Israel Commemorates the Crossing
4:1 When the entire nation was on the other side,1 the Lord told Joshua, 4:2 “Select for yourselves twelve men from the people, one per tribe. 4:3 Instruct them, ‘Pick up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests2 stand firmly, and carry them over with you and put them in the place where you camp tonight.’ ”
4:4 Joshua summoned the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one per tribe. 4:5 Joshua told them, “Go in front of the ark of the Lord your God to the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to put a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the Israelite tribes. 4:6 The stones3 will be a reminder to you.4 When your children ask someday, ‘Why are these stones important to you?’ 4:7 tell them how the water of the Jordan stopped flowing5 before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the water of the Jordan stopped flowing.6 These stones will be a lasting memorial for the Israelites.”
4:8 The Israelites did just as Joshua commanded. They picked up twelve stones, according to the number of the Israelite tribes, from the middle of the Jordan as the Lord had instructed Joshua. They carried them over with them to the camp and put them there. 4:9 Joshua also set up twelve stones7 in the middle of the Jordan in the very place where the priests carrying the ark of the covenant stood. They remain there to this very day.
4:10 Now the priests carrying the ark of the covenant were standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua to tell the people was accomplished, in accordance with all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people went across quickly, 4:11 and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed as the people looked on.8 4:12 The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed for battle ahead of the Israelites, just as Moses had instructed them. 4:13 About forty thousand battle-ready troops9 marched past the Lord to fight10 on the plains of Jericho.11 4:14 That day the Lord brought honor to Joshua before all Israel. They respected12 him all his life,13 just as they had respected14 Moses.
4:15 The Lord told Joshua, 4:16 “Instruct the priests carrying the ark of the covenantal laws15 to come up from the Jordan.” 4:17 So Joshua instructed the priests, “Come up from the Jordan!” 4:18 The priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord came up from the middle of the Jordan, and as soon as they set foot on dry land,16 the water of the Jordan flowed again and returned to flood stage.17
4:19 The people went up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month18 and camped in Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho.19 4:20 Now Joshua set up in Gilgal the20 twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan. 4:21 He told the Israelites, “When your children someday ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones represent?’21 4:22 explain22 to your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan River23 on dry ground.’ 4:23 For the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you while you crossed over. It was just like when the Lord your God dried up the Red Sea before us while we crossed it.24 4:24 He has done this so25 all the nations26 of the earth might recognize the Lord’s power27 and so you might always obey28 the Lord your God.”
5:1 When all the Amorite kings on the west side of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the seacoast heard how the Lord had dried up the water of the Jordan before the Israelites while they1 crossed, they lost their courage and could not even breathe for fear of the Israelites.2
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