Ver. 1. Now: literally, And. Thus the sacred history is connected, the last chapter of Deuteronomy being, in the opinion of many, a part of the work of Josue. (Haydock) — Moses died on the 1st of the 12th month, Adar, and as soon as that month of mourning had expired, and the spies had returned on the 4th of Nisan, God ordered the people to prepare for their departure. — Minister. This was by no means degrading. He was designed for the successor of Moses, as Eliseus was to succeed Elias. The heroes at Troy had servants of the same high character as themselves, attached to their persons by the ties of friendship. See Exodus xvii. 10.
Ver. 2. Jordan, a river well known, which rises in Antilibanus, not from Panion, but from the lake Phiala, as Herod the Tetrarch discovered by throwing some straw into the latter, which passed by a subterraneous passage into Panion. Thence it proceeds to the Semonite lake and to Daphne, where it begins to be called the Great Jordan. (Josephus, Jewish Wars iii. 33.) Having traversed the land of Palestine in a southern direction, it loses itself in the lake of Sodom. (Calmet) — It is a very rapid river, and hence its appellation from irod, or jord, descendit, is very probably derived. (Haydock) — The Arabs call it Zacchar, “overflowing,” because the snows and rains cause it formerly to overflow about Easter. (Universal History) — When Maundrell travelled through this country, the stream was too rapid for a person to swim against it. (Parkhurst) — Hence the miracle of the Hebrews passing through the Jordan on dry land, when its waters were the most copious and violent, would be the more observable. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Moses. Thus the preceding permission, which the Jews extend, as if God had authorized them to conquer the whole world, is limited. (Haydock) See Deuteronomy xi. 24. — Their right to the land of Chanaan depends on this grant of God, who is the Lord of all things, and who thus took away all the privileges of the former inhabitants. But the warrant of destruction only regarded the people of Chanaan. Those who lived towards the Euphrates, were obliged only to pay tribute by David and Solomon, though their country formed part of what had been promised to the Israelites. They might have possessed all that region, if they had proved faithful. The limits of the promised land vary, as they are considered under various lights. (Calmet) — The desert of Arabia Petrea and Antilibanus formed the boundaries on the south and on the north, the Euphrates and Mediterranean were on the east and west, when the territories of the Israelites were considered in their utmost extent. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Hethites, the most formidable of the nations of Chanaan. (Masius)
Ver. 5. Resist you. They shall at last be overcome, and their resistance will prove detrimental to themselves. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Lot. Hebrew, “thou shalt give for an inheritance.” (Haydock)
Ver. 7. From it. Hebrew him, Moses. But the Masorets order us to read it. (Haydock) — Understand, or “succeed.” (Chaldean) (Vatable)
Ver. 10. Princes. Shoterim may denote both judges and heralds, such as those mentioned in Homer, the messengers of gods and men, whose persons were deemed sacred. They bore a wand or sceptre, as a mark of their authority.
Ver. 11. Victuals. The manna still supplied the army after they had passed the Jordan, chap. v. 12. But Josue might fear lest the people might not have liberty to gather it in the midst of the enemy’s country, or he might perhaps suppose that this miraculous food would be withdrawn, as soon as they had entered Chanaan. He therefore takes all necessary precautions, and gets other sorts of provisions in the neighbourhood. (Calmet) — This might foreshew, that in the primitive Church the ceremonies and privileges of the old law would not be abrogated immediately, but they might be used for a time along with the rites of the gospel, till the old law should be buried with honour. (Worthington) — Third day, after their departure from Setim; or perhaps this order was only published when the Israelites were arrived on the banks of the Jordan. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Armed before, in order of battle, at the head of the army, and not according to the disposition of the tribes, which was observed in the desert. Only 40,000 men were selected out of 110,580, the rest were very prudently left to guard the new conquered country. See Numbers xxxii. 17. — For them. Hebrew, “help them.”
Ver. 15. Beyond. The same expression is translated on this side, ver. 14. Hebrew beheber means also, “in the passage.” If we have regard to Josue, when he spoke this, he was beyond, that is on the east side of the river, though perhaps (Haydock) he might be on the other side when he wrote the history, Deuteronomy i. 1. (Calmet)
Ver. 17. Moses. Thus they express their ardent wish, that God would extend his protection to Josue. (Menochius) — They do not mean to insinuate, that they will obey him only as long as he complies with God’s law. (Calmet)
Ver. 18. Die, as guilty of high treason. The person’s goods were confiscated, and became the property of the king. Thus David disposed of the effects of Saul, (2 Kings xvi. 4.) and Achab seized the vineyard of Naboth, 3 Kings xxi. 15. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Josue, encouraged by the Lord, admonisheth the people to prepare themselves to pass over the Jordan.
1 Now *it came to pass after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Josue, the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, and said to him:
2 Moses my servant is dead: arise, and pass over this Jordan, thou and thy people with thee, into the land which I will give to the children of Israel.
3 *I will deliver to you every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, as I have said to Moses.
4 From the desert, and from Libanus unto the great river Euphrates, all the land of the Hethites, unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your border.
5 No man shall be able to resist you all the days of thy life: *as I have been with Moses, so will I be with thee: I will not leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6 *Take courage, and be strong: for thou shalt divide by lot to this people the land for which I swore to their fathers, that I would deliver it to them.
7 Take courage therefore, and be very valiant: that thou mayst observe and do all the law, which Moses my servant hath commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayst understand all things which thou dost.
8 Let not the book of this law depart from thy mouth: but thou shalt meditate on it day and night, that thou mayst observe and do all things that are written in it: then shalt thou direct thy way, and understand it.
9 Behold I command thee, take courage, and be strong. Fear not, and be not dismayed: because the Lord thy God is with thee in all things whatsoever thou shalt go to.
10 And Josue commanded the princes of the people, saying: Pass through the midst of the camp, and command the people, and say:
11 Prepare you victuals: for after the third day you shall pass over the Jordan, and shall go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God will give you.
12 And he said to the Rubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasses:
13 Remember the word, which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying: The Lord your God hath given you rest, and all this land.
14 *Your wives, and children, and cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan: but pass you over armed before your brethren, all of you that are strong of hand, and fight for them,
15 Until the Lord give rest to your brethren, as he hath given you, and they also possess the land which the Lord your God will give them: and so you shall return into the land of your possession, and you shall dwell in it, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan, toward the rising of the sun.
16 And they made answer to Josue, and said: All that thou hast commanded us, we will do; and whithersoever thou shalt send us, we will go.
17 As we obeyed Moses in all things, so will we obey thee also: only be the Lord thy God with thee, as he was with Moses.
18 He that shall gainsay thy mouth, and not obey all thy words, that thou shalt command him, let him die: only take thou courage, and do manfully.
1: Year of the World 2553, Year before Christ 1451.
3: Deuteronomy xi. 24.
5: Josue iii. 7.; Hebrews xiii. 5.
6: Deuteronomy xxxi. 7. and 23.; 3 Kings ii. 2.
14: Numbers xxxii. 26