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.

1 thought on “Joshua 3:10: The Sign of the Dividing of Jordan, Part 4

  1. Matthew Henry: “From what God was now about to do for them he infers an assurance of what he would yet further do. This he mentions first, so much was his heart upon it, and so great a satisfaction did it give him (Joshua 3:10): ‘Hereby you shall know that the living God (the true God, and God of power, not one of the dead gods of the heathen) is among you, though you see him not, nor are to have any image of him, is among you to give you law, secure your welfare, and receive your homage,—is among you in this great undertaking now before you; and therefore you shall, nay, he himself will, without fail, drive out from before you the Canaanites.’ So that the dividing of Jordan was intended to be to them, (1.) A sure token of God’s presence with them. By this they could not but know that God was among them, unless their unbelief was as obstinate against the most convincing evidence as that of their fathers was, who presently after God had divided the Red Sea before them, impudently asked, Is the Lord among us, or is he not? Exodus 17:7. (2.) A sure pledge of the conquest of Canaan. ‘If the living God is among you, expelling he will expel (so the Hebrew phrase is) from before you the Canaanites.’ He will do it certainly, and do it effectually. What should hinder him? What can stand in his way before whom rivers are divided and dried up? The forcing of the lines was certain presage of the ruin of all their hosts: how could they stand their ground when Jordan itself was driven back? When they had not courage to dispute this pass, but trembled at the approach of the mighty God of Jacob (Psalm 114:7), what opposition could they ever make after this? This assurance which Joshua here gives them was so well grounded that it would enable one Israelite to chase a thousand Canaanites, and two to put then thousand to flight; and it would be abundantly strengthened by remembering the song of Moses, dictated forty years before, which plainly foretold the dividing of Jordan and the influence it would have upon the driving out of the Canaanites. Exodus 15:15-17, ‘The inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away, and so be effectually driven out; they shall be as still as a stone till thy people pass over, and then thou shalt bring them in and plant them.’ Note, God’s glorious appearances for his church and people ought to be improved by us for the encouragement of our faith and hope for the future. As for God, his work is perfect. If Jordan’s flood cannot keep them our, Canaan’s force cannot turn them out again.”

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