Daily Tanach, Thursday: Yehoshua Chapter 4-Part 2-Crossing the Jordon


1.      The Kohanim travel:

  • The Kohanim, who were carrying the Aron, remained standing in the Jordon until Yehoshua culminated the giving of all the instructions to the Jewish people, as he was commanded by G-d, and Moshe, [and until after the stones were established in both the area of encampment, and in the Jordon[1]].
  • When the entire nation completed the passage to the other side of the Jordan, the Aron of G-d, and the Kohanim [crossed the Jordon and] passed before the nation.[2]

2.      Bnei Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menashe lead Bnei Yisrael:

  • The armed military personnel of the tribes of Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menashe led Bnei Yisrael in their journey, as Moshe instructed them. There were approximately 40,000 soldiers who led the conquest before Hashem, heading towards Jericho.

3.      Yehoshua becomes renowned as a person of great stature:

  • On that day, Hashem made Yehoshua famous and spread his great stature in the eyes of all Israel. The Jewish people feared Yehoshua as they feared Moshe, his entire life.

4.      Recollection of how the Kohanim passed the Jordon:

  • Hashem spoke to Yehoshua saying that he should instruct the Kohanim who are carrying the Aron to go up from the Jordon. Yehoshua did as commanded, and he instructed the Kohanim to leave the Jordon. The moment the Kohanim lifted their feet from the riverbed of the Jordon, the waters returned to their normal flow as they did the previous days.[3]
  • The nation crossed the Jordon on the 10th day of the first month [i.e. Nissan] and they settled in Gilgal, which was on the east side of the Jordon.

5.      More details of the establishing of the 12 stones as a monument:

  • The 12 stones that were brought from the Jordon were established by Yehoshua in Gilgal.
  • Yehoshua told the people that the purpose of the stones is to serve as a reminder of the miracle of the splitting of the river. When the descendants of the Jewish people ask as to their meaning, their parents will tell them that they serve as a reminder that Hashem dried the riverbed of the Jordon for the Jewish people to cross, just as was done by the Yam Suf. This will show the mighty hand of G-d and cause the people of the world to fear Him all their lives.


[1] Radak 4:10

[2] See Rashi 4:11 and Radak 4:11 for different interpretations of how the Kohanim passed the Jordon. One understanding is that the Jewish people awaited them by the other side of the river and the Kohanim then walked on the dried riverbed until they walked past the Jewish people and began leading them again. Chazal, however, explain that a great miracle occurred, as the waters of the Jordon returned to flow prior to the passing of the Kohanim and the Aron miraculously lifted the Kohanim in the air and that is how they passed.

[3] See previous footnote as for how the Kohanim crossed the Jordon.

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