Joshua 3

The people cross the Jordan

1 Early in the morning, Joshua and all the Israelites left the city of Shittim. They put their tents by the river Jordan. They waited to cross the river.

2 Three days later, their leaders went to every tent. 3 ‘You will see the priests carrying the Covenant Box of the Lord your God,’ they said to the people. ‘Then you must carry your tents and follow them. 4 They will show you the way to go because you have never been here before. But stay about 1,000 metres behind the Covenant Box. Do not go near it.’

5 Joshua told the people to make themselves holy and ready for the Lord. ‘Tomorrow the Lord will do great things that will surprise you completely,’ he said.

6 ‘Take up the Covenant Box, and go in front of the people,’ Joshua said to the priests. So, they picked it up, and went on in front of the people.

7 And the Lord spoke to Joshua. ‘Today I will begin to make you look important in front of all the people of Israel,’ he said. ‘I was with Moses. And they will know that I am with you too. 8 The priests that are carrying the Covenant Box will reach the edge of the river Jordan. Tell them, “Go and stand in the river.” ’

9 Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 Your God is alive. He is going to show you that he is with you. He will show you how powerful he is. He will certainly push the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites from this land. 11 See the Covenant Box of the Lord of all the earth go into the Jordan in front of you. 12 Now choose 12 men, one from each tribe of Israel. 13 The priests are carrying the Covenant Box. As soon as their feet go into the water of the river, the Lord will stop its water from coming towards them. Instead, the water will rise up like a wall.’

3:10The people of the tribe of Israel are called Israelites. The people of the tribe of Canaan are called Canaanites. It is the same with the names of the people of other tribes, as in verse 9.

14 So the priests carrying the Covenant Box went in front of the people towards the river. 15 There was a lot of water coming down the river at that time of the year. But as soon as the priests carrying the Covenant Box went into the river, 16 the water stopped coming. It stopped a long way up the river, at a town called Adam near Zarethan. The water going down to the Salt Sea stopped completely. So, the people crossed the river near Jericho. 17 While the people walked across on dry ground, the priests carrying the Covenant Box of the Lord stood still in the middle of the Jordan. They stood there until all the people had crossed.