New International Version

Joshua 4:1-24

1When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2“Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

4So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

8So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. 9Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been4:9 Or Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.

10Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched. 12The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. 13About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.

14That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.

15Then the Lord said to Joshua, 16“Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant law to come up out of the Jordan.”

17So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”

18And 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 than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.

19On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea4:23 Or the Sea of Reeds when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

New International Reader’s Version

Joshua 4:1-24

1After the whole nation had gone across the Jordan River, the Lord spoke to Joshua. He said, 2“Choose 12 men from among the people. Choose one from each tribe. 3Tell them to get 12 stones from the middle of the river. They must pick them up from right where the priests stood. They must carry the stones over with all of you. And they must put them down at the place where you will stay tonight.”

4So Joshua called together the 12 men he had appointed from among the Israelites. There was one man from each tribe. 5He said to them, “Go back to the middle of the Jordan River. Go to where the ark of the Lord your God is. Each one of you must pick up a stone. You must carry it on your shoulder. There will be as many stones as there are tribes in Israel. 6The stones will serve as a reminder to you. In days to come, your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7Tell them that the Lord cut off the flow of water in the Jordan River. Tell them its water stopped flowing when the ark of the covenant of the Lord went across. The stones will always remind the Israelites of what happened there.”

8So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan River. There was one stone for each of the tribes of Israel. It was just as the Lord had told Joshua. The people carried the stones with them to their camp. There they put them down. 9Joshua also piled up 12 stones in the middle of the river. He piled them up right where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are still there to this very day.

10The priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan River. They stayed there until the people had done everything the Lord had commanded Joshua. It was just as Moses had directed Joshua. All the people went across quickly. 11As soon as they did, the ark of the Lord and the priests also went across to the other side. The people were watching them. 12Among the people who went across the river were men from the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh. The men were ready for battle. They went across ahead of the rest of the Israelites. It was just as Moses had directed them. 13There were about 40,000 of them. All of them were ready for battle. They went across in front of the ark of the Lord. They marched to the plains around Jericho. They were prepared to go to war.

14That day the Lord honored Joshua in the eyes of all the Israelites. They had respect for Joshua as long as he lived. They respected him just as much as they had respected Moses.

15Then the Lord spoke to Joshua. He said, 16“Command the priests to come up out of the Jordan River. They are carrying the ark where the tablets of the covenant law are kept.”

17So Joshua gave a command to the priests. He said, “Come up out of the Jordan River.”

18Then the priests came up out of the river. They were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. As soon as they stepped out on dry ground, the water of the Jordan began to flow again. It went over its banks, just as it had done before.

19On the tenth day of the first month the people went up out of the Jordan River. They camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20Joshua set up the 12 stones at Gilgal. They were the ones the people had taken out of the Jordan. 21Then he spoke to the Israelites. He said, “In days to come, your children after you will ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22Their parents must tell them, ‘Israel went across the Jordan River on dry ground.’ 23The Lord your God dried up the Jordan for you until you had gone across it. He did to the Jordan River the same thing he had done to the Red Sea. He dried up the Red Sea ahead of us until we had gone across it. 24He did it so that all the nations on earth would know that he is powerful. He did it so that you would always have respect for the Lord your God.”