The Book of Joshua, Chapter Three with BAC Commentary. Crossing the Jordan River.
Joshua Chapter 3
with Yair Davidiy
[Joshua 3:1] 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.
[Joshua 3:2] AND IT CAME TO PASS AFTER THREE DAYS, THAT THE OFFICERS WENT THROUGH THE HOST;
[Joshua 3:3] 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.
<<THE PRIESTS>>: In Hebrew Cohanim (plural of Cohen) from the family of Aaron. Usually it was Levites from the Kohat clan who carried the ark.
[Joshua 3:4] 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.
[Joshua 3:5] AND JOSHUA SAID UNTO THE PEOPLE, SANCTIFY YOURSELVES: FOR TO MORROW THE LORD WILL DO WONDERS AMONG YOU.
<<SANCTIFY YOURSELVES>>: This meant complete immersion in the waters of a river or spring.
[Joshua 3:6] 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.
[Joshua 3:7] 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.
[Joshua 3:8] 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
[Joshua 3:9] AND JOSHUA SAID UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, COME HITHER, AND HEAR THE WORDS OF THE LORD YOUR GOD.
[Joshua 3:10] 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.
“GIRGASHITES” : This people later disappeared. Tradition says they went to North Africa. Amongst the Berbers of North Africa there was a tradition that they were descended from Canaanites who had fled from Joshua. The names Gergash and Gergashum were recorded in North Africa from Roman times. The Georgians also had a tradition that they were descended from the Gergashites. Other Canaanites were to be found scattered amongst Slavic peoples, in Germany, and in West Africa, Ghana is a form of the name Canaan . Israelite peoples later also intermarried with Canaanites even though this was forbidden.
[Joshua 3:11] BEHOLD, THE ARK OF THE COVENANT OF THE LORD OF ALL THE EARTH PASSETH OVER BEFORE YOU INTO JORDAN.
[Joshua 3:12] NOW THEREFORE TAKE YOU TWELVE MEN OUT OF THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL, OUT OF EVERY TRIBE A MAN.
Tribal distinctions are important. Every tribe is important and has its own characteristics and strengths.
[Joshua 3:13] 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.
The waters were to back up like a wall.
[Joshua 3:14] 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;
[Joshua 3:15] 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,)
[Joshua 3:16] 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.
The Jordan was once a great river. Now it is like a stream since most of its water goes to irrigation and also the climate has changed. The Arabs changed the climate by destroying all the trees and overgrazing with goats. This could be reversed, with some effort.
As described above, the Jordan emerged from a narrow defile and then spread out over a vast plain. The former expanse of the Jordan can still be seen. By today's standards at that time it may have been one of the world's great rivers.
I was once doing duty in the Israeli Army and we happened to be stationed at a point I consider to be that at which the Israelites under Joshua crossed over.
[Joshua 3:17] 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.