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The DEEP

Dignity

through uncovering.

Joshua 5:9–12

Then the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.

Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.

What is the reproach of Egypt? And why is the reproach “rolled away” instead of simply taken away or removed?

Note when this happened. The LORD says this to Joshua right after the troops are done being circumcised, not on the day they crossed the Jordan. (They needed to be circumcised because while Israel was in the desert, they didn’t circumcise the male babies, who are now the men who crossed the Jordan.) Thus, what rolled away the reproach of Egypt has to involve the circumcision.

Okay, but again, why call it “the reproach of Egypt”? And why “rolled away”?

The Hebrew word that’s translated as reproach (חֶרְפָּה her-pah) means reproach, taunt, scorn. Thus, it’s not a reference to anything Israel did wrong but a reference to how they had been reproached, taunted, or scorned by people. That’s a clear reference to the scorn of slavery in Egypt. That’s the reproach of Egypt.

But Israel is God’s chosen people, who are the heirs of a covenantal promise of this land. Still, without the covenant sign of circumcision, they’re just runaway slaves.

Now, with everyone circumcised, their status as God’s covenant people is restored. Their reproach is rolled away. Okay, but why say “rolled away” instead of removed or cleansed?

The Hebrew word translated here as “roll” (גָּלָל, ga-lal) is derived from the verb with just the consonants (גלל gll), which means to be great in rank or dignity. The connection is the root verb for both (גלה, glh) which means to uncover or display (a good thing). Circumcision is an uncovering that brings dignity.

Ga-lal (“roll”) is a reference to the restoration of Israel’s dignity as God’s chosen people.


The manna ceasing after they celebrate the Passover is perfect too. For four decades God gave manna to the Israelites—as long as they needed it. Now they don’t.

This seems rather ordinary. It is ordinary. God’s provision of the manna was one of the greatest miracles of all time, yet when it had served its purpose, it simply ceased. No fanfare.

Many of God’s greatest blessings are ordinary. Thus, we don’t think much about them—nor give thanks.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

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The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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