Joshua prepares the Israelites to cross into the Promised Land - Catholic Courier
The Israelites prepare to follow the priests, who were carrying the ark of the covenant, across the Jordan River. (Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers) The Israelites prepare to follow the priests, who were carrying the ark of the covenant, across the Jordan River. (Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers)

Joshua prepares the Israelites to cross into the Promised Land

Reading of Aug. 12, 2021: Jos 3:7-10a, 11, 13-17

In this issue:

Children’s story: Joshua prepares the Israelites to cross into the Promised Land
Essay Question
Bible Accent: God shows Moses the Promised Land
Saint for Today: St. Kunigunde of Poland
Puzzle: Fill in the blanks

When Moses died in the plains of Moab, the Israelites wept and mourned for him for 30 days.

When the period of mourning was over, the people gave their obedience to Joshua, son of Nun. Before Moses died, he laid his hands on Joshua. After the period of mourning, Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom.

God spoke to Joshua.

“Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know I am with you, as I was with Moses,” God said. “Now command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant to come to a halt in the Jordan when you reach the edge of the waters.”

Joshua then spoke to the Israelites.

“Come here and listen to the words of the Lord, your God,” he said. “This is how you will know that there is a living God in your midst, who at your approach will dispossess the Canaanites. The ark of the covenant of the Lord of the whole earth will precede you into the Jordan. When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the Lord, the Lord of the whole earth, touch the water of the Jordan, it will cease to flow; for the water flowing down from upstream will halt in a solid bank.”

The Israelites took down their tents and prepared to follow the priests. The priests, who were carrying the ark of the covenant, walked in front of the people toward the Jordan River.

It was the harvest season, which was when the Jordan River overflowed its banks. But as soon as the priests bearing the ark of the covenant waded into the waters at the edge of the river, the waters flowing from upstream stopped.

The waters backed up in a solid mass for a very great distance, while the waters flowing downstream toward the Salt Sea of the Arabah disappeared entirely.

While all Israel crossed on dry ground, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant remained motionless on the dry ground in the bed of the Jordan River until the whole nation had completed the passage into the Promised Land.


Joshua 1 & 3


1. Who led the Israelites after Moses’ death?

2. How did the Israelites cross the Jordan River?

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Essay Question

Describe a promise you made to God and how you kept or plan to keep it.

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Bible Accent

Although God did not allow Moses to cross into the Promised Land, he did let Moses see it before he died.

In Deuteronomy 34:1, we read that Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the headland of Pisgah, which faces the city of Jericho.

From there, God showed Moses all the land he was going to give the 12 tribes of Israel.

“This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that I would give to their descendants. I have let you feast your eyes upon it, but you shall not cross over,” God told Moses.

Then Moses died.

He was buried in a ravine in the land of Moab, but no one knows exactly where.

Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet he had the eyesight and the energy of a young man.

According to Deuteronomy 34:10-12, “Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He had no equal in all the signs and wonders the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh and all his servants and against all his land, and for the might and the terrifying power that Moses exhibited in the sight of all Israel.”

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Saint for Today: St. Joseph Calasanz

Joseph Calasanz was born in 1556 in Spain. His father wanted him to be a soldier, but instead he studied law and was ordained a priest in 1583.

He became vicar general of a Spanish diocese. In 1592, he went to Rome, where he joined the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and worked with neglected children.

In 1597, he and three other priests established the first free school in Rome. This work led him to found the Clerks Regular of the Religious (or Pious) Schools. He served as superior general of the order.

Joseph died in 1648, and we honor him on Aug. 25.

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Using the hints provided, circle the correct answer to each question about the Book of Joshua.

1. The people set up 12 _______ to remember crossing the Jordan. stones/pillars (Joshua 4:20-22)

2. The _______ was celebrated when Israel was encamped at Gilgal. Feast of Weeks/Passover (Joshua 5:10)

3. The wall around Jericho would fall when the people _______. walked around it/shouted loudly (Joshua 6:5)

4. Joshua built an altar on Mount _______. Ebal/Sinai (Joshua 8:30)

Answers: 1. stones; 2. Passover; 3. shouted loudly; 4. Ebal

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