Preparations for the Conquest of Canaan
1 1 After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses' assistant: 2 "Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I'm giving to the People of Israel. 3 I'm giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on - just as I promised Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River - all the Hittite country - and then west to the Great Sea. It's all yours. 5 All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I'll be with you. I won't give up on you; I won't leave you. 6 Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. 7 Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don't get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you're going. 8 And don't for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you'll get where you're going; then you'll succeed. 9 Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take." The Taking of the Land
10 Then Joshua gave orders to the people's leaders: 11 "Go through the camp and give this order to the people: 'Pack your bags. In three days you will cross this Jordan River to enter and take the land God, your God, is giving you to possess.'" 12 Then Joshua addressed the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He said, 13 "Remember what Moses the servant of God commanded you: God, your God, gives you rest and he gives you this land. 14 Your wives, your children, and your livestock can stay here east of the Jordan, the country Moses gave you; but you, tough soldiers all, must cross the River in battle formation, leading your brothers, helping them 15 until God, your God, gives your brothers a place of rest just as he has done for you. They also will take possession of the land that God, your God, is giving them. Then you will be free to return to your possession, given to you by Moses the servant of God, across the Jordan to the east."
16 They answered Joshua: "Everything you commanded us, we'll do. Wherever you send us, we'll go. 17 We obeyed Moses to the letter; we'll also obey you - we just pray that God, your God, will be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Anyone who questions what you say and refuses to obey whatever you command him will be put to death. Strength! Courage!"^
The Spies Sent to Jericho
2 1 Joshua son of Nun secretly sent out from Shittim two men as spies: "Go. Look over the land. Check out Jericho." They left and arrived at the house of a harlot named Rahab and stayed there. 2 The king of Jericho was told, "We've just learned that men arrived tonight to spy out the land. They're from the People of Israel." 3 The king of Jericho sent word to Rahab: "Bring out the men who came to you to stay the night in your house. They're spies; they've come to spy out the whole country." 4 The woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, "Yes, two men did come to me, but I didn't know where they'd come from. 5 At dark, when the gate was about to be shut, the men left. But I have no idea where they went. Hurry up! Chase them - you can still catch them!" 6 (She had actually taken them up on the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax that were spread out for her on the roof.) 7 So the men set chase down the Jordan road toward the fords. As soon as they were gone, the gate was shut.
8 Before the spies were down for the night, the woman came up to them on the roof 9 and said, "I know that God has given you the land. We're all afraid. Everyone in the country feels hopeless. 10 We heard how God dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt, and what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you put under a holy curse and destroyed. 11 We heard it and our hearts sank. We all had the wind knocked out of us. And all because of you, you and God, your God, God of the heavens above and God of the earth below. 12 "Now promise me by God. I showed you mercy; now show my family mercy. And give me some tangible proof, a guarantee 13 of life for my father and mother, my brothers and sisters - everyone connected with my family. Save our souls from death!" 14 "Our lives for yours!" said the men. "But don't tell anyone our business. When God turns this land over to us, we'll do right by you in loyal mercy." 15 She lowered them down out a window with a rope because her house was on the city wall to the outside. 16 She told them, "Run for the hills so your pursuers won't find you. Hide out for three days and give your pursuers time to return. Then get on your way." 17 The men told her, "In order to keep this oath you made us swear, 18 here is what you must do: Hang this red rope out the window through which you let us down and gather your entire family with you in your house - father, mother, brothers, and sisters. 19 Anyone who goes out the doors of your house into the street and is killed, it's his own fault - we aren't responsible. But for everyone within the house we take full responsibility. If anyone lays a hand on one of them, it's our fault. 20 But if you tell anyone of our business here, the oath you made us swear is canceled - we're no longer responsible." 21 She said, "If that's what you say, that's the way it is," and sent them off. They left and she hung the red rope out the window.
22 They headed for the hills and stayed there for three days until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers had looked high and low but found nothing. 23 The men headed back. They came down out of the hills, crossed the river, and returned to Joshua son of Nun and reported all their experiences. 24 They told Joshua, "Yes! God has given the whole country to us. Everybody there is in a state of panic because of us."
Israel Passes over the Jordan
3 1 Joshua was up early and on his way from Shittim with all the People of Israel with him. He arrived at the Jordan and camped before crossing over. 2 After three days, leaders went through the camp 3 and gave out orders to the people: "When you see the Covenant-Chest of God, your God, carried by the Levitical priests, start moving. Follow it. 4 Make sure you keep a proper distance between you and it, about half a mile - be sure now to keep your distance! - and you'll see clearly the route to take. You've never been on this road before." 5 Then Joshua addressed the people: "Sanctify yourselves. Tomorrow God will work miracle-wonders among you." 6 Joshua instructed the priests, "Take up the Chest of the Covenant and step out before the people." So they took it up and processed before the people.
7 God said to Joshua, "This very day I will begin to make you great in the eyes of all Israel. They'll see for themselves that I'm with you in the same way that I was with Moses. 8 You will command the priests who are carrying the Chest of the Covenant: 'When you come to the edge of the Jordan's waters, stand there on the river bank.'" 9 Then Joshua addressed the People of Israel: "Attention! Listen to what God, your God, has to say. 10 This is how you'll know that God is alive among you - he will completely dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites. 11 Look at what's before you: the Chest of the Covenant. Think of it - the Master of the entire earth is crossing the Jordan as you watch. 12 Now take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from each tribe. 13 When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the Chest of God, Master of all the earth, touch the Jordan's water, the flow of water will be stopped - the water coming from upstream will pile up in a heap."
14 And that's what happened. The people left their tents to cross the Jordan, led by the priests carrying the Chest of the Covenant. 15 When the priests got to the Jordan and their feet touched the water at the edge (the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest), 16 the flow of water stopped. It piled up in a heap - a long way off - at Adam, which is near Zarethan. The river went dry all the way down to the Arabah Sea (the Salt Sea). And the people crossed, facing Jericho. 17 And there they stood; those priests carrying the Chest of the Covenant stood firmly planted on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground. Finally the whole nation was across the Jordan, and not one wet foot.
The Twelve Stones Taken from the Jordan
4 1 When the whole nation was finally across, God spoke to Joshua: 2 "Select twelve men from the people, a man from each tribe, 3 and tell them, 'From right here, the middle of the Jordan where the feet of the priests are standing firm, take twelve stones. Carry them across with you and set them down in the place where you camp tonight.'" 4 Joshua called out the twelve men whom he selected from the People of Israel, one man from each tribe. 5 Joshua directed them, "Cross to the middle of the Jordan and take your place in front of the Chest of God, your God. Each of you heft a stone to your shoulder, a stone for each of the tribes of the People of Israel, 6 so you'll have something later to mark the occasion. When your children ask you, 'What are these stones to you?' 7 you'll say, 'The flow of the Jordan was stopped in front of the Chest of the Covenant of God as it crossed the Jordan - stopped in its tracks. These stones are a permanent memorial for the People of Israel.'" 8 The People of Israel did exactly as Joshua commanded: They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan - a stone for each of the twelve tribes, just as God had instructed Joshua - carried them across with them to the camp, and set them down there. 9 Joshua set up the twelve stones taken from the middle of the Jordan that had marked the place where the priests who carried the Chest of the Covenant had stood. They are still there today.
10 The priests carrying the Chest continued standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything God had instructed Joshua to tell the people to do was done (confirming what Moses had instructed Joshua). The people crossed; no one dawdled. 11 When the crossing of all the people was complete, they watched as the Chest of the Covenant and the priests crossed over. 12 The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had crossed over in battle formation in front of the People of Israel, obedient to Moses' instructions. 13 All told, about 40,000 armed soldiers crossed over before God to the plains of Jericho, ready for battle. 14 God made Joshua great that day in the sight of all Israel. They were in awe of him just as they had been in awe of Moses all his life. 15 God told Joshua, 16 "Command the priests carrying the Chest of the Testimony to come up from the Jordan." 17 Joshua commanded the priests, "Come up out of the Jordan." 18 They did it. The priests carrying God's Chest of the Covenant came up from the middle of the Jordan. As soon as the soles of the priests' feet touched dry land, the Jordan's waters resumed their flow within the banks, just as before. 19 The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month. They set up camp at The Gilgal (The Circle) to the east of Jericho.
20 Joshua erected a monument at The Gilgal, using the twelve stones that they had taken from the Jordan. 21 And then he told the People of Israel, "In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, 'What are these stones doing here?' 22 tell your children this: 'Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.' 23 "Yes, God, your God, dried up the Jordan's waters for you until you had crossed, just as God, your God, did at the Red Sea, which had dried up before us until we had crossed. 24 This was so that everybody on earth would recognize how strong God's rescuing hand is and so that you would hold God in solemn reverence always."