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Joshua 4:9-13

16 05 18 - 23:24

Twelve More Stones

Joshua 4:9-13

9  And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day. 10  For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over. 11  And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people. 12  And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them: 13  About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.

After all had passed over the river Jordan, Joshua went back and erected another memorial with twelve more stones at the place where the priests stood. This was the place where the ark of the covenant, representing the throne and presence of the LORD, had stopped, causing the waters to stand in a heap. Was it to honor the priests, as some have suggested, or was it to mark a holy spot where the LORD's presence and power were manifested?

"The works of the LORD [are] great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.  His work [is] honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD [is] gracious and full of compassion." (Psalms 111:2-4)

The location of this crossing was supposedly at Bethabara, the same place where John baptized. It is where he identified Jesus as the Lamb of God in John 1:26-29. The stones in the river might have been the ones that John pointed to. "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." (Matthew 3:9)

The priests remained in the river bed with the ark until everyone had passed over and Joshua had told them everything that he was commanded to say. There was no hesitation or doubt on the part of the people. They hurried across the river with complete confidence in their leader. Israel was finally in the Promised Land, a victorious and confident nation.

"And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh," who were settled on the other side Jordan, in the countries taken from Sihon and Og, marched across the river ahead of the other tribes. These were told by Moses that, although they already had their land, they would have to support their brethren in the battles for the rest of the inheritance. Their wives and children were allowed to stay on the other side of the Jordan to care for the livestock etc., but we can see here that these tribes preceded the others into battle.

Forty thousand men were just the tip of Israel's army. It is understandable how the Canaanite tribes could have trembled with fear as they saw them coming. This was the army of the LORD who could part the Red Sea, destroy the mighty Egyptian army and heap up the waters of the Jordan River in order to allow His army to pass over.

"The devil also believes and trembles..." in the knowledge that Christ will return with His saints to destroy the kingdoms of the earth and to establish the kingdom of heaven forever. We, His Christian army, should be engaged in the spiritual warfare that is occurring right now, knowing that we cannot lose.

Before The Throne:

Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God. Make every minute of your day be a memorial to Him. Ask Him to keep you on track, to keep your mind and your affections focused on the things from above. Thank Him for being always with you and for leading you into His rest through your faith in Jesus Christ.

For Further Study:

(v.9) * set up twelve. Exod 24:12; Exod 28:21; 1Kgs 18:31; Ps 111:2-4; * and they are there. Gen 26:33; Deut 34:6; Judg 1:26; 1Sam 30:25; 2Sam 4:3; 2Chr 5:9; Matt 27:8; Mt 28:15;

(v.10) * stood in the midst. Josh 3:13, 16, 17; Isa 28:16; * Moses. Num 27:21-23; Deut 31:9; * hasted. Exod 12:39; Ps 119:60; Prov 27:1; Eccl 9:10; 2Cor 6:2; Heb 3:7-8;

(v.11) * that the ark. Josh 3:8; Josh 3:17;

(v.12) * the children. Josh 1:14; Num 32:20-32;

(v.13) * prepared for war. Eph 6:11; * to the plains. Josh 5:10; 2Kgs 25:5; Jer 39:5; Jer 52:8;



Author David Roth has been the Multihousing and Community Outreach Director for the York Baptist Association in Rock Hill, S.C. for nearly 20 years. He is the founder and pastor of Midtown Ministries, an inner city ministry to over 50 children and is presently pastoring My Radical Church, a new church plant that is focusing on reaching the homeless and poorest of the city. He has written over 3,000 daily bible studies and is in the process of posting them on this website.

The image in the header is © Andreas Reinhold.

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