Then Joshua gave this order to the officers who were over the people: "Go through all the camp and give this command: 'Prepare food for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in and take the land which Jehovah your God has given you as your own.'"
While Joshua was at Shittim, he secretly sent two men as spies, with the command: "Go, explore the land and especially Jericho." So they went and entered the house of a woman named Rahab, and stayed there.
It was reported to the king of Jericho, "Some men came here to-night from the Israelites to explore the land." Therefore the king of Jericho sent to Rahab and said, "Bring out the men who entered your house, for they have come to explore all the land."
Now the woman had taken the two men and hidden them; so she said, "It is true, some men came to me, but I did not know where they came from. When the time came to shut the gate at night, the men went out and I do not know where they have gone. Follow after them quickly, for you may overtake them." She, however, had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax which she had spread out there. So the men of Jericho followed after them in the direction of the fords of the Jordan; and as soon as the men of Jericho had gone out, the gate was closed.
The spies had hardly lain down when Rahab came up to them on the roof and said, "I know that Jehovah has given you the land and that fear of you has seized us and that because of you all who live in the land are losing heart. Now therefore swear to me by Jehovah, since I have treated you with kindness, that you will also treat my family kindly, and promise me that you will save the lives of my father, my mother, my brothers, and my sisters, together with all that they have, and will not put us to death." The men said to her, "We are ready to give our lives for you, if you do not tell what we are doing; and when Jehovah gives us the land, we will treat you kindly and faithfully."
Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house in which she lived was built into the city wall. She said to them, "Go into the hills, that the men who are looking for you may not find you, and hide yourselves there three days until they have returned. Then you may go on your way."
The men said to her, "We shall be free from our solemn promise to you, unless, when we come into the land, you bind this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down and gather your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your family into your house. If any one goes out of the doors of your house into the street, he shall be responsible for his death and we shall be innocent. If any one stays with you in the house, we will be responsible for his death if any one lays hands on him. But if you tell what we are doing, we shall be free from our solemn promise to you." She replied, "It shall be as you say." So she sent them away. And when they were gone, she bound the scarlet cord in the window.
So they left and went into the hills and stayed there three days until those who were looking for them had returned. They sought for them in every direction but did not find them. Then the two men came down from the hills, crossed the river, and came to Joshua and told him all that had happened to them.
Joshua rose up early in the morning and set out from Shittim. And he and all the Israelites came to the Jordan and spent the night there before crossing. And Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for to-morrow Jehovah will do wonders among you. Come and hear the words of Jehovah your God. By this you shall know that a living God is with you: the ark of the Lord of all the earth is about to pass over before you into the Jordan. When the priests who bear the ark of the Lord of all the earth step into the waters of the Jordan, its waters shall be cut off, so that the waters that come down from above will stand still in a heap."
So when the people left their tents to pass over the Jordan, the priests, who were carrying the ark were in front of them. And when the bearers of the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who were carrying the ark dipped in the brink of the water -- for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the harvest time -- the waters that came down from above stood still and its waters rose in a heap a long distance up the river at Adam, the city that is near Zarethan. The waters that went down toward the Dead Sea were wholly cut off, while the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who were carrying the ark of Jehovah stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until the whole nation had completed the crossing of the Jordan.
When they had all crossed, Jehovah said to Joshua, "Command them to take from the middle of the Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood, twelve stones and carry them over with you and lay them down in the camping-place, where you pass the night, that this may be a reminder to them. Then when your children ask from time to time: 'What do these stones mean to you?' you shall say to them, 'They are reminders that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of Jehovah, when it passed over the Jordan.' These stones shall be a constant reminder to the Israelites."
So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded and took up out of the middle of the Jordan twelve stones corresponding to the number of the tribes of the Israelites. They carried them over with them to the place where they camped and laid them down there.
Then the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and the river overflowed all its banks as before.