The arrival at Gilgal (Josh 4:19-4:24)

“The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month. They camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. Those twelve stones, which they had taken out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. He said to the Israelites. ‘When your children ask their parents in time to come, ‘what do these stones mean?’ Then you shall let your children know. ‘Israel crossed over the Jordan here on dry ground.’ Yahweh your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you crossed over. Just as Yahweh your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we crossed over. Now all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of Yahweh is mighty. So you may fear Yahweh your God forever.’”

Gilgal means circle of stones, which would indicate why the 12 stones were erected there. Gilgal is east of Jericho, about 3 miles from the Jordan River, the first camp in Canaan, the Promise Land. The Ark of the Covenant rested here in Gilgal as it became a center of religious and political power. Once again there is the direct explicit parallelism between the parting of the waters at the Red Sea and the Jordan River.

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