For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt…
Circumcision and the passover were the two sacraments of the old covenant. The first set forth the truth that enrolment among the people of God must be accompanied with the putting away of evil. The second represented the past deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, and the future deliverance from all the perils of the wilderness by entrance into Canaan, and the final possession of the land of promise. On the eve of the decisive conflict, God commands His people to make a solemn renewal of these two covenants. Israel must be afresh consecrated to Him by that covenant of circumcision which symbolises holiness by the crucifixion of the flesh, and by that passover feast, which is at once the symbol of past and future deliverances. Thus also should the Christian gird himself for the conflict of the spiritual life. When he enlists under the banner of his God, he ought, as it were, to renew his baptismal vows, by what St. Peter calls "the answer of a good conscience," thus dedicating himself to God in the renunciation of all the defilements of sin, by that circumcision of the heart which was the deep truth signified by the old fleshly rite. And further, by partaking of the Christian passover feast, he should testify his entire trust in redeeming love by receiving this most sacred pledge of love, and deriving from it the needed renewal of spiritual strength. That which is true of the individual Christian is true also of the Church. It requires to be constantly baptized a fresh with the Spirit of God, and to receive the pledges and seals of the grace of redemption, as a preparation for its spiritual conflicts. There is one remarkable feature in the sacred narrative. It is said that on the occasion of this first passover celebrated beyond the Jordan, the Israelites "did eat of the old corn of the land" (Joshua 5:10, 11). Thus they not only had in this feast a pledge of the promised deliverance, BUT AN EARNEST OF THE GOOD THINGS TO COME. They not only had a fresh guarantee of the promise, but a beginning of its fulfilment. The same thing is true of the Christian sacrament. While it is an essentially spiritual feast, it still gives in part that which it sets forth and symbolises. Faith receives the Holy Spirit in baptism, and feeds upon the invisible Christ in the Lord's Supper. Christ is to the soul "the living bread which came down from heaven" (John 6:31). Thus even before the Jordan is crossed, the Christian soul eats of the corn of the land of promise. - E. DE P.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
WEB: For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, even the men of war who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they didn't listen to the voice of Yahweh. Yahweh swore to them that he wouldn't let them see the land which Yahweh swore to their fathers that he would give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.