Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 4:7

then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord ; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.' So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ark;   Instruction;   Pillar;   Stones;   Token;   Thompson Chain Reference - Memorials;   Remembrance-Forgetfulness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Ark of the Covenant;   Jordan, the River;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Remember, Remembrance;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ark;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jordan;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Memorial;   Sign;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - God;   Jericho;   Joshua;   Pillar;   Quarry;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jordan ;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Stone;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Catechist;   David;   Joshua (2);   Joshua, Book of;   Memorial;   Sabbath Day's Journey;   Sign;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ark of the covenant;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ark of the Covenant;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for March 28;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then ye shall answer them,.... By informing them of the design and use of them:

that the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord when it passed over Jordan; the waters below from those that were, above, which stood up on an heap; so that they were divided and separated from each other, and made dry land for a passage of the children of Israel; and this was done before, and in the presence of the ark of the covenant, to show that is was owing to the power of God, of whose presence the ark was a symbol:

the waters of Jordan were cut off; which is repeated for the confirmation of it, and that it might be taken notice of as a very marvellous event, and to be ascribed to the divine omnipotence and goodness:

and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever; which, whenever seen and observed by them, would put them in mind of this wonderful appearance of God for them; and JeromF8Epitaph. Paulae in tom. 1. Oper. fol. 59. K. speaks of them as if seen by Paula in his time, whose life and travels in those parts are written by him.

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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 4:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-4.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 4:7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

Ver. 7. The waters of Jordan were cut off.] And again the waters of Jordan were cut off. Good things must be whetted and inculcated upon our children. [Deuteronomy 6:7] {See Trapp on "Deuteronomy 6:7"}

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 4:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-4.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 7. Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off "You shall seize this opportunity to inform them of the wonderful things which God has done for the opening to you an entrance into the land of Canaan; and you shall endeavour to transmit to them, together with the particular facts, those sentiments wherewith I presume you are animated. So long as the nation shall subsist, these stones shall be a perpetual monument to it of your miraculous passage through Jordan, as on this solemn day." We have elsewhere remarked, that it was the custom of all antiquity to erect stones as a monument of covenants, victories, and other important events, whose memory they wished to perpetuate. And though there was no inscription upon these stones, yet the number of them, and their position, was sufficient to denote some memorable thing; for they were evidently placed in a sandy spot, where there were no others of that magnitude.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 4:7". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-4.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Before the ark; as it were at the sight and approach of the ark, to give it and the Israelites a safe passage.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 4:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-4.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7.Memorial’ for ever — The Hebrew word here used is the strongest one in the language to express eternity. But it is often used in a popular way to indicate not absolute eternity, but a period indefinitely long, especially when the “speaker is led by his strong desire to overlook the fact that what he is speaking of must have an end.” — Keil. The importance of this memorial as a proof of the miraculous passage of the Jordan is thus set forth by Mr. Leslie: “Let us suppose that there never was any such thing as that passage over Jordan; that these stones at Gilgal were set up on some other occasion; and that some designing man in an after age invented this book of Joshua, affirmed that it was written at the time of that imaginary event by Joshua himself, and adduced this pile of stones as a testimony of the truth of it; would not every body say to him, ‘We know this pile very well; but we never before heard of this reason for it, nor of this book of Joshua? where has it lain concealed all this while, and where and how came you, after so many ages, to find it? Besides, this book tells us that this passage over Jordan was ordained to be taught our children from age to age, and therefore that they were always to be instructed in the meaning of this particular monument as a memorial of it; but we were never so taught when we were children, nor did we ever teach our children any such thing; and it is in the highest degree improbable that such an emphatic ordinance should have been forgotten, during the continuance of so remarkable a pile, set up for the express purpose of perpetuating its remembrance.”

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 4:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-4.html. 1874-1909.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 4:7". "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

(7) The waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant.—Observe that the act is indirectly ascribed to the ark of the covenant:

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 4:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-4.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.
the waters
3:13-16
memorial
6; Exodus 12:14; 28:12; 30:16; Numbers 16:40; Psalms 111:4; Isaiah 66:3; *marg:; 1 Corinthians 11:24
Reciprocal: Exodus 12:26 - your children;  Exodus 17:14 - memorial;  Exodus 39:7 - a memorial;  Numbers 10:10 - a memorial;  Numbers 10:33 - the ark;  Numbers 31:54 - a memorial;  Deuteronomy 4:9 - teach them;  Deuteronomy 6:20 - when thy son;  1 Samuel 1:22 - for ever;  1 Samuel 4:3 - the ark;  1 Samuel 17:54 - took the head;  1 Chronicles 15:29 - as the ark;  Esther 9:28 - the memorial;  Psalm 78:4 - showing;  Psalm 119:27 - so shall I talk;  Joel 1:3 - GeneralZechariah 6:14 - a memorial;  Ephesians 6:4 - but

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 4:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-4.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

7.Then you shall answer them, etc Although the stones themselves cannot speak, yet the monument furnished the parents with materials for speaking, and for making the kindness of God known to their children. And here zealous endeavors to propagate piety are required of the aged, (50) and they are enjoined to exert themselves in instructing their children. For it was the will of God that this doctrine should be handed down through every age; that those who were not then born being afterwards instructed by their parents might become witnesses to it from hearing, though they had not seen it with their eyes.

The stones were placed according to the number of the tribes, that each might be incited to gratitude by its own symbol. It is true that two tribes and a half tribe who had obtained their inheritance beyond the Jordan, had not, when considered apart from the others, any occasion for making that passage. But as the land of Canaan was possessed by the others for the common good of the whole race of Abraham, so it behooved those who were all engaged in the same or a common cause not to be separated from each other. And although as yet mention had been made only of twelve men, it is obvious from a short clause, that the divine command had been declared to the whole people; for it is said that the children of Israel obeyed the words of Joshua. Nay, it is even probable that deputies were elected by suffrage to carry the stones in the name of the whole people.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 4:7". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-4.html. 1840-57.