Twelve stones become a monument
Picking stones from the Jordan1 All the people of Israel crossed the Jordan River. Then the LORD spoke to Joshua. 2 “Pick a dozen men, one for each tribe. 3 Tell them: ‘I want each of you to pick up one stone from the middle of the riverbed, near where the priests are standing. Carry the stones across the river. When you make camp for the night, set the 12 stones down.” 4 So, Joshua called up the 12 men he chose, one from each of Israel’s 12 tribes.
5 Joshua told them, “Walk into the middle of the riverbed, where the priests are standing and holding the Box of the Law. I want each of you to pick up a stone from near there and carry it with you on your shoulders across the river. One stone apiece. It’s going to represent your tribe. 6 These are going to become memorial stones. In the years to come, your children will see these stones and ask, ‘Why are these stones here?’ 7 Then you’ll tell them, ‘These stones remind us that when priests carried the Box of the Law into the Jordan River, the water stopped flowing.’ These stones will help keep this memory alive for generations to come.”
Joshua’s underwater monument8 So, the 12 men did what Joshua said. They each picked up a stone from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe. And they carried them across the river. Then they put them down when they stopped to make camp. 9 Joshua gathered another 12 stones and set them up in a pile in the middle of the riverbed. He put them where the priests had stood with the Box of the Law, while everyone crossed. The stones are still there.
10 Priests carrying the Box of Law stood in the middle of the riverbed until everyone finished doing what the LORD told them to do. That included what Moses told Joshua to do, as well. The people hurried across the riverbed. 11 Once everyone crossed the river, priests carrying the Box of the Law returned to their position at the front. 12 Warriors from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh had taken up a battle formation, to lead the people across. 13 About 40,000 warriors armed themselves for battle. Then they presented themselves to the LORD, ready to fight. 14 This is the day God chose to shine his light on Joshua. Because of what happened on this day, when Israel crossed the river, the people respected him for the rest of his life.
Jordan River flows again15 The LORD told Joshua, 16 “Tell the priests carrying the Box of the Law to step up out of the Jordan riverbed.” 17 So, Joshua did that. He said, “Step out of the Jordan now.” 18 Priests carrying the Box of the Law left the riverbed. The moment their feet rose out of the riverbed, the Jordan River started flowing again. The water level returned to where it had been, crested over the banks.
First camp in Promised Land19 Israel’s people crossed the river in April. They made camp at Gilgal, on the riverside eastern outskirts of Jericho. 20 Joshua gathered the 12 stones collected earlier and set them up as a marker. 21 He told the people, “Your children will see this stone monument. They’ll ask you, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ 22 Tell them, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan River on dry ground.’ 23 The LORD your God dried up the water of the Jordan River so you could cross it. He did the same thing for you earlier, when he dried the Reed Sea so you could cross. 24 He did this so people everywhere would know the LORD is strong. And he did it to make an impression on you, and so you would respect him for the rest of your lives.
Also known as the Ark of the Covenant, a gold-plated box that held the Ten Commandments. It represented the presence of God among the Israelites, traveling with them and, in this case, ahead of them.
These tribes had already conquered their assigned land, east of the Jordan River. Since the other tribes had helped them do it, these three agreed to help the rest of the tribes conquer their lands. More than that, they agreed to “lead the charge” (Numbers 32:17) and keep fighting “until all our enemies are gone” (32:21).
It’s not “April” in the Hebrew language of the Book of Joshua. But it’s the equivalent date. The Hebrew language calls it the “tenth day of the first month.” The first month in the ancient Israelite calendar was Aviv, later called Nisan. The tenth day of Nisan was the day Israelites and their Jewish descendants chose the Passover lamb. This is the lamb they would butcher and eat at the Passover meal five days later, on the fifteenth.
Contenders for Gilgal include several dirt-covered mounds of ruins near Jericho. No winners yet.
Many Bibles say “Red Sea.” But the Hebrew words are yam suph, “sea reeds.” Moses and the Hebrew refugees escaped through a path God made in this body of water. Scholars usually track Moses and the Hebrews escaping Egypt by walking southeast, out of the Nile Delta fields and toward the Red Sea and the Sinai Peninsula. They would have passed through lake regions along what is now the Suez Canal, which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. These lakes and ponds reportedly had reeds growing along the banks, like the ones the Bible says grew along the Nile River and helped anchor Baby Moses in a basket (Exodus 2:3).
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.