joshua 5:13-15


i’m not a catholic. during a recent bible study with some friends we noticed some odd translation differences in our bibles. when joshua sees the commander of the lord’s army he bows. now some of our bible say he bowed and worshiped some say bowed in reverence. i did notice that in the translations where joshua is said to be bowing in reverance the notes said this was an angel of high rank but the translations where joshua is bowing and worshiping the notes said it was Jesus. whats up with that?


Hi TheWeeper,

Those who speak of reverence are too coy. The whole context of the passage is similar to the incident of Moses and the burning bush. No angel here. It is God himself in human guise.



thank you for your response. i did find a previous thread (november '06 titled joshua 5:13-15) very interesting and helpful regarding this very issue.


The following study is an interesting examination of theophanies. A theophany is an appearance of God. God appears in the Old Testament in different ways: as an angel of the Lord (Acts 7:30-32; Exodus 3:2; Judges 2:1), apparently in physical form (Gen. 3:8; Exodus 24:9-11), in visions and dreams (Num. 12:6-8), and in flame (Judges 13:20-21).

Gen. 17:1, "Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless.”

Gen. 18:1, “Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day.”

Ex. 6:2-3, “God spoke further to Moses and said to him, ‘I am the LORD; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I did not make myself known to them.’”

Exodus 24:9-11, “Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they beheld God, and they ate and drank.”

Exodus 33:11, “Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend…”

Num. 12:6-8, "He [God] said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; with him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the LORD…”

Acts 7:2, "And he [Stephen] said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran…”




In the New American Catholic version, the translation has characteristics of what one might say is an angel as well. My translation has ‘one who stood facing him, drawn sword in hand’. Which my Bible study seems to think it refers to St. Michael. But Joshua asks, “what has my lord to say to his servant?” Which could mean he is a messenger, which might indicate it is St. Gabriel. Also, my translation here uses lower case ‘L’ for lord, which suggests to me he is not speaking to God.

However, Verbum makes a good point that the incident with God and Moses’ meeting is very similar. Could it be that the NA version is not as accurate of a translation? Unfortunately I loaned my other version out, and don’t have it handy. Any thoughts? :confused: I know I’m nitpicking, but when I opened my NA Bible to read that passage, I saw that I had marked that exact verse with a question mark a while back. Thanks for any info! :slight_smile:


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