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Joshua 22:10-34 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

10 When they came to the region of[a] the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh built a large, impressive altar there by the Jordan.

11 Then the Israelites heard it said, “Look, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar on the frontier of the land of Canaan at the region of[b] the Jordan, on the Israelite side.” 12 When the Israelites heard this, the entire Israelite community assembled at Shiloh to go to war against them.

Explanation of the Altar

13 The Israelites sent Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead. 14 They sent ten leaders with him—one family leader for each tribe of Israel. All of them were heads of their ancestral families[c] among the clans of Israel. 15 They went to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and told them, 16 “This is what the Lord’s entire community says: ‘What is this treachery you have committed today against the God of Israel by turning away from the Lord and building an altar for yourselves, so that you are in rebellion against the Lord today? 17 Wasn’t the iniquity of Peor, which brought a plague on the Lord’s community, enough for us? We have not cleansed ourselves from it even to this day, 18 and now would you turn away from the Lord? If you rebel against the Lord today, tomorrow he will be angry with the entire community of Israel. 19 But if the land you possess is defiled, cross over to the land the Lord possesses where the Lord’s tabernacle stands, and take possession of it among us. But don’t rebel against the Lord or against us by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20 Wasn’t Achan son of Zerah unfaithful regarding what was set apart for destruction, bringing wrath on the entire community of Israel? He was not the only one who perished because of his iniquity.’”

21 The Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh answered the heads of the Israelite clans, 22 “The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord![d] He knows, and may Israel also know. Do not spare us today, if it was in rebellion or treachery against the Lord 23 that we have built for ourselves an altar to turn away from him. May the Lord himself hold us accountable if we intended to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings on it, or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it. 24 We actually did this from a specific concern that in the future your descendants might say to our descendants, ‘What relationship do you have with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 For the Lord has made the Jordan a border between us and you descendants of Reuben and Gad. You have no share in the Lord!’ So your descendants may cause our descendants to stop fearing the Lord.

26 “Therefore we said: Let us take action and build an altar for ourselves, but not for burnt offering or sacrifice. 27 Instead, it is to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, so that we may carry out the worship of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and fellowship offerings. Then in the future, your descendants will not be able to say to our descendants, ‘You have no share in the Lord!’ 28 We thought that if they said this to us or to our generations in the future, we would reply: Look at the replica of the Lord’s altar that our fathers made, not for burnt offering or sacrifice, but as a witness between us and you. 29 We would never ever rebel against the Lord or turn away from him today by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lord our God, which is in front of his tabernacle.”

Conflict Resolved

30 When the priest Phinehas and the community leaders, the heads of Israel’s clans who were with him, heard what the descendants of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had to say, they were pleased. 31 Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest said to the descendants of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, “Today we know that the Lord is among us, because you have not committed this treachery against him. As a result, you have rescued the Israelites from the Lord’s power.”

32 Then the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar and the leaders returned from the Reubenites and Gadites in the land of Gilead to the Israelites in the land of Canaan and brought back a report to them. 33 The Israelites were pleased with the report, and they blessed God. They spoke no more about going to war against them to ravage the land where the Reubenites and Gadites lived. 34 So the Reubenites and Gadites named the altar: It[e] is a witness between us that the Lord is God.

Footnotes:

  1. 22:10 Or to Geliloth by
  2. 22:11 Or at Geliloth by
  3. 22:14 Lit the house of their fathers
  4. 22:22 Or The Lord is the God of gods! The Lord is the God of gods!
  5. 22:34 Some Hb mss, Syr, Tg read altar Witness because it
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

Joshua 22:10-34 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

A Memorial Altar East of the Jordan

10 When they came to the region[a] near the Jordan that lies in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of great size. 11 The Israelites heard that the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had built an altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region[b] near the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the Israelites. 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh, to make war against them.

13 Then the Israelites sent the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, 14 and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, every one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel. 15 They came to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16 “Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord, ‘What is this treachery that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away today from following the Lord, by building yourselves an altar today in rebellion against the Lord? 17 Have we not had enough of the sin at Peor from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which a plague came upon the congregation of the Lord, 18 that you must turn away today from following the Lord! If you rebel against the Lord today, he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel tomorrow. 19 But now, if your land is unclean, cross over into the Lord’s land where the Lord’s tabernacle now stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us; only do not rebel against the Lord, or rebel against us[c] by building yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20 Did not Achan son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity!’”

21 Then the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22 “The Lord, God of gods! The Lord, God of gods! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith toward the Lord, do not spare us today 23 for building an altar to turn away from following the Lord; or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or grain offerings or offerings of well-being on it, may the Lord himself take vengeance. 24 No! We did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, ‘What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 For the Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you Reubenites and Gadites; you have no portion in the Lord.’ So your children might make our children cease to worship the Lord. 26 Therefore we said, ‘Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, that we do perform the service of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and offerings of well-being; so that your children may never say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the Lord.”’ 28 And we thought, If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we could say, ‘Look at this copy of the altar of the Lord, which our ancestors made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you.’ 29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn away this day from following the Lord by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle!”

30 When the priest Phinehas and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manassites spoke, they were satisfied. 31 The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar said to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manassites, “Today we know that the Lord is among us, because you have not committed this treachery against the Lord; now you have saved the Israelites from the hand of the Lord.”

32 Then the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar and the chiefs returned from the Reubenites and the Gadites in the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the Israelites, and brought back word to them. 33 The report pleased the Israelites; and the Israelites blessed God and spoke no more of making war against them, to destroy the land where the Reubenites and the Gadites were settled. 34 The Reubenites and the Gadites called the altar Witness;[d] “For,” said they, “it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

Footnotes:

  1. Joshua 22:10 Or to Geliloth
  2. Joshua 22:11 Or at Geliloth
  3. Joshua 22:19 Or make rebels of us
  4. Joshua 22:34 Cn Compare Syr: Heb lacks Witness
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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