1After the death of the LORD's servant Moses, the LORD spoke to Moses' helper, Joshua son of Nun. 2He said, “My servant Moses is dead. Get ready now, you and all the people of Israel, and cross the River Jordan into the land that I am giving them. 3As I told Moses, I have given you and all my people the entire land that you will be marching over. 4Your borders will reach from the desert in the south to the Lebanon Mountains in the north; from the great River Euphrates in the east, through the Hittite country, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5Joshua, no one will be able to defeat you as long as you live. I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will always be with you; I will never abandon you. 6Be determined and confident, for you will be the leader of these people as they occupy this land which I promised their ancestors. 7Just be determined, be confident; and make sure that you obey the whole Law that my servant Moses gave you. Do not neglect any part of it and you will succeed wherever you go. 8Be sure that the book of the Law is always read in your worship. Study it day and night, and make sure that you obey everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Don't be afraid or discouraged, for I, the LORD your God, am with you wherever you go.”
Joshua Gives Orders to the People
10Then Joshua ordered the leaders to 11go through the camp and say to the people, “Get some food ready, because in three days you are going to cross the River Jordan to occupy the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”
12Joshua said to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and to half the tribe of Manasseh, 13“Remember how Moses, the LORD's servant, told you that the LORD your God would give you this land on the east side of the Jordan as your home. 14Your wives, your children, and your livestock will stay here, but your soldiers, armed for battle, will cross over ahead of their fellow-Israelites in order to help them 15until they have occupied the land west of the Jordan that the LORD your God has given them. When he has given safety to all the tribes of Israel, then you may come back and settle here in your own land east of the Jordan, which Moses, the LORD's servant, gave to you.”
16They answered Joshua, “We will do everything you have told us and will go wherever you send us. 17We will obey you, just as we always obeyed Moses, and may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses! 18Whoever questions your authority or disobeys any of your orders will be put to death. Be determined and confident!”
Joshua Sends Spies into Jericho
1Then Joshua sent two spies from the camp at Acacia with orders to go and secretly explore the land of Canaan, especially the city of Jericho. When they came to the city, they went to spend the night in the house of a prostitute named Rahab. 2The king of Jericho heard that some Israelites had come that night to spy out the country, 3so he sent word to Rahab: “The men in your house have come to spy out the whole country! Bring them out!”
4-6“Some men did come to my house,” she answered, “but I don't know where they were from. They left at sunset before the city gate was closed. I didn't find out where they were going, but if you start after them quickly, you can catch them.” (Now Rahab had taken the two spies up on the roof and hidden them under some stalks of flax that she had put there.) 7The king's men left the city, and then the gate was shut. They went looking for the Israelite spies as far as the place where the road crosses the Jordan.
8Before the spies settled down for the night, Rahab went up on the roof 9and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given you this land. Everyone in the country is terrified of you. 10We have heard how the LORD dried up the Red Sea in front of you when you were leaving Egypt. We have also heard how you killed Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan. 11We were afraid as soon as we heard about it; we have all lost our courage because of you. The LORD your God is God in heaven above and here on earth. 12Now swear by him that you will treat my family as kindly as I have treated you, and give me some sign that I can trust you. 13Promise me that you will save my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families! Don't let us be killed!”
14The men said to her, “May God take our lives if we don't do as we say! If you do not tell anyone what we have been doing, we promise you that when the LORD gives us this land, we will treat you well.”
15Rahab lived in a house built into the city wall, so she let the men down from the window by a rope. 16“Go into the hill country,” she said, “or the king's men will find you. Hide there for three days until they come back. After that you can go on your way.”
17The men said to her, “We will keep the promise that you have made us give. 18This is what you must do. When we invade your land, tie this red cord to the window you let us down from. Get your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's family together in your house. 19If anyone goes out of the house, his death will be his own fault, and we will not be responsible; but if anyone in the house with you is harmed, then we will be responsible. 20However, if you tell anyone what we have been doing, then we will not have to keep our promise which you have made us give you.” 21She agreed and sent them away. When they had gone, she tied the red cord to the window.
22The spies went into the hills and hid. The king's men looked for them all over the countryside for three days, but they did not find them, so they returned to Jericho. 23Then the two spies came down from the hills, crossed the river, and went back to Joshua. They told him everything that had happened, 24and then said, “We are sure that the LORD has given us the whole country. All the people there are terrified of us.”
The People of Israel Cross the Jordan
1The next morning Joshua and all the people of Israel got up early, left the camp at Acacia, and went to the Jordan, where they camped while waiting to cross it. 2Three days later the leaders went through the camp 3and said to the people, “When you see the priests carrying the Covenant Box of the LORD your God, break camp and follow them. 4You have never been here before, so they will show you the way to go. But do not get near the Covenant Box; stay about a kilometre behind it.”
5Joshua said to the people, “Purify yourselves, because tomorrow the LORD will perform miracles among you.” 6Then he told the priests to take the Covenant Box and go with it ahead of the people. They did as he said.
7The LORD said to Joshua, “What I do today will make all the people of Israel begin to honour you as a great man, and they will realize that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8Tell the priests carrying the Covenant Box that when they reach the river, they must wade in and stand near the bank.”
9Then Joshua said to the people, “Come here and listen to what the LORD your God has to say. 10As you advance, he will surely drive out the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. You will know that the living God is among you 11when the Covenant Box of the Lord of all the earth crosses the Jordan ahead of you. 12Now choose twelve men, one from each of the tribes of Israel. 13When the priests who carry the Covenant Box of the LORD of all the earth put their feet in the water, the Jordan will stop flowing, and the water coming downstream will pile up in one place.”
14-15It was harvest time, and the river was in flood.
When the people left the camp to cross the Jordan, the priests went ahead of them, carrying the Covenant Box. As soon as the priests stepped into the river, 16the water stopped flowing and piled up, far upstream at Adam, the city beside Zarethan. The flow downstream to the Dead Sea was completely cut off, and the people were able to cross over near Jericho. 17While the people walked across on dry ground, the priests carrying the LORD's Covenant Box stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan until all the people had crossed over.
Memorial Stones are Set Up
1When the whole nation had crossed the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, 2“Choose twelve men, one from each tribe, 3and 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.”
4Then Joshua called the twelve men he had chosen, 5and said, “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. 6These stones will remind the people of what the LORD has done. In the future, when your children ask what these stones mean to you, 7you 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.”
8The 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. 9Joshua 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.) 10The 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. 11When they were all on the other side, the priests with the LORD's Covenant Box went on ahead of the people. 12The 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. 13In the presence of the LORD about 40,000 men ready for war crossed over to the plain near Jericho. 14What the LORD did that day made the people of Israel consider Joshua a great man. They honoured him all his life, just as they had honoured Moses.
15Then the LORD told Joshua 16to command the priests carrying the Covenant Box to come up out of the Jordan. 17Joshua did so, 18and when the priests reached the river bank, the river began flowing once more and flooded its banks again.
19The people crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month and made camp at Gilgal, east of Jericho. 20There Joshua set up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan. 21He said to the people of Israel, “In the future, when your children ask you what these stones mean, 22you will tell them about the time when Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground. 23Tell 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. 24Because of this everyone on earth will know how great the LORD's power is, and you will honour the LORD your God for ever.”
1All 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.