And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of
Twelve other stones, as the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, and so Jarchi; which he set one upon another, so that they might be seen above the water; or however the water of Jordan being clear, they might easily be discerned by those who either passed over the river, or walked by the side of it, where they were; and perhaps may be the very stones John the Baptist pointed at in ( Matthew 3:9 ) ; since it was at Bethabara he was baptizing, supposed to be the very place of the passage of the children of Israel over Jordan, and had its name from thence, ( John 1:28 ) ;
in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the
ark of the
and which was done in commemoration of it: the words will bear to be read "under the station" of the feet of the priests: hence Jarchi fancies these were set, that their feet might not sink in the mud at the bottom of the river; but this, though here recorded, might be done by Joshua immediately after the priests were come out of Jordan, or as they were coming up: hence some think Joshua was the last that came up from it; but Abarbinel observes, that the word signifies "in the room" or "stead of", (See Gill on Exodus 21:24); so that these stones were placed in the room and stead of the station of the priests, in the midst of the river, and in memory of it:
and they are there unto this day;
to the time of the writing of this book, which is no objection to Joshua being the writer of it, though it is by some made one; since it might be wrote by him, as doubtless it was, when such an observation could not be impertinent; and if what has been before observed is true, these stones were in the same place in the times of John the Baptist; and that they were in the order in which they were first set; for that they were in the waters of Jordan, there could scarce be any question of it. This was done to perpetuate the memory of this remarkable event: so Alexander the great set up twelve altars on the borders of India, by the river Oraxes, in commemoration of his exploits F11.