And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,
were clean passed
Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,
And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.
the priest's fees
Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:
That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
in time to come
Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.
And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.
did so as Joshua
And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.
set up twelve
and they are there
These words might be written by Joshua at the close of his life, or perhaps be added by some later prophet. It seems from this verse, that there were two sorts of stones erected as a memorial of this great event: twelve at Gilgal (ver. 20,) and twelve in the bed of the Jordan; which last might have been placed on a base of strong stone work, so high as always to be visible, and serve to mark the very spot where the priests stood with the ark. Drs. Kennicott and Shuckford, however, would read here with the Syriac, mittoch, "from the midst," instead of bethoch, "in the midst;" and render, "And Joshua took up the twelve stones (taken) from the midst of Jordan," etc. But this reading is unsupported by any MS. yet collated; and it appears wholly unnecessary.
For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over.
stood in the midst
And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.
that the ark
And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them:
About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.
prepared for war
or, ready armed.
to the plains
On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.
they feared him
Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.
Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.
Come ye up
And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.
Heb. plucked up. that the waters. As soon as the priests and the ark were come up out of Jordan, the waters of the river, which had stood on a heap, flowed down according to their natural and usual course, and again soon filled the channel. This make it abundantly evident, that the miraculous change which had been given to the river was not from any secret natural cause, but solely by the power of God, and for the sake of his chosen people; for when Israel's host had passed through, and the token of his presence was removed, immediately the waters went forward again: so that if it be asked, "What aileth thee, O Jordan, that thou wast driven back?" it must be answered, it was in obedience to the God of Israel, and in kindness to the Israel of God.
And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.
That is, the place afterwards called Gilgal; for it is so called here by anticipation. It was about ten furlongs east from Jericho, and fifty west from the Jordan. See Josephus and Calmet.
And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.
And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?
in time to come
Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.
For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:
as the Lord
The parents must take that occasion to tell their children of the drying up of the Red Sea forty years before: "As the Lord your God did to the Red Sea." It greatly magnifies later mercies to compare them with those before enjoyed; for, by making the comparison, it appears that God is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. Later blessings should also bring to remembrance former mercies, and revive thankfulness for them.
which he dried
That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.
all the people
that it is
Heb. all days.