Joshua 5

Circumcision at Gilgal

1 All the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan. They heard how the Lord had kept it dry until all the Israelites had crossed to the other side. Then the kings became very afraid. They felt too weak to fight with the Israelites.

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

5:2God told Abraham that he and his sons were to circumcise all male children. They had to do this when the children were 8 days old. This showed that God had made a promise to them. He would make them his special people. He would do this if they obeyed him (Genesis 17:9-16).

4 This is why Joshua had to circumcise the men: All the men who came out of Egypt had died. All the men old enough to fight had died in the desert on the way to Canaan. 5 All the people who came out of Egypt had been circumcised. But all the people born in the desert coming from Egypt had not been circumcised. 6 The Israelites had walked about in the desert for 40 years. But all the men who were old enough to fight when they left Egypt had died. This happened because they had not obeyed the Lord. The Lord had made a strong promise. He had promised to give them the land of Canaan, a land where there is plenty of food and drink. But he said that those men would certainly not see it. 7 Joshua circumcised the sons of the men who had died. Nobody had circumcised them while they travelled in the desert. So the sons took the place of their fathers

8 All of them were circumcised. Then they stayed there until they were better again. 9 The Lord said to Joshua, ‘You are no longer slaves to the people of Egypt. Today I have saved you from being ashamed of this.’

So, the place was called Gilgal and it still has that name. (Gilgal means ‘taken away’.)

10 The Israelite people ate the Passover meal on the evening of the 14th month. They did this while they were at Gilgal, near the city of Jericho. 11 The next day they ate food grown in Canaan for the first time. They ate dry seed and flat bread. 12 The ‘manna’ stopped falling at the same time, so they did not have it any more. After that time they only ate 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.
5:12‘Manna’ was food that God sent to the Israelites from the sky. It fed them all the time that they were walking through the desert (Exodus 16:4).

13 While Joshua was near Jericho, a man appeared, standing in front of him. The man had a sword (a sharp metal stick to fight with) in his hand. Joshua went up to him, ‘Are you one of our soldiers, or an enemy?’ he asked.

14 ‘I am neither,’ he answered. ‘I am here as the captain of the Lord's army.’

Joshua fell on the ground to worship and said, ‘I am your servant. Lord, what can I do for you?’

15 The captain of the Lord's army said, ‘Take your shoes off. You are standing on holy ground.’ And Joshua did take off his shoes.