English Standard Version
The Commander of the Lord's Army
13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, (A)a man was standing before him (B)with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua (C)fell on his face to the earth and worshiped[a] and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”Read full chapter
- Joshua 5:14 Or and paid homage
13 Now when Joshua was traveling near the city of Jericho, he saw a man standing in front of him with a sword drawn and ready.
Joshua (stepping toward him): Are you one of us, or are you one of our enemies?
The Man: 14 Neither; I am here now as commander of the Eternal’s army.
Joshua (falling to the ground): What is your command for your servant, my lord?
New English Translation
Israel Conquers Jericho
13 When Joshua was near[a] Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him holding a drawn sword.[b] Joshua approached him and asked him, “Are you on our side or allied with our enemies?”[c] 14 He answered,[d] “Truly I am the commander of the Lord’s army.[e] Now I have arrived!”[f] Joshua bowed down with his face to the ground[g] and asked, “What does my master want to say to his servant?”Read full chapter
- Joshua 5:13 tn Heb “in.”
- Joshua 5:13 tn Heb “he lifted up his eyes and looked. And look, a man was standing in front of him, and his sword was drawn in his hand.” The verb הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) invites the reader to view the scene through Joshua’s eyes. By calling the stranger “a man,” the author reflects Joshua’s perspective. The text shortly reveals his true identity (vv. 14-15).
- Joshua 5:13 tn Heb “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
- Joshua 5:14 tc Heb “He said, “Neither.” An alternative reading is לוֹ (lo, “[He said] to him”; cf. NEB). This reading is supported by many Hebrew mss, as well as the LXX and Syriac versions. The traditional reading of the MT (לֹא, loʾ, “no, neither”) is probably the product of aural confusion (the two variant readings sound the same in Hebrew). Although followed by a number of modern translations (cf. NIV, NRSV), this reading is problematic, for the commander of the Lord’s army would hardly have declared himself neutral.
- Joshua 5:14 sn The Lord’s heavenly army, like an earthly army, has a commander who leads the troops. For the phrase שַׂר־צְבָא (sar tsevaʾ, “army commander”) in the human sphere, see among many other references Gen 21:22, 32; 26:26; Judg 4:2, 7; 1 Sam 12:9.
- Joshua 5:14 sn The commander’s appearance seems to be for Joshua’s encouragement. Joshua could now lead Israel into battle knowing that the Lord’s invisible army would ensure victory.
- Joshua 5:14 tn Heb “Joshua fell on his face to the ground and bowed down.”
New Century Version
13 Joshua was near Jericho when he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and asked, “Are you a friend or an enemy?”
14 The man answered, “I am neither. I have come as the commander of the Lord’s army.”
Then Joshua bowed facedown on the ground and asked, “Does my master have a command for me, his servant?”Read full chapter
New Living Translation
The Lord’s Commander Confronts Joshua
13 When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?”
14 “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the Lord’s army.”
At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?”Read full chapter