Unwrap / Sentence Structure

Example - Joshua 3:5

Joshua 3:5 (ESV)

Then Joshua said to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.'

Clue Artifact Implication
  • Joshua (singular, masculine)
  • people (singular)
  • the Lord (singular)
  • Given that people is in its singular form, we observe that the people of Israel is seen as a single unit, not necessarily as a bunch of people. In this, the writer communicates the view of Israel being a single nation.
  • then - after Joshua gives instructions to the Israelites on how to follow the ark of the covenant
  • for - Israel is to consecrate themselves today, because the Lord will do amazing things among them
  • God acts on our behalf out of our obedience and recognition of his holiness
  • wonders
  Questions one may consider:
  • What wonders would God perform?
  • The Hebrew definition describes something that is "too difficult [and] unusual." How difficult or unusual must these wonders be for Israel to recognize that they are from the Lord and not happenstance?
  • How many wonders would God perform, and how many are necessary for God to perform before Israel would understand his power?
  • yourselves (2nd person, plural, reflexive)
  • you (2nd person, plural)
  • While the word people is singular, as covered above, the pronouns are plural. This tends to indicate that, though Joshua spoke to the nation as a single unit, there is still a personal responsibility of each individual. In other words, the blessing of the nation, as a whole, is an outcome of each person's commitment to holiness.
  • said (3rd person, singular, masculine, waw-consecutive + imperfect)
  • consecrate (2nd person, singular, masculine, imperative)
  • will do (3rd person, singular, masculine, imperfect)
  • said is indicated to have been performed as a logical next step (as in, after Joshua gives the Israelites instructions on how to follow the ark, the next step is to prepare themselves for God's wonders)
  • consecrate is a command, not a suggestion
  • though will do seems to imply something taking place in the future, the imperfect tense indicates that it should be considered as already done, as in already determined and performed (though the Israelites have yet to experience it)
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