Question & Answer – What was the “reproach” that was rolled away in Joshua 5:9?

“And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.”

“Heathen nations had reproached the Lord, and His people, because the Hebrews had not possessed the land of Canaan, which they expected to inherit soon after leaving Egypt. Their enemies had triumphed, because they had so long wandered in the wilderness [40 years], and they proudly lifted themselves up against God, declaring that He was not able to lead them into the land of Canaan. They had now passed over Jordan on dry land, and their enemies could no longer reproach them.” Spiritual Gifts, 4a, 61.

“One other text, if any one were needed to settle the fact that Israel did not get out of Egypt as long as they were in the wilderness, is found in the book of Joshua. You remember the passage, after they had crossed Jordan, then they were circumcised, it is written, ‘This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you’ (Joshua 5:9). Those people, you see, who left Egypt, never got out of Egypt till they had crossed Jordan; for not until then was the reproach of Egypt taken away. Then they were all converted men. That whole nation crossed Jordan by faith. It was a nation that believed God, and there was not a dissenting voice nor a doubting thought—then they were out of Egypt. Thus you see that it is perfectly evident that spiritual Egypt is the literal Egypt of the Bible.” March 7, 1897, A.T. Jones, General Conference Daily Bulletin.

“It was because they would not forsake the idols of Egypt, that the men who left that country with Moses did not enter into the promised land. A people cannot at one and the same time be both free and in bondage. The bondage of Egypt—“the reproach of Egypt”—was not merely the physical labor which the people were forced to do without reward, but was the abominable idolatry of Egypt, into which they had fallen. It was from this that God would deliver His people, when He said to Pharaoh, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me’ (Exodus 7:16).” The Present Truth, UK 836, December 31, 1896.