Joshua 4

4:1-9 12 | Stones set up as memorial at Gilgal (vv. 1-8) and in midst of river (v. 9).

4:1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua [and Joshua obeyed everything the Lord said],

4:2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe,

4:3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle [evidence that the river had actually stopped flowing to allow the people to cross over] of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

4:10-14 | All the people safely across.

4:15 Then the LORD said to Joshua,

4:16 “Command the priests carrying the ark of the Testimony [so called because God’s testimony (the Law) was placed in the ark; cf. Ex. 25:16,21 (two tablets containing the Ten Commandments)] to come up out of the Jordan.”

4:17 So Joshua commanded [as the Lord instructed him to do] the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”

4:18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground [river bank (as opposed to river bed in 3:17)] than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before [evidence that the Lord had performed this miracle].

4:19 On the tenth day [cf. Ex. 12:2-3 (the day the lambs had been chosen for Passover prior to exodus)] of the first month [corresponds to parts of our months of March-April] the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal [became Israel’s first worship place] on the eastern border of [about two miles from] Jericho.

4:20 And Joshua set up [as a memorial] at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan.

4:21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones [an object lesson; visible reminder of miraculous crossing] mean [opportunity for fathers to review God’s great work; opportunity to encourage new generation to obey God]?’

4:22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed [thus making a break with the past] the Jordan [a river] on dry ground [emphasizes miraculous nature of the event].’

4:23 For the LORD your God [Joshua gave God credit for the miraculous crossing] dried up the Jordan before you [later generations were told the story as if the event had happened to them] until you had crossed over [safely across]. The LORD your God did [God accomplished what no other god could do] to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.

4:24 He did this [two purposes of God’s mighty work] [1] so that all the peoples of the earth [including surrounding nations (3:10b)] might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful [opportunity to testify to world about God’s greatness] and [2] so that you might always fear [awe and reverence toward God] the LORD your God.”

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