1 When all the people of Israel had crossed the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua. 2 ‘Choose 12 men from the people, one from each tribe,’ he said. 3 ‘Tell them to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan. Take them from where the priests are standing. Carry the stones over with you. Put them down 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 in front of the Covenant Box of the Lord into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you must pick up a stone and put it on his shoulder. There will be one stone for each of the tribes of Israel. 6 This will be like a special mark for you. In years to come, your children will ask you, “What do these stones mean?” 7 Then you will tell them that the waters of the river Jordan stopped moving. That was while the Lord's Covenant Box went across the river. These stones will help the people of Israel to remember this for ever.’
8 So the 12 men obeyed Joshua. They took 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan as the Lord had told Joshua. There was one stone for each tribe of Israel. They carried the stones to the place where the people had put their tents. And they put the stones down. 9 Joshua also put 12 stones from the Jordan in the middle of the Jordan, in the place where the priests with the Covenant Box had stood. The stones were still there when we wrote this. 10 The priests stood in the middle of the Jordan. Then people did everything as the Lord had told Joshua. The Lord had spoken to Joshua as he had spoken to Moses.
The people crossed 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, ready to fight, as Moses had told them. 13 About 40,000 men, ready to fight, crossed to the flat land near Jericho.
4:12The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh already had their own land.
4:13The men crossed the river to help the other Israelites.
14 This is what the Lord did that day. It made all the people think that Joshua was a great man. They gave him honour all his life, as they had honoured Moses.
15 Then the Lord spoke again to Joshua. 16 ‘Tell the priests carrying the Covenant Box to come up out of the Jordan.’
17 So Joshua said to the priests, ‘Come up out of the Jordan.’ 18 And the priests came up out of the river. They were carrying the Covenant Box of the Lord. As soon as their feet touched the dry ground, the waters of the Jordan began to return. There was much water and it moved fast.
19 The people went from the Jordan and put their tents at Gilgal on the tenth day of the first month. Gilgal was a city on the east side of Jericho. 20 At Gilgal, Joshua put the 12 stones that they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the people of Israel, ‘Your children will ask, in later years, “What do these stones mean?” 22 Then you must tell them, “Israel went across the river Jordan on dry ground.” 23 The Lord your God made the river dry up, as he made the Red Sea dry up. He dried the Red Sea so that we could cross it when we left Egypt. 24 The Lord did this so that all the people of the world would see how powerful he was. He did it so that you would always obey the Lord your God.’