3 Joshua got up early the next morning. Accompanied by all the Israelis, he set out from the Acacia groves and arrived at the Jordan River, where they encamped before crossing it. 2 Three days later, the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people. They said, “When you see the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then get up, leave where you are, and follow it. 4 Be sure to keep a distance of about 2,000 cubits[a] between you and it. Don’t come near it, so you can be certain where you’re going, since you haven’t passed this way before.”
5 Then Joshua addressed the people: “Consecrate yourselves, because tomorrow the Lord will do marvelous things among you.”
6 After this, Joshua[b] instructed the priests, “Take up the Ark of the Covenant and cross over ahead of the people.” So they took up the Ark of the Covenant and went on ahead of the people.
The Lord Addresses Joshua
7 At this point, the Lord told Joshua, “Today I’m going to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so they’ll be sure that I’m going to be with you just as I was with Moses. 8 Give this command to the priests who are carrying the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you arrive at the water of the Jordan River, stand still in the Jordan.’”
Joshua Addresses Israel
9 So Joshua told the Israelis, “Come here and listen to what the Lord your God has to say.” 10 Joshua continued, “This is how you’ll know that the living God really is among you: he’s going to remove the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites right in front of you. 11 Look! The Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of whole the earth is crossing ahead of you into the Jordan River. 12 So take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from each tribe. 13 When the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of the whole earth, touch the water in the Jordan River, the water that feeds the Jordan will be cut off from above and they’ll stand still in a single location.”
The Jordan River Stops Flowing
14 So the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan River, with the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant in full view of the people. 15 When the priests who carried the ark entered the Jordan River, as their feet touched the water’s edge (The Jordan River overflows all of its banks daily during the harvest season.), 16 the water flowing downstream from above stood still in a single location, a great distance away at Adam, a city near Zarethan. The water that flowed south toward the sea in the Arabah (that is, the Dead[c] Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan River, while all Israel crossed on dry ground until the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan River.
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