And he said unto the people, pass on, and compass the city,
&c.] The women and children, the young men under twenty years of age, the unarmed part of the camp, as distinguished from the armed men:
and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the Lord;
to guard the ark, protect the priests, and defend the people, should any sally be made by the enemy upon them. These seem to design all the males that were above twenty years of age able to bear arms, and fit for war; though some restrain it to the forty thousand of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, ( Joshua 1:14 ) ( 4:12 ) .