Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you - The Israelites were apt to be discouraged, and to faint at even the appearance of danger; it was necessary, therefore, that they should have the fullest assurance of the presence and assistance of God in the important enterprise on which they were now entering. They are to combat idolaters, who have nothing to trust in and help them but gods of wood, stone, and metal: whereas they are to have the living God in the midst of them - He who is the author of life and of being - who can give, or take it away, at his pleasure; and who by this miracle proved that he had undertaken to guide and defend them: and Joshua makes this manifestation of God the proof that he will drive out the Hittites, Hivites, etc, before them. With regard to the situation of each of these nations in the land of Canaan, Calmet remarks, that those called Canaanites chiefly inhabited what is called Phoenicia, the environs of Tyre and Sidon: the Hittites occupied the mountains, southward of the promised land: the Hivites dwelt by Ebal and Gerizim, Sichem and Gibeon, towards the mountains of Hermon: the Perizzites were probably not a distinct nation or tribe, but rather villagers, scattered through the country in general: the Girgashites possessed the country beyond the Jordan, towards the lake of Gennesareth: the Jebusites possessed Jerusalem: and the Amorites occupied the mountainous country in the vicinity of the western part of the Dead Sea, and also that part of the land of Moab which the Israelites conquered from Sihon and Og.
The living God - Compare the marginal reference. The gods of the pagan are “dead idols.” On the names of the seven nations, see Genesis 10:16, etc., note.
The passage of the Israelites over Jordan was to be miraculous. “And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.” SR 176.1Read in context »
At the right and left of the breast-plate were set two larger stones, which shone with great brilliancy. When difficult matters were brought to the judges, which they could not decide, they were referred to the priests, and they inquired of God, who answered them. If in favor, and if he would grant them success, a halo of light and glory especially rested upon the precious stone at the right. If against, a vapor or cloud seemed to settle upon the precious stone at the left hand. When they inquired of God in regard to going to battle, the precious stone at the right, when circled with light, said, Go and prosper. The stone at the left, when shadowed with a cloud, said, Thou shalt not go, thou shalt not prosper. 4aSG 102.1
When the high priest entered within the most holy once a year, and ministered before the ark in the awful presence of God, he inquired, and God often answered him with an audible voice. When the Lord did not answer by a voice, he let the sacred beams of light and glory rest upon the cherubim upon the right of the ark, in approbation or favor. If their requests were refused, a cloud rested upon the cherubim at the left. 4aSG 102.2
Four heavenly angels always accompanied the ark of God in all its journeyings, to guard it from all danger, and to fulfill any mission required of them in connection with the ark. Jesus the Son of God, followed by heavenly angels, went before the ark as it came to Jordan, and the waters were cut off before his presence. Christ and angels stood by the ark and the priests in the bed of the river until all Israel had passed over Jordan. Christ and angels attended the circuit of the ark around Jericho, and finally cast down the massive walls of the city, and delivered Jericho into the hands of Israel. 4aSG 102.3Read in context »
Joshua commanded the children of Israel to prepare for a three-days’ journey, and that all the men of war should go out to battle. “And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee; only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses. Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death; only be strong and of a good courage.” 4aSG 59.1
The passage of the Israelites over Jordan was to be miraculous. “And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.” 4aSG 59.2
The priests were to go before the people and bear the ark containing the law of God. And as their feet were dipped in the brim of Jordan, and waters were cut off from above, and the priests passed on, bearing the ark, which was a symbol of the Divine presence, and the Hebrew host followed. When the priests were half way over Jordan, they were commanded to stand in the bed of the river until all the host of Israel had passed over. Here the then existing generation of the Israelites were convinced that the waters of Jordan were subject to the same power that their fathers had seen displayed at the Red Sea, forty years before. Many of these passed through the Red Sea when they were children. Now they pass over Jordan, men of war, fully equipped for battle. After all the host of Israel had passed over Jordan, Joshua commanded the priests to come up out of the river. As soon as the priests, bearing the ark of the covenant, came up out of the river, and stood on dry land, Jordan rolled on as before, and overflowed all his banks. This wonderful miracle performed for the Israelites greatly increased their faith. That this wonderful miracle might never be forgotten, the Lord directed Joshua to command that men of note, one of each tribe, take up stones from the bed of the river, the place where the priests’ feet stood while the Hebrew host was passing over, and to bear them upon their shoulders, and erect a monument in Gilgal, to keep in remembrance the fact that Israel passed over Jordan on dry land. After the priests had come up from Jordan, God removed his mighty hand, and the waters rushed like a mighty cataract down their own channel. 4aSG 59.3Read in context »