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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 4


After the entire nation had crossed the Jordan,


the LORD said to Joshua, "Choose twelve men from the people, one from each tribe,


and instruct them to take up twelve stones from this spot in the bed of the Jordan where the priests have been standing motionless. Carry them over with you, and place them where you are to stay tonight."


Summoning the twelve men whom he had selected from among the Israelites, one from each tribe,


Joshua said to them: "Go to the bed of the Jordan in front of the ark of the LORD, your God; lift to your shoulders one stone apiece, so that they will equal in number the tribes of the Israelites.


In the future, these are to be a sign among you. When your children ask you what these stones mean to you,


you shall answer them, 'The waters of the Jordan ceased to flow before the ark of the covenant of the LORD when it crossed the Jordan.' Thus these stones are to serve as a perpetual memorial to the Israelites."


The twelve Israelites did as Joshua had commanded: they took up as many stones from the bed of the Jordan as there were tribes of the Israelites, and carried them along to the camp site, where they placed them, according to the LORD'S direction.


Joshua also had twelve stones set up in the bed of the Jordan on the spot where the priests stood who were carrying the ark of the covenant. They are there to this day.


1 The priests carrying the ark remained in the bed of the Jordan until everything had been done that the LORD had commanded Joshua to tell the people. The people crossed over quickly,


and when all had reached the other side, the ark of the LORD, borne by the priests, also crossed to its place in front of them.


The Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh, armed, marched in the vanguard of the Israelites, as Moses had ordered.


About forty thousand troops equipped for battle passed over before the LORD to the plains of Jericho.


That day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and thenceforth during his whole life they respected him as they had respected Moses.


Then the LORD said to Joshua,


"Command the priests carrying the ark of the commandments to come up from the Jordan."


Joshua did so,


and when the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD had come up from the bed of the Jordan, as the soles of their feet regained the dry ground, the waters of the Jordan resumed their course and as before overflowed all its banks.


The people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and camped in Gilgal on the eastern limits of Jericho.


At Gilgal Joshua set up the twelve stones which had been taken from the Jordan,


saying to the Israelites, "In the future, when the children among you ask their fathers what these stones mean,


you shall inform them, 'Israel crossed the Jordan here on dry ground.'


For the LORD, your God, dried up the waters of the Jordan in front of you until you crossed over, just as the LORD, your God, had done at the Red Sea, which he dried up in front of us until we crossed over;


in order that all the peoples of the earth may learn that the hand of the LORD is mighty, and that you may fear the LORD, your God, forever."



1 [10-18] After the digression about the two sets of memorial stones, the author resumes the narrative by briefly repeating the story of the crossing, which he had already told in Joshua 3:14-17.

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