Joshua 3:16
Parallel Verses
New International Version
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 (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.

New Living Translation
the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho.

English Standard Version
the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho.

New American Standard Bible
the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
and the water flowing downstream stood still, rising up in a mass that extended as far as Adam, a city next to Zarethan. The water flowing downstream into the Sea of the Arabah (the Dead Sea) was completely cut off, and the people crossed opposite Jericho.

International Standard Version
the water flowing downstream from above stood still in a single location, a great distance away at Adam, a city near Zarethan. The water that flowed south toward the sea in the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho.

NET Bible
the water coming downstream toward them stopped flowing. It piled up far upstream at Adam (the city near Zarethan); there was no water at all flowing to the sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea). The people crossed the river opposite Jericho.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
the water, the water stopped flowing from upstream. The water rose up like a dam as far away as the city of Adam near Zarethan. The water flowing down toward the Sea of the Plains (the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. Then the people crossed from the east side [of the Jordan River] directly opposite Jericho.

Jubilee Bible 2000
that the waters which came down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far from the city of 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.

King James 2000 Bible
That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far at the city Adam, that is beside Zarethan: 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 opposite Jericho.

American King James Version
That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up on 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.

American Standard Version
that the waters which came down from above stood, and rose up in one heap, a great way off, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those that went down toward the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, were wholly cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The waters that came down from above stood in one place, and swelling up like a mountain, were seen afar off from the city that is called Adom, to the place of Sarthan: but those that were beneath, ran down into the sea of the wilderness (which now is called the Dead Sea) until they wholly failed.

Darby Bible Translation
the waters which flowed down from above stood [and] rose up in a heap, very far, by Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan; and those that flowed down towards the sea of the plain, the salt sea, were completely cut off. And the people went over opposite to Jericho.

English Revised Version
that the waters which came down from above stood, and rose up in one heap, a great way off, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan: and those that went down toward the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, were wholly cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

Webster's Bible Translation
That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan; and those that came down towards the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

World English Bible
that the waters which came down from above stood, and rose up in one heap, a great way off, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those that went down toward the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people passed over right against Jericho.

Young's Literal Translation
that the waters stand; those coming down from above have risen -- one heap, very far above Adam the city, which is at the side of Zaretan; and those going down by the sea of the plain, the Salt Sea, have been completely cut off; and the people have passed through over-against Jericho;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:14-17 Jordan overflowed all its banks. This magnified the power of God, and his kindness to Israel. Although those who oppose the salvation of God's people have all advantages, yet God can and will conquer. This passage over Jordan, as an entrance to Canaan, after their long, weary wanderings in the wilderness, shadowed out the believer's passage through death to heaven, after he has finished his wanderings in this sinful world. Jesus, typified by the ark, hath gone before, and he crossed the river when it most flooded the country around. Let us treasure up experiences of His faithful and tender care, that they may help our faith and hope in the last conflict.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 16. - Stood and rose up upon a heap. Literally, "stood - they rose up, one heap." The narrative assumes a poetic form here (cf. Exodus 15:8, 9; Judges 5:27). Very far from the city Adam. The Masorites have corrected the text here. The original text has בְאָדָם for which the suggested Keri is מֵאָדָס. But the correction is needless. It is better to render, "they rose up, one heap, very far off, at the city Adam." The city Adam is nowhere else mentioned in Scripture, The LXX. appears to have read מְאֹד מְאֹד instead of מְאֹד מֵאָדָס, for it translates σφόδρα σφοδρῶς. This reading of the LXX. shows that the correction, though it obscures the sense, is of great antiquity, and that the site of Adam was then quite unknown. Knobel would place it either just south of the Jabbok, where the ford Damieh now exists, or at Eduma, now Daumeh, twelve German miles east of Neapolis. The former is generally accepted now, and Conder ('Handbook,' p. 241) identifies it with Admah (see Genesis 14:2), in the plain or ciccar of Jordan. That is beside Zaretan. Called Zarthan in the original (cf. 1 Kings 4:12; 1 Kings 7:46), and Zeredatha, in 2 Chronicles 4:17. Some read Zeredatha for Zererath in Judges 7:22. Knobel supposes, and not without some probability, that Zereda, Jeroboam's birthplace, is the same as this. It was in the plain of Jordan, not far from Succoth, at the mouth of the Jabbok. The LXX. here reads Καριαθιαρείμ, i.e., either Kiriathaim or Kirjath-jearim, but without authority. Delitzsch and Knobel suppose the spot to be Kurn, or Karn (i.e., horn) Sartabeh, near the ford Damieh, where the Jordan valley is at its narrowest, and the rocks stretch forward so as almost to meet. They fix on this spot, partly from the suitability of the situation for such an arresting of the waters, partly from its agreement with the situation of Zarthan, as described in the Scriptures. Vandevelde agrees with them. There was an Adami and a Zartanath higher up the river near Bethshean, which some have supposed to be meant (see Joshua 19:83; 1 Kings 4:12), but these lay entirely out of Joshua's line of march. The sea of the plain. Rather the sea of the עֲרָבָה (θάλασσαν Αραβα, LXX.), or desert (so Deuteronomy 3:17; Deuteronomy 4:49; 2 Kings 14:25; see also Deuteronomy 1:1). The term is applied by the Hebrews and Arabs to any sterile region, and thence to the sterile depression which borders on the Jordan, extending from the lake of Tiberias southward. The Arabs now apply the term el ghor to the part between Tiberias and the Dead Sea, and reserve the term Arabah for the desert valley, or wady, which extends thence to the Red Sea. So Gesen., 'Thesaurus,' s.v.; and Robinson, 'Bibl. Res.' The word translated plain in Genesis 13:10 is כִּכַּר, a word of very different signification (see also 'Shephelah' and 'Emek,' Joshua 10:40; Joshua 11:2). The salt sea. This sea is called the Dead Sea from the immobility of its waters, as well as from the apparent absence of all life within them. "Some of our party," says Canon Tristram," employed themselves in searching, but without avail, for life in the Dead Sea." It lies at a level of more than 1,300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. Its waters are thus described by Dr. Thomson: "The water is perfectly clear and transparent. The taste is bitter and salt, far beyond that of the ocean. It acts upon the tongue and mouth like alum; smarts in the eye like camphor; produces a burning, pricking sensation." The specific gravity of its waters is very great, and bathers find a great difficulty in swimming in it from the unusual buoyancy of the water. This is caused by the very large quantity of saline matter held in solution from the salt hills in the neighbourhood. One of them, Jebel Usdum, is described by Canon Tristram as "a solid mass of rock salt," and the water in its vicinity as "syrup of chloride of sodium," that is to say, of common salt. So also Bartlett, 'Egypt and Palestine,' p. 451. The statement that no bird can fly across its waters is a fable. The fullest account of the various attempts - some of them fatal - to explore the Dead Sea are to be found in Ritter's 'Geography of Palestine,' vol. 3. Canon Tristram explored the western side thoroughly, while Mr. Macgregor's canoe voyage, described in his 'Rob Roy on the Jordan,' gives a number of most interesting details. In Ritter's work will also be found some valuable observations on the physical geography of the district, on the geological formation of the basin of the Dead Sea, together with two papers, one by M. Terreil and the other by M. Lartet, on the chemical composition of the Dead Sea waters. Failed and were cut off. Literally, were completed, were cut off, i.e., were completely cut off, so that the supply of water failed, and the channel of the Jordan to the southward, and to the northward as far as Zaretan, became dry ground (see also Psalm 114:3).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

That the waters which came down from above,.... Above where the priests' feet rested, and which came down from Mount Lebanon, and the fountains of Jordan northward:

stood and rose up upon an heap; they stopped their current, and as the water came down they rose up on high, and made one vast heap of waters:

very far from the city of Adam, that is, beside Zaretan; the Cetib, or textual reading, is, "in Adam the city"; we follow the marginal reading, "from Adam": both readings, as is usually, if not always the case, are to be received; and the meaning is, that this heap of waters, though the river was at a considerable distance from Adam; yet through the overflow of it, it reached to, and was "in Adam": this city was in Perea, on the other side Jordan, that side on which the Israelites were before their passage; and Zaretan, which is supposed to be the same with Zartanah, and Zarthan, 1 Kings 4:12, was on this side, in the tribe of Manasseh; and the sense is, not that Adam was on the side of Zaretan, or near it, for it was on the other side of the river; and according to the Talmudists (a) was twelve miles from it; but the construction is with the word "heap", "which heap was on the side of Zaretan"; it was there where the waters were heaped up; it seems as if they reached on the one side to Adam, and on the other side to Zaretan:

and those that came down towards the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off; those waters, which were below where the priests' feet rested, ran down into the lake Asphaltites, where Sodom and Gomorrah formerly stood, the sea of the plain, or vale of Siddim, Genesis 14:3; sometimes called the dead sea, and here the salt sea, its water being exceeding salt; so, Mr. Maundrell, the above mentioned traveller (b) testifies on his own knowledge;"the water of the lake (the lake Asphaltites, or dead sea, says he) was very limpid, and salt to the highest degree; and not only salt, but also extreme bitter and nauseous;''

so that these waters running down thither, and those above stopped, made a dry channel for sixteen or eighteen miles: and the people passed over right against Jericho; which was the city Joshua had in view to attack first, and had sent spies thither to get intelligence of it, and the disposition of the people in it: See Gill on Joshua 2:1.

(a) T. Hieros. Sotah, fol. 21. 4. (b) Maundrell, ut supra, (Journel from Aleppo to Jerusalem) p. 84. Ed. 7.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

16. the waters which came down from above—that is, the Sea of Galilee

stood and rose up upon a heap—"in a heap," a firm, compact barrier (Ex 15:8; Ps 78:13);

very far—high up the stream;

from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan—near mount Sartabeh, in the northern part of the Ghor (1Ki 7:46); that is, a distance of thirty miles from the Israelitish encampment; and

those that came down toward the sea of the desert—the Dead Sea—were cut off (Ps 114:2, 3). The river was thus dried up as far as the eye could reach. This was a stupendous miracle; Jordan takes its name, "the Descender," from the force of its current, which, after passing the Sea of Galilee, becomes greatly increased as it plunges through twenty-seven "horrible rapids and cascades," besides a great many lesser through a fall of a thousand feet, averaging from four to five miles an hour [Lynch]. When swollen "in time of harvest," it flows with a vastly accelerated current.

the people passed over right against Jericho—The exact spot is unknown; but it cannot be that fixed by Greek tradition—the pilgrims' bathing-place—both because it is too much to the north, and the eastern banks are there sheer precipices ten or fifteen feet high.

Joshua 3:16 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Crossing of the Jordan
15and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), 16the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. 17And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.
Cross References
Genesis 14:3
All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Dead Sea Valley).

Exodus 14:21
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided,

Deuteronomy 1:1
These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan--that is, in the Arabah--opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab.

Deuteronomy 3:17
Its western border was the Jordan in the Arabah, from Kinnereth to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea), below the slopes of Pisgah.

Joshua 3:13
And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD--the Lord of all the earth--set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap."

1 Kings 4:12
Baana son of Ahilud--in Taanach and Megiddo, and in all of Beth Shan next to Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth Shan to Abel Meholah across to Jokmeam;

1 Kings 7:46
The king had them cast in clay molds in the plain of the Jordan between Sukkoth and Zarethan.

Psalm 33:7
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.

Psalm 66:6
He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot-- come, let us rejoice in him.

Psalm 74:15
It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever-flowing rivers.

Psalm 114:3
The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back;

Psalm 114:5
Why was it, sea, that you fled? Why, Jordan, did you turn back?

Isaiah 50:2
When I came, why was there no one? When I called, why was there no one to answer? Was my arm too short to deliver you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you? By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea, I turn rivers into a desert; their fish rot for lack of water and die of thirst.

Ezekiel 47:8
He said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh.

Nahum 1:4
He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry. Bashan and Carmel wither and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.

Habakkuk 3:8
Were you angry with the rivers, LORD? Was your wrath against the streams? Did you rage against the sea when you rode your horses and your chariots to victory?
Treasury of Scripture

That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up on 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.

rose up

Joshua 3:13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the …

Psalm 29:10 The LORD sits on the flood; yes, the LORD sits King for ever.

Psalm 77:19 Your way is in the sea, and your path in the great waters, and your …

Psalm 114:3 The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back.

Matthew 8:26,27 And he said to them, Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? …

Matthew 14:24-33 But the ship was now in the middle of the sea, tossed with waves: …

Zaretan

1 Kings 4:12 Baana the son of Ahilud; to him pertained Taanach and Megiddo, and …

Zartanah

1 Kings 7:46 In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground …

Zarthan
the Salt Sea

Joshua 15:2 And their south border was from the shore of the salt sea, from the …

Genesis 14:3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.

Numbers 34:3 Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along …

Deuteronomy 3:17 The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from Chinnereth …

The passage through the Red Sea took place in the night, when the Israelites were fleeing from the Egyptians with great trepidation: but they passed Jordan in the day-time, with previous warning, leisurely, directly opposite to Jericho, and with a triumphant defiance of the Canaanites; this passage into the promised land evidently typifying the believer's passage through death to heaven.

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Alphabetical: the a above Adam and Arabah at away beside called city completely crossed cut distance down flowing from great heap in is It Jericho of off one opposite over people piled rose Salt Sea So stood stopped that the those to toward town up upstream vicinity was water waters were which while Zarethan

OT History: Joshua 3:16 That the waters which came down (Josh. Jos) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools

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