¶ Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half
tribe of Manasseh,
2 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:
.3 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.
.4 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.
.5 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.
| 2 -
Kept A great commendation. See jos0116,
3 - These many days About seven years. See on jos1118. They had been absent from their homes jos0112.
4 - Tents They may have been living in houses. The Hebrew 'ohel has a broad meaning and may have indicated temporary construction waiting for the men to return from war.
5 - Take ... heed ... commandments An important reminder. See de0604; de1113, de3006.
5 - Cleave See the translation as "stuck" in ps119031.
| 6 So Joshua blessed them,
and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.
7 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,
8 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.
9 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.
|9 - Departed ... out of Shiloh The two and a half tribes were helping prepare the first national capital. Their later dismissal v1 confirms that they had been away from home for a long time.|
| 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.
- Borders of Jordan Better translated "the region about the Jordan."
(RSV). Some old manuscripts read "Gilgal" instead of "borders" or "region."
This city was probably near where the Jordan flowed into the Dead Sea.
10 - To see to Or, better, "of great size" (RSV) or "a great impressive" (NKJV).
12 - To war against them Following the divine directions was very important to Israel. They had been told where to sacrifice de1205. Compare v3. A slight disreguard for the instructions would arouse the piety of the other nine and a half tribes. Compare le1708,9, de1205-7, de1312-15.
| 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
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?
|13 - Phinehas son of Eleazar This was a good choice. His loyalty had been seen at the apostasy of Baal-Peor nu2507,8.|
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
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.
|17 - Iniquity of Peor See nu2501, de0403. The word for "iniquity" may also mean "guilt."|
| 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.
- The Lord God of .... This strong emphasis affirms the zeal of
the people who had been doubted.
23 - Require it Better translated, "look into it."
24 - Jordan a border The size of the monument would have made it visible from both sides of the river attesting to the solidarity of the tribes.
| 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.
|28 - Pattern It was to represent nothing different from the sanctuary plan God had given ex2540.|
| 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
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.
|"The explanation not only gave perfect satisfaction to the deputies, but elicited from them expressions of unbounded joy and thankfulness. 'This day we perceive that the Lord is among us' [Jos 22:31], that is, by His gracious presence and preventing goodness, which has kept you from falling into the suspected sin and rescued the nation from the calamity of a fratricidal war or providential judgments. This episode reflects honor upon all parties and shows that piety and zeal for the honor and worship of God animated the people that entered Canaan to an extent far beyond what was exemplified in many other periods of the history of Israel.." (JFB Commentary).|