Miracle at the Jordan River
1 Early the next morning, Joshua and all the Israelites got up and left Acacia. They traveled to the Jordan River and camped there before they crossed it. 2 After three days the leaders went through the camp. 3 They gave orders to the people: “When you see the Levite priests carrying the Box of the Agreement of the LORD your God, follow them. 4 But do not follow too closely. Stay about 1000 yards* 1000 yards Literally, “2000 cubits” (888 m). behind them. You have not been here before, but if you follow them, you will know where to go.”
5 Then Joshua told the people, “Make yourselves pure. Tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among us.”
6 Then Joshua said to the priests, “Take the Box of the Agreement and go across the river in front of the people.” So the priests lifted the Box and carried it in front of the people.
7 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great man for all the Israelites to see. Then the people will know that I am with you just as I was with Moses. 8 The priests will carry the Box of the Agreement. Tell them this, ‘Walk to the shore of the Jordan River and stop just before you step into the water.’ ”
9 Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come and listen to the words of the LORD your God. 10 Here is proof that the living God is really with you and that he will surely defeat your enemies. He will defeat the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites; he will force them to leave their land. 11 The Box of the Agreement of the Lord of the whole world will go before you as you cross the Jordan River. 12 Now choose twelve men, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 The priests will carry the Holy Box of the LORD. He is the Lord of the whole world. They will carry that Box in front of you into the Jordan River. When they enter the water, the water of the Jordan River will stop flowing and fill behind that place like at a dam.”
14 The priests carried the Box of the Agreement, and the people left the place they had camped. The people started going across the Jordan River. 15 (During harvest time the Jordan River overflows its banks, so the river was at its fullest.) The priests who were carrying the Box came to the shore of the river. When they stepped into the water, 16 immediately the water stopped flowing and piled up like a wall. The water piled up high a long way up the river—all the way to Adam (a town near Zarethan). And the water flowing down to the sea of Arabah (the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. The people crossed the river near Jericho. 17 The ground at that place became dry, and the priests carried the Box of the Agreement of the LORD to the middle of the river and stopped. They waited there while all the Israelites walked across the Jordan River on dry land.
*3:4 1000 yards Literally, “2000 cubits” (888 m).