Sefer Yehoshua-Chapter 5: The initial events after the crossing

Chapter 5: The initial events after the crossing


1. The fear of the Canaanite nations:

  • When all the Amorite and Canaanite kings heard of the miracle of the drying of the river bed and the consequential crossing of the Jewish people, their hearts melted, and they became morally deflated to stand in war against the Jews.

2. The Jewish people circumcise themselves:

  • At that time, Hashem instructed Yehoshua to make sharp swords and to circumcise the Jewish people a second time [The first time took place with Moshe who circumcised the parents of the current men being circumcised.[1]]. So, Yehoshua made sharp swords and circumcised the Jewish people in the area that was then named the mound of foreskins.
  • Why they needed to be circumcised: All the Jewish people who had left Egypt were circumcised, while those who were born in the desert throughout the 40 years of travel were not circumcised [due to fear of danger[2]]. So Yehoshua circumcised them.
  • At the completion of the circumcision of the entire people, the people remained in the camp to heal from the circumcision. Hashem told Yehoshua that “On this day I have removed the shame of Egypt from amongst you.” That area was called Gilgal, and this is the name that it retains until this very day.

3. The Jewish people bring the Pesach Sacrifice:

  • The Jewish people encamped in Gilgal and they made the Pesach sacrifice on the 14th day of the month [of Nissan] in the plains of Moav.
  • The Omer sacrifice: The day after Pesach [on the 16th of Nissan[3]] they ate Matzos and roasted grains [after the Hanafas Haomer].
  • The Mun ceases to fall: The Mun ceased to fall starting from the day after [Pesach-the 16th] and they no longer had Mun to eat. Rather, that year they ate from the crops of the land of Canaan.

4. Yehoshua meets the angel of G-d:

  • While Yehoshua was on [the border of[4]] Jericho he raised his eyes and saw a man standing before him with a sword drawn in his hands. Yehoshua approached him and asked him if he belongs to their camps or the camps of the enemy. The person replied that he is not [what he appears] as he is an angel of G-d [i.e. Michael[5]] and has now arrived [to help them bring down the wall of Jericho[6] and warn them against Bittul Torah[7]].
  • Yehoshua’s reaction: Yehoshua fell on his face to the floor and prostrated himself and replied to the angel “What is it that my master desires to tell his servant?”
  • The angel replied to Yehoshua that he should remove his shoes from his feet as the area on which he stands is holy. Yehoshua did as he was instructed.


[1] Rashi 5:2

[2] Rashi 5:2

[3] See Rashi 5:11; Radak 5:12

[4] Rashi 5:13; Radak 5:13

[5] Rashi 5:15

[6] Rashi 5:14;

[7] Radak 5:14

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