And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,…
Many fine allegories have been reared upon the foundation of the twenty-four stones that were placed, twelve in the river-bed, and twelve at the encampment in Gilgal. Some have spiritualised them as types of death and the resurrection; others have seen in them a representation of the prophets and apostles of the Old and New Testament dispensations. They mean that the passage of the Israelites over Jordan is —
I. A REAL EVENT. The history that records it is not an oriental poem or a patriotic legend. It is not a fine conception of an impassioned imagination. It is not an exaggeration. We have before us a plain matter of actual history.
II. A SIGNIFICANT EVENT.
1. God was glorified. He was herein exhibited as "the living God" (Joshua 3:10), and "the Lord of all the earth" (Joshua 3:11).
2. Joshua, moreover, was magnified, and shown to be Moses' divinely-sanctioned successor (Joshua 3:7).
3. The Israelites, moreover, were assured. With the remembrance of the naked channel of Jordan, what cause of trepidation can remain?
4. By this miracle their enemies were appalled — namely, the inland Amorites, the immediate spectators; and the Canaanites, or coast tribes (Numbers 13:30) in the distance, who heard the report (Joshua 5:1). The passage took place "right against Jericho" (Joshua 3:16). Oh, portentous sight for the inhabitants of that fortress!
III. A PATTERN EVENT. It was with apparent reference to this event that God promised His people by the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, "When thou passest through the waters," &c. Let us, then, claim the promise, and embrace the consolation that this history declares to us for ourselves. And what can we do in these "swellings of Jordan"? Here is an answer to our misgivings, "The Lord will do wonders among you!"
IV. A SYMBOLICAL EVENT.
1. On the one hand, we may regard the passage of the Jordan as a glorious and "abundant entrance" into the promised inheritance.
2. On the other hand, we may regard it as illustrating, not only the triumphant close, but also the hopeful beginning of the believer's course, and conversion, not death, will be the aspect of Christian experience that we shall recognise.
1. Are you yet in your sins? and do you long to experience the saving change of the new birth? But does a very torrent of difficulties seem to roll at their fullest height between you and the peace and pardon you long to enjoy? Go forward, and fear not. Jesus Himself calls you. He Himself accompanies you. Every hindrance will vanish if you obey His word.
2. Are you already amongst God's people? Have you anxieties, difficulties, obstructions, in your course of life? He who opened a highway through the Jordan is also your helper.
3. Is Jesus your hope, and do you nevertheless quail when you think of the hour of your departure hence, when you must leave all you love here below? (Isaiah 43:1-8).
(G. W. Butler, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,