Joshua 4:3
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’”

King James Bible
And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

American Standard Version
and command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of the Jordan, out of the place where the priests feet stood firm, twelve stones, and carry them over with you, and lay them down in the lodging-place, where ye shall lodge this night.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And command them to take out of the midst of the Jordan, where the feet of the priests stood, twelve very hard stones, which you shall set in the place of the camp, where you shall pitch your tents this night.

English Revised Version
and command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and carry them over with you, and lay them down in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

Webster's Bible Translation
And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, from the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging-place where ye shall lodge this night.

Joshua 4:3 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The event corresponded to the announcement. - Joshua 3:14-16. When the people left their tents to go over the Jordan, and the priests, going before the ark of the covenant, dipped their feet in the water ("the brim of the water," Joshua 3:15, as in Joshua 3:8), although the Jordan was filled over all its banks throughout the whole time of harvest, the waters stood still: the waters flowing down from above stood as a heap at a very great distance off, by the town of Adam, on the side of Zarthan; and the waters flowing down to the salt sea were entirely cut off, so that the people went through the dried bed of the river opposite to Jericho. Joshua 3:14-16 form one large period, consisting of three protases (Joshua 3:14, Joshua 3:15), the first and third of which are each of them more precisely defined by a circumstantial clause, and also of three apodoses (Joshua 3:16). In the protases the construction passes from the infinitive (בּנסע and כּבוא) into the finite verb (נטבּלוּ), - a thing of frequent occurrence (see Ewald, 350). The circumstantial clause (Joshua 3:15), "and the Jordan was filled over all its banks all the days of harvest," brings out in all its fulness the miracle of the stoppage of the water by the omnipotence of God. Every attempt to explain the miracle as a natural occurrence is thereby prevented; so that Eichhorn pronounces the clause a gloss, and endeavours in this manner to get rid of it altogether. על־כּל־גּבותיו might mean full against all its banks, flowing with its banks full, or "full to the brim" (Robinson, Pal. ii. p. 262, according to the lxx and Vulg.); but if we compare Joshua 4:18, "the waters of Jordan returned to their place, and went over all its banks as before," with the parallel passage in Isaiah 8:7, "the river comes up over all its channels and goes over all its banks," there can be no doubt that the words refer to an overflowing of the banks, and not merely to their being filled to the brim, so that the words must be rendered "go over the banks." But we must not therefore understand them as meaning that the whole of the Ghor was flooded. The Jordan flows through the Ghor, which is two hours' journey broad at Beisan, and even broader to the south of that (see at Deuteronomy 1:1), in a valley about a quarter of an hour in breadth which lies forty or fifty feet lower, and, being covered with trees and reeds, presents a striking contrast to the sandy slopes which bound it on both sides. In many places this strip of vegetation occupies a still deeper portion of the lower valley, which is enclosed by shallow banks not more than two or three feet high, so that, strictly speaking, we might distinguish three different banks at the places referred to: namely, the upper or outer banks, which form the first slope of the great valley; the lower or middle banks, embracing that strip of land which is covered with vegetation; and then the true banks of the river's bed (see Burckhardt, Syr. pp. 593ff., and Robinson, Pal. ii. pp. 254ff., and Bibl. Researches, pp. 333ff.). The flood never reaches beyond the lower line of the Ghor, which is covered with vegetation, but even in modern times this line has sometimes been overflowed. For example, Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 255, compared with p. 263) found the river so swollen when he visited it in 1838, that it filled its bed to the very brim, and in some places flowed over and covered the ground where the bushes grew. This rise of the water still takes place at the time of harvest in April and at the beginning of May (see at Leviticus 23:9.), and therefore really at the close of the rainy reason, and after the snow has been long melted upon Hermon, as it is then that the lake of Tiberias reaches its greatest height, in consequence of the rainy season and the melting of the snow, so that it is only then that the Jordan flows with its full stream into the Dead Sea (Robinson, ii. p. 263). At this time of the year the river cannot of course be waded through even at its shallowest fords, whereas this is possible in the summer season, when the water is low. It is only by swimming that it can possibly be crossed, and even that cannot be accomplished without great danger, as it is ten or twelve feet deep in the neighbourhood of Jericho, and the current is very strong (vid., Seetzen, R. ii. pp. 301, 320-1; Rob. ii. p. 256). Crossing at this season was regarded as a very extraordinary feat in ancient times, so that it is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 12:15 as a heroic act on the part of the brave Gadites. It may possibly have been in this way that the spies crossed and recrossed the river a few days before. But that was altogether impossible for the people of Israel with their wives and children.

It was necessary, therefore, that the Lord of the whole earth should make a road by a miracle of His omnipotence, which arrested the descending waters in their course, so that they stood still as a heap "very far," sc., from the place of crossing, "by the town of Adam" (בּאדם must not be altered into מאדם, from Adam, according to the Keri), "which is by the side of Zarthan." The city of Adam, which is not mentioned anywhere else (and which Luther has erroneously understood as an appellative, according to the Arabic, "people of the city"), is not to be confounded with Adamah, in the tribe of Naphtali (Joshua 19:36). The town of Zarthan, by the side of which Adam is situated, has also vanished. Van de Velde and Knobel imagine that the name Zarthan has been preserved in the modern Kurn (Horn) Sartabeh, a long towering rocky ridge on the south-west of the ford of Damieh, upon which there are said to be the ruins of a castle. This conjecture is not favoured by any similarity in the names so much as by its situation. For, on the one hand, the mountain slopes off from the end of this rocky ridge, or from the loftiest part of the horn, into a broad shoulder, from which a lower rocky ridge reaches to the Jordan, and seems to join the mountains on the east, so that the Jordan valley is contracted to its narrowest dimensions at this point, and divided into the upper and lower Ghor by the hills of Kurn Sartabeh; and consequently this was apparently the most suitable point for the damming up of the waters of the Jordan (see Robinson, Bibl. Researches, pp. 293-4). On the other hand, this site tallies very well with all the notices in the Bible respecting the situation of the town of Zarthan, or Zeredetha (1 Kings 7:46, compared with 2 Chronicles 4:17): viz., at 1 Kings 4:12, where Zarthan is said to have been by the side of the territory of Bethshean; also at 1 Kings 7:46, where Zarthan and Succoth are opposed to one another; and at Judges 7:22, where the reading should be צרדתה, according to the Arabic and Syriac versions. Hence Knobel supposes that Adam was situated in the neighbourhood of the present ford Damieh, near to which the remains of a bridge belonging to the Roman era are still to be found (Lynch, Expedition). The distance of Kurn Sartabeh from Jericho is a little more than fifteen miles, which tallies very well with the expression "very far." Through this heaping up of the waters coming down from above, those which flowed away into the Dead Sea (the sea of the plain, see Deuteronomy 4:49) were completely cut off (נכרתוּ תּמּוּ are to be taken together, so that תּמּוּ merely expresses the adverbial idea wholly, completely), and the people went over, probably in a straight line from Wady Hesbn to Jericho.

Joshua 4:3 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the priest's feet

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...

twelve stones

Joshua 24:27 And Joshua said to all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us...

Genesis 28:22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house...

Deuteronomy 27:1-26 And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day...

1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying...

Psalm 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Psalm 11:4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.

Luke 19:40 And he answered and said to them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

leave them

Joshua 4:18,19,20 And it came to pass, when the priests that bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the middle of Jordan...

Cross References
Joshua 4:4
Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe.

Joshua 4:20
And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal.

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