Joshua 5:15: Joshua’s Encounter with the Captain of the Lord’s Host, Part 3

Verse 15:[1] And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, (Ex. 3:5; Acts 7:33) Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

[Loose thy shoe] The singular number in the place of the plural, shoes (Vatablus). This is commanded for the sake of reverence (Bonfrerius, Menochius, Tirinus); so that his mind might be struck with awe, and might be more attentive to the things to be seen and said, and apply faith to them: otherwise it could have appeared to be a dream, that the walls were going to collapse of themselves, etc. By this example, the Jews priests took off their shoes while ministering in the Temple. And even now among a great many nations of the East it is sacrilege to tread upon the pavement of temples with a shod foot. A great many are wont to say that the depraved lusts of the body are signified by shoes, which are to be put off by those that want to contemplate and meditate upon Divine things (Masius).

Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, in token of reverence and subjection: see on Exodus 3:5.

[The place is holy] Consecrated by the presence of God (Masius, Lapide, Vatablus). Concerning these things, see the more lengthy treatment on Exodus 3:5. Hebrew: holiness[2] (Vatablus). The Hebrews often make use of substantives in the place of adjectives (Malvenda).

The place is holy, consecrated by my presence; which when it was withdrawn, it was no more holy than any other place, the reason of its holiness being removed.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמֶר֩ שַׂר־צְבָ֙א יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ שַׁל־נַֽעַלְךָ֙ מֵעַ֣ל רַגְלֶ֔ךָ כִּ֣י הַמָּק֗וֹם אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתָּ֛ה עֹמֵ֥ד עָלָ֖יו קֹ֣דֶשׁ ה֑וּא וַיַּ֥עַשׂ יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ כֵּֽן׃

[2] Hebrew: קֹדֶשׁ.

1 thought on “Joshua 5:15: Joshua’s Encounter with the Captain of the Lord’s Host, Part 3

  1. Matthew Henry: “The further expressions of reverence which this divine captain required from Joshua (Joshua 5:15): Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, in token of reverence and respect (which with us are signified by uncovering the head), and as an acknowledgment of a divine presence, which, while it continued there, did in a manner sanctify the place and dignify it. We are accustomed to say of a person for whom we have a great affection that we love the very ground he treads upon; thus Joshua must show his reverence for this divine person, he must not tread the ground he stood on with his dirty shoes, Ecclesiastes 5:1. Outward expressions of inward reverence, and a religious awe of God, well become us, and are required of us, whenever we approach to him in solemn ordinances. Bishop Patrick well observes here that the very same orders that God gave to Moses at the bush, when he was sending him to bring Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 3:5), he here gives to Joshua, for the confirming of his faith in the promise he had lately given him, that as he had been with Moses so he would be with him, Joshua 1:5. Had Moses such a presence of God with him as, when it became sensible, sanctified the ground? So had Joshua.

    And (lastly), Hereby he prepares him to receive the instructions he was about to give him concerning the siege of Jericho, which this captain of the Lord’s host had now come to give Israel possession of.”

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