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Joshua 22:19-21 New English Translation (NET Bible)

19 But if your own land[a] is impure,[b] cross over to the Lord’s own land,[c] where the Lord himself lives,[d] and settle down among us.[e] But don’t rebel against the Lord or us[f] by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20 When Achan son of Zerah disobeyed the command about the city’s riches, the entire Israelite community was judged,[g] though only one man had sinned. He most certainly died for his sin!’”[h]

21 The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered the leaders[i] of the Israelite clans:


  1. Joshua 22:19 tn Heb “the land of your possession.”
  2. Joshua 22:19 sn The western tribes here imagine a possible motive for the action of the eastern tribes. T. C. Butler explains the significance of the land’s “impurity”: “East Jordan is impure because it is not Yahweh’s possession. Rather it is simply ‘your possession.’ That means it is land where Yahweh does not live, land which his presence has not sanctified and purified” (Joshua [WBC], 247).
  3. Joshua 22:19 tn Heb “the land of the possession of the Lord.”
  4. Joshua 22:19 tn Heb “where the dwelling place of the Lord resides.”sn The phrase where the Lord himself lives refers to the tabernacle.
  5. Joshua 22:19 tn Heb “and take for yourselves in our midst.”
  6. Joshua 22:19 tc Heb “and us to you rebel.” The reading of the MT, the accusative sign with suffix (וְאֹתָנוּ, veʾotanu), is problematic with the verb “rebel” (מָרַד, marad). Many Hebrew mss correctly read the negative particle אַל (ʾal) for the preposition אֶל (ʾel, “to”).
  7. Joshua 22:20 tn Heb “Is it not [true that] Achan son of Zerah was unfaithful with unfaithfulness concerning what was set apart [to the Lord] and against all the assembly of Israel there was anger?”
  8. Joshua 22:20 tn The second half of the verse reads literally, “and he [was] one man, he did not die for his sin.” There are at least two possible ways to explain this statement: (1) One might interpret the statement to mean that Achan was not the only person who died for his sin. In this case it could be translated, “and he was not the only one to die because of his sin.” (2) Another option, the one reflected in the translation, is to take the words וְהוּא אִישׁ אֶחָד (vehuʾ ʾish ʾekhad, “and he [was] one man”) as a concessive clause and join it with what precedes. The remaining words (לֹא גָוַע בַּעֲוֹנוֹ, loʾ gavaʿ baʿavono) must then be taken as a rhetorical question (“Did he not die for his sin?”). Taking the last sentence as interrogative is consistent with the first part of the verse, a rhetorical question introduced with the interrogative particle. The present translation has converted these rhetorical questions into affirmative statements to bring out more clearly the points they are emphasizing. For further discussion, see T. C. Butler, Joshua (WBC), 240.
  9. Joshua 22:21 tn Heb “answered and spoke to the heads of.”
New English Translation (NET)

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