約書亞記 4

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1 立石為憑據全國的人都完全過了約旦河以後,耶和華就吩咐約書亞

2 “你要從民中選十,每支派

3 吩咐他們:‘你們要從這裡,就是約旦河中間祭司所站的地方,取十石頭,把它們帶過來,放在你們今夜要住宿的地方。’”

4 於是,約書亞把他從以色列人中挑選的十,每支派召了來。

5 約書亞對他們:“你們走到約旦河中間,在耶和華你們的的約櫃前面,按著以色列十二支派的數目,每拿起石頭,扛在自己的肩上;

6 這可以在你們中間作記號;如果日後你們的子孫問你們,:‘這些石頭對你們有甚麼意思?’

7 你們就可以告訴他們:‘這是因為約旦河耶和華的約櫃前被截斷了;約櫃過約旦河的時候,約旦河被截斷了。所以這些石頭要給以色列人作記念,直到永遠。’”

8 以色列人就照著約書亞吩咐的行了;他們照著耶和華吩咐約書亞的,按著以色列支派的數目,從約旦河中間取了十石頭,把它們帶過去,到他們住宿的地方,就放在那裡。

9 渡過約旦河約書亞又在約旦河中間,在抬約櫃的祭司所站的地方,豎立十石頭;那些石頭到今日還在那裡。

10 抬約櫃的祭司站在約旦河中間,直到耶和華吩咐約書亞告訴人民的一切事,就是照著摩西吩咐約書亞的一切事,都辦完了,人民就急忙過去了。

11 全體人民都過了河以後,耶和華的約櫃和祭司才在人民的面前過去。

12 流本人、迦得人和瑪拿西個支派的人,都照著摩西吩咐他們的,拿起武器,在以色列人前面過河去了。

13 他們約有四萬人,都裝備好,預備打仗,在耶和華面前走過去,來到耶利哥平原,等候作戰。

14 一天耶和華使約書亞在以色列眾人眼中成為尊大;在他一生的日子,人民敬畏他,好像敬畏摩西一樣。

15 耶和華吩咐約書亞

16 “吩咐抬約櫃的祭司約旦河上來。”

17 於是約書亞吩咐祭司說:“你們從約旦河上來。”

18 耶和華約櫃的祭司約旦河中間上來的時候,祭司掌一提起來踏在乾地上,約旦河就流回原處,像以前一樣漲過兩岸。

19 吉甲紮營初十,人民從約旦河上來以後,就在吉甲,在耶利哥的東邊安營。

20 約書亞把他們從約旦河取來的那十石頭,豎立在吉甲

21 約書亞對以色列人:“如果日後你們的子孫問他們的父親:‘這些石頭是甚麼意思?’

22 那時,你們就要告訴你們的子孫,:‘以色列人曾經在乾地上走過了這約旦河。’

23 因為耶和華你們的在你們面前使約旦河乾了,直到你們都過了河,好像耶和華你們的從前對紅所行的,在我們面前使紅乾了,直到我們都過了河一樣;

24 好使地上萬民都認識耶和華的,是有能力的,也要使你們永遠敬畏耶和華你們的。”

  

Exploring the Meaning of 約書亞記 4      

Napsal(a) New Christian Bible Study Staff and Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua 4: Twelve stones are taken from the river Jordan

In this chapter we pick up on the command to take twelve men, one from each tribe, which was mentioned in chapter 3. The task is for each man to pick up a large stone from where the priests’ feet stand, and take it across, and put it in the lodging place. These stones will be as memorial stones so that later generations who ask what these stones mean will be told about the miracle of the Lord in the crossing of the river Jordan.

Later, the Israelites camped at Gilgal and Joshua set the twelve stones up as a permanent memorial.

A ‘stone’ is a piece of hard rock. It corresponds to a truth; for us it stands for a truth which we have made ours and which guides us in our life (Apocalypse Revealed 231). It might be the truth that the Lord’s providence is involved in everything that happens. It could be the great truth that we will live for ever, or that God came on earth as a human being and overcame the power of hell. These and other truths are rock hard truths or stones.

But here, it is a stone which has been washed and worked on by the waters of the river Jordan, and over much time has become fashioned and rounded by erosion. So, it could be a life-truth, for example that we are to show respect to other people. That’s a great truth, but now it is connected with our understanding of the Lord. So we are to show respect to other people because each and every person has been created by God for a unique purpose. And we can also add that we know how it feels when other people respect us.

So we assemble our twelve memorial stones. These are to be recalled, remembered, revisited by us again and again as time passes. “Yes, God brought me here from where I was before.” (Arcana Caelestia 1988). This meaning of the stones helps us with the apparent contradiction in the chapter between Joshua 4:9 where “the stones are set up in the Jordan and are there to this day” and verse Joshua 4:20 where “Joshua sets up the twelves stones from out of the Jordan, in Gilgal.” Stones can’t be in two places at once, but yes, spiritually they can and need to be.

We need to always remember and be mindful of how the Lord works with us in giving us truths for our life. Everything is the Lord! These are stones in the Jordan. Yet we need to always remember that we are to live, act, and turn away from any evil as if it is only us making that decision and doing it. These are the stones set up at Gilgal (Apocalypse Explained 700[14]). Both of them are involved in our regeneration and spiritual life.

Then we are told that the men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh went across the Jordan armed and went before all the other tribes. This links with several other mentions of these tribes who had chosen to live back over the Jordan and not in the land of Canaan. They stand for our outward life and our life in the world which, while it is not directly spiritual, must have qualities that come from God’s truths. Here, those qualities come from being willing to go in and fight to help take the land (Arcana Caelestia 2184).

Verse 13 says that about 40,000 prepared for war and crossed the river Jordan before the Lord for battle. Here is a number. Numbers in the Word are helpful clues to the inner meaning. The number 40 always stands for some kind of temptation or crisis in the Word – for example, Jesus was in the wilderness 40 days and 40 nights, tempted. Here, 40 has grown to become 40,000 but it has the same meaning of temptation (Arcana Caelestia 2273). Our spiritual life and regeneration will certainly take us into various temptations (‘battles’) and the Lord allows them so that we grow stronger through them. The whole conquest of Canaan is nothing else!

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