The verse in question is Joshua 8:35.

There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them. -Joshua 8:35 (NASB)

The sojourners probably are clearly not in the assembly of Israel, since in multiple places we have "the people of Israel" or any "stranger who sojourns among you" (Lev 16, 17)

When I search "cut off" and "assembly", the only thing I have found is Num 19:20 and Deu 23:1, both of which are for male.

Can we say women and children are "people of Israel" but not in "the assembly of Israel?"

  • I agree that seems to be the case. I remember reading somewhere that the concept of an assembly is kind of a political term where the members of a society imbued with the requisite responsibility are called to assemble for this matter or that. This concept is closely related to the concept of "the called." They are the ones called to assemble. In a patriarchal society, it makes sense that the women and children would be excluded from the accounting of such an assembly.
    – Austin
    Commented Aug 30, 2021 at 4:58
  • Is it an allusion to H5712, yes(e.g. Num 1:2); is it an absolute statement irrespective of context, not really(Num 20:8).
    – user21676
    Commented Aug 30, 2021 at 22:24

2 Answers 2


NASB Lev 16:

17 When he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, so that he may make atonement for himself and for his household, and for all H3605 the assembly H6951 of Israel H3478.
34 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.”

The phrase "all the assembly of Israel" does include women and children. Exactly the same phrase appears in Jos 8:

35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all H3605 the assembly H6951 of Israel H3478 with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them.

Here women and children are appended to the phrase explicitly for emphasis.

with/including the women,
וְהַנָּשִׁ֣ים (wə·han·nā·šîm)
Conjunctive waw, Article | Noun - feminine plural
Strong's 802: Woman, wife, female

The conjunctive waw is added as the prefix to the Hebrew word for women (נָשִׁים). This addition gives the English sense of "with" or "including".

  • That looks good. Thank you. Can you tell us more about where that "with/including" comes from? Is it indicated by the word form of H802 or something. How can we tell those kids and sojourners are not *included" in the assembly?
    – Blaise
    Commented Aug 30, 2021 at 21:51
  • 1
    I added to my answer.
    – user35953
    Commented Aug 30, 2021 at 22:26

Generally speaking, there are three terms in view.

The children of Israel
The assembly
The congregation

The idea is that all are of the congregation, while most are children of Israel, but only some are of the assembly. The assembly is similar to elders.

This -site- provides more context.

And this Stack Exchange post answers also.

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