In Joshua 3:12, in preparation for bringing the Children of Israel across the Jordan River, Joshua commands the people to select one representative from each tribe. There's no immediate indication of what these representatives are for or what they're to do.
Then, in Joshua 4, after the people had crossed the river, God, thru Joshua, commands the people to gather 12 representatives, apparently anew, and Joshua proceeds to task them with collecting and installing memorial stones.
Are these the same twelve representatives? If so, why does it seem that Joshua's initial appointment of these representatives precedes God's command to do so? Either way, why does Joshua's initial command to appoint representatives show up apparently isolated from context or purpose?
- Rashi on 3:12 indicates that these are, indeed, the same representatives, but doesn't offer any clear help on the other issues.