Joshua 4

Joshua 4

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1 When all the people were safely across the river, the LORD said to Joshua,

2 "Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe.

3 Tell the men to take twelve stones from where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan and pile them up at the place where you camp tonight."

4 So Joshua called together the twelve men

5 and told them, "Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the LORD your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder--twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes.

6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future, your children will ask, `What do these stones mean to you?'

7 Then you can tell them, `They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the LORD's covenant went across.' These stones will stand as a permanent memorial among the people of Israel."

8 So the men did as Joshua told them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the LORD had commanded Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there.

9 Joshua also built another memorial of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. The memorial remains there to this day.

10 The priests who were carrying the Ark stood in the middle of the river until all of the LORD's instructions, which Moses had given to Joshua, were carried out. Meanwhile, the people hurried across the riverbed.

11 And when everyone was on the other side, the priests crossed over with the Ark of the LORD.

12 The armed warriors from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh led the Israelites across the Jordan, just as Moses had directed.

13 These warriors--about forty thousand strong--were ready for battle, and they crossed over to the plains of Jericho in the LORD's presence.

14 That day the LORD made Joshua great in the eyes of all the Israelites, and for the rest of his life they revered him as much as they had revered Moses.

15 The LORD had said to Joshua,

16 "Command the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant* to come up out of the riverbed."1

17 So Joshua gave the command.

18 And as soon as the priests carrying the Ark of the LORD's covenant came up out of the riverbed, the Jordan River flooded its banks as before.

19 The people crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month--the month that marked their exodus from Egypt.* They camped at Gilgal, east of Jericho.2

20 It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River.

21 Then Joshua said to the Israelites, "In the future, your children will ask, `What do these stones mean?'

22 Then you can tell them, `This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.'

23 For the LORD your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea* when he dried it up until we had all crossed over.3

24 He did this so that all the nations of the earth might know the power of the LORD, and that you might fear the LORD your God forever."

Read Joshua 5


1: Hebrew Ark of the Testimony.

2: Hebrew the tenth day of the first month. This day of the Hebrew lunar calendar occurs in late March or early April.

3: Hebrew sea of reeds.

New Living Translation Bible and Notes used with permission Tyndale House Publishers.

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