Twelve stones at Gilgal
4 Joshua called for the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one man per tribe. 5 Joshua said to them, “Cross over into the middle of the Jordan, up to the Lord your God’s chest. Each of you, lift up a stone on his shoulder to match the number of the tribes of the Israelites. 6 This will be a symbol among you. In the future your children may ask, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 Then you will tell them that the water of the Jordan was cut off before the Lord’s covenant chest. When it crossed over the Jordan, the water of the Jordan was cut off. These stones will be an enduring memorial for the Israelites.”
8 The Israelites did exactly what Joshua ordered. They lifted twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, matching the number of the tribes of the Israelites, exactly as the Lord had said to Joshua. They brought them over to the camp and put them down there. 9 Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan where the feet of the priests had stood while carrying the covenant chest. They are still there today.
Crossing completed10 Meanwhile, the priests carrying the chest were standing in the middle of the Jordan. They stood there until every command that the Lord had ordered Joshua to tell the people had been carried out. This was exactly what Moses had commanded Joshua. The people crossed over quickly. 11 As soon as all the people had finished crossing, the Lord’s chest crossed over. The priests then moved to the front of the people. 12 The people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh crossed over, organized for war ahead of the Israelites, exactly as Moses had told them. 13 Approximately forty thousand armed for war crossed over in the Lord’s presence to the plains of Jericho, ready for battle. 14 The Lord made Joshua great in the opinion of all Israel on that day. So they revered him in the same way that they had revered Moses during all of his life.
15 The Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the chest containing the testimony to come up out of the Jordan.”
17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up from the Jordan.” 18 The priests carrying the Lord’s covenant chest came up from the middle of the Jordan, and the soles of their feet touched dry ground. At that moment, the water of the Jordan started flowing again. It ran as before, completely over its banks. 19 The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month.[a] They camped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho.
Stones at Gilgal20 Joshua set up at Gilgal those twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask their parents, ‘What about these stones?’ 22 Then you will let your children know: ‘Israel crossed over the Jordan here on dry ground.’ 23 This was because the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you until you crossed over. This was exactly what the Lord your God did to the Reed Sea.[b] He dried it up before us until we crossed over. 24 This happened so that all the earth’s peoples might know that the Lord’s power is great and that you may always revere the Lord your God.”
- Joshua 4:19 March–April, Nisan
- Joshua 4:23 Or Red Sea