1 Early the next morning Joshua and all the Israelites left Acacia* and arrived at the banks of the Jordan River, where they camped before crossing.1
2 Three days later, the Israelite leaders went through the camp
3 giving these instructions to the people: "When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God, follow them.
4 Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about a half mile* behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don't come any closer."2
5 Then Joshua told the people, "Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you."
6 In the morning Joshua said to the priests, "Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river." And so they started out.
7 The LORD told Joshua, "Today I will begin to make you great in the eyes of all the Israelites. Now they will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses.
8 Give these instructions to the priests who are carrying the Ark of the Covenant: `When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop.' "
9 So Joshua told the Israelites, "Come and listen to what the LORD your God says.
10 Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites.
11 Think of it! The Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River!
12 Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe.
13 The priests will be carrying the Ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth. When their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will pile up there in one heap."
14 When the people set out to cross the Jordan, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them.
15 Now it was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river's edge,
16 the water began piling up at a town upstream called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea* until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the city of Jericho.3
17 Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the LORD's covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by them. They waited there until everyone had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.
Read Joshua 4