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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Joshua 22

 

 

Introduction
1The two tribes and a half with a blessing are sent home.
10They build the altar of testimony in their journey.
11The Israelites are offended thereat.
21They vindicate their conduct, and give them good satisfaction.

Verse 1
Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh,
Joshua
Numbers 32:18-33; Deuteronomy 29:7,8
Reubenites
We have already seen, that a detachment of 40,000 men, of the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, had passed over Jordan armed, with their brethren, according to their agreement with Moses. The war being now concluded, the land divided, and their brethren settled, Joshua assembles these warriors; and with commendations for their services and fidelity, he dismisses them, having fist given them the most pious and suitable instructions. They had now been about seven years absent from their respective families; and though there was only the river Jordan between the camp of Gilgal and their own inheritance, yet it does not appear that they had, during that time, ever revisited their home, which they might have done at any time of the year, except the harvest, as the river was at other times easily fordable.

Verse 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:
Ye have
Numbers 32:20-29; Deuteronomy 3:16-20
obeyed
1:12-18

Verse 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.
Philippians 1:23-27

Verse 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.
given rest
21:43,44; Deuteronomy 12:9
get
13:8,15-33; 14:1-5; Numbers 32:33-42; Deuteronomy 3:1-17; 29:8

Verse 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.
take
Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 4:1,2,6,9; 6:6-9,17; 11:22; 1 Chronicles 28:7,8; Psalms 106:3; Psalms 119:4-6; Proverbs 4:23; Isaiah 55:2; Jeremiah 12:16; Hebrews 6:11,12; 12:15; 2 Peter 1:5-10
love
Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12,13; 11:1,13; Matthew 22:37; John 14:15,21-23; John 21:15-17; Romans 8:28; James 1:12; 2:5; 1 John 5:2,3
cleave
23:8; Deuteronomy 4:4; 10:20; 13:4; Acts 11:23; Romans 12:9
serve
24:14,15; 1 Samuel 7:3; 12:20,24; Matthew 4:10; 6:24; Luke 1:74; John 12:26; Acts 27:23; Romans 1:9

Verse 6
So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.
7,8; 14:13; Genesis 14:19; 47:7,10; Exodus 39:43; 1 Samuel 2:20; 2 Samuel 6:18,20; 2 Chronicles 30:18; Luke 2:34; 24:50; Hebrews 7:6,7

Verse 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,
13:29-31; 17:1-12

Verse 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.
Return
Deuteronomy 8:9-14,17,18; 2 Chronicles 17:5; 32:27; Proverbs 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Hebrews 11:26
divide
Numbers 31:27; 1 Samuel 30:24; Psalms 68:12

Verse 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.
the country of Gilead
13:11,25,31; Numbers 32:1,26,29,39,40; Deuteronomy 3:15,16; Psalms 60:7

Verse 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.
the children
This verse should probably be rendered, "And when they came to 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, Then built an altar by (or beyond, al) Jordan, a great altar to the view." It would appear, that when they came to the river, they formed the purpose of building the altar; and when they crossed it they put that purpose into execution. It is evident that they did not build it west of the Jordan, for that was not in their territories, and the next verse expressly says that it was built over against the land of Canaan.
built
25-28; 4:5-9; 24:26,27; Genesis 28:18; 31:46-52

Verse 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.
heard
Leviticus 17:8,9; Deuteronomy 12:5-7; 13:12-14; John 20:1,12
at the passage
2:7; 3:14-16; Judges 12:5; John 1:28

Verse 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.
the whole
Supposing they had built this altar for sacrifice, in opposition to the command of God, they considered them as rebels against God and the Israelitish constitution.
Deuteronomy 13:15; Judges 20:1-11; Acts 11:2,3; Romans 10:2; Galatians 4:17,18

Verse 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 the priest,
sent
Deuteronomy 13:14; Judges 20:12; Proverbs 20:18; Matthew 18:15
Phinehas
Exodus 6:25; Numbers 25:7,11-13; Judges 20:28; Psalms 106:30,31; Proverbs 25:9-13

Verse 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.
chief house
Heb. house of the father. an head.
Exodus 18:25; Numbers 1:4

Verse 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,
the whole
12; Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 5:4; Galatians 1:1,2
trespass
Leviticus 5:19; 26:40; Numbers 5:6; 1 Chronicles 21:3; 2 Chronicles 26:18; 28:13; Ezra 9:2,15; Matthew 6:14,15
to turn
18; Exodus 32:8; Numbers 14:43; 32:15; Deuteronomy 7:4; 30:17; 2 Chronicles 10:19; 25:27; Hebrews 12:25
rebel
Leviticus 17:8,9; Deuteronomy 12:4-6,13,14; 1 Samuel 15:23; Psalms 78:8; Isaiah 63:10

Verse 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,
Is the iniquity
Numbers 25:3,4-18; Deuteronomy 4:3,4; Psalms 106:28,29
from which
Ezra 9:13,14; 1 Corinthians 10:8,11

Verse 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.
following
16; Deuteronomy 7:4; 1 Samuel 12:14,20; 1 Kings 9:6; 2 Kings 17:21; 2 Chronicles 25:27; 34:33
and it will
Ezra 9:13,14
he will be
20; 7:1,11,21; Numbers 16:22; 2 Samuel 24:1; 1 Chronicles 21:1,14

Verse 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.
unclean
Exodus 15:17; Leviticus 18:25-28; Amos 7:17; Acts 10:14,15; 11:8,9
wherein
18:1; Leviticus 17:8,9; Deuteronomy 12:5,6; 2 Chronicles 11:13,16,17

Verse 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.
7:1,5,18,24; 1 Corinthians 10:6; 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:5,6

Verse 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,
Then the children
The conduct and answer of these Reubenites and the associates are worthy of admiration and imitation. Though conscious of their innocence, they permitted Phinehas to finish his speech, though composed of little else than accusations, without any interruption; and taking in good part the suspicions, reproofs, and even harshness of their brethren, with the utmost meekness and solemnity they explain their intention, give all the satisfaction in their power, and with great propriety and reverence, appeal to that God against whom they were supposed to have rebelled.
answered
Proverbs 15:1; 16:1; 18:13; 24:26; Acts 11:4; James 1:19; 1 Peter 3:15
heads
Exodus 18:21-25; Micah 5:2

Verse 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,)
Lord God
[ ()hîym
Exodus 18:11; Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalms 82:1; 95:3; 97:7; 136:2; Daniel 2:47; 11:36; 1 Timothy 6:16; Revelation 19:16
he knoweth
1 Kings 8:39; Job 10:7; 23:10; Psalms 7:3; 44:21; 139:1-12; Jeremiah 12:3; 17:10; John 2:24,25; 21:17; Acts 1:24; 2 Corinthians 11:11,31; Hebrews 4:13; Revelation 2:23
Israel
Psalms 37:6; Micah 7:9; Malachi 3:18; Acts 11:2-18; 2 Corinthians 5:11
if it be
1 Samuel 15:23; Job 31:5-8,38-40; Psalms 7:3-5; Acts 25:11

Verse 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;
let the Lord
Genesis 9:4; Deuteronomy 18:19; 1 Samuel 20:16; 2 Chronicles 24:22; Psalms 10:13,14; Ezekiel 3:18; Ezekiel 33:6,8

Verse 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?
for fear
Genesis 18:19
In time to come
Heb. To-morrow.
4:6; Genesis 30:33; Exodus 13:14; Deuteronomy 6:20; *margins

Verse 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.
ye have
27; 2 Samuel 20:1; 1 Kings 12:16; Ezra 4:2,3; Nehemiah 2:20; Acts 8:21
make
1 Samuel 26:19; 1 Kings 12:27-30; 14:16; 15:30

Verse 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.
a witness
10,34; 24:27; Genesis 31:48,52; 1 Samuel 7:12
that we
Deuteronomy 12:5,6,11,17,18,26,27

Verse 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.
Behold
Exodus 25:40; 2 Kings 16:10; Ezekiel 43:10,11; Hebrews 8:5

Verse 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.
God forbid
24:16; Genesis 44:7,17; 1 Samuel 12:23; 1 Kings 21:3; Romans 3:6; 6:2; 9:14
to build
23,26; Deuteronomy 12:13,14; 2 Kings 18:22; 2 Chronicles 32:12

Verse 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 them.
it pleased them
Heb. it was good in their eyes. It is remarkable, that Joshua is not once named in this transaction; but this only shews, that he did not in his old age assume any regal authority, but left the elders and magistrates to conduct the general business, only acting himself when great occasions made it necessary. Yet we cannot doubt, that his wisdom and piety influenced the counsels of the elders and people at this time.
33; Genesis 28:8; Judges 8:3; 1 Samuel 25:32,33; 29:6; 2 Chronicles 30:4; Esther 1:21; *margins; Proverbs 15:1; Acts 11:18

Verse 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.
the Lord is
3:10; Leviticus 26:11,12; Numbers 14:41-43; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Psalms 68:17; Isaiah 12:6; Zechariah 8:23; Matthew 1:23; 1 Corinthians 14:25
now
Heb. then.

Verse 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.
and brought
12-14; Proverbs 25:13

Verse 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.
the thing
30; Acts 15:12,31; 2 Corinthians 7:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:6-8
blessed
1 Samuel 25:32,33; 1 Chronicles 29:20; Nehemiah 8:5,6; Daniel 2:19; Luke 2:28; Ephesians 1:3

Verse 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.
Ed
i.e, a witness. The word witness, or testimony, is not found in the common editions of the Hebrew Bible; and is supplied in Italics by our venerable translators, at least in our modern copies; for in the first edition of this translation, it stands in the text without any note of this kind; but it is found in several of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS., and also in the Syriac and Arabic. Several also of the early printed editions of the Hebrew Bible have the word ed, either in the text or in the margin; and it must be allowed to be necessary to complete the sense. It is very probable that an inscription was put on this altar, signifying the purpose for which it was erected. Thus was this affair most happily terminated.
27; 24:27; 1 Kings 18:39; Isaiah 43:10; Matthew 4:10
the Lord is God
Several manuscripts read more emphatically, [[email protected] (hwhy)] [ ()] ['elohiym (eyhl))] Yehowah, hoo Elohim, "Jehovah he is God."

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 22:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-22.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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