Joshua 4 International Standard Version (ISV)
The Jordan River Memorial
4 As soon as the entire nation had completed its crossing of the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua. He said, 2 “Gather together twelve men from the people—one man from each tribe— 3 and tell them, ‘Pick up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan where the priests’ feet were standing, bring them along with you, and put them down where you camp tonight.’”
4 So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had chosen from the people of Israel, one man from each tribe. 5 Joshua told them, “Cross over again in front of the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan River. Then each of you pick up a stone on his shoulder with which to build a memorial,[a] one for each of the tribes of Israel. 6 Let this serve as[b] a sign among you, so that when your children ask in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean to you,’ 7 then you’ll say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan River were cut off in front of the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan River, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones will become a memorial to the Israelis forever.”
8 The Israelis did just as Joshua commanded. They took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River—just as the Lord had spoken to Joshua—according to the number of the tribes of the Israelis, and they carried them over to where they would be pitching camp, and they put them down there. 9 Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan River at the location where the feet of the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant had been standing, and they remain there to this day.
Crossing the Jordan River
10 The priests who were carrying the ark stood in the middle of the Jordan River until everything had been done in accordance with what the Lord had commanded Joshua to speak to the people and with everything that Moses had commanded Joshua. So the people hurried and crossed over. 11 When all of the people had completed their crossing, the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed over in full view of the people. 12 Just as Moses had directed, the descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, dressed in battle regalia, in full view of the other[c] Israelis. 13 About 40,000 soldiers equipped to do battle in the Lord’s presence crossed over to the desert plains of Jericho.
14 That day, the Lord exalted Joshua in the presence of all Israel so that they revered him just as they had revered Moses throughout his life.
15 Now the Lord had told Joshua, 16 “Command the priests who carry the Ark of the Testimony to come up from the Jordan River.”
17 So Joshua ordered the priests, “Come up from the Jordan River.”
18 As soon as the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord had come up from the middle of the Jordan River, and the soles of the priests’ feet came up to dry ground, the water of the Jordan River returned to normal,[d] covering its banks as it had done so before.
Why Joshua Set up the Memorial
19 The people came up from the Jordan River on the tenth day[e] of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern outskirts of Jericho. 20 Joshua set up the twelve stones that they had removed from the Jordan River at Gilgal. 21 Then he told the Israelis, “When your descendants ask their parents in years to come, ‘What is the meaning of these stones?’ 22 you are to tell your descendants: ‘Israel crossed this Jordan River on dry ground 23 because the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan River right in front of you, until you had crossed over, just as the Lord your God had done to the Reed[f] Sea—which he had dried up in front of us until we had crossed it also.’ 24 Do this[g] so that all of the people of the earth may know how strong the power[h] of the Lord is, and so that you may fear the Lord your God every day.”
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