All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Crossing Into Canaan

Israel has camped on the east bank of the Jordan River for over two months, and now they are instructed to prepare to cross over and possess the land.

Two men are sent to spy out the land, and especially the impregnable city of Jericho. As they enter that city, they lodge in the house of Rahab the harlot—the safest place to stay, since neither she, nor her clients, are likely to inform others of who is there.

However, the king hears of the spies and orders Rahab to bring them out. Instead, she hides them on her flat roof under piles of flax, telling the king’s men that the spies have been there, but left before the city gate closed for the night. Then she tells the spies that the inhabitants know about their liberation from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea, and are terrified, because they know the Lord has given Israel their land.

After declaring that the Lord is the God of Heaven and earth, she begs them to spare her family.

They agree to do this if she hangs a scarlet cord from her window as a sign—just as the blood of the Passover lamb gave them protection in Egypt.

Since her house is on the city wall, she lowers them down through a window in the night, and when the spies return, they tell Joshua their story and declare that the Lord has given the land into Israel’s hand. Note that the two spies serve as two witnesses, making their report true.

Bottom of the Riverbed

The next day, Joshua and all the people travel about seven miles to the Jordan, where they remain for three days. Biblically, anything linked with the number three is considered significant, as it is here. The people are instructed to sanctify themselves and follow the Ark, being sure to stay about two-thirds of a mile behind it. The Ark leading the procession indicates God is leading the crossing.

It’s springtime, and the Jordan is heavily overflowing its banks. But as the priests step into the water, suddenly, the river stops flowing and piles up in a heap about twenty miles upstream, near the city of Adam!

As the priests stand with the Ark in the midst of the river, Joshua orders a representative from each tribe to take a stone from the bottom of the riverbed and place it on the other side as a witness to future generations of this great miracle. Joshua then piles 12 stones in the midst of the river, as well. The river levels become very low in the dry season, so this pile probably becomes visible much of the time for generations to come. Again, in a biblical sense, these two memorials serve as two witnesses that this crossing is truly miraculous.

After many years, the faithful manna ceases, since it is no longer needed. The children of Israel are now in the land “flowing with milk and honey.”

A Covenant Renewed

Next, the Lord commands all the males born in the wilderness to be circumcised—a practice obviously suspended after their fathers broke their covenant relationship by not letting the Lord lead them, and rebelling at Kadesh. Circumcision takes away the “reproach of Egypt,” which symbolizes Egyptian bondage during the wilderness experience. Once circumcised, they once again enter into a covenant relationship with the Lord and can now celebrate the Passover for the first time on the fourteenth day of the month—just like the first Passover.

It is interesting that the stories of the crossing of the Jordan and the liberation from the wilderness experience are built on the two archetype experiences—the Exodus from Egypt, and the crossing of the Red Sea. The exodus from the wilderness signifies freedom from the bondage of forty years of sin.

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