22 1 Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh are sent again to their possessions. 10 They build an altar for a memorial. 15 The Israelites reprove them. 21 Their answer for defense of the same.

Then [a]Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh,

And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord [b]commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you:

You have not forsaken your brethren this long season unto this day, but have diligently kept the commandment of the Lord your God.

And now the Lord hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and go to your tents, to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord hath (A)given you beyond Jordan.

But take diligent heed, to do the commandment and Law, which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you: that is, (B)that ye [c]love the Lord your God, and walk in all his ways, and keep his commandments, and cleave unto him, and serve him with all your heart, and with all your soul.

So Joshua [d]blessed them, and sent them away, and they went unto their tents.

¶ Now unto one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan: and unto the other half thereof gave Joshua among their brethren on this side Jordan Westward: therefore when Joshua sent them away unto their tents, and blessed them,

Thus he spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and with a great multitude of cattle, with silver and with gold, with brass and with iron, and with great abundance of raiment: divide the spoil of your enemies with your [e]brethren.

¶ So the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel from Shiloh (which is in the land of Canaan) to go unto the country of Gilead to the land of their possession, which they had obtained according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

10 ¶ And when they came unto the [f]borders of Jordan (which are in the land of Canaan) then the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, built [g]there an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see too.

11 ¶ When the children of Israel heard say, Behold, the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar in the forefront of the land of Canaan, upon the borders of Jordan at the passage of the children of Israel:

12 When the children of Israel heard it, then the whole Congregation of the children of Israel gathered them together at Shiloh, to go up [h]to war against them.

13 Then the children of Israel sent unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the Priest,

14 And with him ten princes, of every chief house a prince, according to all the tribes of Israel: for every one was chief of their father’s household among the [i]thousands of Israel.

15 ¶ So they went unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and spake with them, saying,

16 Thus saith [j]the whole Congregation of the Lord, What transgression is this that ye have transgressed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from the Lord, in that ye have built you an altar for to rebel this day against the Lord?

17 Have we too little for the wickedness (C)of Peor, whereof we are not [k]cleansed unto this day, though a plague came upon the Congregation of the Lord?

18 Ye also are turned away this day from the Lord: and seeing ye rebel today against the Lord, even tomorrow he will be wroth with all the Congregation of Israel.

19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be [l]unclean, come ye over unto the land of the possession of the Lord, wherein the Lord’s Tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but [m]rebel not against the Lord, nor rebel not against us in building you an altar, beside the altar of the Lord our God.

20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah trespass grievously in the execrable thing, and wrath fell on (D)all the Congregation of Israel? and this man alone [n]perished not in his wickedness.

21 ¶ Then the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh answered, and said unto the heads over the thousands of Israel,

22 The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel himself shall know: if by rebellion, or by transgression against the Lord we have done it, save thou us not this day.

23 If we have built us an altar to return away from the Lord, either to offer thereon burnt offering, or meat offering, or to offer peace offerings thereon, let the Lord [o]himself require it:

24 And if we have not rather done it for fear of this thing, saying, In time to come your children might say unto our children, What have ye to do with the Lord God of Israel?

25 For the Lord hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and of Gad: therefore ye have no part in the Lord: so shall your children make our children [p]cease from fearing the Lord.

26 Therefore we said, We will now go about to make us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice,

27 But it shall be a (E)witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, to execute the service of the Lord before him, in our burnt offerings, and in our sacrifices, and in our peace offerings, and that your children should not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the Lord.

28 Therefore said we, If so be that they should so say to us, or to our [q]generations in time to come, then will we answer, Behold the fashion of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, but it is a witness between us and you.

29 God forbid, that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn this day away from the Lord, to build an altar for burnt offering, or for meat offering, or for sacrifice, save the altar of the Lord our God that is before his Tabernacle.

30 ¶ And when Phinehas the Priest, and the princes of the Congregation and heads over the thousands of Israel, which were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben, and children of Gad, and the children of Manasseh spake, [r]they were well content.

31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the Priest said unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, This day we perceive, that the Lord is [s]among us, because ye have not done this trespass against the Lord: now ye have [t]delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the Lord.

32 ¶ Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the Priest with the princes, returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, unto the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them answer.

33 And the saying pleased the children of Israel: and the children of Israel [u]blessed God, and [v]minded not to go against them in battle for to destroy the land, wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt.

34 Then the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad called the altar [w]Ed: for it shall be a witness between us, that the Lord is God.

Footnotes

  1. Joshua 22:1 After that the Israelites enjoyed the land of Canaan.
  2. Joshua 22:2 Which was to go armed before their brethren, Num. 32:29.
  3. Joshua 22:5 He showeth wherein consisteth the fulfilling of the Law.
  4. Joshua 22:6 He commanded them to God, and prayed for them.
  5. Joshua 22:8 Which remained at home and went not to the war, Num. 31:27; 1 Sam. 30:24.
  6. Joshua 22:10 Hebrew, Geliloth, which country also was called Canaan, because the Amorites dwelling there were called Canaanites.
  7. Joshua 22:10 That is, beyond Jordan: for sometimes the whole country on both sides of Jordan is meant by Canaan.
  8. Joshua 22:12 Such now was their zeal, that they would rather lose their lives, than suffer the true religion to be changed or corrupted.
  9. Joshua 22:14 Or, multitude.
  10. Joshua 22:16 Not only of the princes, but also of the common people.
  11. Joshua 22:17 Meaning, God is not fully pacified, forasmuch as no punishment can be sufficient for such wickedness and idolatry.
  12. Joshua 22:19 In your judgment.
  13. Joshua 22:19 To use any other service than God hath appointed, is to rebel against God, 1 Sam. 15:23.
  14. Joshua 22:20 Signifying, that if many suffered for one man’s fault, for the fault of many, all should suffer.
  15. Joshua 22:23 Let him punish us.
  16. Joshua 22:25 Or, to turn back from the true God.
  17. Joshua 22:28 They signify a wonderful care that they bare toward their posterity, that they might live in the true service of God.
  18. Joshua 22:30 Hebrew, it was good in their eyes.
  19. Joshua 22:31 By preserving and governing us.
  20. Joshua 22:31 Whom if ye had offended; he would have punished with you.
  21. Joshua 22:33 Or, praised.
  22. Joshua 22:33 Hebrew, said.
  23. Joshua 22:34 Or, witness, as verse 27.

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,(A) 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(B) as he promised, return to your homes(C) in the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan.(D) But be very careful to keep the commandment(E) and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord(F) your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands,(G) to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.(H)

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

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

10 When they came to Geliloth(S) near the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an imposing altar(T) 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(U) to go to war against them.

13 So the Israelites sent Phinehas(V) son of Eleazar,(W) 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.(X)

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(Y) with the God of Israel like this? How could you turn away from the Lord and build yourselves an altar in rebellion(Z) against him now? 17 Was not the sin of Peor(AA) 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(AB) of Israel. 19 If the land you possess is defiled, come over to the Lord’s land, where the Lord’s tabernacle(AC) stands, and share the land with us. But do not rebel against the Lord or against us by building an altar(AD) 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](AE) did not wrath(AF) come on the whole community(AG) of Israel? He was not the only one who died for his sin.’”(AH)

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,(AI) the Lord!(AJ) He knows!(AK) 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,(AL) or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it, may the Lord himself call us to account.(AM)

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(AN) 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.(AO) 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(AP) between us and you.’

29 “Far be it from us to rebel(AQ) 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.(AR)

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,(AS) 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.(AT) 33 They were glad to hear the report and praised God.(AU) 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(AV) 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.

22 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh,

And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you:

Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God.

And now the Lord your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan.

But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.

Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given possession in Bashan: but unto the other half thereof gave Joshua among their brethren on this side Jordan westward. And when Joshua sent them away also unto their tents, then he blessed them,

And he spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and with very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.

And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go unto the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, whereof they were possessed, according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

10 And when they came unto the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see to.

11 And the children of Israel heard say, Behold, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan, at the passage of the children of Israel.

12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them.

13 And the children of Israel sent unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest,

14 And with him ten princes, of each chief house a prince throughout all the tribes of Israel; and each one was an head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel.

15 And they came unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and they spake with them, saying,

16 Thus saith the whole congregation of the Lord, What trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the Lord, in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against the Lord?

17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the Lord,

18 But that ye must turn away this day from following the Lord? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the Lord, that to morrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel.

19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of the Lord, wherein the Lord's tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not against the Lord, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the Lord our God.

20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity.

21 Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh answered, and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel,

22 The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the Lord, (save us not this day,)

23 That we have built us an altar to turn from following the Lord, or if to offer thereon burnt offering or meat offering, or if to offer peace offerings thereon, let the Lord himself require it;

24 And if we have not rather done it for fear of this thing, saying, In time to come your children might speak unto our children, saying, What have ye to do with the Lord God of Israel?

25 For the Lord hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the Lord: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the Lord.

26 Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice:

27 But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the Lord before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the Lord.

28 Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between us and you.

29 God forbid that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn this day from following the Lord, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the Lord our God that is before his tabernacle.

30 And when Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel which were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the children of Manasseh spake, it pleased them.

31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, This day we perceive that the Lord is among us, because ye have not committed this trespass against the Lord: now ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the Lord.

32 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, unto the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them word again.

33 And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt.

34 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the Lord is God.

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