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Joshua 22 International Standard Version (ISV)

The Tribes East of the Jordan

22 Later, Joshua called together the descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh and told them, “You have done everything that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and you have listened to me in everything that I commanded you. You haven’t abandoned your relatives these past days to the present, and you have met the obligation contained in[a] the commands of the Lord your God. Now the Lord has given peace[b] to your relatives, just as he told them. Therefore, proceed to your tents—to the land that is yours to possess—that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of[c] the Jordan River. Only be very careful to keep the commands and the Law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you—that is,[d] to love the Lord your God, to follow in all of his ways, to keep his commands, to stay close to him, and to serve him with all your heart and soul.” That’s how Joshua blessed them. Then he sent them on their way and they returned to their tents.

Now Moses had made an allotment in Bashan to one half-tribe of Manasseh, but Joshua made an allotment west of the Jordan River to the other half-tribe of their relatives. So when Joshua sent them on their way back to their tents, he also blessed them by saying “Return to your tents with great wealth, plenty of livestock, silver, gold, bronze, iron, and lots of clothing. Divide the spoil from your enemies among your relatives.”

The descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh went back to the land of Gilead, leaving the Israelis at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, for their territorial possession that they had inherited in accordance with the command of the Lord given through Moses.

An Unauthorized Altar is Constructed

10 After they arrived at an area of the Jordan River that is in the land of Canaan, the descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh constructed an altar there by the Jordan River, and it was very large. 11 When the Israelis heard about it, they announced, “Look here, the descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh have constructed an altar in Canaan’s frontier district of the Jordan River, on the side apportioned to the Israelis.” 12 When the Israelis heard that announcement,[e] the entire community of the Israelis gathered together at Shiloh in preparation for war.

13 Then the Israelis sent a delegation[f] to the descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh in the land of Gilead. They sent[g] Eleazar’s son Phinehas the priest, 14 and ten officials with him (one for each of the tribal families of Israel, each one of them a family leader among the tribes[h] of Israel). 15 They approached the descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh in the land of Gilead and told them: 16 “This is what the entire community of the Lord has to say: ‘What is this treacherous act by which you have acted deceitfully against the God of Israel by turning away from following the Lord today, and by building yourselves an altar today, so you can rebel against the Lord? 17 Isn’t the evil that happened at Peor enough for us, from which we have yet to be completely cleansed even to this point,[i] and because of which a plague came upon the community of the Lord? 18 Now then, are you turning away from following the Lord today? If you rebel against the Lord today, by tomorrow he will be angry with the entire community of Israel. 19 If the land of your inheritance remains unclean, then cross back over into the land that the Lord possesses, and receive an inheritance among us. Don’t rebel against the Lord and against us by constructing an altar for yourselves besides the altar of the Lord our God. 20 Didn’t Zerah’s son Achan act treacherously with respect to the things banned by God,[j] and as a result God became angry at[k] the entire community of Israel? And that man was not the only one to die because of his iniquity.’”

21 The descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered the officials of the tribes[l] of Israel, 22 “The God of gods, the Lord, the God of gods, the Lord is the one who knows! And may Israel itself be aware that if this[m] was an act of rebellion or an act of treachery against the Lord, may he not deliver us today! 23 If we have built an altar for ourselves intended to turn us away from following the Lord, or to offer burnt offerings, grain offerings, or peace offerings on it, may the Lord himself demand an accounting from us![n] 24 But we did this because we were concerned for a reason, since we thought, ‘Sometime in the future your descendants may say to our descendants, “What do you have in common[o] with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 The Lord has established the Jordan River to be a territorial border between us and you. Descendants of Reuben and descendants of Gad have no allotment from the Lord.” So your descendants may cause our descendants to stop fearing the Lord.’

26 “That’s why we said, ‘Let’s build an altar for ourselves, not for burnt offerings or sacrifice, 27 but instead it will serve as a reminder[p] between us and you and between our generations after us, that we are to serve the Lord with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and peace offerings. That way your descendants will not say to our descendants in the future, “You have no allotment from the Lord.”’

28 “That’s also why we said, ‘It may be if they say these things[q] to us and to our descendants in the future, so we will respond, “Look at this replica of the altar of the Lord that our ancestors made, not for burnt offerings or sacrifice, but rather as a reminder[r] between us and you. 29 May we never rebel against the Lord today by building an altar for burnt offerings, for grain offerings, or for sacrifice to replace[s] the altar of the Lord our God which stands before his Tent.”’”

30 When Phinehas the priest, the leaders of the community, and the heads of the families of Israel who were with him heard what the descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gad, and the descendants of Manasseh said, they were pleased. 31 So Eleazar’s son Phinehas the priest replied to the descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gad, and the descendants of Manasseh, “Today we’ve demonstrated[t] that the Lord is among us, because you have not acted treacherously against the Lord. Now you have delivered the Israelis from the anger[u] of the Lord.”

32 So Eleazar’s son Phinehas the priest and the leaders returned from the descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gad, and from the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan and to the people of Israel, bringing back word to them. 33 What they said pleased the people of Israel, so they[v] blessed God and said no more about going up to attack them in war and to destroy the land where the descendants of Reuben and the descendants of Gad were living. 34 The descendants of Reuben and the descendants of Gad named the altar “Witness,” because they claimed,[w] “It stands as a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

Footnotes:

  1. Joshua 22:3 The Heb. lacks contained in
  2. Joshua 22:4 Lit. rest
  3. Joshua 22:4 Lit. you beyond
  4. Joshua 22:5 The Heb. lacks that is
  5. Joshua 22:12 The Heb. lacks that announcement
  6. Joshua 22:13 The Heb. lacks a delegation
  7. Joshua 22:13 The Heb. lacks They sent
  8. Joshua 22:14 Lit. thousands
  9. Joshua 22:17 Lit. day
  10. Joshua 22:20 The Heb. lacks by God
  11. Joshua 22:20 Lit. result anger fell on
  12. Joshua 22:21 Lit. thousands
  13. Joshua 22:22 The Heb. lacks this
  14. Joshua 22:23 The Heb. lacks an accounting from us
  15. Joshua 22:24 The Heb. lacks have in common
  16. Joshua 22:27 Or witness
  17. Joshua 22:28 The Heb. lacks these things
  18. Joshua 22:28 Or witness
  19. Joshua 22:29 Or sacrifice besides
  20. Joshua 22:31 Lit. known
  21. Joshua 22:31 Lit. hand
  22. Joshua 22:33 Lit. the Israelis
  23. Joshua 22:34 The Heb. lacks they claimed
International Standard Version (ISV)

Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.

Joshua 22 New 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)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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