Joshua 3:17: Crossing Jordan, Part 3

Verse 17:[1]  And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and (see Ex. 14:29) all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

[They were standing upon dry ground]  For, either the bed of Jordan was sandy; or it was dried up by Divine power (Menochius).

[In the midst of Jordan (thus Montanus, Jonathan, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus, Pagnine), בְּתוֹךְ]  Within Jordan (Syriac, Masius).  Among the Hebrews תּוֹךְ does not signify the middle part of a thing, but what is within the thing itself, whether it be in the middle, or in some extremity (Masius).  Thus Tyre was situated in the heart of the sea, that is, within the sea[2] (Drusius).  Thus Genesis 45:6, in the midst of the earth, that is, in the earth.  So also Exodus 8:22 (Glassius’ “Grammar” 149).

[Girded, הָכֵן[3]]  [They do not render it in one way.]  The priests were standing in the midst of Jordan to furnish, namely, the multitude with a convenient passage (Masius, Drusius).  For in their delay they were restraining the upper waters.  Thus הָכֵן is taken in Joshua 4:3[4] (Masius).  By making firm, by establishing (Piscator), or, by fixing, namely, their feet.  Thus Rabbi Isaiah in Masius, and Piscator, and not without reason (Masius).  By preparing (Montanus).  Others:  in the midst of erect Jordan (Hebrew, to erect; the infinitive is often put in the place of a participle):  which (Jordan, of course), with the waters failing, was erect and firm, with its waters flowing in, as it is asserted in verse 16 (Glassius’ “Grammar” 363).  Others:  by establishing themselves, that is, in the same position and step (Bonfrerius).  With their foot fixed, or with deliberation (Vatablus).  Others:  well, firmly, solidly, immovably; so that it might be an adverb, just like אָכֵן, truly, surely[5] (Drusius).  [It is well known that guttural letters are easily exchange one for the other.[6]]  Infinitive among the Hebrews are often taken for adverbs, Isaiah 31:6;[7] Hosea 5:2;[8] 9:9;[9] Jonah 4:4[10] (Lapide).  Others:  thus; thus as they were, thus as they began, as they had first stopped:  or, for positioning, for ordering, namely, the people, so that they might pass over in a composed and orderly way (Malvenda).  Others observe that the infinitive is put in the place of the passive participle.  Thus the Hebrews, and many of our own men (Malvenda, thus Vatablus).  The stood ready (Munster), firm (Dutch, English), fixed (Castalio).  With an intention of soul and purpose not to withdrawn from the river bed until all the people passed over (Malvenda).  Well ordered, arranged (Malvenda).

Stood firm, that is, in one and the same place and posture; their feet neither moved by any waters flowing in upon them, nor sinking into any mire, which one might think was at the bottom of the river.  And this may be opposed unto their other standing in the brink of the water when they came to it, commanded verse 8, which was but for a while, till the waters were divided and gone away; and then they were to go farther, even into the midst of Jordan, as is here said, where they are to stand constantly and fixedly, as this Hebrew word signifies, until all were passed over.  If it be said that what is prescribed verse 8, is here said to be executed, and therefore the midst of Jordan here is the same place with the brink of the water of Jordan, verse 8; it may be answered, that the manifest variation of the phrase shows that it is not absolutely the same thing or place which is spoken of there and here; but what is there enjoined is here executed with advantage; for when it is said that they stood firmin the midst of Jordan, it must needs be supposed that they first came to the brink of the water, and that they stood there for a season, till the waters were cut off and dried up, as appears from the nature of the thing; and that then they went farther, even into the midst of Jordan.  In the midst of Jordan:  either, 1.  Within Jordan, as it is expressed above, verse 8; for that phrase doth not always signify the exact middle of a place, but any part within it, as appears from Genesis 45:6; Exodus 8:22; 24:18; Joshua 7:13; 10:13; Proverbs 30:19.  Or rather, 2.  In the middle and deepest part of the river.  For, 1.  Words should be taken properly, where they may without any inconveniency, which is the case here.  2.  The ark went before them to direct, and encourage, and secure them in the dangers of their passages, for which ends the middle was the fittest place.  3.  In this sense the same phrase is used, Joshua 4:3, 8; for certainly those stones which were to be witnesses and monuments of their passage over Jordan should not be taken from the brink or brim of the river, or from the shore which Jordan overflowed only at that season, but from the most inward and deepest parts of the river; and Joshua 3:16, 17, where the priests are said to ascend or come up out of Jordan, and out of the midst of Jordan unto the dry land; whereas had this been meant only of the first entrance into the river, they must have been said first to go down into Jordan, and then to go up to the land.

[Through the dry bed, בֶּחָרָבָה]  On dry, that is, on dry land[11] (Drusius).

[All the people, הַגּוֹי[12]]  This word indicates that some of the lowest sort (and which was hardly worthy of the name Israelite) remained.  For גּוֹי is not without good reason wont to be used of Israelites (Masius).  Therefore, others by גּוֹי here understand Egyptians and other proselytes.[13]  But the Israelites are understood (thus Jerome and the Chaldean), who are called גּוֹי, Joshua 5:6,[14] 8;[15] 10:13;[16] Isaiah 9:3[17] (Bonfrerius); Exodus 19:6[18] (Drusius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּעַמְד֣וּ הַכֹּהֲנִ֡ים נֹ֠שְׂאֵי הָאָר֙וֹן בְּרִית־יְהוָ֜ה בֶּחָֽרָבָ֛ה בְּת֥וֹךְ הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן הָכֵ֑ן וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל עֹֽבְרִים֙ בֶּחָ֣רָבָ֔ה עַ֤ד אֲשֶׁר־תַּ֙מּוּ֙ כָּל־הַגּ֔וֹי לַעֲבֹ֖ר אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּֽן׃

[2] Ezekiel 27:32:  “And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and lament over thee, saying, What city is like Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea (בְּת֥וֹךְ הַיָּֽם׃)?”

[3] Joshua 3:17a:  “And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the midst of Jordan to make firm (הָכֵן), and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground…”

[4] Joshua 4:3:  “And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm (מִמַּצַּב֙ רַגְלֵ֣י הַכֹּהֲנִ֔ים הָכִ֖ין), twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.”

[5] It appears that the adverb אָכֵן is being related to the verb כּוּן, to make firm (in the Hiphil).

[6] Here, the ה of הָכֵן has given way to the א of אָכֵן.

[7] Isaiah 31:6:  “Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted (הֶעְמִ֥יקוּ סָרָ֖ה).”

[8] Hosea 5:2:  “And the revolters are profound to make slaughter (וְשַׁחֲטָ֥ה שֵׂטִ֖ים הֶעְמִ֑יקוּ), though I have been a rebuker of them all.”

[9] Hosea 9:9:  “They have deeply corrupted themselves (הֶעְמִֽיקוּ־שִׁחֵ֖תוּ), as in the days of Gibeah:  therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.”

[10] Jonah 4:4:  “Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry (הַהֵיטֵ֖ב חָ֥רָה לָֽךְ׃)?”

[11] Here, חָֽרָבָה, dry land, appears to be taken as an adjective, dry.

[12] גּוֹי is typically used of Gentile nations.

[13] See Exodus 12:38.

[14] Joshua 5:6:  “For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people (כָּל־הַגּוֹי) 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.”

[15] Joshua 5:8:  “And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people (כָל־הַגּוֹי), that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.”

[16] Joshua 10:13a:  “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people (גּוֹי) had avenged themselves upon their enemies….”

[17] Isaiah 9:3a:  “Thou hast multiplied the nation (הַגּוֹי), and not increased the joy…”

[18] Exodus 19:6:  “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation (וְג֣וֹי קָד֑וֹשׁ).  These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”

Joshua 3:16: Crossing Jordan, Part 2

Verse 16:[1]  That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside (1 Kings 4:12; 7:46) Zaretan:  and those that came down (Deut. 3:17) toward the sea of the plain, even (Gen. 14:3; Num. 34:3) the salt sea, failed, and were cut off:  and the people passed over right against Jericho.

[They stood]  Why should not what is wont to be attributed to Magicians be easy for God?  Ovid, and by art she turns the clear waters back to their source.[2]  Lucan, …the torrent fixed hung from the sheer cliff, and the river ran; but not where it was inclined…[3] (Grotius).

[After the likeness of a mountain; into one mountain (Arabic), נֵד־אֶחָד]  In one heap (similarly Junius and Tremellius, Masius, Lapide), in one wineskin (the Chaldean and Symmachus in Masius), that is to say, Thus the gathered waters stood, as if they were shut up in a wineskin.  But נאֹד/nod signifies wineskin; נֵד/ ned, a heap.  But they appear to have paid no attention to that usage of the vowels, perhaps of which there were not marks at that time (Masius).

The waters rose up upon an heap; which having been affirmed by heathen writers to have been done by magicians, it is great impudence to disbelieve or doubt of God’s power to do it.

[From the city of Adam unto the place of Zaretan,הַרְחֵ֙ק מְאֹ֜ד בָאָדָ֤ם הָעִיר֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ מִצַּ֣ד צָֽרְתָ֔ן]  Very far off in Adam (but other exemplars read מֵאָדָם, from Adam [Masius]), a city beside Zaretan (Montanus).  Very far off (Syriac, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus, Pagnine) (which were greatly extended [Jonathan]; in removing much, or far off [Malvenda]; removed, receding [Vatablus]; they were departing far [Munster]; by a very long tract [Masius]; receding far [Septuagint]) from the city of Adam, which was beside Zaretan (Munster, Pagnine, Tirinus, Junius and Tremellius), which was by, or near, Zaretan (Jonathan, Syriac), which was situated at the side of Zaretan (Masius).  [Piscator otherwise:]  I translated בָאָדָם, unto Adam.  For it is indicated here how far up in that direction the waters of Jordan stood (Piscator).  The city of Adam, because it was obscure, is described by another neighboring city that was well-known, namely, Zaretan (Bonfrerius, Lapide).  Now, this Zaretan was near the sea, or lake, of Galilee (which was also of Gennesaret[4] and Tiberias[5]), in the furthest limits of the country of Bethshean,[6] or Scythopolis,[7] as it is proven out of 1 Kings 4:12; 7:46; Judges 7:22 (Serarius):  in the Transjordanian region, 1 Kings 7:46, between Succoth and Zarthan; but it is certain that Succoth was across Jordan[8] (Bonfrerius).  Question:  How did the waters swell?  Responses:  1.  Some maintain that they swelled near the place of crossing, far from the city of Adam in the vicinity of Zaretan (the Rabbis in Serarius); neither were they flowing any closer than previously; which town they, overflowing in such a heap, would otherwise have easily inundated, if they had not stood piled up in heaps, but had rushed away in all directions according to the nature of liquids (Hebrews in Masius).  Similarly the Septuagint, which in the place of עִיר/city appears to have read עַד/unto.  But that the waters flowing from above did not rise up into one exceedingly tall mass, as if a steep mountain, or a wall built up unto heaven, near the place of crossing, the composition of the words shows (Masius).  2.  Others say that they swelled between Adam and Zaretan, in such a way that those two cites were the two limits of the swelling (certain interpreters in Tostatus); or, at Zaretan only, but in such a way that the swelling of them might be seen from Adam (Tostatus in Serarius).  3.  Others maintain that they swelled in a continuous series from the place of crossing to Adam or Zaretan (Lapide, Masius, Menochius, Cajetan in Serarius) (thus the Hebrew words are able to be translated, the waters rose by withdrawing themselves…in, or from, Adam [Serarius]), that is, the space of twenty leagues[9] (Lapide):  and that swelling was after the likeness of a mountain, and was seen from a great ways off (Menochius).  The waters gradually increased all the way to the lake of Gennesaret; yet in such a way that, although the waves standing forth high above the banks, nevertheless they were not dispersed, but like solidified ice they extended no further than their own bed.  That this is the sense, the simplest composition of the words teaches, and Psalm 114:3, where it is sung, Jordan is turned back (Masius).  4.  Or the sense is that the Waters swelled in such a way that from the cities of Adam and Zaretan those heaps were able to be seen (Menochius).

Adam, that is beside Zaretan:  the city Adam being more obscure, is described by its nearness to a more known place, Zaretan, or Zarthan, which some think is the same place mentioned 1 Kings 4:12; 7:46; but it rather seems to have been another place then eminent, but now unknown, as many thousands are.  The meaning is, that the waters were stopped in their course at that place, and so kept at a due distance from the Israelites whilst they passed over.

[Into the sea of the wilderness, עַ֣ל יָ֧ם הָעֲרָבָ֛ה]  Upon, or into, the sea of the wilderness (Montanus, Symmachus in Masius), or, of the plateau (Jonathan, Arabic, Masius), or, of the plains (Junius and Tremellius).  So it is called because what places it now occupies were most pleasant fields[10] (Masius).  Into the sea of Araba[11] (Septuagint, Aquila in Masius); unto the western sea[12] (Syriac).

[Dead]  Hebrew:  the sea of salt.[13]  It is named because of the saltiness, which it has to the taste:  or, because in that fiery rain salt was mixed with brimstone, according to Deuteronomy 29:23:  or, from the salt-mines, which remained there.  See Zephaniah 2:9 (Masius).  He says that the entire bed from that place unto the Dead Sea was dried up (Vatablus).

[They failed, תַּ֣מּוּ נִכְרָ֑תוּ]  They consumed, they were cut off (Montanus, Malvenda) (they failed [Jonathan, Arabic]), that is, they were altogether cut off (Junius and Tremellius, Malvenda).  It is a Hebraism:  when two words are set down without a conjunction, the second acts as an adverb:  in the place of absolutely, altogether, etc. (Malvenda).  Having been divided, they failed (Syriac).  They were cut off:  for they flowed away so quickly (with the course of nature powerfully urged on by God) that, as if with the land gaping, they appear to have been absorbed and carried away (Masius).

[They were approaching opposite to Jericho, עָבְר֖וּ נֶ֥גֶד יְרִיחֽוֹ׃]  They crossed opposite to, or over against, Jericho (Montanus, Syriac, Junius and Tremellius, Masius).  But the Septuagint and Arabic have it, the people stood over against Jericho.  In the place of עָבְרוּ, they passed over, they were reading עָמְדוּ, they stood:  or rather, they took to pass over in the place of to stand intent upon passing over, because they observed the crossing itself to be related in the next verse (Masius).  God willed that they cross over against Jericho, 1.  So that He might show Himself to be a guide to them, who brought them over there without calamity, where there were a well-fortified city, a powerful King, and a strong people.  2.  So that He might instill fear in their enemies (Serarius).  3.  So that He might signify that all the multitude pass over, not tumultuously and haphazardly, where it might be pleasing to each one (although all the fords were uncovered), but with order maintained (Masius, Serarius).  4.  So that the first appearance of the land might refresh the Hebrews:  For this part of Canaan was exceedingly fruitful and pleasant (Serarius).  From this crossing this place was called בֵּית עֲבָרָה, BETH-ABARA, that is, the house of crossing, John 1:28 (Masius), where John baptized, and Christ was baptized (Lapide); not without the Divine will, so that in what place Holy Baptism had been first adumbrated in that crossing, in that place it might also first be performed (Masius).

Right against Jericho; here God carried them over, because this part was, 1.  The strongest, as having in its neighbourhood an eminent city, a potent king, and a stout and warlike people.  2.  The most pleasant and fruitful, and therefore more convenient both for the refreshment of the Israelites after their long and tedious marches, and for their encouragement to their present expedition.

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּעַמְד֡וּ הַמַּיִם֩ הַיֹּרְדִ֙ים מִלְמַ֜עְלָה קָ֣מוּ נֵד־אֶחָ֗ד הַרְחֵ֙ק מְאֹ֜ד בָאָדָ֤ם הָעִיר֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ מִצַּ֣ד צָֽרְתָ֔ן וְהַיֹּרְדִ֗ים עַ֣ל יָ֧ם הָעֲרָבָ֛ה יָם־הַמֶּ֖לַח תַּ֣מּוּ נִכְרָ֑תוּ וְהָעָ֥ם עָבְר֖וּ נֶ֥גֶד יְרִיחֽוֹ׃

[2] Amores 1:8:6.

[3] Pharsalia 6:473.

[4] See Matthew 14:34; Luke 5:1.

[5] See John 6:1; 21:1.

[6] Bethshean is about fifteen miles south of the Sea of Galilee near Jordan, and about forty-five mile north of Jericho.

[7] Bethshean was renamed Scythopolis by the Greeks (probably in the fourth century BC), perhaps after Scythian mercenaries settling there.

[8] Succoth was about thirty-five miles south of the Sea of Galilee, on the eastern side of Jordan.

[9] That is, about twenty-seven and a half miles.

[10] Here עֲרָבָה, desert-plain, is being related to the verbal root עָרַב, to be pleasant.

[11] A transliteration of עֲרָבָה.

[12] Here עֲרָבָה, desert-plain, is being related to עֶרֶב/sunset.

[13] Hebrew:  יָם־הַמֶּלַח.

Joshua 3:14, 15: Crossing Jordan, Part 1

Verse 14:[1]  And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the (Acts 7:45) ark of the covenant before the people…


Verse 15:[2]  And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and (Josh. 3:13) the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for [1 Chron. 12:15; Jer. 12:5; 49:19; Ecclus. 24:26[3]] Jordan overfloweth all his banks [Josh. 4:18; 5:10, 12] all the time of harvest,)…

[And with them entering Jordan]  [On which bank the priests may have stood, see above on verse 8.]  The Talmudists understand this of an interior bank.  Thus I understand it:  The priests, passing through almost all the way to the opposite bank a step at a time, were gradually causing the course of the upper waters to stop, and they were gradually drying the fords (Masius).  At that time they stood within the bed itself close to the opposite bank, and they did not ascend to it until all had passed over (Masius on verse 17).

[Now, Jordan had filled up the banks,וְהַיַּרְדֵּ֗ן מָלֵא֙ עַל־כָּל־גְּדוֹתָ֔יו]  Now, Jordan is full, rising above all its banks (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Montanus, Jonathan, Masius, Syriac).

[In the time of harvest]  That is to say, It was full, or at its greatest, although those were the days of harvest:  which was a miracle, that the river was not kept in its bed in summer (Vatablus).  The Jordan is wont to overflow yearly in the time of harvest (Masius, Bonfrerius, Lapide, Estius), as it appears from 1 Chronicles 12:15 and Ecclesiasticus 24:26.  So also Aristeas, History of the Seventy-two Interpreters:[4]  That river Jordan, just like the Nile, overflowing about the time of harvest, irrigates much of the land (Malvenda).  Question 1:  What harvest is then to be understood here?  Responses:  1.  Of Wheat (Serarius, Menochius).  1.  Because the name of harvest, posited alone, signifies the principal harvest.  2.  Thus the Septuagint translates it, ὡσεὶ ἡμέραι θερισμοῦ πυρῶν, about the time of wheat harvest (Serarius).  But the Royal Bible[5] has it otherwise, ὡς ἐν ἡμέραις θερισμοῦ, as in the days of harvest (Bonfrerius).  2.  Of Barley (Bonfrerius, Tirinus); which was preceding the wheat harvest, as it is evident from Ruth 1:22 and 2 Samuel 21:9.  Compare Exodus 9:31.  Now, the barley harvest was not able to precede these days of the first month, since no harvest was able to go before the offering of the sheaf:  And, because only the barley was mature, not the wheat, therefore these firstfruits were of barley, to which the Chaldean on Ruth 1[6] and Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities 10 testify (Bonfrerius).  Question 2:  What was the cause of this inundation?  Responses:  1.  It arose from the later rains falling at that time of year (Menochius, Serarius, Malvenda), which they were asking of God as most advantageous for the soon coming harvest (Serarius).  2.  From the snows of Libanus, from which the Jordan flows, which melt in the spring time (Menochius, Tirinus, Bonfrerius, Masius, Malvenda).  For the same happens to Euphrates and Tigris, Ecclesiasticus 24:25, 26[7] (Masius).  For the same reason our Maine and Rhine[8] rise at the same time (Serarius).  That Libanus abounds in snow, Adrichomius and Tacitus, Histories 5, Jerome and Jeremiah 18:14, testify (Bonfrerius).  These snows are melted in the heat of summer.  The Hebrews crossed Jordan in the tenth day of Nisan, that is, around the end of March, when harvest begins in the Holy Land (Munster).  God chose the time of the overflow, so that the benefit might be all the more precious, and the miracle all the more wonderful (Lapide).

For Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest:  Which is also noted 1 Chronicles 12:15; Ecclesiasticus 24:26, and by Aristeas in the History of the Seventy-two Interpreters.  This is meant not of the wheat harvest, but of the barley harvest, (which was before it, Ruth 1:22; 2 Samuel 21:9) as is manifest from their keeping of the passover at their first entrance, Joshua 5:10, which feast was kept on the fourteenth day of their first month, when they were to bring a sheaf of their firstfruits, Leviticus 23:10; Deuteronomy 16:9, 10, which were of barley, as Josephus affirms, and is evident from the thing itself.  So that this harvest in those hot countries fell very early in the spring, when rivers used to swell most, partly because of the rains which have fallen all the winter, and partly because of the snows, which then melt into water and come into the rivers; for which reasons the same overflowing of water which is here ascribed to Jordan, is by other authors ascribed to Euphrates, and Tigris, and the Rhine, and Maine, etc.  And this time God chose for this work, partly that the miracle might be more glorious in itself, more obliging to the Israelites, and more amazing and terrible to the Canaanites; and partly that the Israelites might be entertained at their first entrance with more plentiful and comfortable provisions.

[1] Hebrew:  וַיְהִ֗י בִּנְסֹ֤עַ הָעָם֙ מֵאָ֣הֳלֵיהֶ֔ם לַעֲבֹ֖ר אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן וְהַכֹּהֲנִ֗ים נֹֽשְׂאֵ֛י הָאָר֥וֹן הַבְּרִ֖ית לִפְנֵ֥י הָעָֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וּכְב֞וֹא נֹשְׂאֵ֤י הָֽאָרוֹן֙ עַד־הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן וְרַגְלֵ֤י הַכֹּֽהֲנִים֙ נֹשְׂאֵ֣י הָֽאָר֔וֹן נִטְבְּל֖וּ בִּקְצֵ֣ה הַמָּ֑יִם וְהַיַּרְדֵּ֗ן מָלֵא֙ עַל־כָּל־גְּדוֹתָ֔יו כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֥י קָצִֽיר׃

[3] Ecclesiasticus 24:26:  “He maketh the understanding to abound like Euphrates, and as Jordan in the time of the harvest.”

[4] The Letter of Aristeas relates that the Septuagint was produced at the request of Ptolemy Philadelphus (third century BC), king of Egypt, for his library in Alexandria.  The Letter is in all probability a forgery.

[5] The Plantin (or Antwerp) Polyglot, as known as the Biblia Regia, was printed by Christopher Plantin in Antwerp in eight volumes, 1568-1573.  The first four volumes cover the Old Testament in Hebrew, Greek, and Chaldean, each with a Latin translation.  Volume 5 contains the New Testament in Greek and Syriac, both with a Latin translation, and the Syriac with a Hebrew translation.  A complete Bible in the original languages, and an interlinear Bible, are found in volume 6.  Volumes 7 and 8 provide lexical and grammatical aids.

[6] Targum of Ruth 1:22:  “So Naomi returned and Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, with her who returned from the country of Moab.  They came to Bethlehem on the eve of Passover, and on that day the children of Israel began to harvest the Omer of the heave-offering, which was of barleyואינון עלן לבית־לחם במעלי יומא דפסחא ובההוא) יומא שׁריאו בני ישׁראל למיחצד ית עומרא דארמותא דהוה מן שׂערין׃).”

[7] Ecclesiasticus 24:25, 26:  “He filleth all things with his wisdom, as Phison and as Tigris in the time of the new fruits.  He maketh the understanding to abound like Euphrates, and as Jordan in the time of the harvest.”

[8] German rivers.

Joshua 3:13: The Sign of the Dividing of Jordan, Part 6

Verse 13:[1]  And it shall come to pass, (Josh. 3:15, 16) as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, (Josh. 3:11) the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they (Ps. 78:13; 114:3) shall stand upon an heap.

[As soon as they put, etc.,וְהָיָ֡ה כְּנ֣וֹחַ ]  And it shall be, as soon as they rest (Vatablus, Septuagint, similarly Jonathan, Syriac), that is, they begin to rest, that is, they shall be fixed (Vatablus).

As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests shall rest in the waters of Jordan; that so it may appear that this is the Lord’s doing, and that in pursuance and for the accomplishment of his covenant made with Israel.  The Lord of all the earth; the Lord of all this terrestrial globe made of earth and water, who therefore can dispose of this river and the adjoining land as he pleaseth.

[The waters that are below shall travel downstream…, but the waters which come from above shall stand together in one mass,מֵ֤י הַיַּרְדֵּן֙ יִכָּ֣רֵת֔וּן הַמַּ֥יִם הַיֹּרְדִ֖ים מִלְמָ֑עְלָה וְיַעַמְד֖וּ נֵ֥ד אֶחָֽד׃]  The waters of Jordan shall be cut (shall be severed [Pagnine], shall be sent away [Munster]), the waters (namely the waters [Munster]) coming down from above, and they shall stand in one heap (Montanus), or, as one mass (Munster, similarly Jonathan, Arabic).  Others:  And those waters which shall flow down from above shall stand after the likeness of a wall (Tigurinus, similarly Pagnine, Drusius).  The conjunction, ו/and,[2] does not hinder, which is often superfluous (Drusius).  The waters coming down from above; which (for it is not unusual for ו/and to be put in the place of אֲשֶׁר/which [Drusius]) shall stand in one heap (Junius and Tremellius).  Others thus:  shall be cut off the waters coming down from those that come from above, that is, from the upper waters.  But this appears forced (Drusius).  The waters coming down, that is, which were previously flowing down from above, shall stand, etc., that is, rising shall swell after the likeness of a mountain; and so in verse 16 (Vatablus).  And the waters that are below shall be cut off, that is, they shall flow away and subside as if they were utterly cut off:  but those that come from above, in turn flow together, shall stand in one heap (Lapide).  The lower waters shall be cut off, or shall fail (כָּרַת signifies this, as verse 16 shows[3]), shall be carried away, or shall be ended, shall slip in their downward course into the Dead Sea, whence the uncovering of the fords there shall be unavoidable.  Now, the conjunction before וְיַעַמְדוּ, and they shall stand, either is superfluous, as Rabbi Isaiah maintains, or with respect to its sense is placed before הַמַּיִם, the waters[4] (Masius).

The waters which now are united shall be divided, and part shall flow down the channel towards the Dead Sea, and the other part, that is nearer the spring or rise of the river, and flows down from it, shall stand still.  They shall stand upon an heap, being as it were congealed, as the Red Sea was, Exodus 15:8, and so kept from overflowing all the country.

[1] Hebrew: וְהָיָ֡ה כְּנ֣וֹחַ כַּפּ֣וֹת רַגְלֵ֣י הַכֹּהֲנִ֡ים נֹשְׂאֵי֩ אֲר֙וֹן יְהוָ֜ה אֲד֤וֹן כָּל־הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ בְּמֵ֣י הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן מֵ֤י הַיַּרְדֵּן֙ יִכָּ֣רֵת֔וּן הַמַּ֥יִם הַיֹּרְדִ֖ים מִלְמָ֑עְלָה וְיַעַמְד֖וּ נֵ֥ד אֶחָֽד׃

[2] Joshua 3:13b:  “…the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand (וְיַעַמְדוּ) upon an heap.”

[3] Joshua 3:16a:  “That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan:  and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, were cut off (תַּ֣מּוּ נִכְרָ֑תוּ):  and the people passed over right against Jericho.”

[4] Joshua 3:13b:  “…the waters of Jordan shall be cut off, the waters (הַמַּיִם) coming down from above; and they shall stand (וְיַעַמְדוּ) upon an heap.”

Joshua 3:11, 12: The Sign of the Dividing of Jordan, Part 5

Verse 11:[1]  Behold, the ark of the covenant of (Josh. 3:13; Mic. 4:13; Zech. 4:14; 6:5) the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.

[Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord, etc. (thus the Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Tigurinus, Pagnine, Aquila and Symmachus in Masius)]  [Masius otherwise:]  By apposition, the ark of the covenant, the Lord, etc.[2]  For the Zaqeph accent (֔)[3] on the word הַבְּרִ֔ית/covenant causes the course of the reading to pause (Masius).  The Ark is called God, because it was representing God (Drusius).  Although the accents ought not to be of such weight with us (which the Jews confess to have been formerly nothing), that they might refute the good opinions of the ancients (Masius).  Others thus:  the Ark of the covenant, the Ark of the Lord, etc. (Junius and Tremellius, Kimchi in Maisus).  Or thus it is able to be translated, the Ark of the covenant, which is the covenant of the Lord, etc. (Masius).

[It shall go before, עֹבֵר]  It shall cross over, the present in the place of the future; that is, It shall show you the way (Vatablus).

The ark…passeth over before you into Jordan:  Into part of the river.


Verse 12:[4]  Now therefore (Josh. 4:2) take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.

[Prepare twelve men]  Who, having been prepared, might await my command (Munster), that is, to remove twelve stones.  See Joshua 4:2 (Bonfrerius, Lyra, Menochius).  Others:  so that they might accompany ther priests:  thus Cajetan and Magalianus, plausibly (Menochius).

Take you twelve men, for the work described, Joshua 4:2, 3.

[1] Hebrew:  הִנֵּה֙ אֲר֣וֹן הַבְּרִ֔ית אֲד֖וֹן כָּל־הָאָ֑רֶץ עֹבֵ֥ר לִפְנֵיכֶ֖ם בַּיַּרְדֵּֽן׃

[2] Hebrew:  אֲר֣וֹן הַבְּרִ֔ית אֲד֖וֹן כָּל־הָאָ֑רֶץ.

[3] The Zaqeph is among the stronger disjunctive accents.

[4] Hebrew:  וְעַתָּ֗ה קְח֤וּ לָכֶם֙ שְׁנֵ֣י עָשָׂ֣ר אִ֔ישׁ מִשִּׁבְטֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אִישׁ־אֶחָ֥ד אִישׁ־אֶחָ֖ד לַשָּֽׁבֶט׃

Joshua 3:10: The Sign of the Dividing of Jordan, Part 4

Verse 10:[1]  And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that (Deut. 5:26; 1 Sam. 17:26; 2 Kings 19:4; Hos. 1:10; Matt. 16:16; 1 Thess. 1:9) the living God is among you, and that he will without fail (Ex. 33:2; Deut. 7:1; Ps. 44:2) drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

[In this ye shall know]  Namely, in the miracle of passing through Jordan on dry ground (Malvenda, Junius).  This admonition was not superfluous for shaking off that slowness which is always in the minds of men to evaluate the Divine goodness according to truth; and lest in such a crown rumors should spread that they are crossing Jordan, and are attacking an incredibly powerful nation surrounded on all sides by the sea, mountains, and rivers, whence it would be evident that there would be no way of escape to those once defeated, and that it would be nothing other than to consign themselves to the power of the enemy (Masius).  Ye shall know in experience, what hitherto ye hold in faith.  Or, ye shall know is able to be taken of an increase in faith (Masius).

Hereby ye shall know, to wit, by experience and sensible evidence.

[The Lord, etc., אֵ֥ל חַ֖י]  A most suitable epithet.  אֵל/El, strong, or omnipotent.  But victory is wont to be obtained by strength.  חַי/living, who lives, active, vigorous.  This signifies God’s vigorous industry and active providence and care, whereby He brings help to His own in a timely manner.  For life (as Aristotle witnesses) is action, and is recognized from motion; of what things no action or motion appears, those things are reckoned to be dead or at least languid (Masius).  Thus he distinguishes God from idols, which are without life, and therefore of no ability to accomplish wonderful things; while the life of God is able to be discerned by miracles (Bonfrerius).  Living, invigorating all things, He shall carry you through Jordan alive (Lapide).

The living God; not a dull, dead, senseless, and unactive god, such as the gods of the nations are; but a God of life, and power, and activity, to watch over you, and work for you.  Is among you; is present with you to strengthen and help you, as the phrase signifies, Exodus 17:7; Deuteronomy 31:17; Joshua 22:31.

[He will destroy in your sight[2]]  They note that יָרַשׁ, if מִפְּנֵי, from the face of, is subjoined to it, signifies to drive out of possession; otherwise, to possess (Masius).

[The Canaanite, etc.]  He enumerates seven.  But elsewhere ten, Genesis 15:19-21.  Responses:  1.  There God includes places toward Euphrates; here only places that are just beyond Lebo Hamath.[3]  See what things are on Joshua 1:4.  2.  Those nations are signified sometimes with more, sometimes with fewer, names (Masius).  3.  In Joshua, the principal and greater nations are enumerated; in Genesis, three minor nations are added (Malvenda).  [See the things brought together by us on Genesis 15:18.]

[The Amorite]  But these were annihilated beyond Jordan.[4]  Response:  The Amorites were dwelling on both banks of Jordan[5] (Bonfrerius, Tostantus in Serarius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ בְּזֹאת֙ תֵּֽדְע֔וּן כִּ֛י אֵ֥ל חַ֖י בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וְהוֹרֵ֣שׁ יוֹרִ֣ישׁ מִ֠פְּנֵיכֶם אֶת־הַכְּנַעֲנִ֙י וְאֶת־הַחִתִּ֜י וְאֶת־הַחִוִּ֗י וְאֶת־הַפְּרִזִּי֙ וְאֶת־הַגִּרְגָּשִׁ֔י וְהָאֱמֹרִ֖י וְהַיְבוּסִֽי׃

[2] Hebrew:  וְהוֹרֵ֣שׁ יוֹרִ֣ישׁ מִ֠פְּנֵיכֶם.

[3] לְבֹא חֲמָת, that is, the entrance of Hamath.  Hamath itself is one hundred and sixty-seven miles north of the Sea of Galilee.

[4] See Joshua 2:10.

[5] See Joshua 9:1; 11:3.

Joshua 3:9: The Sign of the Dividing of Jordan, Part 3

Verse 9:[1]  And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God.

[Approach to this place]  Unto the place where Joshua was at that time (Serarius), that is, in which the Ark was standing in the midst of the troop.  For it was a solemn thing to convoke an assembly at the Tabernacle, so that nothing might be thought to be done amid the people without God, as it were, regarding and aware (Masius).

[The Word of the Lord]  Whose words, therefore, are altogether certain, and most worthy of attention (Masius).

[Your God]  Who always bears your care.  From the authority and goodness of God, he procures attention and confidence for the things about to be said (Masius).

Come hither, to the ark or tabernacle, the place of public assemblies, and hear the words of the Lord your God; who is now about to give a proof that he is both the Lord, the omnipotent Governor of heaven and earth, and all creatures; and your God, in covenant with you, having a tender care and true affection for you.

[1] Hebrew:  וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל גֹּ֣שׁוּ הֵ֔נָּה וְשִׁמְע֕וּ אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֖י יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶֽם׃

Joshua 3:8: The Sign of the Dividing of Jordan, Part 2

Verse 8:[1]  And thou shalt command (Josh. 3:3) the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, (Josh. 3:17) ye shall stand still in Jordan.

[When ye will have entered part of the water, עַד־קְצֵה֙ וגו״]  To the extreme, or extremity, of the waters (Jonathan, Junius and Tremellius, Munster, Pagnine, Masius, Malvenda, Drusius, Vatablus).  Question:  What then was the part of Jordan in which they were obliged to stand?  Response 1:  The bank on the other side (Masius, Vatablus, Drusius).  When ye will have arrived at the bank on the other side of Jordan, in Jordan, that is, in the dried bed of Jordan, stand until the people will have crossed over to the bank on the other side (Vatablus, Masius).  The basis of the opinion of Masius is unique, that the space of two thousand cubits was to be maintained.  But, although in general this was thus prescribed, yet now it is limited, so that it might not be done in Jordan, but after its crossing.  And even Masius is bound to acknowledge this (Serarius).  Response 2:  The bank on the near side (Serarius, Lapide, Bonfrerius).  It is proven.  1.  What is here prescribed is related as done in verse 15.  But there it is said, when the feet of the priests had touched the extremity of the waters, the Jordan soon divided itself.  But it would be absurd to say that, the priests previously crossed over Jordan with the riverbed full, before it was divided (Bonfrerius out of Serarius).  2.  It was necessary that the priests stand on the bank on the near side, and wait until by degrees the upper waters be suspended, and lower waters flow away, and the bed be dried.  Thus what they were seeing done step-by-step was planted more deeply in their souls.  3.  In the last verse of the chapter, the priests are said to have stood in the midst of Jordan while the people crossed over.  Therefore, if the opinion of Masius be correct, the priest would have been obliged to have passed over by swimming unto the other bank, and a little afterwards to have returned into the midst of the bed with the waters divided.  But Masius translates בְּתוֹךְ, in the midst of, in the final verse as within Jordan.  But they were not within Jordan, standing on the bank on the other side (Bonfrerius).  With Serarius I take it as the bank on the near side; but in this way, that the priests are commanded to stand, not on it, but in the midst of Jordan, as it is expressly asserted in the last verse of this chapter, and in Joshua 4:10.  קָצֶה/Katse/extremity here is the division of Jordan, that is, where Jordan, already divided, is ended, and with its extremity already divided on both sides is bounded:  Enter this divided part, etc.  For it is fitting that the Ark stand in that place where the greatest danger was (Lapide out of Serarius).  There were two stations of the Ark-bearing priests:  one on the bank on the near side, and at the first touch of the water, which was the cause of the division and drying up of the river; the other in the midst of the bed (Bonfrerius out of Serarius).

To the brink, Hebrew, to the extremity; so far as the river then spread itself, which was now more than ordinary, Joshua 3:15.  In Jordan; within the waters of Jordan, in the first entrance into the river; where they stood for a season, till the river was divided, and then they went into the midst of it, as it is implied, Joshua 3:17, and there abode till all the people were passed over, as it follows in the history.

[1] Hebrew:  וְאַתָּ֗ה תְּצַוֶּה֙ אֶת־הַכֹּ֣הֲנִ֔ים נֹשְׂאֵ֥י אֲרֽוֹן־הַבְּרִ֖ית לֵאמֹ֑ר כְּבֹאֲכֶ֗ם עַד־קְצֵה֙ מֵ֣י הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן בַּיַּרְדֵּ֖ן תַּעֲמֹֽדוּ׃

Joshua 3:7: The Sign of the Dividing of Jordan, Part 1

Verse 7:[1]  And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to (Josh. 4:14; 1 Chron. 29:25; 2 Chron. 1:1) magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, (Josh. 1:1) as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

[I will begin to exalt thee]  It acquires a name for the Ruler, if the subordinates understand that he is carried in the bosom of God.  He is not able not to be thought the best or most prudent, to whom God is near at hand in all things (Masius).

This day will I begin to magnify thee, etc.:  To gain thee authority and reputation among them, as the person whom I have set in Moses’s stead, and by whom I will conduct them to the possession of the promised land.

[That they may known[2]]  אֲשֶׁר is in the place of לְמַעַן, to the intent that (Vatablus).

[Just as I was with Moses]  In splitting the sea, so I will be with thee in splitting the Jordan (Drusius).  From Moses to Saul, God was demonstrating either by miracles, or deeds exceeding human expectation, whom He willed to be the Princes of His people (Grotius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֗ה אָחֵל֙ גַּדֶּלְךָ֔ בְּעֵינֵ֖י כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֲשֶׁר֙ יֵֽדְע֔וּן כִּ֗י כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר הָיִ֛יתִי עִם־מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶהְיֶ֥ה עִמָּֽךְ׃

[2] Hebrew:  אֲשֶׁר֙ יֵֽדְע֔וּן.

Joshua 3:6: Instructions for Crossing Jordan, Part 4

Verse 6:[1]  And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, (Num. 4:15) Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people.  And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

[And he says to the priests, Take up]  [The Roman Catholic interpreters ask, in what manner Joshua commanded the Priests; and they respond, He did not command as a political Prince, but as a Prophet (thus Bonfrerius after Masius).]

Take up the ark, to wit, upon your shoulders; for so they were to carry it, Numbers 7:9.

[And go before]  The priests were thus to be instructed, because the customary order was changed.  No one, except with God going before, is able to enter into that blessed land (Masius).

Before the people; not in the middle of them, as you used to do.

[And they walked]  Neither hesitating nor hanging back.  Surely this is great faith (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ אֶל־הַכֹּהֲנִ֣ים לֵאמֹ֔ר שְׂאוּ֙ אֶת־אֲר֣וֹן הַבְּרִ֔ית וְעִבְר֖וּ לִפְנֵ֣י הָעָ֑ם וַיִּשְׂאוּ֙ אֶת־אֲר֣וֹן הַבְּרִ֔ית וַיֵּלְכ֖וּ לִפְנֵ֥י הָעָֽם׃