Each man from the midst of Jordan carries one stone for the band. Just as Israel is one nation, so each band is also a unit represented by the stone. While this can be seen as 'tribal', and can lead to a negative exclusion, it can also be seen as recognizing a corporate reality. None of us lives to ourselves and we are all mutually interdependent. I have outlined before how dependent I am as an individual on millions of others around the world that I do not even know.
Much as this will upset some, the corporate nature of salvation is a critical part of the gospel. To reject the guest, the refugee, the immigrant, is to reject our very self. This is not a left wing or liberal conspiracy. It is a fact of life for the right and the left.
In the same unified spirit, Joshua alone placed 12 stones into the midst of the Jordan. This has been taken as a symbol of all of us dying together, the old life buried, the new life beginning. It seems it is our job to learn the new life. It should give us security to know that the old life is buried.
Note also in the repeated explanation, that the children yet to be born are included in the symbolism of the stones. We cannot say that the ancient writers failed to understand this story symbolically. They are better at figures of speech than at least half of us. They also conflate time with their corporate identity. If we too begin to know this, then maybe we can serve each other, and fear G-d every day, rather than fear each other every day, and serve only ourselves.
|וַיְהִי֙ כַּאֲשֶׁר־תַּ֣מּוּ כָל־הַגּ֔וֹי לַעֲב֖וֹר אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן |
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ לֵאמֹֽר
|1||And it happened that as all the nation completed crossing over the Jordan, |
that Yahweh said to Joshua, saying,
|קְח֤וּ לָכֶם֙ מִן־הָעָ֔ם שְׁנֵ֥ים עָשָׂ֖ר אֲנָשִׁ֑ים |
אִישׁ־אֶחָ֥ד אִישׁ־אֶחָ֖ד מִשָּֽׁבֶט
|2||C||Take for yourselves from the people twelve men, |
one man from each band.
|וְצַוּ֣וּ אוֹתָם֮ לֵאמֹר֒ שְׂאֽוּ־לָכֶ֨ם מִזֶּ֜ה מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַיַּרְדֵּ֗ן מִמַּצַּב֙ רַגְלֵ֣י הַכֹּהֲנִ֔ים הָכִ֖ין שְׁתֵּים־עֶשְׂרֵ֣ה אֲבָנִ֑ים |
וְהַעֲבַרְתֶּ֤ם אוֹתָם֙ עִמָּכֶ֔ם וְהִנַּחְתֶּ֣ם אוֹתָ֔ם בַּמָּל֕וֹן אֲשֶׁר־תָּלִ֥ינוּ ב֖וֹ הַלָּֽיְלָה
|3||And command them, saying, Bear for yourselves from here, from the midst of the Jordan, where the feet of the priests stand firmly established, twelve stones. |
And have them transferred with you. And you will leave them at the stop over, where we will stop over tonight.
|וַיִּקְרָ֣א יְהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ אֶל־שְׁנֵ֤ים הֶֽעָשָׂר֙ אִ֔ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֥ר הֵכִ֖ין מִבְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
אִישׁ־אֶחָ֥ד אִישׁ־אֶחָ֖ד מִשָּֽׁבֶט
|4||And Joshua called to the twelve men whom he had prepared among the children of Israel, |
one man from each band.
|וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לָהֶם֙ יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ עִ֠בְרוּ לִפְנֵ֨י אֲר֧וֹן יְהוָ֛ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֖ם אֶל־תּ֣וֹךְ הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן |
וְהָרִ֨ימוּ לָכֶ֜ם אִ֣ישׁ אֶ֤בֶן אַחַת֙ עַל־שִׁכְמ֔וֹ לְמִסְפַּ֖ר שִׁבְטֵ֥י בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
|5||And Joshua said to them, Cross over before the ark of Yahweh your God, into the midst of the Jordan, |
and raise for yourselves, each one stone on his backside, for the count of the bands of the children of Israel.
|לְמַ֗עַן תִּֽהְיֶ֛ה זֹ֥את א֖וֹת בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם |
כִּֽי־יִשְׁאָל֨וּן בְּנֵיכֶ֤ם מָחָר֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר מָ֛ה הָאֲבָנִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה לָכֶֽם
|6||So that this will be a sign among you, |
when your children ask afterwards, saying, What are these stones to you?
|וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֣ם לָהֶ֗ם אֲשֶׁ֨ר נִכְרְת֜וּ מֵימֵ֤י הַיַּרְדֵּן֙ מִפְּנֵי֙ אֲר֣וֹן בְּרִית־יְהוָ֔ה בְּעָבְרוֹ֙ בַּיַּרְדֵּ֔ן נִכְרְת֖וּ מֵ֣י הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן |
וְ֠הָיוּ הָאֲבָנִ֨ים הָאֵ֧לֶּה לְזִכָּר֛וֹן לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עַד־עוֹלָֽם
|7||And you say to them, That the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, when it crossed over the Jordan. The waters of the Jordan were cut off, |
and these stones are for a memorial for the children of Israel for evermore.
|וַיַּעֲשׂוּ־כֵ֣ן בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֘ל כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה יְהוֹשֻׁעַ֒ וַיִּשְׂא֡וּ שְׁתֵּֽי־עֶשְׂרֵ֨ה אֲבָנִ֜ים מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַיַּרְדֵּ֗ן כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר דִּבֶּ֤ר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ לְמִסְפַּ֖ר שִׁבְטֵ֣י בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
וַיַּעֲבִר֤וּם עִמָּם֙ אֶל־הַמָּל֔וֹן וַיַּנִּח֖וּם שָֽׁם
|8||And the children of Israel did so, as Joshua commanded, and they lifted up the twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan, as Yahweh spoke to Joshua, for the count of the bands of the children of Israel, |
and transferred them with them to the stop over, and they left them there.
|וּשְׁתֵּ֧ים עֶשְׂרֵ֣ה אֲבָנִ֗ים הֵקִ֣ים יְהוֹשֻׁעַ֮ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַיַּרְדֵּן֒ תַּ֗חַת מַצַּב֙ רַגְלֵ֣י הַכֹּהֲנִ֔ים נֹשְׂאֵ֖י אֲר֣וֹן הַבְּרִ֑ית |
וַיִּ֣הְיוּ שָׁ֔ם עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה
|9||And twelve stones Joshua placed in the midst of the Jordan, under where the feet of the priests stood firmly who were bearing the ark of the covenant. |
And they are there until this day.
|וְהַכֹּהֲנִ֞ים נֹשְׂאֵ֣י הָאָר֗וֹן עֹמְדִים֮ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַיַּרְדֵּן֒ עַ֣ד תֹּ֣ם כָּֽל־הַ֠דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֨ה יְהוָ֤ה אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ לְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־הָעָ֔ם כְּכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ |
וַיְמַהֲר֥וּ הָעָ֖ם וַֽיַּעֲבֹֽרוּ
|10||And the priests, who were bearing the ark, were standing in the midst of the Jordan, until everything was completed which Yahweh commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua, |
And the people moved swiftly and they crossed over.
|וַיְהִ֛י כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־תַּ֥ם כָּל־הָעָ֖ם לַֽעֲב֑וֹר |
וַיַּעֲבֹ֧ר אֲרוֹן־יְהוָ֛ה וְהַכֹּהֲנִ֖ים לִפְנֵ֥י הָעָֽם
|11||And it happened that as all the people completed crossing over, |
that the ark of Yahweh crossed over, and the priests in the presence of the people.
|וַ֠יַּעַבְרוּ בְּנֵי־רְאוּבֵ֨ן וּבְנֵי־גָ֜ד וַחֲצִ֨י שֵׁ֤בֶט הַֽמְנַשֶּׁה֙ חֲמֻשִׁ֔ים לִפְנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר דִּבֶּ֥ר אֲלֵיהֶ֖ם מֹשֶֽׁה
|12||~||And the children of Reuben crossed over, and the children of Gad, and the half band of Manasseh, in fifties, in the presence of the children of Israel, |
as Moses spoke to them.
|כְּאַרְבָּעִ֥ים אֶ֖לֶף חֲלוּצֵ֣י הַצָּבָ֑א |
עָבְר֞וּ לִפְנֵ֤י יְהוָה֙ לַמִּלְחָמָ֔ה אֶ֖ל עַֽרְב֥וֹת יְרִיחֽוֹ
|13||About forty thousand, the ready-armed host, |
crossed over before Yahweh to war, to the steppes of Jericho.
|בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא גִּדַּ֤ל יְהוָה֙ אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ בְּעֵינֵ֖י כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
וַיִּֽרְא֣וּ אֹת֔וֹ כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר יָרְא֥וּ אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֖ה כָּל־יְמֵ֥י חַיָּֽיו
|14||B||In that day Yahweh magnified Joshua in the eyes of all Israel, |
and they feared him as they feared Moses all the days of his life.
|וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ לֵאמֹֽר||15||And Yahweh said to Joshua, saying,||3e||4B||12|
|צַוֵּה֙ אֶת־הַכֹּ֣הֲנִ֔ים נֹשְׂאֵ֖י אֲר֣וֹן הָעֵד֑וּת |
|16||Command the priests who bear the ark of the testimony, |
that they ascend from the Jordan.
|וַיְצַ֣ו יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ אֶת־הַכֹּהֲנִ֖ים לֵאמֹ֑ר |
|17||And Joshua commanded the priests, saying, |
Ascend from the Jordan.
|וַ֠יְהִי כַּעֲל֨וֹת הַכֹּהֲנִ֜ים נֹשְׂאֵ֨י אֲר֤וֹן בְּרִית־יְהוָה֙ מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן נִתְּק֗וּ כַּפּוֹת֙ רַגְלֵ֣י הַכֹּהֲנִ֔ים אֶ֖ל הֶחָרָבָ֑ה |
וַיָּשֻׁ֤בוּ מֵֽי־הַיַּרְדֵּן֙ לִמְקוֹמָ֔ם וַיֵּלְכ֥וּ כִתְמוֹל־שִׁלְשׁ֖וֹם עַל־כָּל־גְּדוֹתָֽיו
|18||~||And it happened as the priests ascended, who were bearing the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, from the midst of the Jordan, the soles of the feet of the priests snapped onto the desert, |
and the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and went as in days gone by over all its levees.
|וְהָעָ֗ם עָלוּ֙ מִן־הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן בֶּעָשׂ֖וֹר לַחֹ֣דֶשׁ הָרִאשׁ֑וֹן |
וַֽיַּחֲנוּ֙ בַּגִּלְגָּ֔ל בִּקְצֵ֖ה מִזְרַ֥ח יְרִיחֽוֹ
|19||And the people ascended from the Jordan on the tenth of the month, the first, |
and they encamped in Gilgal on the outskirts, toward the sunrise, of Jericho.
|וְאֵת֩ שְׁתֵּ֨ים עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה הָֽאֲבָנִים֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה אֲשֶׁ֥ר לָקְח֖וּ מִן־הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן |
הֵקִ֥ים יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ בַּגִּלְגָּֽל
|20||And those twelve stones that they took from the Jordan, |
Joshua placed in Gilgal.
|וַיֹּ֛אמֶר אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר |
אֲשֶׁר֩ יִשְׁאָל֨וּן בְּנֵיכֶ֤ם מָחָר֙ אֶת־אֲבוֹתָ֣ם לֵאמֹ֔ר מָ֖ה הָאֲבָנִ֥ים הָאֵֽלֶּה
|21||And he said to the children of Israel, saying, |
When your children ask afterwards, their parents, saying, What are these stones?
|וְהוֹדַעְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־בְּנֵיכֶ֣ם לֵאמֹ֑ר |
בַּיַּבָּשָׁה֙ עָבַ֣ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן הַזֶּֽה
|22||Then you will let your children know, saying, |
On dry land, Israel crossed over this Jordan,
|אֲשֶׁר־הוֹבִישׁ֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֜ם אֶת־מֵ֧י הַיַּרְדֵּ֛ן מִפְּנֵיכֶ֖ם עַֽד־עָבְרְכֶ֑ם |
כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂה֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֧ם לְיַם־ס֛וּף אֲשֶׁר־הוֹבִ֥ישׁ מִפָּנֵ֖ינוּ עַד־עָבְרֵֽנוּ
|23||That Yahweh your God had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before you until you had crossed over, |
as Yahweh your God has done for the sea of reeds, which he dried up from before us until we crossed over.
|לְ֠מַעַן דַּ֜עַת כָּל־עַמֵּ֤י הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ אֶת־יַ֣ד יְהוָ֔ה כִּ֥י חֲזָקָ֖ה הִ֑יא |
לְמַ֧עַן יְרָאתֶ֛ם אֶת־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֖ם כָּל־הַיָּמִֽים
|24||~||So that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of Yahweh, for it is resolute, |
so that you might fear Yahweh your God every day.