An Illustration from the Joshua Roll
Israel Crosses the Jordan.
The Twelve Memorial Stones


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Josua-Rolle, Codex Vaticanus Pal. Graec. 431. Byzantine, 10th century. Biblioteca Apostolica, Vatican.

3  In the morning Joshua got up early; then he and all the children of Israel set out from Shittim and came to the Jordan. They stayed there before crossing over. After three days the officers went through the camp. They commanded the people, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the Levite priests carrying it, then you shall set out from where you are and go behind it. There must be a distance of two thousand cubits between you and it. Do not draw closer to it, in order that you may know the way you should go. For you have not passed this way before.” Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will perform wondrous deeds among you.” Joshua said to the priests, “Pick up the ark of the covenant, and proceed ahead of the people.” So they picked up the ark of the covenant and went in front of the people. The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to honor you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. You shall command the priests who carry the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the bank of the Jordan, stand still in the river.’ ” So Joshua said to the children of Israel, “Draw near and hear the words of the Lord your God.” 10 And Joshua said, “By this you will know that the living God is among you, and that He will thoroughly drive out the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites from before you. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing before you into the Jordan. 12 Now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man per tribe. 13 When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, touch the water of the Jordan, the water of the Jordan that flows from upstream will be cut off and pile up.” 14 When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests were carrying the ark of the covenant before the people. 15 When the carriers of the ark came to the Jordan, the feet of the priests carrying the ark dipped into the edge of the water. (Now the Jordan overflows its banks all the days of the harvest.) 16 Then the water that flows down from upstream stood still and rose up in a heap very far away at Adam, the city beside Zarethan. The water that flows down toward the Sea of Arabah (the Dead Sea) stopped and was cut off. The people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, and all Israel crossed over on dry ground until the entire people completed crossing over the Jordan. (Joshua 3:1-17)

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