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the people had passed over, to come out of the river with it; which they had no sooner done than the waters returned to their natural channel, and overflowed the banks as they usually did.

The Israelites, having thus securely passed Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, encamped in a place called afterwards Gilgal, which was in the east border of Jericho. Here Joshua erected the twelve stones, which the twelve men had brought out of Jordan, as a monument to posterity, that when the descendants of the Israelites in future times, should ask the reason of it, they might know, that the Lord their God had dried up the waters of Jordan, and caused his people Israel to pass that river on dry land, as he had formerly dried up the Red Sea for their passage out of Egypt; and that all the people of the earth might be sensible of the omnipotency of the mighty God of Israel.

The fame of this miracle soon spread through the neighbouring countries, and struck the inhabitants with astonishment and terror ; for when the kings of the Amorites, who were on the west of Jordan, and the kings of the Canaanites, who inhabited the sea coast, heard that the Lord had miraculously conveyed his people over the river by dividing the waters, their hearts sunk for fear, and their courage entirely failed them.

Joshua having thus conducted the Israelites through the river, God commanded him to cause them all to be circumcised :* which being done, the Lord said to Joshua, “ This day I have taken away the shame* of Egypt from “ you.And from this act of circumcision, the place where it was done was then called Gilgal. Here the Israelites tarried till their circumcision wounds were healed ; and here it was they kept the Passover,f on the fourteenth day of the first month, in the evening. Now did the Israelites begin to enjoy the good of the land; the delicious products of the promised inheritance : for on the next day after the Passover they ate of the corn, and there being plenty of all fruits, on the morrow the Manna was withdrawn.

* Circumcised. The great goodness as well as wisdom of God was very con. spicuous in this act of circumcision after the Israelites were safe on the other side of Jordan ; for their miraculous passage through that river, and the fame of former miracles wrought by God in their favour had so affected the neighbouring nations with fear, that they dare not offer the least opposition to Israel in their passage. But now that they were safe on the other side of the river, God had a work to do upon his people, which would render them for a while not only unable to assault their enemies, but even to defend themselves. For during their travel in the wilderness, circumcision had been omitted ; not, it is supposed, through a neglect of that ordinance ; but being, or at least expecting to be, always upon the march, they thought it unsafe to expose themselves to the hardship of it ; and all they who were men, when they came out of Egypt, and had been çircumcised there, being dead, (Joshua and Caleb only excepted) most of the present genera. tion being such as had been born within the forty years of their travel in the wilderness, had not been circumcised hitherto. Therefore now that they had passed over Jordan, and were ready to take possession of the promised land, and the inhabitants of it under a general consternation having shut themselves up in Jericho, the Lord commanded Joshua to prepare for the circumcision of the people.

All things being ready for approaching the city of Jericho, Joshua gives the word, and the army marches towards it. The place was strong, well provided, and full of inhabitants who had retired into it, and seemed resolved to make a brave defence. Joshua therefore un. dertakes to view the place by himself, to find out the most advantageous approaches to it. While he was making his observations, there appeared the awful form of a man, but with a lustre in his face that bespoke him more than mortal. In his hand he held a flaming sword, and his whole appearance far surpassed any thing of human nature. The Israelitish general advances to this great unknown, with a courage becoming his character, and boldly de. mands, who he is for? He answers, For Israel, of whose army and people he was the guardian. At these words the general falls prostrate, and waits the command of his Lord, who bids him loose his sandals, and not profane the holy place with irreverent approaches.* Joshua obeys, and receives new orders for the better management of the siege of Jericho : He was to cause all the forces to march round the place six days successively, and that on the seventh day the priests should take the seven trumpets made of rams' horns, which were used to proclaim the Jubileet year ; that they should go before the ark,

Shame. This shame might be either the reproachful diffidence of the Egyptians, who would not believe that the Lord would make good his promise in bringing his people into the promised land ; (which Moses often hinted, when he addressed himself to God in behalf of the people, to deprecate God's anger from them, urging that their enemies from thence would take occasion to ridicule and question his omnipotence ;) or, remaining uncircumcised, they were like the Egyptians and other idolatrous nations.

+ Gilgal. Or Galgal, which signifies removing, rolling, or taking away. This word is used before in Josh. iv. 19. and in Deut. xi. 30. but it was in either place only by way of anticipation. This place is called by St. Jerome Golgal, a famous city, formerly about fifty furlongs from Jordan, and ten from Jericho in the straight road thither.

| Passover. This was the third Passover the Israelites celebrated. The First the day before they came out of Egypt, Exod. xii. The Second was the year af. ter, upon their receiving the Law, and setting up the tabernacle in Sinai, Nomb. ix. 2. The Third was this in the Holy Land, in the plains of Jericho, Josh. v. 10.

Approaches. This great personage who appeared in a human form, was no other (as Bishop Patrick judges, with the ancient Fathers) than the Son of God, the eternal Word, who frequently, before his incarnation, thus manifested himself to his favoured servants, and, on this important occasiɔn, in a military style.

By the act of adoration and the title of Lord, given to him by Joshua, it is plain that this illustrious person, the Guardian or Captain of the Lord's Host, was Christ, the Son of God, who was pleased in this manner to appear to Joshua, both to encourage and direct him. Wherefore, having first bid Joshua (as Moses was bid at the burning bush, Exod. iii. 5.) to put off his shoes, because the place whereon he stood was holy, (which confirms that it was Christ, whose presence consecrates every place, where he appears) and Joshua having obeyed, ch. v. 13, 14, 15. the Lord sail, ch. vi. 2. “ See I have given into thy hands Jericho, and the king thereof, with the mighty men of valour ;" and instructed him in what manner he should besiege the city, and shew how he should take it, ch. vi. 2, &c.

+ Jubilee. This word is derived from the Hebrew word Fobel, which signifies a ram, and also a ram's born, as here in Josh. vi. 4. where the word Fobelim is used and expounded by the Chaldee paraphrast, rams' borns.

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and round the city, and when the trumpets sounded first loud, and then low, the people should all give a shout, for then the walls of the city should fall, and every man should march in at the place which was directly before him.

Having encircled the city six days, as they were commanded, on the seventh, by break of day, they encompassed it seven times, and at the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, the General said to the people, * Shout ! for the Lord hath given you the city.” On which the people gave a shout, and immediately the wall of the city fell down; so that the army marched directly up to it, and took it, putting all to the sword, bothman and beast, old and young : only Rahab, and those in her house were saved alive; for Joshua had given a strict charge before-hand to the two spies (whom she had formerly concealed) to take care, when the town should be taken, to go to her house, and bring out her family in discharge of their oath to her : which they accordingly did, and left her, with all her kindred and substance safe without* the camp. of Israel. Then setting fire to the city they destroyed every thing in it, except the silver and gold, and vessels of brass and iron; which were put into the treasury of the house of the Lord, as it had been com. manded. And lest any one should attempt to rebuild this city, Joshua published this prophetic imprecation on the bold undertaker ; “ That he should lay the foundation “thereof in his first-born, and set up the gates thereof in “ his youngest son :" By which he meant that it should be the ruint of his family.

Before the city was taken, Joshua had cautioned the people not to spare any thing that was in it, but to destroy

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Witbout, &c. Being aliens, or heathens, they were not permitted to come within the camp, till they were proselyted, or at least legally purified.

+ Ruin. This was exactly fulfilled in Hiel the Bethelite; who in the days of Ahab king of Israel (above five hundred years after) began to rebuild Jericho with the loss of his eldest son Abiram, and finished it with the loss of Segub his youngest son, 1 Kings xvi. 34.

all that lay in their way, except silver, gold, brass, and iron ; which were to be consecrated to the Lord. And therefore he warned them not to meddle with any thing, for fear of bringing a curse, not only upon themselves, but upon

all the nation of the Israelites. Notwithstanding the strict charge of Joshua against meddling with any thing that was devoted to this general destruction, or consecrated to the Lord, yet so prevailing was the sacrilegious thirst of gold, that one of the tribe of Judah, whose name was Achan, contrary to the command of the General, took a portion of the spoil of each sort, and hid it.

This proved of ill consequence to Israel at large, and was discovered on the following occasion. Joshua, being desirous to take a little city named Ai, near Bethaven, to the east of Bethel, and knowing that it was neither populous nor well defended, detached a body of three thousand men only, to go and attack it; who no sooner approach the town, than the inhabitants sally out, repulse them, and drive them back to the camp; whither those that escaped returned in such consternation, that they diffused a general terror throughout the whole army.

This defeat so much afflicted Joshua, that rending his clothes, and prostrating himself before the Ark of the Lord, he lay there till the evening, both he and the elders, in token of extreme sorrow* and humiliation, sprinkling dust on their reverend heads. But Joshua, being wholly ignorant of the offence, and desirous to know what had provoked God to desert his people, in an humble expostulation thus complains to him. “ Wherefore, O 66 Lord God, hast thou brought this people over Jordan " to deliver them into the hands of the Amorites to de

stroy them? We had been happy, hadst thou permitted

us to have dwelt on the other side of Jordan. What “ shall I say, when Israel turn their backs upon their ene. “ mies? For when the Canaanites, and all the inhabitants “ of this land shall hear of this, they will surround us, " and cut us off, and what will become of thy honour ?”

"Sorrow. See 1 Sam. iv. 11. Nehem. ix, 1.

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