Joshua was up early and on his way from Shittim with all the People of Israel with him. He arrived at the Jordan and camped before crossing over.
After three days, leaders went through the camp
and gave out orders to the people: "When you see the Covenant-Chest of God, your God, carried by the Levitical priests, start moving. Follow it.
Make sure you keep a proper distance between you and it, about half a mile - be sure now to keep your distance! - and you'll see clearly the route to take. You've never been on this road before."
Then Joshua addressed the people: "Sanctify yourselves. Tomorrow God will work miracle-wonders among you."
Joshua instructed the priests, "Take up the Chest of the Covenant and step out before the people." So they took it up and processed before the people.
God said to Joshua, "This very day I will begin to make you great in the eyes of all Israel. They'll see for themselves that I'm with you in the same way that I was with Moses.
You will command the priests who are carrying the Chest of the Covenant: 'When you come to the edge of the Jordan's waters, stand there on the river bank.'"
Then Joshua addressed the People of Israel: "Attention! Listen to what God, your God, has to say.
This is how you'll know that God is alive among you - he will completely dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites.
Look at what's before you: the Chest of the Covenant. Think of it - the Master of the entire earth is crossing the Jordan as you watch.
Now take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from each tribe.
When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the Chest of God, Master of all the earth, touch the Jordan's water, the flow of water will be stopped - the water coming from upstream will pile up in a heap."
And that's what happened. The people left their tents to cross the Jordan, led by the priests carrying the Chest of the Covenant.
When the priests got to the Jordan and their feet touched the water at the edge (the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest),
the flow of water stopped. It piled up in a heap - a long way off - at Adam, which is near Zarethan. The river went dry all the way down to the Arabah Sea (the Salt Sea). And the people crossed, facing Jericho.
And there they stood; those priests carrying the Chest of the Covenant stood firmly planted on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground. Finally the whole nation was across the Jordan, and not one wet foot.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)