Joshua 4:10: Israel’s Order in Crossing Jordan, Part 1

Verse 10:[1] For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over.

[Until all things were finished, כָּל־הַדָּבָר[2]] Every word (Montanus, Bonfrerius, Malvenda, Jonathan); all the speeches (Syriac, Arabic). Whether concerning the carrying out and bringing in of the stones; or they were to be instructed to cross the river bed with alacrity; or they were to be exhorted to remember the blessing and to fear God (Bonfrerius). Others understand this, not of words, but of matters completed (Masius out of Kimchi). Until the whole was finished (Junius and Tremellius), or, the whole business (Piscator).

To speak unto the people, that is, to command the people to do.

[And Moses had said] It does not signify individual commands of Moses, but those instructions by which he educated Joshua (Masius). In this manner, and with this alacrity and obedience of soul, which Moses had always prescribed and commended to him (Menochius, Serarius, Bonfrerius, Masius). It is not improbable that Moses in particular commanded Joshua that, on occasion of the completion of the miracles, he inculcate in the people the fear and worship of God; which Joshua here did (Bonfrerius).

According to all that Moses commanded Joshua; which he did not particularly, but in the general, because he commanded Joshua to observe and do all that God had commanded him by Moses, and all that he should command him any other way.

[The people hastened] Because of the infirmity of their faith, fearing that they might not quickly enough escape that monstrous mountain of waters standing up on their right hand and hanging, as it were, in the air (Lapide, Masius). Although they crossed in faith, Hebrews 11:29, yet our faith is wont to waver in crises. Thus Matthew 14:30 (Masius). They were hastening also, because all were obliged to cross on that same day in a few hours (Lapide, Lyra). Others refer this to the twelve men, who, having been commanded by Joshua, carried the stones with haste (Kimchi in Masius).

Hasted and passed over, that is, passed over with haste; which is noted as an argument of their fear, or weakness of their faith; as, on the contrary, the priests are commended that they stood firm, and fixed, and settled in their minds, as well as in the posture of their bodies.

[1] Hebrew: וְהַכֹּהֲנִ֞ים נֹשְׂאֵ֣י הָאָר֗וֹן עֹמְדִים֮ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַיַּרְדֵּן֒ עַ֣ד תֹּ֣ם כָּֽל־הַ֠דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֙ה יְהוָ֤ה אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ לְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־הָעָ֔ם כְּכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ וַיְמַהֲר֥וּ הָעָ֖ם וַֽיַּעֲבֹֽרוּ׃

[2] Joshua 4:10a:  “For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing (כָּל־הַדָּבָר) was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak unto the people…”

2 thoughts on “Joshua 4:10: Israel’s Order in Crossing Jordan, Part 1

  1. Matthew Henry: “The inspired historian seems to be so well pleased with his subject here that he is loth to quit it, and is therefore very particular in his narrative, especially in observing how closely Joshua pursued the orders God gave him, and that he did nothing without divine direction, finishing all that the Lord had commanded him (Joshua 4:10), which is also said to be what Moses commanded. We read not of any particular commands that Moses gave to Joshua about this matter: the thing was altogether new to him. It must therefore be understood of the general instructions Moses had given him to follow the divine direction, to deliver that to the people which he received of the Lord, and to take all occasions to remind them of their duty to God, as the best return for his favours to them. This which Moses, who was now dead and gone, had said to him, he had in mind at this time, and did accordingly. It is well for us to have the good instructions that have been given us ready to us when we have occasion for them.”

  2. Matthew Henry: “The people hasted and passed over, Joshua 4:10. Some understand this of the twelve men that carried the stones, but it seems rather to be meant of the body of the people; for, though an account was given of their passing over (Joshua 4:1), yet here it is repeated for the sake of this circumstance, which was to be added, that they passed over in haste, either because Joshua by their officers ordered them to make haste, for it was to be but one day’s work and they must not leave a hoof behind, or perhaps it was their own inclination that hastened them. 1. Some hasted because they were not able to trust God. They were afraid the waters should return upon them, being conscious of guilt, and diffident of the divine power and goodness. 2. Others because they were not willing to tempt God to continue the miracle longer than needs must, nor would they put the patience of the priests that bore the ark too much to the stretch by unnecessary delay. 3. Others because they were eager to be in Canaan, and would thus show how much they longed after that pleasant land. 4. Those that considered least, yet hasted because others did. He that believeth doth not make haste to anticipate God’s counsels, but he makes haste to attend them, Isaiah 28:16.”

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