4 After Israel had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua:
2-3 Tell[a] one man from each of the twelve tribes to pick up a large rock from where the priests are standing. Then have the men set up those rocks as a monument at the place where you camp tonight.
4 Joshua chose twelve men; he called them together, 5 and told them:
Go to the middle of the riverbed where the sacred chest is, and pick up a large rock. Carry it on your shoulder to our camp. There are twelve of you, so there will be one rock for each tribe. 6-7 Someday your children will ask, “Why are these rocks here?” Then you can tell them how the water stopped flowing when the chest was being carried across the river. These rocks will always remind our people of what happened here today.
8 The men followed the instructions that the Lord had given Joshua. They picked up twelve rocks, one for each tribe, and carried them to the camp, where they put them down.
9 Joshua had some other men set up a monument next to the place where the priests were standing. This monument was also made of twelve large rocks, and it is still there in the middle of the river.
The People of Israel Set Up Camp at Gilgal
10-13 The army got ready for battle and crossed the Jordan. They marched quickly past the sacred chest[b] and into the desert near Jericho. Forty thousand soldiers from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh[c] led the way, as Moses had ordered.[d]
The priests stayed right where they were until the army had followed the orders that the Lord had given Moses and Joshua. Then the army watched as the priests carried the chest the rest of the way across.
14-18 “Joshua,” the Lord said, “have the priests come up from the Jordan and bring the chest with them.” So Joshua went over to the priests and told them what the Lord had said. And as soon as the priests carried the chest past the highest place that the floodwaters of the Jordan had reached, the river flooded its banks again.
That’s how the Lord showed the Israelites that Joshua was their leader.[e] For the rest of Joshua’s life, they respected him as they had respected Moses.
19 It was the tenth day of the first month[f] of the year when Israel crossed the Jordan River. They set up camp at Gilgal, which was east of the land controlled by Jericho. 20 The men who had carried the twelve rocks from the Jordan brought them to Joshua, and they made them into a monument. 21 Then Joshua told the people:
Years from now your children will ask you why these rocks are here. 22-23 Tell them, “The Lord our God dried up the Jordan River so we could walk across. He did the same thing here for us that he did for our people at the Red Sea,[g]24 because he wants everyone on earth to know how powerful he is. And he wants us to worship only him.”
4.1-3Joshua. . . Tell: Or “Joshua, you and the other leaders must tell.”
4.10-13the sacred chest: The Hebrew text has “the Lord.” The army was marching past the sacred chest, which was a symbol of God’s throne on earth (see 1 Samuel 4.4 and Exodus 25.10-22; 37.1-9).
4.10-13Forty thousand soldiers from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh: Or “There were forty thousand soldiers altogether, and those from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh.”
4.10-13Moses. . . ordered: See Numbers 32.16-32; Joshua 1.12-16.
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