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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 22

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-34

Settlement of the eastern tribes (22:1-34)

Now that the territory west of Jordan had been conquered and divided among the nine and a half tribes, the other two and a half tribes were free to return to their inheritance east of Jordan. Joshua commended them for being faithful to their word in helping their brothers conquer Canaan (22:1-4; cf. Deuteronomy 32:16-32), and warned them to remain true to God in their new homeland (5). He then sent them back to their families with his blessing (6-9).

The eastern tribes expressed their loyalty to God and their unity with their brothers in Canaan by building an altar (10). But the western tribes misunderstood their action. They saw it as a sign not of unity, but of division. They thought the eastern tribes were rebelling against God and corrupting the religion he had given them (11-20).
In response the eastern tribes explained that they were not setting up an independent religion. On the contrary they wanted to demonstrate that they shared the same faith as their brothers across the river (21-25). They had not built the altar to offer sacrifices. They had built it solely for the purpose of reminding their descendants that they were part of Israel and worshipped the same God as their fellow Israelites (26-29).
This explanation satisfied the western tribes and peace was restored. The eastern tribes even gave the altar a special name to ensure that they never forgot its significance. They were bound to Yahweh, their covenant Lord (30-34).

Bibliographical Information
Fleming, Donald C. "Commentary on Joshua 22". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/joshua-22.html. 2005.
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