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The place is holy, consecrated by my presence; which when it was withdrawn, it was no more holy than any other place, the reason of its holiness being removed.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