Joshua and the Commander of the Lords Army
“When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy,” And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15
In Joshua chapter 5 verses 13-15, there is a mysterious character that appears to Joshua at a period of time that seems to be shortly after Passover, and is even more mysterious with the message he retains. After reading this passage I couldn’t help but think through the rest of my reading who this person was, and why was he there? And most of all why doesn’t the text explain the reasoning behind all of this? When the scene is first set close to Jericho, Joshua encounters a man who was standing in front of him with his sword drawn in his hand, on researching this topic the position of the commander is significant because it signifies that he is standing with or guarding Israel. Is the commander of the Lord’s army who appeared to Joshua the literal commander of the Lord’s army or the commander whom the Lord sent to command the army here on earth? Many others believe upon research that the commander who Joshua encountered was an actual angel of the Lord or a Christophany, which is believed to be manifestation of Christ or another deity who reveals God. This thought is backed because of what happens later in the chapter when Joshua falls to his face and worships this man; it is thought that if this commander were a man or prophet he would’ve denied the worshipping of Joshua. However, this is not the case, he instructs Joshua to take off his sandals because where he was standing was holy ground, with which Joshua obliges. The fact that Joshua was instructed to take off his sandals makes me think that Joshua was receiving a message from God much like Moses did from the burning bush when he was instructed to remove his sandals as well. Also, in research I found an interesting reason for the appearance of the commander of the Lord’s army, being that he appeared to Joshua simply to signify to Joshua that the Lord is still with him and the people of Israel and continues to be just as he was in Genesis and Exodus. I found this topic fascinating mostly because of how one can find such a significant message from literally two verses amongst tens of thousands.