Joshua Installed as Leader

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord,(A) the Lord said to Joshua(B) son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River(C) into the land(D) I am about to give to them(E)—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot,(F) as I promised Moses.(G) Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon,(H) and from the great river, the Euphrates(I)—all the Hittite(J) country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.(K) No one will be able to stand against you(L) all the days of your life. As I was with(M) Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake(N) you. Be strong(O) and courageous,(P) because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors(Q) to give them.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey(R) all the law(S) my servant Moses(T) gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left,(U) that you may be successful wherever you go.(V) Keep this Book of the Law(W) always on your lips;(X) meditate(Y) on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.(Z) Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;(AA) do not be discouraged,(AB) for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”(AC)

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Crossing the Jordan

Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim(A) and went to the Jordan,(B) where they camped before crossing over.

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Rahab and the Spies

Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies(A) from Shittim.(B) “Go, look over(C) the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.(D)” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab(E) and stayed there.

The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab:(F) “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”

But the woman had taken the two men(G) and hidden them.(H) She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate,(I) they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.”(J) (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax(K) she had laid out on the roof.)(L) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan,(M) and as soon as the pursuers(N) had gone out, the gate was shut.

Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof(O) and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear(P) of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up(Q) the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt,(R) and what you did to Sihon and Og,(S) the two kings of the Amorites(T) east of the Jordan,(U) whom you completely destroyed.[b](V) 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear(W) and everyone’s courage failed(X) because of you,(Y) for the Lord your God(Z) is God in heaven above and on the earth(AA) below.

12 “Now then, please swear to me(AB) by the Lord that you will show kindness(AC) to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign(AD) 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them(AE)—and that you will save us from death.”

14 “Our lives for your lives!”(AF) the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully(AG) when the Lord gives us the land.”

15 So she let them down by a rope(AH) through the window,(AI) for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the hills(AJ) so the pursuers(AK) will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days(AL) until they return, and then go on your way.”(AM)

17 Now the men had said to her, “This oath(AN) you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord(AO) in the window(AP) through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family(AQ) into your house. 19 If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads;(AR) we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head(AS) if a hand is laid on them. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.(AT)

21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.”

So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord(AU) in the window.(AV)

22 When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days,(AW) until the pursuers(AX) had searched all along the road and returned without finding them. 23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands;(AY) all the people are melting in fear(AZ) because of us.”

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  1. Joshua 2:10 Or the Sea of Reeds
  2. Joshua 2:10 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.

10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people:(A) 11 “Go through the camp(B) and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions(C) ready. Three days(D) from now you will cross the Jordan(E) here to go in and take possession(F) of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”

12 But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh,(G) Joshua said, 13 “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you after he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest(H) by giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives,(I) your children and your livestock may stay in the land(J) that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle,(K) must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites.(L) You are to help them 15 until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the Lord your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”(M)

16 Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.(N) 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you.(O) Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey(P) it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!(Q)

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After three days(A) the officers(B) went throughout the camp,(C) giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant(D) of the Lord your God, and the Levitical(E) priests(F) carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits[a](G) between you and the ark; do not go near it.”

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves,(H) for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things(I) among you.”

Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you(J) in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.(K) Tell the priests(L) who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God(M) is among you(N) and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites,(O) Hivites, Perizzites,(P) Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.(Q) 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth(R) will go into the Jordan ahead of you.(S) 12 Now then, choose twelve men(T) from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth(U)—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream(V) will be cut off(W) and stand up in a heap.(X)

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant(Y) went ahead(Z) of them. 15 Now the Jordan(AA) is at flood stage(AB) all during harvest.(AC) Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing.(AD) It piled up in a heap(AE) a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan,(AF) while the water flowing down(AG) to the Sea of the Arabah(AH) (that is, the Dead Sea(AI)) was completely cut off.(AJ) So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.(AK) 17 The priests(AL) who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground,(AM) while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.(AN)

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan,(AO) the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men(AP) from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones(AQ) from the middle of the Jordan,(AR) from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.(AS)

So Joshua called together the twelve men(AT) he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan.(AU) Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign(AV) among you. In the future, when your children(AW) ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’(AX) tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off(AY) before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial(AZ) to the people of Israel forever.”

So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones(BA) from the middle of the Jordan,(BB) according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua;(BC) and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. Joshua set up the twelve stones(BD) that had been[b] in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.(BE)

10 Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched. 12 The men of Reuben,(BF) Gad(BG) and the half-tribe of Manasseh(BH) crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites,(BI) as Moses had directed them.(BJ) 13 About forty thousand armed for battle(BK) crossed over(BL) before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.

14 That day the Lord exalted(BM) Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.

15 Then the Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant law(BN) to come up out of the Jordan.”

17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”

18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place(BO) and ran at flood stage(BP) as before.

19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal(BQ) on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones(BR) they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’(BS) 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’(BT) 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[c] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.(BU) 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know(BV) that the hand of the Lord is powerful(BW) and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.(BX)

Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast(BY) heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they[d] had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear(BZ) and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.

Circumcision and Passover at Gilgal

At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives(CA) and circumcise(CB) the Israelites again.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.[e]

Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt—all the men of military age(CC)—died in the wilderness on the way after leaving Egypt.(CD) All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness during the journey from Egypt had not. The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness(CE) forty years(CF) until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the Lord. For the Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us,(CG) a land flowing with milk and honey.(CH) So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.(CI)

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal[f](CJ) to this day.

10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month,(CK) while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover.(CL) 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land:(CM) unleavened bread(CN) and roasted grain.(CO) 12 The manna stopped the day after[g] they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.(CP)

The Fall of Jericho

13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man(CQ) standing in front of him with a drawn sword(CR) in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown(CS) to the ground(CT) in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord[h] have for his servant?”

15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.”(CU) And Joshua did so.


  1. Joshua 3:4 That is, about 3,000 feet or about 900 meters
  2. Joshua 4:9 Or Joshua also set up twelve stones
  3. Joshua 4:23 Or the Sea of Reeds
  4. Joshua 5:1 Another textual tradition we
  5. Joshua 5:3 Gibeath Haaraloth means the hill of foreskins.
  6. Joshua 5:9 Gilgal sounds like the Hebrew for roll.
  7. Joshua 5:12 Or the day
  8. Joshua 5:14 Or lord

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