Joshua 4; Joshua 5; Joshua 6; Luke 1:1-20

1 When the whole nation had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 "Choose twelve men, one from each tribe, 3 and command them to take twelve stones out of the middle of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests were standing. Tell them to carry these stones with them and to put them down where you camp tonight." 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men he had chosen, 5 and he told them, "Go into the Jordan ahead of the Covenant Box of the Lord your God. Each one of you take a stone on your shoulder, one for each of the tribes of Israel. 6 These stones will remind the people of what the Lord has done. In the future, when your children ask what these stones mean to you, 7 you will tell them that the water of the Jordan stopped flowing when the Lord's Covenant Box crossed the river. These stones will always remind the people of Israel of what happened here." 8 The men followed Joshua's orders. As the Lord had commanded Joshua, they took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, one for each of the tribes of Israel, carried them to the camping place, and put them down there. 9 Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, where the priests carrying the Covenant Box had stood. (Those stones are still there.) 10 The priests stood in the middle of the Jordan until everything had been done that the Lord ordered Joshua to tell the people to do. This is what Moses had commanded. The people hurried across the river. 11 When they were all on the other side, the priests with the Lord's Covenant Box went on ahead of the people. 12 The men of the tribes of Reuben and Gad and of half the tribe of Manasseh, ready for battle, crossed ahead of the rest of the people, as Moses had told them to do. 13 In the presence of the Lord about forty thousand men ready for war crossed over to the plain near Jericho. 14 What the Lord did that day made the people of Israel consider Joshua a great man. They honored him all his life, just as they had honored Moses. 15 Then the Lord told Joshua 16 to command the priests carrying the Covenant Box to come up out of the Jordan. 17 Joshua did so, 18 and when the priests reached the riverbank, the river began flowing once more and flooded its banks again. 19 The people crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month and camped at Gilgal, east of Jericho. 20 There Joshua set up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan. 21 And he said to the people of Israel, "In the future, when your children ask you what these stones mean, 22 you will tell them about the time when Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground. 23 Tell them that the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan for you until you had crossed, just as he dried up the Red Sea for us. 24 Because of this everyone on earth will know how great the Lord's power is, and you will honor the Lord your God forever."
1 All the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the Mediterranean Sea heard that the Lord had dried up the Jordan until the people of Israel had crossed it. They became afraid and lost their courage because of the Israelites. 2 Then the Lord told Joshua, "Make some knives out of flint and circumcise the Israelites." 3 So Joshua did as the Lord had commanded, and he circumcised the Israelites at a place called Circumcision Hill. 4 When the people of Israel left Egypt, all the males were already circumcised. However, during the forty years the people spent crossing the desert, none of the baby boys had been circumcised. Also, by the end of that time all the men who were of fighting age when they left Egypt had died because they had disobeyed the Lord. Just as he had sworn, they were not allowed to see the rich and fertile land that he had promised their ancestors. 7 The sons of these men had never been circumcised, and it was this new generation that Joshua circumcised. 8 After the circumcision was completed, the whole nation stayed in the camp until the wounds had healed. 9 The Lord said to Joshua, "Today I have removed from you the disgrace of being slaves in Egypt." That is why the place was named Gilgal, the name it still has. 10 While the Israelites were camping at Gilgal on the plain near Jericho, they observed Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month. 11 The next day was the first time they ate food grown in Canaan: roasted grain and bread made without yeast. 12 The manna stopped falling then, and the Israelites no longer had any. From that time on they ate food grown in Canaan. 13 While Joshua was near Jericho, he suddenly saw a man standing in front of him, holding a sword. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you one of our soldiers, or an enemy?" 14 "Neither," the man answered. "I am here as the commander of the Lord's army." Joshua threw himself on the ground in worship and said, "I am your servant, sir. What do you want me to do?" 15 And the commander of the Lord's army told him, "Take your sandals off; you are standing on holy ground." And Joshua did as he was told.
1 The gates of Jericho were kept shut and guarded to keep the Israelites out. No one could enter or leave the city. 2 The Lord said to Joshua, "I am putting into your hands Jericho, with its king and all its brave soldiers. 3 You and your soldiers are to march around the city once a day for six days. 4 Seven priests, each carrying a trumpet, are to go in front of the Covenant Box. On the seventh day you and your soldiers are to march around the city seven times while the priests blow the trumpets. 5 Then they are to sound one long note. As soon as you hear it, all the people are to give a loud shout, and the city walls will collapse. Then the whole army will go straight into the city." 6 Joshua called the priests and told them, "Take the Covenant Box, and seven of you go in front of it, carrying trumpets." 7 Then he ordered the people to start marching around the city, with an advance guard going on ahead of the Lord's Covenant Box. 8 So, just as Joshua had ordered, an advance guard started out ahead of the priests who were blowing trumpets; behind these came the priests who were carrying the Covenant Box, followed by a rear guard. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had ordered the people not to shout, not to say a word until he gave the order. 11 So he had this group of men take the Lord's Covenant Box around the city one time. Then they came back to camp and spent the night there. 12 Joshua got up early the next morning, and for the second time the priests and soldiers marched around the city in the same order as the day before: first, the advance guard; next, the seven priests blowing the seven trumpets; then, the priests carrying the Lord's Covenant Box; and finally, the rear guard. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 14 On this second day they again marched around the city one time and then returned to camp. They did this for six days. 15 On the seventh day they got up at daybreak and marched seven times around the city in the same way - this was the only day that they marched around it seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests were about to sound the trumpets, Joshua ordered the people to shout, and he said, "The Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and everything in it must be totally destroyed as an offering to the Lord. Only the prostitute Rahab and her household will be spared, because she hid our spies. 18 But you are not to take anything that is to be destroyed; if you do, you will bring trouble and destruction on the Israelite camp. 19 Everything made of silver, gold, bronze, or iron is set apart for the Lord. It is to be put in the Lord's treasury." 20 So the priests blew the trumpets. As soon as the people heard it, they gave a loud shout, and the walls collapsed. Then all the army went straight up the hill into the city and captured it. 21 With their swords they killed everyone in the city, men and women, young and old. They also killed the cattle, sheep, and donkeys. 22 Joshua then told the two men who had served as spies, "Go into the prostitute's house, and bring her and her family out, as you promised her." 23 So they went and brought Rahab out, along with her father and mother, her brothers, and the rest of her family. They took them all, family and slaves, to safety near the Israelite camp. 24 Then they set fire to the city and burned it to the ground, along with everything in it, except the things made of gold, silver, bronze, and iron, which they took and put in the Lord's treasury. 25 But Joshua spared the lives of the prostitute Rahab and all her relatives, because she had hidden the two spies that he had sent to Jericho. (Her descendants have lived in Israel to this day.) 26 At this time Joshua issued a solemn warning: "Anyone who tries to rebuild the city of Jericho will be under the Lord's curse. Whoever lays the foundation will lose his oldest son; Whoever builds the gates will lose his youngest." 27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread through the whole country.
1 Dear Theophilus: Many people have done their best to write a report of the things that have taken place among us. 2 They wrote what we have been told by those who saw these things from the beginning and who proclaimed the message. 3 And so, Your Excellency, because I have carefully studied all these matters from their beginning, I thought it would be good to write an orderly account for you. 4 I do this so that you will know the full truth about everything which you have been taught. 5 During the time when Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife's name was Elizabeth; she also belonged to a priestly family. 6 They both lived good lives in God's sight and obeyed fully all the Lord's laws and commands. 7 They had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zechariah were both very old. 8 One day Zechariah was doing his work as a priest in the Temple, taking his turn in the daily service. 9 According to the custom followed by the priests, he was chosen by lot to burn incense on the altar. So he went into the Temple of the Lord, 10 while the crowd of people outside prayed during the hour when the incense was burned. 11 An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar where the incense was burned. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was alarmed and felt afraid. 13 But the angel said to him, "Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. You are to name him John. 14 How glad and happy you will be, and how happy many others will be when he is born! 15 John will be great in the Lord's sight. He must not drink any wine or strong drink. From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, 16 and he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will go ahead of the Lord, strong and mighty like the prophet Elijah. He will bring fathers and children together again; he will turn disobedient people back to the way of thinking of the righteous; he will get the Lord's people ready for him." 18 Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know if this is so? I am an old man, and my wife is old also." 19 "I am Gabriel," the angel answered. "I stand in the presence of God, who sent me to speak to you and tell you this good news. 20 But you have not believed my message, which will come true at the right time. Because you have not believed, you will be unable to speak; you will remain silent until the day my promise to you comes true."
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