The Book of Joshua

Chapter 3

Joshua comes to the Jordan, 1. The officers instruct the people for their passage, 2-6. The Lord encourages Joshua, 7, 8. Joshua encourages the people, 9-13. The waters of the Jordan are divided, 14-17.

1 And Joshua rose early in the morning. And they set out from Shittim and came to the Jordan—he and all the children of Israel—and lodged there before they passed over. 2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host, 3 And they commanded the people, saying, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God and the priests the Levites bearing it, you shall set out from your place and go after it. 4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it so that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before."

5 And Joshua said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you." 6 And Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, "Take up the ark of the covenant and pass over before the people." And they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.

7 And the LORD said to Joshua, "This day I will begin to magnify you in the sight of all Israel so that they may know that as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. 8 And you shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, 'When you come to the brink of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.'" 9 And Joshua said to the children of Israel, "Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God." 10 And Joshua said, "By this you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passes over before you into the Jordan. 12 Now therefore, take for yourselves twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. 13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above. And they shall stand in a heap."

14 And it came to pass, when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 And as those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark were dipped in the brim of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), 16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far from the city of Adam, that is beside Zaretan, and those which came down toward the sea of the plain, even the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off. And the people passed through over against Jericho. 17 And the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground until all the people had quite passed over the Jordan.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Joshua, Chapter 3[➚]