Memorial Stones from Jordan
1So it was when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2“Take for yourselves the twelve men [chosen] from among the people, one man from each tribe, 3and command them, ‘Pick up for yourselves twelve stones [one each] from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm; carry them over with you and lay them down at the place where you will spend the night tonight.’ ” 4Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; 5and Joshua said to them, “Cross over again to the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel, 6so that this may be a sign among you; when your children ask later, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7then you shall say to them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall become a memorial for Israel forever.”
8So the [twelve men chosen from the] sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel, just as the Lord had spoken to Joshua; and they carried them over with them to the place where they were spending the night and put them down there. 9Then Joshua set up [a second monument of] twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day. 10For the priests who carried the ark were standing in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the Lord had commanded Joshua to tell the people, in accordance with everything that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people hurried and crossed [the dry riverbed]; 11and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed over in the presence of the people. 12The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed for battle before the [other] sons of Israel, just as Moses had spoken to them; 13about 40,000 [men] armed and equipped for war crossed for battle before the Lord to the desert plains of Jericho.
14On that day the Lord magnified and exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; so they feared him [with profound awe and reverence], just as they had feared Moses all the days of his life.
15Now the Lord said to Joshua, 16“Order the priests carrying the ark of the Testimony to come up out of the Jordan.” 17So Joshua commanded the priests, saying, “Come up out of the Jordan.” 18When the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord had come up from the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of their feet were raised up to the dry land, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and flowed over all its banks as before.
19Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth [day] of the first month and encamped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20And those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. 21He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you crossed over, just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; 24so that all the peoples of the earth may know [without any doubt] and acknowledge that the hand of the Lord is mighty and extraordinarily powerful, so that you will fear the Lord your God [and obey and worship Him with profound awe and reverence] forever.”