Joshua 3
Crossing the Jordan
1 ¶ And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to 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 ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.
 4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
  1 - Rose early As a good leader. The spies had returned the day before jos0223.
  1 - Removed They had been in Shittim for 2 months. It was near then end of the 40th year after leaving Egypt. See de0701.
  1 - Lodged Probably for three days.
  3 - When ye see the ark ... after it The ark had been in the middle of the procession before nu1217 but then the pillar of cloud led them. Now the ark with the law, the mercy seat and the presence of the Lord, would go before them. They were to follow it spiritually, too.
  3 - The priests the levites They were both. Usually this was the responsibility of the sons of Korath nu0415.
  4 - Space To encourage reverence and so more people could see the miracle of the path through the river.
  4 - Two thousand cubits About half a mile (0.8 km.)
.5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.
 6 And Joshua spake unto 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.
  5 - Sanctify yourselves Probably a preparation as was made before the ten commandments were spoken ex1910. This process was cooperation, not righteousness by works ph0212. Before crossing into the heavenly Canaan, God's people will accept divine strength for heart changing. This is seen in the humbling of souls by those going through the day-of-atonement experience le1629.
  5 - Wonders Made possible by the sanctification. The Hebrew word means "to separate" or "to distinguish."
  6 - Joshua spake ... ark The priests would take the ark as directed but after the events described in verses 7-13.
 7 ¶ And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.
.8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.
  7 - Magnify thee The Lord was about to act in a way that would help the people see that He was directing them through the leadership of Joshua. He had done this for Moses ex1909.
  8 - Brink The edge of the water not the bank which, at this time of year, was under water v15. After going to the water, the priests would wait for the water below them to flow away, then go to the middle with the ark.
 9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God.
 10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.
  9 - Come hither [here] The people had been told to follow the ark. Now they were told just what would happen.
  10 - Living God Different from the idols of the Canaanites. See the term in re0703. The nations around them would see this, too.
  10 - Without fail drive out But they weren't driven out. Looking at the Jebusites mentioned at the end of our verse see jg0121, 1ch1106. They didn't rely on the Lord. Compare 2ch2017.
.12 Now therefore take you 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 that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.
  13 - As soon as A demonstration of faith is4302.
  13 - Lord of all the earth The rivers would obey His orders!
  13 - Cut off from "From" is not in the original. It was not a separation as for the Red Sea but the water was as held back by God at that point.
 14 ¶ And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;
 15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)
  15 - At the time of harvest Several factors harmonize to give us confidence that the Bible is an accurate history. It was the time of the harvest. The first grain was barley ru0122, 2sa2109. The river was crossed on the tenth day of the first month jos0419. (The calendar began in the spring.). On the 15th day the "first fruits" were presented to the Lord le2310. Being below sea level, the area was relatively hot making harvest sooner. The river was already full from snow melting. The fact that Rahab had bundles of flax jos0206. also is a clue about the season. Because barley ripens at the same time ex0931. We are shown a consistent picture of early spring.
.16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.
  16 "the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea ) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho." (NIV).
 17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.
  16 - From the city of Adam Literally, "at Adam." The KJV is based on the Masoretic Text (MT) used for Hebrew Scripture publications. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls are OT segments from the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint (LXX) as well as from the MT. Thus the clearer NIV as shown is a good translation and is similar to others based on pre-MT manuscripts which read "at Adam" instead of "from Adam." The difference is not significant and the KJV, although the text is not as clear. Neither reading would lead to misunderstanding the objective of truth in the Bible or involving crossing the Jordan. The city of Adam is thought to have been at a location some 20 miles (32 km.) from the center point of where Israel crossed. To cross in one day, they would have needed a wide pathway, although not 40 miles. See note on the Masoretic text below.
  16 - Sea of Arabah (NIV) is a correct translation. Today we call it the Dead Sea.
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The Masoretic text discussed for verse 16 is from Hebrew scholars of around 100 AD who wanted to preserve the sounds of the language then not in popular use. The original  text was formed of consonant letters with vowels only occasionally implied. The scholars invented a system of points or little marks added to the letters to indicate the associated vowels. A different vowel often means a different word.