Joshua 3 (Common English Bible)

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Directions for crossing the Jordan

1 Joshua took down the camp early in the morning. He and all the Israelites marched out of Shittim and came to the Jordan, where they stayed overnight before crossing. 2 At the end of three days the officers went through the middle of the camp. 3 They commanded the people, "As soon as you see the LORD your God's chest containing the covenant and the levitical priests carrying it, you are to march out from your places and follow it. 4 But let there be some distance between you and it, about three thousand feet. Don't come near it! You will know the way you should go, even though you've never traveled this way before." 5 Joshua said to the people, "Make yourselves holy! Tomorrow the LORD will do wonderful things among you." 6 Then Joshua said to the priests, "Lift up the covenant chest. Go along in front of the people." So they lifted up the covenant chest and went in front of the people. 7 The LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to make you great in the opinion of all Israel. Then they will know that I will be with you in the same way that I was with Moses. 8 "You are to command the priests who carry the covenant chest, ‘As soon as you come to the bank of the Jordan, stand still in the Jordan.'" 9 Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come close. Listen to the words of the LORD your God." 10 Then Joshua said, "This is how you will know that the living God is among you and will completely remove the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites before you. 11 Look! The covenant chest of the ruler of the entire earth is going to cross over in front of you in the Jordan. 12 Now pick twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one per tribe. 13 The soles of the priests' feet, who are carrying the chest of the LORD, ruler of the whole earth, will come to rest in the water of the Jordan. At that moment, the water of the Jordan will be cut off. The water flowing downstream will stand still in a single heap."

Marching across the Jordan

14 The people marched out from their tents to cross over the Jordan. The priests carrying the covenant chest were in front of the people. 15 When the priests who were carrying the chest came to the Jordan, their feet touched the edge of the water. The Jordan had overflowed its banks completely, the way it does during the entire harvest season. 16 But at that moment the water of the Jordan coming downstream stood still. It rose up as a single heap very far off, just below Adam, which is the city next to Zarethan. The water going down to the desert sea (that is, the Dead Sea) was cut off completely. The people crossed opposite Jericho. 17 So the priests carrying the LORD's covenant chest stood firmly on dry land in the middle of the Jordan. Meanwhile, all Israel crossed over on dry land, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.
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