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CHAPTER 4 May 19 
Twelve Stones Placed for a Memorial
When all the nation had completely passed over the Jordan, Yahweh spoke to Joshua saying, 2Take twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, 3and command them saying, ‘Take from out of the middle of the Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and carry them over with you, and lay them down in the resting place where you will rest tonight’. 4Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man. 5Joshua said to them, Pass over before the ark of Yahweh 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. 6This will be a sign among you, that when your children ask in time to come saying, ‘What do you mean by these stones?’ 7then you shall tell them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of Yahweh. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off’. These stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever. 8The children of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan as Yahweh spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. 9Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood. They are there to this day. 10For the priests who bore the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that Yahweh commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua; and the people hurried and passed over. 11It happened, when all the people had completely passed over, that the ark of Yahweh passed over with the priests, while the people watched. 12The children of Reuben, the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses had spoken to them. 13About forty thousand men prepared and armed for war passed over before Yahweh to battle, to the plains of Jericho. 14On that day, Yahweh magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life. 15Yahweh spoke to Joshua saying, 16Command the priests who bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of the Jordan. 17Joshua therefore commanded the priests saying, Come up out of the Jordan! 18When the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of Yahweh had come up out of the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up to the dry ground, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and went over all its banks as before. 19The 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. 20Joshua set up those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan in Gilgal. 21He spoke to the children of Israel saying, When your children ask their fathers in time to come saying, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. 23For Yahweh your God dried up the waters of the Jordan from before you, until you had passed over, as Yahweh your God did to the Red Sea which He dried up from before us, until we had passed over; 24that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of Yahweh, that it is mighty; that you may fear Yahweh your God forever’.


4:1-3 This is a summary of what happened; the rest of the chapter explains how that situation came about. This is a common feature of Biblical writing; we note that the Greek, linear, strictly chronological approach of European languages isn’t at all the same as Hebrew thought or writing, which presents themes and explanations at the cost of apparently ‘jumping around’ in chronology.
4:14 Yahweh magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel- As they entered Canaan, witnessing the waters of humanity held back (hence the reference to the waters stopping at a place called Adam, 3:16), they must have looked at Joshua with huge gratitude and reverence. When our wilderness journey ends and we enter the promised land of God’s Kingdom, all our eyes and hearts will likewise be focused upon Jesus, and we will spend eternity magnifying Him. But we should begin that Christ-centred existence now.
4:23 Subsequent generations were to understand that this is what God had done for you; the Biblical record thus becomes alive for us who are God’s people; it becomes a living word, with us as it were standing there on the banks of Jordan or the Red Sea, participating in the wonder of salvation which occurred then. If we grasp this, then any apparent lack of dramatic action by God in our lives today becomes easier to bear with; for He has done so many great things for us in what He did for His people historically.