Origen interprets Joshua 5:14 as:

Lat., ( Quis enim alius est princeps militiae virtutum Domini, nisi Dominus noster Jesus Christus? )



In reading this text --- remember --- that this text has indeed been tampered with by Rufinus of Aqueleia, a later tri{3}nitarian, who modified the doctrinal content to fit the changed “orthodoxy” of his time!

But in the sentence above, no doubt, we see at least some trace of what Origen himself believed:

LATIN TEXT ACCORDING TO RUFINUS: “...Et factum est cum esset Jesus in Jericho, respiciens oculis vidit hominem stantem contra se, et gladius evaginatus [Or “evagi natus”] erat manu ejus. Et accedens Jesus dixit ei: “Noster es, an adversariorum? At ille: Ego sum Princeps Militiae Virtutis Domini : nunc adveni.” Respiciens ergo oculis videt principem militiae virtutis Domini, tanquam qui prius non respexit, sed tunc, cum principem militiae Domini visurus esset. Quem tamen cum vidisset Jesus, non eum velut communem hominem vidit, sed intellexit virtutem esse quamdam. Nundum enim certus est ex divinis virtutibus, an ex contrariis una sit quae videtur, et ideo interrogat, et perquirit dicens: “Noster es, an adversariorum?” At ille ait: “Ego sum Princeps Militiae Virtutis Domini, nunc adveni.” Et cum hoc audisset, adoravit Jesus, et dixit: “Domine, quid praecipis servo tuo?” Quid est quod nos per hoc edocet [cdocct] Jesus? Illud sinc dubio quod dicit Apostolus: “Nolite omni spiritui credere, sed probate spiritus [Or “probatespiritus”] si ex Deo sunt.” Cognovit ergo Jesus non solum quod ex Deo est, [[[= Rufinus]]] sed quia Deus est. Non enim adorasset, nisi agnovisset Deum. Quis enim alius est princeps militiae virtutum Domini, nisi Dominus noster Jesus Christus? Omnis namque coeli militia, sive Angeli, sive Archangeli, sive virtutes, sive dominationes, sive principatus, sive potestates, omnia haec quae per ipsum facta sunt, sub ipso principe militant, qui est principum princeps, et qui largitur principibus principatum. Ipse est enim qui dicit in Evangelo: “Esto potestatem habens supra decem civitates.” Et alibi: “Esto tu potestatem habens supraquinque [Or “supra quinque”] civitates.” Hic est qui accepto regno regressus est. [New Paragraph] Sed interim videamus quae praesens lectio suggerit. In Jericho est Jesus, adhuc hostes obtinent civitatem, nondum victi sunt, et jam tamen dicitur ad Jesum: “Solve calceamentum de pedibus tuis, locus enim in quo stasterra [Or “stas terra”] sancta est.” Et quomodo Jericho terra sancta est, quae ab hostibus retinetur? Sed ne forte hoc sit quod indicatur, quia quocumque venerit princeps militiae virtutis Domini, sanctificat locum, quia nec ipsa Jericho locus erat sanctus : sed quia princeps militiae Domini venit illuc, locus dicitur sanctus. Ego etiam amplius aliquid audeo et dico, quia etiam Moses udi stabat, per seipsum non erat locus sanctus, sed quia Dominus stabat cum Mose, praesentia Domini sanctificaverat locum, et ideo dicitur ad eum: “Solvecorrigiam [Or “Solve corrigiam”] calceamenti tui, locus enim in quo stas terrasancta [Or “terra sancta”] est.” Unde et nos si vita et meritis accedamus ad Deum, et digni efficiamur ut assistat nobis Deus, dicitur etiam ad nos ut solvamus a pedibus animae nostrae, si quid in eis vinculi mortalis annexum est. Isti enim sunt pedes, quos lavat Jesus, quos, nisi laverit, non habebimus partem cum eo. Quod si ergo ab anima nostra et sensibus omne vinculum curae [Or “eurae”] mortalis absolvimus, continuo libenter etiam nobis aderit, et assistet Deus...” - (Pages 30-32, Homily 6, Section 2-4, “IN LIBRUM JESU NAVE HOM.” Or “Homilies On Joshua,” By Origen, ” Patres Apostolici, COLLECTIO SELECTA SS. ECCLESIAE PATRUM, Complectens Exquisitissima Opera. By D. M. N. S. Guuillon. M. DCCC. XXIX.)

ORIGEN OF ALEXANDRIA (circa 185-253 C.E.): “...And [2.] it came to pass,” it says: “when Jesus [Joshua] was in Jericho, he looked up with his eyes and saw a man standing in front of him, and a drawn sword in his hand. Approaching Jesus [Joshua] said to him: “Are you one of us or one of the enemy?” And that one said: “I AM CHIEF OF THE ARMY OF THE POWER OF THE LORD ; I HAVE NOW COME.”{14} Thus lifting up his eyes, he sees the Chief of the Army of the Power of the Lord, as if he were one who could not see until then, when he was about to look upon the Chief of the Army of the Power of the Lord. Yet when Jesus [Joshua] had seen him, HE DID NOT SEE HIM AS A COMMON MAN, BUT HE UNDERSTOOD HIM --- TO BE --- ( A CERTAIN POWER ). NEVERTHELESS, NOT YET CERTAIN WHETHER THE ONE HE HAS SEEN IS FROM DIVINE OR HOSTILE ( POWERS ), he therefore asks and diligently inquires saying: “Are you one of us or one of the enemy?” And that one said: “I am Chief of the Army of the Power of the Lord ; I have now come.” And he had heard this: “Jesus [Joshua] worshiped and said: “( Lord ), what do you command your ( servant )?”{15} WHAT IS IT THAT JESUS [JOSHUA] TEACHES US THROUGH THIS? That, doubtless, which the Apostle says: “Do not believe every ( spirit ), but test if it is from God.”{16} Therefore, Jesus [Joshua] recognised not only something from God but that which is God;{*} for he certainly would not have worshipped unless he had recognized God.{*} FOR WHO ELSE IS THE CHIEF [Page 71] OF THE ARMY OF THE POWERS ( OF GOD ){#} - EXCEPT - ( OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST )? For every Heavenly Army, whether Angels or Archangels, whether Powers or “Dominions or Principalities or Authorities,”{17} all these that were made ( through ) him,{^} wage war UNDER THE CHIEF ( HIMSELF ), - WHO IS – THE CHIEF OF CHIEFS and who distributes sovereignty to the sovereigns. For ( He himself ) is the one who says in the Gospel: “Have power over ten cities,” and, to another: “Have power over five cities.”{18} This – is the one who – has returned after accepting the kingdom.{19} [3.] But meanwhile, let us see what the present reading sugests. Jesus [Joshua] is in Jericho, the enimies still occupy the city and have not yet been conquered. Now, nevertheless, it is said to Jesus [Joshua]: “Loose the sandal from your feet ; for the place on which you stand is holy ground.”{20} And in what manner is Jerich holy ground since it is retained by the enimies? This indicates, and not by accident, that the Chief of the Army of the Power of the Lord santifies every place to which he comes, for Jericho itself was not a holy place. But because the Chief of the Army ( of God ) came there, the place is said to be holy. I also dare something more and say that even the place where Moses stood was not holy through Moses himself ; but because the Lord{+} stood with him. The ( presence of the Lord ){+} had sanctified the place ; and on that account, it is said to him: “Loosen the latchet of your sandal ; for the place onwhich you stand is holy ground.”{21} Whence also if we should approach the Lord because of our life and merits and be made worthy so that God stands by us,{*} we are also told to set free our feet of our soul, if they have been bound by any mortal fetter. For those are our: “feet that Jesus washes ; and unless he has washed them, we shall have a part of him.”{22} If, therefore, we loose every fetter of mortal concern from our soul and from our senses, God{*} will gladly, without delay, also be present to us and will stand by us. [4.] But let us see what there is in what follows. Jericho is surrounded ; it must be captured. How, therefore, is Jericho captured? [Page 72] The sword is not drawn against it ; the battering ram is not arranged, nor is the spear hurled. The priestly trumpets alone are employed, and by these the walls of Jericho are overthrown.{23} We frequently find Jericho to be placed in Scripture as a figure of this world. For also in the Gospel it is said that: “A man had descended from Jerusalem to Jericho and had run into thieves.”{24} This is undoubtedly a ( type ) of that Adam who was driven from Paradise into exile of this world. But also the blind men who were in Jericho, those to whom Jesus came in order that he might make them see,{25} bore the sign of those who continue to be overwhelmed in this world by the blindness of ignorance, to whom the Son of God comes. Consequently, this Jericho (that is, this world) is about to fall ; for indeed the consumation of the age has already been made known a little while ago by the sacred books. In what way therefore, will the consummation be given it? By what instruments? By the sound, it says, of trumpets. Of what trumpets? Let Paul make known the ( mystery of this secret ) to you. Hear what he himself says: “The trumpet will sound,” says he: “And the dead who are ( in ) Christ will rise incorruptible,”{26} and: “The Lord ( himself ) with a command, with the voice of ( the – Archangel ) and with the trumpet of God, will descend from heaven.”{27} At that time, therefore, Jesus our Lord conquers Jericho with trumpets and overthrows it, so that out of it, only the prostitute is saved and all her house. Therefore, our Lord will come and he will come with the sound of trumpets. But just now let us pray that he may come destroy: “The world that lay in wickedness,” and all things that are in the world, because: “Everything that is in the world is the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes.”{29} May he destroy that, may he disolve it again and again, and save only [Page 73] this one who received his spies and who placed his apostles, received with faith and obedience, in the high places. And may he join and unite the prostitute with the house of Israel...” - (Pages 70-73, Homily 6, Section 2-4, “Homilies on Joshua,” By Origen, Barbara J. Bruce, Cynthia White, 2002.)
[FOOTNOTE 14]: Joshua 5:13-14.
[FOOTNOTE 15]: Joshua 5:14.
[FOOTNOTE 16]: 1st John 4:1
[FOOTNOTE 17]: Colossians 1:16 also compare Col. 2:10.
[FOOTNOTE 18]: Luke 19:17-19.
[FOOTNOTE 19]: Luke 19:15.
[FOOTNOTE 20]: Joshua 5:15.
[FOOTNOTE 21]: Exodus 3:5.
[FOOTNOTE 22]: John 13:8
[FOOTNOTE 23]: Joshua 6:20.
[FOOTNOTE 24]: Luke 10:30. For further disscussion of this parable, see Origen's Commentary On Matthew 16:9, and Homilies On Luke 34.
[FOOTNOTE 25]: Matthew 20:29-30.
[FOOTNOTE 26]: 1st Corinthians 15:52.
[FOOTNOTE 27]: ***1st Thessalonians 4:16 ***
[FOOTNOTE 28]: 1st John 5:19.
[FOOTNOTE 29]: 1st John 2:16.
[FOOTNOTE *]: This is clearly Rufinus at work, deliberately and consciously changing the original meaning of the text.
[FOOTNOTE]: “Jesus” in Hebrew and Greek are the same as our “Joshua.”


  1. Hello Steve.

    I have just had a look at your blog.

    It's interesting.

    May I ask, what prompted you to give me the invitation?


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