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.’