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No sound system could replicate the Israelites' bursts of amazement as the waters of the River Jordan parted.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Joshua Crosses the River Jordan, part four

No sound system could have replicated the Israelites’ bursts of amazement as the waters of the River Jordan parted. How could some waters go upstream, and some go downstream? The people began walking across the riverbed with 40,000 armed warriors guiding them.

Twelve priests stood with the Ark of the Covenant in the middle of the riverbed until the people were across the Jordan. The Ark reminded them that the Lord was present.

The Lord told Joshua, “Choose twelve men to pick up twelve stones by the priests. Each man will carry his stone on his shoulder and each stone will represent one of the twelve tribes. Place the stones where we camp tonight. They will be a memorial to what happened today.

“Place another twelve stones where the priests were standing in the middle of the Jordan. Even when the river’s waters flow back together, the rocks will remain there as a memorial.”

That day the Lord made Joshua great in the eyes of all the Israelites. They honored him as they had honored Moses.

Joshua told the Israelites, “In the future tell your children that the Lord dried up the river in a place for you all to walk across. You saw this happen. The Lord kept it dry until you all were across. This happened just as it did forty years ago when your fathers and their families crossed the Red Sea when they left Egypt. God did this so all the nations on earth can know that the Lord is powerful, and you might deeply respect Him.”

Soon kings in nearby nations heard how the river parted. Fear of the Israelites paralyzed them.

The Israelites camped on the plains of Jericho. Joshua led them in renewing their covenant with the Lord, and the celebration of Passover. This festival reminded them how they were delivered from slavery in Egypt.

One day as Joshua walked towards the city of Jericho, a man faced him with a sword. Joshua asked, “Are you a friend or my enemy?”

The man replied, “I am neither. I am commander of the Lord’s army.”

Joshua dropped with his face to the ground in complete respect. “I am your servant ready for your command. What do you want me to do?”

“Take off your sandals, for this is holy ground.”

Joshua did so. He did not record what he was told. Perhaps he received initial directions for the upcoming battle in Jericho. Perhaps the commander had been an angel.

Jericho had begun keeping its gates shut because of the people’s dread of the Israelites. No person could enter the city or go out. The Lord told Joshua, “I have given you Jericho. Your entire army is to march around the city once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark. Each priest will carry a ram’s horn. On the seventh day walk around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the rams’ horns.

“When you hear the priests give one long blast from the horns, order your people to shout. The walls of the city will collapse, and the people can charge into the city.”

This is Barbara Steiner. Return soon for part five and a strange battle.

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