Mother Stories from the Bible – The Passage of the Jordan

Crossing the JordanHaving wandered for forty years in the wilderness, the Israelites drew near to the river Jordan, at a place opposite Jericho. Moses was dead, and Joshua was now the leader of the host. God told him that the time had come when the people of Israel were to enter Canaan; to which land they had all this long time been travelling, but which previously they had not been permitted to enter on account of their sin. A description of this sin is given in the Bible, in the fourteenth chapter of Numbers.

But the people were now to cross the Jordan and enter Canaan. They were a very great multitude, and the river lay before them. How were they to cross? God told them! He commanded Joshua that the priests were to take the ark of the covenant and to go before the people; who were to follow a short distance behind. Could the priests and the people walk across the deep water? No. But as soon as the priests reached the river, and their feet were dipped in the water, God divided the Jordan into two, leaving dry ground for the Israelites to cross upon.

The priests carried the ark into the middle of the bed of the river and then stood still, and all the people passed on before them. When all were over, the priests carrying the ark moved forward also, and the waters returned to their proper place again. But before they did so, Joshua commanded twelve men, one from each tribe, each to take a stone from the river’s bed; and these stones were set up as a memorial of the marvellous manner in which God had brought the Israelites across the Jordan into Canaan.