Joshua 4:21
And he spoke to the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?
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4:20-24 It is the duty of parents to tell their children betimes of the words and works of God, that they may be trained up in the way they should go. In all the instruction parents give their children, they should teach them to fear God. Serious godliness is the best learning. Are we not called, as much as the Israelites, to praise the loving-kindness of our God? Shall we not raise a pillar to our God, who has brought us through dangers and distresses in so wonderful a way? For hitherto the Lord hath helped us, as much as he did his saints of old. How great the stupidity and ingratitude of men, who perceive not His hand, and will not acknowledge his goodness, in their frequent deliverances!Gilgal, mentioned here by anticipation (compare Joshua 5:9), the modern Jiljulieh (Conder), was on rising ground (compare Joshua 5:3), and, according to Josephus, nearly five miles from the river, and consequently about two from the city itself. The site of the camp was no doubt fortified by Joshua, as it constituted for some time the abiding foothold in Canaan, from where he sallied forth to subdue the country. It was also the place of safety where the ark, and no doubt also the women, children, cattle, and other property of the people were left. Hence, the demolition of Jericho and Ai, strong fortresses in the neighborhood of Gilgal, was no doubt dictated by sound policy as well as by religious obligations. 20-24. those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal—Probably to render them more conspicuous, they might be raised on a foundation of earth or turf. The pile was designed to serve a double purpose—that of impressing the heathen with a sense of the omnipotence of God, while at the same time it would teach an important lesson in religion to the young and rising Israelites in after ages. No text from Poole on this verse. And he spoke unto the children of Israel, saying,.... At the same time he set up the stones:

when you children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying,

What mean these stones? See Gill on Joshua 4:6.

And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?
21. When your children] Nothing is more carefully inculcated in the Law than the duty of parents to teach their children not only its precepts and principles, but the meaning of all the great historical events in their national existence. (Comp. Exodus 12:26; Exodus 13:8; Exodus 13:14; Deuteronomy 4:5; Deuteronomy 4:9-10.)Verse 21. - When. Hebrews אֲֶשר. The relative pronoun here is sometimes equivalent to "when," as in Deuteronomy 11:6; 1 Kings 8:9. Gesenius would translate "if that," and Keil would render by quod. Termination of the miraculous Passage through the Jordan. - As soon as the priests left their standing-place in the river with the ark of the covenant, according to the command of God made known to them by Joshua, and the soles of their feet "tore themselves loose upon the dry ground" (נתּקוּ אל החרבה, constructio praegnans, for they tore themselves loose from the soft soil of the river, and trode upon the dry or firm ground), the waters of the Jordan returned again to their place, and went over all its banks as before (vid., Joshua 3:15). This affirms as clearly as possible that it was the ark which kept back the stream.
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