1The Amorite kings west of the River Jordan and the Canaanite kings along the Mediterranean Sea lost their courage and their will to fight, when they heard how the Lord had dried up the River Jordan to let Israel go across.
Israel gets ready to celebrate Passover
2While Israel was camped at Gilgal, the Lord said, “Joshua, make some flint knives#5.2 flint knives: Flint is a stone that can be chipped until it forms a very sharp edge. and circumcise the rest of the Israelite men and boys.”#5.2 circumcise … men and boys: They could not celebrate Passover unless they were circumcised (see Exodus 12.43–49).
3Joshua made the knives, then circumcised those men and boys at Haaraloth Hill.#5.3 Haaraloth Hill: Or “Foreskin Hill”. 4-7#Num 14.28–35This had to be done, because none of Israel's baby boys had been circumcised during the forty years that Israel had wandered through the desert after leaving Egypt.
And why had they wandered for forty years? It was because straight after they left Egypt, the men in the army had disobeyed the Lord. And the Lord had said, “None of you men will ever live to see the land that I promised Israel. It is a land rich with milk and honey, and some day your children will live there, but not before you die here in the desert.”
8Everyone who had been circumcised needed time to heal, and they stayed in camp.
9The Lord told Joshua, “It was a disgrace for my people to be slaves in Egypt, but now I have taken away that disgrace.” So the Israelites named the place Gilgal,#5.9 Gilgal: In Hebrew “Gilgal” sounds like “take away”. and it still has that name.
10 # Exod 12.1–13 Israel continued to camp at Gilgal in the desert near Jericho, and on the fourteenth day of the same month,#5.10 the same month: See the note at 4.19. they celebrated Passover.
11-12 # Exod 16.35 The next day, God stopped sending the Israelites manna#5.11,12 manna: The special food that God provided for the Israelites while they were in the desert for forty years. It was about the size of a small seed, and it appeared on the ground during the night, except on the Sabbath. It was gathered early in the morning, ground up, and then baked or boiled (see Exodus 16.13–35; Numbers 11.4–9). to eat each morning, and they started eating food grown in the land of Canaan. They ate roasted grain#5.11,12 roasted grain: Roasted grain was made by cooking the grain in a dry pan or on a flat rock, or by holding a bunch of grain stalks over a fire. and thin bread#5.11,12 thin bread: Bread made without yeast. Israelites were not supposed to eat bread made with yeast for the week following Passover. That week is called the Festival of Thin Bread (see Exodus 12.14–20; 13.3–7). made of the barley they had gathered from nearby fields.
Israel captures Jericho
13One day, Joshua was near Jericho when he saw a man standing some distance in front of him. The man was holding a sword, so Joshua walked up to him and asked, “Are you on our side or on our enemies' side?”
14“Neither,” he answered. “I am here because I am the commander of the Lord's army.”
Joshua fell to his knees and bowed down to the ground. “I am your servant,” he said. “Tell me what to do.”
15“Take off your sandals,” the commander answered. “This is a holy place.”
So Joshua took off his sandals.