“And Joshua rose up early in the morning.” Chapters 3 and 4 describe the miraculous entrance of Israel into its inheritance, the Promised Land, including the stopping and drying up of the waters of the Jordan River just as had happened with Moses at the Red Sea. Joshua 5:1 then describes the effect of the Jordan crossing on the local inhabitants. Just as the crossing of the Red Sea melted the hearts of Canaanites (Rahab’s testimony), so the stopping of the Jordan did the same to the Amorites in the Hill Country and the Canaanites on the coast; they had no spirit anymore (cp. Josh. 2:11; 5:1).
“before they crossed over.” The Hebrew word abar (#05674 עָבַר), here translated “crossed over” is a major theme in Joshua because the man Joshua is a type of Christ and the book of Joshua typologically portrays people crossing over from this mortal life into the “Promised Land” of everlasting life (see commentary on Josh. 1:11).