Hebrew: לֹֽא־יָמ֡וּשׁ סֵפֶר֩ הַתּוֹרָ֙ה הַזֶּ֜ה.

[4] הָגָה can signify articulate speech, to muse or meditate, or inarticulate speech, to moan or mutter.

[5] Aquila of Sinope produced his Greek version of the Old Testament in the second century of the Christian era. Aquila’s translation champions the cause of Judaism against Christianity in matters of translation and interpretation.  The product is woodenly literalistic.

[6] Psalm 1:2:  “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate (יֶהְגֶּה) day and night.”

[7] See, for example, Odyssey 24:63.

[8] Horace’s Art of Poetry 269.

[9] Rabbi Ishmael (c. 90-135) was a Tannaic sage.  His teaching and example, as recorded in the Mishnah, are designed to promote peace among men.  Rabbi Ishmael is most remembered for his system of halakhic exegesis, providing guidance on the logical derivation of one law from another, while at the same time staying close and remaining true to the express statements of Scripture.

[10] Hebrew: לְמַ֙עַן֙ תִּשְׁמֹ֣ר לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת.

[11] Joshua 1:7a:  “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do (לִשְׁמֹ֤ר לַעֲשׂוֹת֙) according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee…”

[12] צָלֵחַ signifies to advance, or to prosper.

[13] The Direct Object marker.

[14] שָׂכַל, in the Qal, signifies to be prudent; in the Hiphil, to act prudently, or to prosper.

Joshua 1:7: God Commands Joshua’s Obedience, Part 1

Verse 7:[1] Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, (Num. 27:23; Deut. 31:7; Josh. 11:15) which Moses my servant commanded thee: (Deut. 5:32; 28:14) turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper (or, do wisely;[2] Deut. 29:9[3]) whithersoever thou goest.

[Be strengthened, therefore (thus the Septuagint), רַק֩ חֲזַ֙ק] They translate רַק as only (Malvenda, Junius and Tremellius, Montanus, Jonathan, Syriac, Munster), especially (Arabic), just (Tigurinus), nevertheless (Pagnine). In this place it is not an exceptive particle, but rather an affirmative, by all means, absolutely; or expletive, as in Genesis 20:11,[4] surely, undoubtedly, certainly (Masius).

[Valiant] Vast and heavenly vigor is needful, that we might conquer lusts, temptations, etc., and carry out the whole Law of God (Lapide). He explains here in what the courage of the General ought lie, namely, in piety and religion (Masius).

[That thou mayest keep and do (thus Pagnine, similarly the Septuagint), or, and act (Syriac, Munster, Tigurinus), that thou mayest keep in mind, and do in work (Lapide),לִשְׁמֹ֤ר לַעֲשׂוֹת֙ ] [Others otherwise:] To observe by doing. It is an Hypallage,[5] in the place of, that with observance thou mayest do (Junius), that thou mayest observe to do (Vatablus, Masius); thus it is explained in the next verse (Masius), that is, that thou mayest diligently fulfill the Law (Vatablus). That thou mayest give thine attention to do, lest anything prescribed in the Law be omitted (Masius). The former word signifies zeal and diligence leading to execution, from which then an accurate execution of the Law follows (Bonfrerius out of Masius). Others related the to observe to the negative precepts; the to do to the affirmative precepts (Gerundensis[6] in Masius).

[All the law] Objection: But in vain is he thus instructed, etc., since no one is able to fulfill this. I respond with Leo,[7] from the Fifth Sermon of his Concerning Lent,[8] that God commands such things, not because he that is commanded is entirely able to fulfill those things, while he is enclosed in mortal flesh; but so that He might excite our desire, and, having been asked, furnish help: and with Augustine, from Concerning Nature and Grace,[9] that He instructs both to do what thou art able, and to ask what thou art not able (Masius).

That thou mayest observe to do, etc.: Remember that though thou art the captain and commander of my people, yet thou art my subject, and obliged to observe all my commands.

[Which Moses my servant commanded thee] Namely, in Numbers 27:23; Deuteronomy 31:14 (Malvenda). Or, He speaks of the Law given at Sinai, so that Joshua might know that the common Law was especially imposed upon him, as Governor, that he himself might first keep it, and then take care that it be kept by others (Lapide out of Masius). The Laws are especially over the Princes; but then these Princes are over the people (Masius).

[Thou shalt not decline from it, אַל־תָּס֥וּר מִמֶּ֖נּוּ[10]] Thou shalt not deviate (recede not [Junius and Tremellius]) from him, that is, from Moses the Lawgiver (Vatablus), μετωνυμικῶς/metonymically, that is, from that which Moses commanded (Junius). Or, from it, namely, the book of Moses (Vatablus). Or it is an Enallage of gender, and is put in the place of מִמֶּנָּה, from her, as the Masoretes[11] here note (Vatablus, Masius).

[To the right hand or left] To decline to the right is to add something to the Law; to the left, to remove something: thus Rabbi Levi Ben Gershon[12] (Masius, thus Vatablus). Let nothing by excess or defect be admitted contrary to the Law: thus Magalianus[13] (Bonfrerius). Or rather by both it is signified, that then are the commandments of God fulfilled as rightly as possible by us, when they are most simply fulfilled (Masius): that is to say, thou shalt not decline from it in any manner, not even a nail’s breadth; as travelers are wont to proceed on the straight and royal way, and to leave paths presenting themselves on the right hand and on the left (Bonfrerius, Lapide).

To the right hand or to the left, that is, in any kind, or upon any pretence.

[That thou mayest understand all that thou doest,לְמַ֣עַן תַּשְׂכִּ֔יל בְּכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר תֵּלֵֽךְ׃[14]] [They render it in a variety of ways.] That thou mayest understand (act prudently [Munster, Tigurinus, Lapide]) in all that thou goest (Montanus), in all that thou doest (Septuagint). That thou mayest be prudent in every thing in which thou shalt be involved. It shall be evident from verse 8 that prudence is here signified (Masius). That thou mayest understand all things in which thou proceedest; that is, all things that thou doest. Actions are called ways, because by them we press toward felicity (Lapide). In Deuteronomy 29:9, where these same things were written by Moses, in the place of תֵּלֵךְ, thou goest, is תַּעֲשׂוּן, ye do; that is, in every thing which ye are going to do (Masius). There is no greater prudence than to consider whether what things are done are all in conformity with the Law, etc.; neither is there any greater imprudence than when, with Religion neglected, reasons of state are considered (Bonfrerius). Others translate it: that thou mayest act prosperously, or, be happy (thus Pagnine, Vatablus, Drusius, similarly the Syriac, Arabic, Jonathan, Junius and Tremellius). In every place where thou mayest walk (Jonathan, similarly Junius and Tremellius); wherever thou mayest proceed (Vatablus). Wherever thou mayest go, that is, in thy whole life. For to go is to live (Drusius). The word, שָׂכַל, properly signifies to understand: But, since those that are wise administrate their affairs happily, on account of this it signifies to act prosperously (Vatablus).

That thou mayest prosper, or, that thou mayest do wisely; whereby he instructs him in the true art of government; and that his greatest wisdom will lie in the observation of all God’s commands, and not in that pretended reason of state which other princes govern all their affairs by. And this plainly shows that God’s assistance promised to him and to the Israelites was conditional, and might justly be withdrawn upon their breach of the conditions. Whithersoever thou goest, that is, whatsoever thou doest. Men’s actions are oft compared to ways, or journeys, or steps, by which they come to the end they aim at.

[1] Hebrew: רַק֩ חֲזַ֙ק וֶֽאֱמַ֜ץ מְאֹ֗ד לִשְׁמֹ֤ר לַעֲשׂוֹת֙ כְּכָל־הַתּוֹרָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֤ר צִוְּךָ֙ מֹשֶׁ֣ה עַבְדִּ֔י אַל־תָּס֥וּר מִמֶּ֖נּוּ יָמִ֣ין וּשְׂמֹ֑אול לְמַ֣עַן תַּשְׂכִּ֔יל בְּכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר תֵּלֵֽךְ׃

[2] Hebrew: תַּשְׂכִּיל. שָׂכַל, in the Qal, signifies to be prudent; in the Hiphil, to act prudently, or to prosper.

[3] Deuteronomy 29:9:  “Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do (לְמַ֣עַן תַּשְׂכִּ֔ילוּ אֵ֖ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר תַּעֲשֽׂוּן׃).”

[4] Genesis 20:11:  “And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely (רַק) the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.”

[5] That is, a reversal of an expected syntactical relationship between two words.

[6] Moses Gerundensis, or Nahmanides (1194-c. 1270), was reckoned in his early teens as one of the great Spanish, Talmudic authorities.  His commentary upon the Torah is characterized by careful philology, faithfulness to traditional rabbinic interpretation, an unswerving belief in the miraculous, and even some Kabbalistic mysticism.  He also wrote a commentary on the Talmud.

[7] Leo I (c. 400-461) was bishop of Rome from 440 to 461.  He is remembered for persuading Attila to turn back from his invasion of Italy, and for his influence over the Christology of the Council of Chalcedon.

[8] De Quadragesima.

[9] De Natura et Gratia.

[10] מִמֶּנּוּ, from him (with a masculine object pronoun).  However, the expected antecedent תּוֹרָה/ Law is feminine.

[11] The Masoretes were mediæval Jewish scribes (laboring from the fifth to the tenth centuries AD), responsible for the preservation and propagation of the traditional text of the Hebrew Scriptures.

[12] Although little is known about the life of Levi ben Gershon, also known as Gersonides and Ralbag (1288-1344), his interests included, not only Biblical and Talmudic interpretation, but also philosophy, science, and mathematics.  His commentary on Joshua is extant.

[13] Cosmas Magalianus (1553-1624) was a Portuguese Jesuit Theologian.  He wrote commentaries upon Joshua and Judges.

[14] שָׂכַל, in the Qal, signifies to be prudent; in the Hiphil, to act prudently, or to prosper.

Joshua 1:6: God’s Promise of Assistance, Part 2

Verse 6:[1] (Deut. 31:7, 23) Be strong and of a good courage: for (or, thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land, etc.) unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

[Be strengthened, and be valiant, חֲזַ֖ק וֶאֱמָ֑ץ] Strengthen thyself (possess, or lay hold of, thyself [Malvenda]; be very strong [Syriac]; be reassured [Junius and Tremellius]), and reinforce thyself (Montanus), or, be strong (Junius and Tremellius), act manfully (Septuagint), be strong and firm (Masius). These two words signify the same thing[2] (Vatablus, Masius). Be strengthened and be tough (Vatablus). Be hardy, that is, with a strong and unbroken spirit (certain interpreters in Vatablus, Masius). Here He rouses Joshua to bear bravely the burden of government. Neither is it strange that he might be confirmed by God so prolixly, since Joshua was called to a long lasting and most difficult Government, and had experience of the well-known obstinacy of this people against Moses and God Himself. With so many exhortations God shows just how humbly Joshua feels about himself (Masius).

Be strong and of a good courage: Joshua, though a person of great courage and resolution, whereof he had given sufficient proof, yet needs these exhortations, partly because his work was great, and difficult, and long, and in a great measure new; partly because he had a very mean opinion of himself, especially if compared with Moses; and remembering how perverse and ungovernable that people were, even under Moses, he might very well suspect the burden of ruling them would be too heavy for his shoulders.

[Thou shalt divide by lot, תַּנְחִיל[3]] Thou shalt cause to inherit (Montanus, similarly the Syriac), thou shalt deliver it to be possessed (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus), thou shalt cause to possess (Jonathan). This, either, 1. is a promise; that is to say, Be of a great and confident spirit; for it is certainly going to happen, that thou art completing what Moses was not able. Or, 2. (which I prefer) it contains the matter for exercising courage; that is to say, a great and strong spirit is needful for you, since thou art obliged to lead this people, etc. He uses this emphatically, that is to say, a people never sufficiently compliant with God, still less with their Governors (Masius).

Thou shalt divide the land; which supposeth the full conquest of the land. That honour and assistance which I denied to Moses I will give to thee.

[That I will deliver it to them] That is, to their posterity. For the fourth generation was now complete, Genesis 15:16 (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: חֲזַ֖ק וֶאֱמָ֑ץ כִּ֣י אַתָּ֗ה תַּנְחִיל֙ אֶת־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה אֶת־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֥עְתִּי לַאֲבוֹתָ֖ם לָתֵ֥ת לָהֶֽם׃

[2] Both חָזַק and אָמֵץ signify to be strong.

[3] נָחַל, in the Qal, signifies to take possession; in the Hiphil, to cause to possess.