J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)
Joshua is Christ as leading by the Spirit, which we have elsewhere seen, thus he seeks victory; he will attack and overcome. Even supposing Amalek sought to slay the weak ones, this does not alter its character, but only gave the occasion to the exercise of this energy; compare Exodus 17.
Note the energy of faith and God fully with it - the energy which asks much, and which has the sources of water, and the grace which receives strangers by faith; at the end the failure of this energy.
The Lord, after all the unbelief and failure of Israel, their incompetency to secure to themselves the blessing given, divides Jordan as easily and as graciously - indeed with more remarkable tokens of love as to them - as He had done the Red Sea.
- 20-24. Note that not merely is circumcision in Gilgal within Jordan in the land, but the stones out of the bottom of Jordan are pitched there - we carry the witness and power of death there. We are dead and risen with Christ, not merely circumcised in heart - Christ's power is in it as well as the humbling though profitable end of self.
The full and entire deliverance of the sinner is associated, and indeed the only ground on which it can subsist, with the mortification of the flesh. The stones brought up from the bottom of Jordan were placed in Gilgal, saying, "Ye are risen, mortify therefore"; and in Colossians 2 we find the true circumcision of Christ identified with the complete deliverance by His triumph over Satan, and that in death and resurrection; see Colossians 2:11-15, and indeed to the end. Indeed without this deliverance in power, the mortification of the flesh would be impossible; it needs power - its only principle is death, for the flesh is unchanged.
136 Joshua 5
- 2. However much the Lord's power may have inspired the enemies of God's people with terror, so as to apparently secure victory, the first thing, before any effort to win it, is to make good the relationship with God by a perfectly circumcised heart; compare also Ezekiel 3:3.
- 13-15. There is a point I have not noticed; the manna, Christ for the Wilderness - the corn, the heavenly Christ, i.e. Christ now in heaven as well as heavenly, i.e., heavenly as now - the Passover looking back, not a present escape merely, i.e., the Cross understood with all the value peace in heavenly places gives it - all this after Jordan and Gilgal, and the Captain of the host coming after, i.e., the beginning of conflict. But there is another point - simple obedience and dependence. In heavenly things men are for or against "for us or for our adversaries"; but whatever the conflict, all we have to say is "What saith my Lord unto His servant?" This is the spirit in which we are led - something like Paul, though there is a shade of difference there. The holiness needed for the conflict has been remarked. It is the confiding obedience which I had not noted; nor let us forget that if we eat the corn and fruit of the land now, we have the hidden Manna in heaven - Christ in His thrice blessed humiliation is never lost to our hearts.
The passage of the desert, however invaluable the instruction contained in it, is in a certain sense a parenthesis in the history. The Jordan coalesces, so to speak, with the Red Sea. I still judge what has been often remarked, that the Red Sea is the death and resurrection of Christ for us, and the Jordan our death and resurrection with Christ, but that only shows that one is the realisation of the other, and that all the desert is not the realisation, as in point of fact it is our life in this world with and under the hand of God, but not in heavenly places in conflict with Satan. This idea, remark, leads to a further point, that as we are dead and risen again in fact, another point is involved - ascension - for then we enter into the heavenlies; the redeemed and justified people are not there necessarily - it is their calling, as in Hebrews. So, as to justification in the Romans, we have never the ascension (only once, chapter 8, the fact that Christ is in heaven to intercede), while in the Ephesians we are sitting in heavenly places in Christ. It is not our ascension (then combats will cease) but our place in Christ there which brings, as in Ephesians, into combat with spiritual wickedness, though as to place and title we sit in Christ there. Combats with spiritual wickedness do not belong to the wilderness - we are there with God by redemption.
137 But some interesting points are connected with this coalescing of the Red Sea and Jordan bringing into the heavenly place.
It is to be supposed that the Passover was celebrated in the desert, as the case of an unclean person, or one on a journey is considered, but it essentially belongs to Egypt or Canaan. None of the men, born after Egypt, had been circumcised; this was evidently a characteristic difficulty. The moment they cross Jordan, before a conflict, they are circumcised - then only was the reproach of Egypt rolled away - they eat the old corn of the land, and they celebrate the Passover. And now, note, they had not to put the blood on the doorposts. In Egypt it was present security from deserved judgment - when sitting in heavenly places it was the memorial of Christ's work which had delivered. I apprehend that we never, in this way, realise and meditate on the value of the Cross till, as dead and risen again, we are sitting in heavenly places. Entered in virtue of it, we contemplate its value from a heavenly point of view and capacity. In Egypt we are, as men speak, at the foot of the Cross and come to believe on it as that which we there need. The Christian only in the wilderness may enquire from his experience if he is really out, and has properly, not as in Egypt, the blood for his present need to look at, nor as in heaven, the sweet and blessed memorial of what was done to deliver him. The saint, as sitting in heavenly places, turns to the true Passover, the work of Christ, with thoughts which not even the undelivered sinner in Egypt can have, though it is not his present need.
Nor, as elsewhere observed, is there circumcision till then. Manna was suited to the desert, the corn of the land and the Passover for those who had passed Jordan and were circumcised, who had judged flesh in a heavenly way. This character of the desert is instructive too.
138 Joshua 10
Note the difference of the ways of God. In Ai there is positive sin - lust is at work in the camp - God will not go out with the host, nor justify and so strengthen sin by letting it go on unnoticed. In Gibeon there was false self-confidence after blessing - they did not consult God, hence bound to their enemies. They are obliged to defend and hinder the destruction of the very thing they ought to have destroyed or possessed. They are not beaten, but obliged, though conquering others, as regards Gibeon to be strong to their own prejudice, and preserve what, in weaker times, would be a thorn in their sides.
Another instruction here is that, led of the Lord, Joshua is not, by the attack of his enemies, turned aside to follow them, or hindered from pursuing the course which the Lord Himself sets before him in his conquests. He takes the cities which are on the road the Lord leads him.
- 13. The first part of this verse, and 2 Samuel 1:18, a parenthesis, make no difficulty.
- 29. Note the taking down the king of Ai - God's possession of the land as pure; and the altar on mount Ebal - the people putting themselves in relation with God as brought there by Him, on the ground of thanksgiving - enjoyment, but of condition under, more.
- 10. This makes about seven years for Joshua's wars up to this. It was seven years from the time of crossing Jordan, or in the seventh year when Caleb came to get possession of Hebron. The details, and as to Debir must be enquired into. In northern Palestine Joshua had long war. The southern kings he seems to have conquered more rapidly. Probably while engaged in the north, remains of the Amorite tribes and Anakim had returned to their cities, and Caleb had to drive them out. It is the detail of what is related in the end of chapter 11, there, in a general way, ascribed to the leader in chief appointed of Jehovah. This would tend to make the time from Jordan to Joshua's death thirty or forty years - say he was thirty, a young man, when Caleb was forty; thirty-eight years in the wilderness = 68; 110 - 68 = 42. Thus he outlived the wars perhaps thirty-five years, compare chap. 24:29 and chap. 23:1.
139 - 13-15. As to Kirjath Arba and Hebron; the name "Hebron" is as old as "Kirjath Arba," only it appears at first to have been the name of a district. We read in Numbers 13:22, "Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt." It had received the name of "Arba" from some great man among the Anakim. But in Genesis 13:18, we have "the plain of Mamre which is Hebron"; it is evident that "Hebron" was the local name of the city - its first name, perhaps from the district. Some great chief among the Anakim attached his name to it, but this was merely occasional though it prevailed while they held it, which in the time of Caleb they did; he restored its ancient and true name.
- 7. See in what manner the immense goodness of the Lord considers the conduct of Israel. Israel had murmured, Exodus 14:11, and complained bitterly, but had never cried to the Lord; but in the intercession of Moses all became their cry - their sorrow was a cry. How wonderful this goodness! Compare Exodus 2:23.