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dan, and the soles of the priests' thers in time to come, saying, feet were lifted up unto the dry What mean these stones ? land, that the waters of Jordan 22 Then ye shall let your chilreturned unto their place, and dren know, saying, Israel came flowed over all his banks, as they over this Jordan on dry land. did before.
23 For the Lord your God 19 And the people came up dried up the waters of Jordan out of Jordan on the tenth day from before you,
ye were of the first month, and encamped passed over, as the LORD your in Gilgal, in the east border of God did to the Red sea, which Jericho.
he dried up from before us, un20 And those twelve stones, til we were gone over: which they took out of Jordan, 24 That all the people of the did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. earth might know the hand of
21 And he spake unto the the LORD, that it is mighty : children of Israel, saying, When that ye might fear the Lord your children shall ask their fa- your God for ever.
LECTURE 369. In what case a memorial is proof of a miracle. A memorial of a miracle, purporting to be set up at the very time when the miracle was wrought, is a strong proof that the miracle really took place. The twelve stones which were pitched in Gilgal must often have suggested the question, “ What mean ye by these stones?” And unless we could suppose that all the Israelites were deceived, or were capable of wilfully deceiving, in a matter so obvious to the sense, we cannot but admit their account of this miracle, we cannot gainsay the fact to which they testify, “ Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.” Two chief uses of such a permanent memorial are mentioned at the conclusion of this chapter: “ That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty:” and “ that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.” These words suggest the two different kinds of effect, which are produced by God's marvellous works in the revelation of his truth, first on the world, and secondly on them that believe. The world cannot deny 6 the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty.” The worldly minded must admit God's great power, when convinced by unanswerable arguments, that the mighty works, by which the Gospel was confirmed, really took place. They own that so it was. But all the while they are saying to themselves, in the hardness of their hearts, What is that to us? Believers do more than know, they feel. Their hearts are affected by the conviction of their minds. The things of which they are convinced most deeply concern themselves. And they are convinced of this also. They fear the Lord their God. They fear to transgress his will. They learn to love to do it. And instead of pleading unconcern in the great things which God reveals, they are ready to say for their parts, To us these things are all in all.
The Israelites are all circumcised at Gilgal. 1 And it came to pass, when Joshua circumcised : for they all the kings of the Amorites, were uncircumcised, because which were on the side of Jordan they had not circumcised them westward, and all the kings of by the way. the Canaanites, which were by Š And it came to pass, when the sea, heard that the Lord had they had done circumcising all dried up the waters of Jordan the people, that they abode in from before the children of Is- their places in the camp, till they rael, until we were passed over, were whole. that their heart melted, neither 9 And the LORD said unto was there spiritin them any more, Joshua, This day have I rolled because of the children of Israel. away the reproach of Egypt from
2 At that time the Lord said off you, Wherefore the name of unto Joshua, Make thee sharp the place is called Gilgal unto knives, and circumcise again the this day. children of Israel the second time. 10 And the children of Israel
3 And Joshua made him sharp encamped in Gilgal, and kept knives, and circumcised the the passover on the fourteenth children of Israel at the hill of day of the month at even in the the foreskins.
plains of Jericho. 4 And this is the cause why Jo- 11 And they did eat of the old shua did circumcise: Allthe peo- corn of the land on the morrow ple that came out of Egypt, that after the passover, unleavened were males,even all the men of war, cakes, and parched corn in the died in the wilderness by the way, self-same day. after they came out of Egypt. 12 And the manna ceased on
5 Now all the people that came the morrow after they had eaten out were circumcised: but all the of the old corn of the land; neipeople that were born in the wil- ther had the children of Israel derness by the way as they came manna any more; but they did forth out of Egypt, them they eat of the fruit of the land of had not circumcised.
Canaan that year. 6 For the children of Israel 13 And it came to pass, when walked forty years in the wilder- Joshua was by Jericho, that he ness, till all the people that were lifted up his eyes and looked, men of war, which came out of and, behold, there stood a man Egypt, were consumed, because over against him with his sword they obeyed not the voice of the drawn in his hand : and Joshua Lord: unto whom the LORD went unto him, and said unto sware that he would not shew him, Art thou for us, or for our them the land, which the LORD adversaries? sware unto their fathers that he 14 And he said, Nay; but as would give us, a land that flow- captain of the host of the LORD eth with milk and honey. am I now come. And Joshua fell
7 And their children, whom he on his face to the earth, and did raised up in their stead, them worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? Loose thy shoe from off thy foot;
15 And the captain of the for the place whereon thou standLord's host said unto Joshua, est is holy. And Joshua did so.
LECTURE 370. That we ought to put all our confidence in God. It was natural that the kings of the Canaanites should be dismayed, when they heard of what God had done for the children of Ísrael, in drying up the waters of Jordan. He who thus opened the way for his people, would be sure to bring destruction upon their enemies. And this is a reason which weighs much, with them that love not God, to cast a doubt upon the tidings of his love vouchsafed to them that love Him. They are unwilling to believe that God is the Helper of all such as put their trust in Him; because this compels them to reflect, that if so, He must also be the Adversary of such as persevere in setting Him at nought.
We have here another instance of God's fatherly protection extended to the Israelites, whilst they were suffering from the effects of circumcision. And we are apt to wonder, that God should have enforced this rite upon his people, at the very time of their entering an enemy's country; after allowing them so long to discontinue it, when they were comparatively safe in the wilderness. But this alone is sufficient reason to account for the time chosen to enforce a general circumcision; it served to establish in the minds of the people a conviction most needful for their safety and success, namely, that their dependence was wholly on the Lord. Their miraculous food of heaven would no longer be supplied; for they might now feed on the natural produce of the earth. But the miraculous protection of God would be needful as much as ever. And they must therefore be reminded anew to put their whole trust in God's help. The reproach of Egypt must be rolled away from off them. They must no longer be liable to be charged with conformity to the ways of the Egyptians, or with indifference to the ordained sign of their national covenant with Jehovah. They must also keep the passover, at the appointed time, "in the plains of Jericho.” For it was for this very purpose that God would put them in possession of the land, even that therein they might commemorate his goodness, and shew forth his praise. And behold He now reveals Himself to Joshua, by the vision of a man standing “with his sword drawn in his hand,” and saying, “as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come.” We see not with the eyes of flesh the great Captain of our salvation. But let us stedfastly look upon Him by faith. And in token of our sense of his presence and protection, let us observe all his ordinances to keep them, let us study all his commandments to do them. And let us feel assured that as long as He is our Helper, though we are weak, we still are safe, though we have no strength to contend with our enemies, we are still sure to overcome.
The siege of Jericho. 1 Now Jericho was straitly on before the ark of the Lord. shut up because of the children 8 And it came to pass, when of Israel: none went out, and Joshua had spoken unto the peonone came in.
ple, that the seven priests bear2 And the Lord said unto ing the seven trumpets of rams' Joshua, See, I have given into horns passed on before the Lord, thine hand Jericho, and the king and blew with the trumpets: and thereof, and the mighty men of the ark of the covenant of the valour.
LORD followed them. 3 And ye shall compass the 9 And the armed men went becity, all ye men of war, and go fore the priests that blew with the round about the city once. Thus trumpets, and the rereward came shalt thou do six days.
after the ark, the priests going on, 4 And seven priests shall bear and blowing with the trumpets. before the ark seven trumpets of
10 And Joshua had commanded rams' horns: and the seventh day the people, saying, Ye shall not ye shall compass the city seven shout, nor make any noise with times, and the priests shall blow your voice, neither shallany word with the trumpets.
proceed out of your mouth, until 5 And it shall come to pass, the day I bid you shout; then that when they make a long blast shall ye shout. with the ram's horn, and when 11 So the ark of the LORD ye hear the sound of the trumpet, compassed the city, going about all the people shall shout with a it once: and they came into the great shout; and the wall of the camp, and lodged in the camp. city shall fall down flat, and the 12 And Joshua rose early in people shall ascend up, every the morning, and the priests took man straight before him. up the ark of the Lord.
6 And Joshua the son of Nun 13 And seven priests bearing called the priests, and said unto seven trumpets of rams' horns them, Take up the ark of the before the ark of the LORD went covenant, and let seven priests on continually, and blew with the bear seven trumpets of rams' trumpets : and the armed men horns before the ark of the Lord. went before them; but the rere
7 And he said unto the peo- ward came after the ark of the ple, Pass on, and compass the Lord, the priests going on, and city,and let him that is armed pass blowing with the trumpets.
The confidence of the wicked. It is probable, though not expressly written, that the city of Jericho was one of those which refused to make peace with Israel ; see ch. 11. 19; and which the Israelites were therefore bound to destroy utterly; according to the law set forth in Deuteronomy, 20. 12, 13. But possibly it may not have had peace proposed to it, as there directed. It may have been excepted purposely, according to the will of God; to be an instance of his more signal wrath, by
being at once devoted, without the offer of escape, to be cut off by the sword of his people. And indeed it makes no great difference in any point of view, whether He who knew what was in the hearts of these his sinful creatures, gave them up to destruction without offering them terms of escape, or whether as in the other cases He allowed the offer to be made, but hardened their hearts against accepting it. See ch. 11. 20. In either case they were ripe for the execution of his wrath. In either case they serve to give us this warning, that for those who persist in opposition to his will there is a time when no place for repentance can be found; God either cutting short at once the thread of life, or allowing them to linger on alive, when to all spiritual purposes they are dead.
It may the rather make us think, that God purposely made Jericho an exception from the method of procedure, which He had ordered for the invasion of Canaan, when we observe that He interfered, and caused this strong city to be taken, in a way never before heard of amongst men. Strange it is and painful, that so early in the history of mankind we meet with this amongst other symptoms of warlike practices, that men gathered themselves together in cities strongly fenced, protected by high walls, and gates, and bars, against the risk of assault from their fellow creatures. These fenced cities often served to protect the peaceable from the violent. And often they were the strong holds of the violent, to protect them from the consequences of preying on the peaceable. How straitly did the men of Jericho shut their city up! How closely did they bar their gates! How confidently did they trust, that walls so strong and high as theirs would defy, at least for a long time, the utmost force of the children of Israel! But listen to the Lord's words to Joshua: “See, I have given into thine hand Jericho!" Observe the singular directions set down for the fulfilment of this promise; a seven days' procession round the walls, and a shout at which the walls should fall down flat ! Note how confidently Joshua acts upon the directions given him, and issues his orders to the priests and the people! And mark how readily and exactly both priests and people obey! And then who can doubt of the result? Who that is aware of the mighty works which God had already wrought for Israel, can trust in the walls of Jericho for safety, its gates of iron, or its bars of brass ? Yet has not God denounced, in terms no less express, the vain confidence of the wicked? And notwithstanding all his threats, are there not men who still trust that they shall be safe in sin? Oh madness to hold out, when the sentence has gone forth! Oh worse than madness to contend with God, and to think to escape his vengeance! The day is at hand when the walls must fall, and the city be taken; when the confidence of the wicked shall come utterly to an end, and they shall perish for evermore. God be praised, that as yet He gives them time to repent! God grant, that whilst they yet have life, they may find also place for repentance !