Joshua 5: Ceremonies in the Promised Land

The Israelite confirm their devotion to God by getting circumcised and celebrating the Passover.


Before the Israelites can go to war, they have to wrap up all of their unfinished business with God! This includes circumcision and celebrating the Passover. In addition we learn that the kings of the Canaanites and the Amorites have heard of Israel's miraculous entry. This news makes their hearts melt.


It appears that during their years in the wilderness, the Israelites had neglected circumcision. Joshua is commanded to circumcise all the men using sharp knives. Joshua 5:2 says "again" and "second time" in reference to circumcision, which could be referring to time periods; the Israelites practiced circumcision before captivity and now they would take of the practice again, for the second time. Of course, it could also refer to a second circumcision.[1][2] Regardless of what is meant by "again," the sign goes back to the covenant made with Abraham and symbolizes their faith. The circumcision also served as a symbol of their status as the chosen people.


Unleavened Bread
The Israelites kept the Passover on the 14th day as instructed. The observance occurred in Gilgal, outside of Jericho. This was the last time they received manna from God. Now that they were in the promised land, they could eat their fill from the land. Gilgal is mentioned throughout the Old Testament; it is featured prominently in 1 Samuel.

Captain of the Host of the Lord

God sends someone, referred to as the captain of the Host of the Lord. Joshua was concerned that his drawn sword was meant for Joshua, however, the man reveals his identity as a captain of God's army. Upon this news, Joshua begins to worship the man. The man responds that Joshua should remove his shoes because he stood on holy ground. I wonder if this man was Jesus or the Holy Spirit. It seems unlikely that worship of an angel would be allowed, which implies the captain must have been part of the Godhead.


  1. "Joshua 5:2 Commentary". Bible Hub. 2016
  2. Joshua 5:2 Commentary. Bible Study Tools. 2016

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