Study Guide

Book of Joshua Chapter 3

Chapter 3

The Jordan River Ain't Exactly The Mississippi

  • Joshua and the Israelites pack up their gear and head toward the Jordan River as they prepare for their big water crossing.
  • They set up camp for the night and Joshua tells Israel that they must sanctify themselves. Also, heads up Israelites—you are to follow the Ark of the Covenant at a distance of two thousand cubits.
  • The Ark of the Covenant probably should have one of those giant orange warning labels on it. It might say something helpful like Warning: standing close to the Ark of the Covenant when not sanctified may result in melting flesh or death.
  • God says to Joshua "This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses" (7).
  • If should be abundantly clear to the Israelites at this point that Joshua is the new Moses.
  • As Israel is preparing to cross the Jordan, one man from each tribe is selected to carry the Ark into the water.
  • The book notes that the Jordan River is in flood at this point in time, otherwise this wouldn't be so impressive.
  • When the feet of the ark bearers enter the water, the Jordan begins to flow like a wall to their right and to their left, just like the Red Sea in Exodus. We love it when things tie together like that and, if we're being honest, we're suckers for a good old fashioned miracle.
  • Once all of Israel has made it to dry land, the priests bearing the Ark step out of the Jordan and its waters return to normal. Very cool.

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