And Joshua said unto them
The twelve men:
pass ye over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of
that is, they were to go back to Jordan again, which they had passed over, and go into the midst of it, where were the priests bearing the ark; for it is not to be imagined that the ark went along with them, or followed them, they going before it; but they went where that was, just before it, from whence they were to take the stones, as next directed:
and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder;
by which it appears they were large stones they were to take, not what they could carry in their hands, but what they were obliged to take upon their shoulders:
according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel;
who had that day passed over Jordan, of which these stones were to be a memorial.