Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 4:3

and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests' feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.'"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Instruction;   Pillar;   Stones;   Token;   Scofield Reference Index - Stones;   Thompson Chain Reference - Jordan;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Jordan, the River;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Remember, Remembrance;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Shechem;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Gilgal;   Jordan;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Inn;   Lodge;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - God;   Jericho;   Joshua;   Quarry;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jordan ;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Gil'gal;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Apostle;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Images;   Inn;   Joshua (2);   Joshua, Book of;   Lodge;   Sign;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gilgal;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for March 28;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Where ye shall lodge this night - This was in the place that was afterwards called Gilgal. See Joshua 4:19.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 4:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-4.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And command you them, saying,.... As follows:

take you hence out of the midst of Jordan; so that they were obliged to go back into the midst of Jordan, having already passed over it, as appears from Joshua 4:1,

out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm; where being stones, they chose to stand upon them, and which were a firm standing for them; and which secured them from the slime and mud at the bottom of the river the waters left behind; though it is not absolutely necessary to understand it that they were to take, and did take, the stones from under their feet, but those that lay about the place where they stood:

twelve stones; each man a stone; and, according to the Samaritan ChronicleF6Apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. p. 500, 503. , every man inscribed his name on the stone:

and ye shall carry them over with you; from the place they took them up, to the place they should next stop at:

and leave them in the lodging place where you shall lodge this night: which was in the place afterwards called Gilgal, Joshua 4:19.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 4:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-4.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood a firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the b lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

(a) As in (Joshua 3:17).

(b) Meaning, the place where they would camp.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 4:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-4.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

Lodge this night — That is, in Gilgal, as is expressed below, verse19,20.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 4:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-4.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

The two memorials

The two memorials. The twelve stones taken out of Jordan and erected by Joshua in Gilgal, and the twelve stones left in Jordan to be overwhelmed by its waters, are memorials marking the distinction between Christ's death under judgment in the believer's place Psalms 42:7; Psalms 88:7; John 12:31-33 and the believer's perfect deliverance from judgment. The stones in Jordan stand, typically, for Psalms 22:1-8.

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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
Bibliographical Information
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Joshua 4:3". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/joshua-4.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 4:3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

Ver. 3. Twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you.] This is an ancient and commendable practice, by lasting monuments to propagate and perpetuate the memory of special mercies and signal deliverances; to set up some marks and mementoes upon them, that they grow not stale or moth eaten. To this end were those new names of places, Bethel, Penuel, Gilgal, Eben Ezer, Ramath Lehi, Berachah, &c. This is the best art of memory, and a very good means both to prevent Satan - who striveth to obliterate God’s great works, or else to alienate and translate them upon himself, - to excite ourselves to duty - for it fortifieth faith, feedeth hope, nourisheth joy, - and to do good to posterity. [Psalms 48:13; Psalms 102:18]

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 4:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-4.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Out of the midst of Jordan; See POOLE "Joshua 3:17". There ye shall lodge this night, i.e. in Gilgal, as is expressed below, Joshua 4:19,20.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 4:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-4.html. 1685.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Hard. The Hebrew term is referred by some to the priests, "from the station of the priests, prepared, or standing firm," (chap. iii. 17,) by others to the stones, which were to be prepared, hard, or exactly twelve. (Calmet) --- The Septuagint have take it in the latter sense, "twelve stones ready," or such as they might easily find, in the place where the priests had stood. They were of a flinty nature, (Haydock) that they might perpetuate the memory of this event. (Menochius)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 4:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-4.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 4:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-4.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

IV.

(3) Out of the midst of Jordan . . . twelve stones—(9) Twelve stones in the midst of Jordan.—It would seem that we are to understand two cairns to have been set up, one on either side the river, to mark the place where the Israelites crossed. The western cairn was in Gilgal, the other on the opposite side, at the edge of the overflow, where the priests had stopped. The only difficulty lies in the words above cited, in the midst of Jordan. The phrase, like many other Hebrew phrases, is used in a different way from that in which we should use it. The words “in the middle of the Jordan” to an English reader appear to mean half-way between the banks. But if the river were divided, and half of it had recoiled many miles towards the north, and the rest flowed away to the south, any one standing between these two parts of the river might be said to stand in the midst of Jordan, the two parts being on either side; and he would be equally in the midst, as regards them, whether he were at the edge of the stream or not. It is contrary to common-sense, as well as to the words of the text, to suppose that a cairn was set up in the midst of the river’s bed. “They are there unto this day,” the writer adds in Joshua 4:9. It is perfectly clear from Joshua 3:8 that the priests stood at the brim of the overflow. That spot and no other would be the particular spot which it would be most interesting to mark, the place from which Jordan, in full flood, was driven back.

Further, the words “in the midst” (Hebrew, Vthôlc) do not necessarily mean more than within. In Joshua 19:1, it is said the inheritance of Simeon was within (b’thôk) the inheritance of the children of Judah. Yet it was entirely on one edge of it. May not the ark standing in the midst of Jordan represent that suspension of the power of death which is effected by the interposition of our Saviour, and fills the interval between the reign of death “from Adam to Moses,” and the “second death” that is to come?

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 4:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-4.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.
the priest's fees
3:13
twelve stones
24:27; Genesis 28:22; Deuteronomy 27:1-26; 1 Samuel 7:12; Psalms 103:2; 11:4; Luke 19:40
leave them
8,19,20
Reciprocal: Exodus 24:4 - according;  Joshua 3:17 - stood firm;  Joshua 24:26 - set it;  1 Kings 18:31 - twelve stones;  Ecclesiastes 3:5 - to cast;  Luke 3:8 - of these

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 4:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-4.html.