Crossing the Red Sea and the Jordan

Israel’s crossing of the Jordan recapitulates its crossing of the Red Sea, except now the crossing is closely associated with elements of the temple cult. Instead of Moses and his staff (Exodus 14:16) opening the way for Israel to cross through the waters on dry ground, at the Jordan we get priests and the ark of the covenant:

 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’” (Joshua 3:7-8)

“See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” (Joshua 3:11-13)

The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. (Joshua 3:17)

So that we don’t miss the parallelism, we even get the same word describing the parted waters – “heap” (נֵד) in Joshua 3:13, 16  and Exodus 15:8.

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