Joshua 3 – Israel Crosses the Jordan

The historical crossing of the Jordan is the place where God intends to show the people not only that He is with them in this long-awaited event, but that He is with Joshua, as He was with Moses (verse 7).  This is important because giving them a firm confidence in Joshua as a capable leader matters a great deal now that they no longer have Moses to turn to.  The waters of the Jordan at this time of the year are over-flowing the banks, we are told in verse 16, making it both deeper and wider than at other times during the year.  So rather than having the people build boats or try to find some safe place and manner to cross, God’s plan is to have them cross as they did the Red Sea in Exodus 14, having the water held back by the Lord while they cross on dry ground.

The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan (il...

The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan (illustration by Gustave Doré) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This symbolic gesture of God will further be aided in boosting their spirits by the sight of the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant (verse 3).  The Lord is leading His people into the Promised Land.  With the significance of this event highlighted by both of these spectacles, it is easy to see how the people would be given confidence, and how they would be filled with both hope and awe.

Easy also for us to miss the significance of the wording of the last verse of the chapter:

Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, sand all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

Although God had promised to make a great nation of Abraham, and had said in Exodus 19:6 that they will be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”, this is the first time the Bible has actually referred to them as a nation – and it occurs as they cross into the Promised Land.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


One comment on “Joshua 3 – Israel Crosses the Jordan

  1. Pingback: God is taking care of your finances « bummyla

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