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Joshua: Chapter 22

The two and a half tribes with a blessing are sent home, 1-9. They build the altar of testimony in their journey, 10. The Israelites are offended on account of it, 11-20. They vindicate their conduct, and give them good satisfaction, 21-34.

1 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, 2 And said to them, "You have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you. 3 You have not left your brothers these many days to this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God. 4 And now the LORD your God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them. And now, return, and go to your tents and to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan. 5 But take diligent heed to perform the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to keep his commandments, to cleave to him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul." 6 So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.

7 Now to one half of the tribe of Manasseh, Moses had given possession in Bashan, but to its other half Joshua gave among their brothers on this side of the Jordan westward. And when Joshua sent them away also to their tents, he blessed them, 8 And he spoke to them, saying, "Return with great riches to your tents, and with very many cattle, with silver, with gold, with brass, with iron, and with very many clothes. Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brothers." 9 And the children of Reuben, 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 to the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, of which they were possessed, according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

10 And when they came to the borders of the Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an altar there by the Jordan, a great altar to the sight. 11 And the children of Israel heard it said, "Behold, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of the 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 assembled at Shiloh to go up to war against them.

13 And the children of Israel sent to the children of Reuben, 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 a head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel. 15 And they came to the children of Reuben, to the children of Gad, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, to the land of Gilead, and they spoke with them, saying, 16 "Thus says the whole congregation of the LORD: 'What trespass is this that you have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the LORD, in that you have built yourselves an altar, that you 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 you must turn away this day from following the LORD? And it will be, seeing you rebel today against the LORD, that tomorrow he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 However, if the land of your possession is unclean, then pass over to the land of the possession of the LORD, in which the LORD'S tabernacle dwells, and take possession among us. But do not rebel against the LORD, nor rebel against us, in building yourselves an altar besides the altar of the LORD our God. 20 Did Achan the son of Zerah not commit a trespass in the accursed thing and wrath fall on all the congregation of Israel? And that man did not perish alone in his iniquity.'"

21 Then the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered, and said to the heads of the thousands of Israel, 22 "The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knows, and Israel he shall know, if it is in rebellion, or if in transgression against the LORD (do not save us this day), 23 That we have built us an altar to turn from following the LORD, or if to offer on it burnt-offering, food-offering, or if to offer peace-offerings on it, 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 may speak to our children, saying, "What have you to do with the LORD God of Israel? 25 For the LORD has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you children of Reuben and children of Gad. You have no part in the LORD." So your children shall make our children cease from fearing the LORD.'

26 "Therefore, we said, 'Let us now prepare to build ourselves an altar, not for burnt-offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 But so that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, so that we may do the service of the LORD before him with our burnt-offerings, with our sacrifices, and with our peace-offerings, and that your children may not say to our children in time to come, "You have no part in the LORD."' 28 Therefore, we said that it shall be, when they say so to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say, '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 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn this day from following the LORD, to build an altar for burnt-offerings, for food-offerings, or for sacrifices, besides the altar of the LORD our God that is before his tabernacle."

30 And when Phinehas the priest, the princes of the congregation, and heads of the thousands of Israel who were with him heard the words that the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the children of Manasseh spoke, it pleased them. 31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the children of Reuben, to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, "This day we perceive that the LORD is among us, because you have not committed this trespass against the LORD. Now you 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, from the land of Gilead, to 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 in which the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt. 34 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed, saying, "For it shall be a witness between us that the LORD is God."