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.”

1 thought on “Joshua 3:13: The Sign of the Dividing of Jordan, Part 6

  1. Matthew Henry: “He now tells them, at length, by what way they should pass over Jordan, by the stopping of its streams (Joshua 3:13): The waters of Jordan shall be cut off. God could by a sudden and miraculous frost have congealed the surface, so that they might all have gone over upon the ice; but that being a thing sometimes done even in that country by the ordinary power of nature (Job 38:30), it would not have been such an honour to Israel’s God, nor such a terror to Israel’s enemies; it must therefore be done in such a way as had no precedent but the dividing of the Red Sea: and that miracle is here repeated, to show that God has the same power to finish the salvation of his people that he had to begin it, for he is the Alpha and the Omega; and that the word of the Lord (as the Chaldee reads it, Joshua 3:7), the essential, eternal Word, was as truly with Joshua as he was with Moses. And by the dividing of the waters from the waters, and the making of the dry land to appear which had been covered, God would remind them of that in which Moses by revelation had instructed them concerning the work of creation (Genesis 1:6,9), that by what they now saw their belief of that which they there read might be assisted, and they might know that the God whom they worshipped was the same God that made the world and that it was the same power that was engaged and employed for them.”

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