3 Joshua rose early in the morning and they removed from Shittim and came to the Jordan, he and all the Israelites, and lodged there before passing over.
2 After three days the officers went through the camp,
3 Commanding the people: When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being borne by the Levitical priests, set out from where you are and follow it.
4 Yet a space must be kept between you and it, about 2,000 cubits by measure; come not near it, that you may [be able to see the ark and] know the way you must go, for you have not passed this way before.
5 And Joshua said to the people, Sanctify yourselves [that is, separate yourselves for a special holy purpose], for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
6 Joshua said to the priests, Take up the ark of the covenant and pass over before the people. And they took it up and went on before the people.
7 The Lord said to Joshua, This day I will begin to magnify you in the sight of all Israel, so they may know that as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
8 You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.
9 Joshua said to the Israelites, Come near, hear the words of the Lord your God.
10 Joshua said, Hereby you shall know that the living God is among you and that He will surely drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites.
11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan!
12 So now take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe.
13 When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord of all the earth shall rest in the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan coming down from above shall be cut off and they shall stand in one heap.
14 So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people,
15 And when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were in the brink of the water—for the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest—
16 Then the [a]waters which came down from above stood and rose up in a heap far off, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt [Dead] Sea, were wholly cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho.
17 And while all Israel passed over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
Joshua 3:16The city of Adam has been placed 16 miles up the river from Jericho, and it seems probable that a stretch of 20 or 30 miles of the riverbed was left dry. An interesting parallel of the event here recorded has been found in the pages of an Arabic historian telling how in a.d. 1266, near a place many experts have identified with Adam, the bed of the [Jordan] river was left dry for ten hours as the result of a landslide. John Garstang (The Story of Jericho) cites other parallels. But to accept this “natural” explanation of what happened centuries earlier does not detract in any way from the supernatural intervention which opened the way to Israel just at the moment when they needed to cross. The sight of the priests standing in the dry bed of the river as the whole nation passed over was the sign (Josh. 3:10) that this was the doing of the Lord (F. Davidson, ed., The New Bible Commentary).
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