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Joshua 22Amplified Bible (AMP)

Tribes beyond Jordan Return

22 Then Joshua called the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them, “You have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and have listened to and obeyed my voice in everything that I commanded you. You have not deserted your brothers these many days to this day, but have [carefully] kept the obligation of the commandment of the Lord your God. And now the Lord your God has given rest to your brothers, as He has promised them; so turn now and go to your tents, to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the [east side of the] Jordan. Only be very careful and diligently observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord has commanded you to love the Lord your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul [your very life].” So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.

Now to the one-half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, but to the other half Joshua gave a possession on the west side of the Jordan among their brothers. So when Joshua sent them away to their tents, he blessed them, and he said to them, “Return to your tents with great riches and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, iron, and with very many clothes; divide the spoil of your enemies with your brothers (fellow tribesmen).” So the sons (descendants) of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home and departed from the [other] sons (western tribes) of Israel at Shiloh which is in the land of Canaan, to go to the land of Gilead, to the land of their own which they had possessed, in accordance with the command of the Lord through Moses.

The Offensive Altar

10 When they came to the region of the Jordan which is in the land of Canaan, the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an altar there by the Jordan, an altar that was great to behold. 11 And the [other] sons of Israel heard it said, “Look, the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built an [a]altar at the edge of the land of Canaan, in the region [west] of the Jordan, on the side belonging to the sons of Israel.” 12 When the sons of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.

13 Then the sons of Israel sent Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest to the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, 14 and with him ten leaders, one leader from each father’s household from each of the tribes of Israel; and each one was the head of his father’s household among the thousands of Israel. 15 They came to the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16 “This is what the entire congregation of the Lord says, ‘What is this disloyal and unfaithful act which you have committed against the God of Israel, so as to turn away from following the Lord this day, by building yourselves an altar, to rebel against the Lord this day? 17 Is the wrongdoing (idolatry) of Peor not enough for us, from which we have not cleansed ourselves to this day, even though the affliction [in which twenty-four thousand died] came on the congregation of the Lord, 18 that you would turn away this day from following the Lord? If you rebel against the Lord today, He will be angry with the entire congregation of Israel tomorrow. 19 If, however, the land of your possession is unclean, then cross into the land of the possession of the Lord, where the Lord’s tabernacle is situated, and settle down among us. But do not rebel against the Lord, or rebel against us by building an altar for yourselves, besides the altar of the Lord our God [at Shiloh]. 20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah act unfaithfully in the things under the ban, and [as a result God’s] wrath came on the entire congregation of Israel? And that man did not perish alone in his wrongdoing.’”

21 Then the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered and said to the heads of the families of Israel, 22 “The Mighty One, God, the Lord, the Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows, and may Israel itself know. If it was in rebellion, or if in an unfaithful act against the Lord, do not save us this day! 23 If we have built an altar for ourselves to turn away from following the Lord, or if [we did so] to offer a burnt offering or grain offering on it, or if to offer sacrifices of peace offerings on it, may the Lord Himself require it [of us and hold us responsible]. 24 But in truth we have done this out of concern, for a reason, saying, ‘In time to come your sons (descendants) may say to our sons, “What [b]claim do you have to the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 For the Lord has made the Jordan a border between us and you, you sons of Reuben and sons of Gad; you have no part in the Lord.” So your sons (descendants) may cause our sons to stop fearing the Lord.’

26 “So we said, ‘Let us prepare and build an altar, not for burnt offering or for sacrifice, 27 but to be a witness between us and you and between the generations after us, that we are to perform the service of the Lord before Him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices and with our peace offerings, so that your sons (descendants) will not say to our sons in time to come, “You have no part in the Lord.”’ 28 So we said, ‘If your descendants should say this to us or to our descendants in time to come, then we can reply, “See the copy of the altar of the Lord which our fathers made, not for burnt offering or for sacrifice, but rather it is a witness between us and you.”’ 29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord and turn away from following the Lord this day, by building an altar for burnt offering, for grain offering or for sacrifice, besides the altar of the Lord our God which is before His [c]tabernacle [in Shiloh].”

30 So when Phinehas the priest and the leaders of the congregation and heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words which the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the sons of Manasseh spoke, it [d]pleased them. 31 Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the sons of Manasseh, “Today we know that the Lord is among us, because you have not committed this unfaithful act against the Lord; indeed you have saved Israel from the hand of the Lord.”

32 Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest and the leaders returned from the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad, from the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the sons of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 The report [e]pleased the sons of Israel, and the sons of Israel blessed God; and they said no more about going to battle against them to destroy the land in which the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad were living. 34 The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad called the altar Witness; “For it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

Footnotes:

  1. Joshua 22:11 The immediate assumption of the Israelites was that this altar was an act of rebellion and was built to compete with the true altar of God in Shiloh.
  2. Joshua 22:24 Lit to you and to the Lord.
  3. Joshua 22:29 Lit dwelling place.
  4. Joshua 22:30 Lit was good in their eyes.
  5. Joshua 22:33 Lit was good in the eyes of.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Joshua 22New International Version (NIV)

Eastern Tribes Return Home

22 Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh and said to them, “You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded. For a long time now—to this very day—you have not deserted your fellow Israelites but have carried out the mission the Lord your God gave you. Now that the Lord your God has given them rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Then Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their homes. (To the half-tribe of Manasseh Moses had given land in Bashan, and to the other half of the tribe Joshua gave land on the west side of the Jordan along with their fellow Israelites.) When Joshua sent them home, he blessed them, saying, “Return to your homes with your great wealth—with large herds of livestock, with silver, gold, bronze and iron, and a great quantity of clothing—and divide the plunder from your enemies with your fellow Israelites.”

So the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh left the Israelites at Shiloh in Canaan to return to Gilead, their own land, which they had acquired in accordance with the command of the Lord through Moses.

10 When they came to Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an imposing altar there by the Jordan. 11 And when the Israelites heard that they had built the altar on the border of Canaan at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side, 12 the whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to go to war against them.

13 So the Israelites sent Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, to the land of Gilead—to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. 14 With him they sent ten of the chief men, one from each of the tribes of Israel, each the head of a family division among the Israelite clans.

15 When they went to Gilead—to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh—they said to them: 16 “The whole assembly of the Lord says: ‘How could you break faith with the God of Israel like this? How could you turn away from the Lord and build yourselves an altar in rebellion against him now? 17 Was not the sin of Peor enough for us? Up to this very day we have not cleansed ourselves from that sin, even though a plague fell on the community of the Lord! 18 And are you now turning away from the Lord?

“‘If you rebel against the Lord today, tomorrow he will be angry with the whole community of Israel. 19 If the land you possess is defiled, come over to the Lord’s land, where the Lord’s tabernacle stands, and share the land with us. But do not rebel against the Lord or against us by building an altar for yourselves, other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20 When Achan son of Zerah was unfaithful in regard to the devoted things,[a] did not wrath come on the whole community of Israel? He was not the only one who died for his sin.’”

21 Then Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh replied to the heads of the clans of Israel: 22 “The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows! And let Israel know! If this has been in rebellion or disobedience to the Lord, do not spare us this day. 23 If we have built our own altar to turn away from the Lord and to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it, may the Lord himself call us to account.

24 “No! We did it for fear that some day your descendants might say to ours, ‘What do you have to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 The Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you—you Reubenites and Gadites! You have no share in the Lord.’ So your descendants might cause ours to stop fearing the Lord.

26 “That is why we said, ‘Let us get ready and build an altar—but not for burnt offerings or sacrifices.’ 27 On the contrary, it is to be a witness between us and you and the generations that follow, that we will worship the Lord at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices and fellowship offerings. Then in the future your descendants will not be able to say to ours, ‘You have no share in the Lord.’

28 “And we said, ‘If they ever say this to us, or to our descendants, we will answer: Look at the replica of the Lord’s altar, which our ancestors built, not for burnt offerings and sacrifices, but as a witness between us and you.’

29 “Far be it from us to rebel against the Lord and turn away from him today by building an altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings and sacrifices, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle.

30 When Phinehas the priest and the leaders of the community—the heads of the clans of the Israelites—heard what Reuben, Gad and Manasseh had to say, they were pleased. 31 And Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, said to Reuben, Gad and Manasseh, “Today we know that the Lord is with us, because you have not been unfaithful to the Lord in this matter. Now you have rescued the Israelites from the Lord’s hand.”

32 Then Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, and the leaders returned to Canaan from their meeting with the Reubenites and Gadites in Gilead and reported to the Israelites. 33 They were glad to hear the report and praised God. And they talked no more about going to war against them to devastate the country where the Reubenites and the Gadites lived.

34 And the Reubenites and the Gadites gave the altar this name: A Witness Between Us—that the Lord is God.

Footnotes:

  1. Joshua 22:20 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.
New International Version (NIV)

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