Joshua 3:1-5:1

The people cross the Jordan

1 Early the next morning, Joshua and all the Israelites left Shittim. They put up their tents beside the Jordan river. They waited to cross the river.

2 Three days later, the Israelite leaders went to every tent. 3 They commanded the people, ‘The Levite priests will carry the Covenant Box of the Lord your God. When you see them, you must leave here and you must follow them. 4 They will show you the way to go because you have never been here before. But do not go too near to the Covenant Box. Stay about 1,000 metres behind it.’

5 Joshua said to the people, ‘Make yourselves ready to serve the Lord as his holy people. Tomorrow the Lord will do great miracles among you.’

6 He said to the priests, ‘Pick up the Covenant Box, and carry it in front of the people.’ So they picked it up, and they went on in front of the people.

7 Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I will begin to make all the Israelite people respect you. They will know that I am with you, in the same way that I was with Moses. 8 The priests that are carrying the Covenant Box must go to the shore of the Jordan river. Tell them to go on into the river and to stand there.’

9 Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 The God who lives for ever is with you. He will certainly chase the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites out from this land. Then you will have their land. The Lord will show you that he will certainly do this. 11 Look now! The Covenant Box of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan river in front of you. 12 Now choose 12 men, one from each tribe of Israel's family. 13 Watch the priests who are carrying the Covenant Box. As soon as their feet touch the water of the river, you will see that the water stops running. It will rise up like a wall.’

3:10Many different tribes lived in Canaan land.

14 So the Israelite people prepared to leave their tents. The priests carried the Covenant Box towards the Jordan river. The people followed them. 15 It was the time of the harvest and there was a lot of water coming down the river. But when the priests reached the shore of the river with the Covenant Box and their feet touched the water, 16 the water stopped. It stopped a long way up the river, at a town called Adam. That is near Zarethan. The water going down to the Salt Sea stopped completely. So, the people crossed the river near Jericho city. 17 The priests stood in the middle of the river on dry ground, with the Lord's Covenant Box. While they stood there, all the Israelite people walked across the river on dry ground. In the way, the whole nation arrived on the other side of the river.

Joshua 4

1 When the whole Israelite nation had crossed the Jordan river, the Lord spoke to Joshua. 2 He said, ‘Choose 12 men from the people, one from each tribe. 3 Tell them, “Pick up 12 stones from the middle of the river. Take them from the place where the priests are standing. Carry the stones with you to the shore. Put them in the place where you stay tonight.” ’

4 So Joshua called the 12 men that he had chosen, one from each Israelite tribe. 5 He said to them, ‘Go into the middle of the river, beyond the Lord's Covenant Box. Each of you must pick up a stone and put it on his shoulder. There will be one stone for each of the Israelite tribes. 6 The heap of stones will help you to remember what happened today. In future years, your children will ask you, “What do these stones mean?” 7 Then you will tell them that the water in the Jordan river stopped where the Lord's Covenant Box was. When the priests carried the Covenant Box into the river, the water stopped. These stones will help the people of Israel to remember this for ever.’

8 So the 12 men obeyed Joshua's command. They took 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan river, as the Lord had told Joshua. There was one stone for each Israelite tribe. They carried the stones to the place where the people had put their tents. They put the stones down there. 9 Joshua also made a heap of 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan river. He put them in the place where the priests with the Covenant Box had stood. Those stones are still there today.

4:9The stones were still there when this book was written.

10 The priests had carried the Covenant Box into the middle of the river. They stood there while the people did everything that the Lord had told Joshua. That is what Moses had also told Joshua.

The people crossed over the river quickly. 11 As soon as everybody was on the other side, the priests also took the Covenant Box to the other side. The people watched them as they did this. 12 The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh led the people across. They were all ready to fight, as Moses had told them. 13 About 40,000 men who had weapons crossed to the flat land near Jericho. They marched past the Lord's Covenant Box.

4:12The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh already had their own land on the east side of the Jordan river.

14 That day the Lord caused all the Israelite people to respect Joshua. They respected him all his life, as they had respected Moses.

15 Then the Lord said to Joshua, 16 ‘Tell the priests who are carrying the Covenant Box to come up out of the Jordan river.’

17 So Joshua told the priests, ‘Come up out of the Jordan.’ 18 So the priests came up from the middle of the river. They were carrying the Lord's Covenant Box. As soon as their feet touched the dry ground on the shore, the water of the Jordan ran again. There was so much water that it made a flood, like before.

19 On the tenth day of the first month, the people left the shore of the Jordan river. They put up their tents at a place called Gilgal. That was on the east side of Jericho city. 20 At Gilgal, Joshua made a heap with the 12 stones that they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelite people, ‘In future years, your children will ask you, “What do these stones mean?” 22 Then you must tell them, “We Israelites went across the Jordan river on dry ground.” 23 Yes, you have seen what the Lord your God has done. He made the Jordan river become dry, so that you could cross over it. That was like he did to the Red Sea, so that we could cross it when we left Egypt. 24 The Lord has done this so that all the nations of the world can see how powerful he is. He did it so that you would always obey him, the Lord your God.’

Joshua 5

1 Many people heard how the Lord had caused the Jordan river to become dry. This included all the Amorite kings on the west side of the Jordan river, and all the Canaanite kings who lived near the sea. They heard how the Lord had made the river become dry until all the Israelites had crossed to the other side. So the kings became very afraid of the Israelite people. They felt too weak to fight against them.

5:1These Amorite and Canaanite kings ruled people on the west side of the Jordan river. When they saw that the Israelites had crossed the Jordan river to their side, they became very afraid.