Joshua 5

1 Many people heard how the Lord had caused the Jordan River to become dry. This included all the Amorite kings on the west side of the Jordan River, and all the Canaanite kings who lived near the sea. They heard how the Lord had made the river become dry until all the Israelites had crossed to the other side. So the kings became very afraid of the Israelite people. They felt too weak to fight against them.

5:1These Amorite and Canaanite kings ruled people on the west side of the Jordan River. When they saw that the Israelites had crossed the Jordan River to their side, they became very afraid.

Circumcision at Gilgal

2 The Lord said to Joshua at that time, ‘Make knives of stone and circumcise the Israelite men.’ 3 So Joshua made the knives and he circumcised the men at Gibeath Haaraloth.

5:2God told Abraham that he and his sons must circumcise all male children. They must do this when the children were eight days old. This showed that God had made a promise to them as his special people. See Genesis 17:9-16. But they had not circumcised any children who were born while they travelled in the desert.

4 This is why Joshua had to circumcise them: All the men who were old enough to fight when they came out of Egypt had now died. They died in the desert as they travelled to Canaan. 5 All those men who came out of Egypt had already been circumcised. But all the sons who were born on the journey through the desert had not been circumcised. 6 The Israelites had travelled in the desert for 40 years. But all the men who were old enough to fight when they left Egypt had now died. This happened because they had not obeyed the Lord. The Lord had promised to give to them the land of Canaan, a land where there is plenty of food and drink. But he made a strong promise that those men would not see that land, because they had turned against him. 7 Now Joshua circumcised their sons, who had taken their place. Their fathers had not circumcised them while they travelled in the desert.

8 All of the Israelite men were circumcised. Then they stayed there in Gilgal until they were strong again. 9 The Lord said to Joshua, ‘This shows that you are no longer ashamed to be slaves, as you were in Egypt. Today I have taken away your shame.’

So they called that place Gilgal, and it still has that name.

5:9Gilgal means ‘taken away’.

10 The Israelite people ate the Passover meal on the evening of the 14th day of that month. They did this while they were at Gilgal, near Jericho city. 11 The next day they ate food that had grown in Canaan. For the first time, they ate flat bread and grain that they cooked on a fire. 12 The manna that they had been eating no longer appeared. The Israelite people never ate manna again. Now they could eat the food that was grown in Canaan.

5:10The Passover Festival was an important time when the Israelites ate a special meal. It helped them to remember how God had saved them. They had been slaves in Egypt. They remembered, too, how God had dried up the Red Sea. Then they could walk out of Egypt.
5:12Manna was food that God sent to the Israelites from the sky. It fed them all the time that they travelled through the desert. See Exodus 16:4.

The captain of the Lord's army

13 While Joshua was near Jericho, a man appeared to him. Joshua looked up and there he was! He stood in front of Joshua with a sword in his hand. Joshua went towards him. He asked the man, ‘Are you here to help us, or to help our enemies?’

14 The man answered, ‘Neither. I am the captain of the Lord's army. Now I am here!’

Joshua fell on the ground to worship the man and he said, ‘Sir, I am your servant. Tell me what I should do.’

15 The captain of the Lord's army said, ‘Remove your shoes from your feet. You are standing on holy ground.’ Joshua did that.