Joshua chapter 4

They build a memorial.

 


 

THEY BUILD A MEMORIAL

 

VERSE 1. When all the nation had completely crossed over the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,

 

VERSE 2. “Take twelve men out of the people, a man out of every tribe,

twelve men. There are twelve tribes. And now there are twelve men.

 

VERSE 3. and command them, saying, ‘Take from out of the middle of the Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, carry them over with you, and lay them down in the place where you’ll camp tonight.’ ”

twelve stones. There are twelve tribes. And twelve men. And now there are twelve stones.

 

VERSE 4. Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, a man out of every tribe.

 

VERSE 5. Joshua said to them, “Cross before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you pick up a stone and put it on your shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel;

the middle of the Jordan. The twelve stones are from the bottom of the Jordan River.

 

VERSE 6. that this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask in the future, saying, ‘What do you mean by these stones?’

that this may be a sign among you. These stones will be a vivid reminder. A memorial.

 

VERSE 7. then you shall tell them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the LORD’s covenant. When it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.’ ”

the waters of the Jordan were cut off. Some people say the people merely waded across the Jordan.

However, the biblical narrative is emphatic. The Jordan River was cut off.

 

VERSE 8. The children of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the middle of the Jordan, as the LORD spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel. They carried them over with them to the place where they camped, and laid them down there.

did as Joshua commanded. They do not hesitate. They spring into action. They do the will of the LORD God.

Their faith does. It is Action-Faith.

 

VERSE 9. Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there to this day.

Joshua set up twelve stones. These are not the twelve stones selected by the twelve men. Rather, they are twelve stones selected by Joshua.

in the middle of the Jordan. Joshua sets the twelve stones in the exact spot where the Ark of the Covenant had been.

to this day. This refers to the era when the Book of Joshua was written.

 

VERSE 10. For the priests who bore the ark stood in the middle of the Jordan until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua; and the people hurried and passed over.

the people hurried. On the riverbed, walking in-between walls of furious water: they didn’t linger. Doubtless it was frightening.

That’s exactly where their leaders stood. The leaders stood in the most dangerous place. Their bold stand gave the people the courage they needed.

Today’s leaders do the opposite. They order other people into danger. But they themselves stay far back in safety.

For example, think of government leaders ordering young people into battle.

 

VERSE 11. When all the people had completely crossed over, the LORD’s ark crossed over with the priests in the presence of the people.

the LORD’s ark crossed over. The Ark of the Covenant was the first into the Jordan River. And it was the last to step out.

Some military leaders exemplify this courageous behavior. They are the first to step onto the battlefield. And they are the last to leave the battlefield.

 

VERSE 12. The children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spoke to them.

Reuben … Gad … Manasseh. These tribes will not live in the Promised Land. So at the crossing of the Jordan, they are not hampered with families or goods. So they lead the way:

crossed over armed. The Ark of the Covenant led the nation into the Jordan River. But the first people to cross to the other side were the men of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh. They are armed for battle.

 

VERSE 13. About forty thousand men, ready and armed for war, passed over before the LORD to battle, to the plains of Jericho.

About forty thousand men. The population of men in those tribes, age 20 or older totaled 136,930, as we saw in Numbers chapter 26.

The 40,000 soldiers were 29 percent of that adult male population — less than one of every three adult males.

the plains of Jericho. Once they stepped out of the Jordan River, they stepped onto the battlefield.

 

VERSE 14. On that day, the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

 

VERSE 15. The LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,

 

VERSE 16. “Command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, that they come up out of the Jordan.”

 

VERSE 17. Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, “Come up out of the Jordan!”

 

VERSE 18. When the priests who bore the ark of the LORD’s covenant had come up out of the middle of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet had been lifted up to the dry ground, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and went over all its banks, as before.

the waters of the Jordan returned to their place. This is preposterously awesome.

The Israelites were standing on the riverbank, watching the torrent of river water covering their path. Across the river, they can see place where they had stood that morning.

There was no going back. A new and exciting chapter in their history had begun.

 

VERSE 19. The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, on the east border of Jericho.

encamped in Gilgal. Joshua led the people to Gilgal. It was about two miles from Jericho.

 

VERSE 20. Joshua set up those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, in Gilgal.

 

VERSE 21. He spoke to the children of Israel, saying, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean?’

 

VERSE 22. Then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. Some people say the nation merely waded across the Jordan.

However, the biblical narrative is emphatic. The riverbed was dry.

 

VERSE 23. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan from before you until you had crossed over, as the LORD your God did to the Sea of Suf, which he dried up from before us, until we had crossed over,

 

VERSE 24. that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD’s hand is mighty, and that you may fear the LORD your God forever.’ ”

that all the peoples of the earth may know. The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »

 


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JOSHUA

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.