Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 22:12

When the sons of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the sons of Israel gathered themselves at Shiloh to go up against them in war.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Gad;   Haste;   Misjudgment;   Motive;   Prudence;   Reubenites;   Shiloh;   Uncharitableness;   War;   Zeal, Religious;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Gad, the Tribe of;   Reuben, the Tribe of;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Phinehas;   Reuben;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Shiloh;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Manasseh;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jordan;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Host of Heaven;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Joshua;   Shiloh;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Altar;   Government of the Hebrews;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Criticism (the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis);   Joshua, Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

To go up to war against them - Supposing that they had built this altar in opposition to that which Moses, by the command of God, had erected, and were consequently become rebels against God and the Israelitish constitution, and should be treated as such. Their great concern for the glory of God led them to take this step, which at first view might appear precipitate; but, that they might do nothing rashly, they first sent Phinehas and ten princes, one out of each tribe, to require an explanation of their motives in erecting this altar.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-22.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Gathered themselves together - The various tribes had already dispersed to their homes, and were now summoned together again.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-22.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And when the children of Israel heard of it,.... Of the building the altar in the above place, namely, the nine tribes and a half settled in the land of Canaan:

the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh; where the tabernacle and altar of the Lord were, whose cause they undertook to avenge, being injured as they imagined by the altar the other tribes had built, and where they could consult the Lord by Urim and Thummim, if needful; hither they repaired from the several places around, where their tribes were settled; not the whole body of the people, but their heads and representatives:

to go up to war against them; to consult about it, and to prepare for it, which they were obliged to do by the law of God, as in the case of a city, so of a tribe drawn aside to idolatry; and which they imagined was the case of these tribes, or at least what they had done had a tendency to apostasy from the true worship of God, which they were zealous to defend at the hazard of their lives, and though it should issue in an extirpation of one or more of their tribes; see Deuteronomy 13:12.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-22.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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 g to war against them.

(g) Such was their zeal, that they would rather lose their lives, that allow the true religion to be changed or corrupted.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-22.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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 children of Israel — Not in their own persons, not by their elders, who used to transact all affairs of this kind in the name of all the people.

Against them — As apostates from God, according to God's command in that case, Deuteronomy 13:13. etc.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-22.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 22:12 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.

Ver. 12. To go up to war against them.] According to Deuteronomy 13:13, &c., so blessedly blown up were they with a zeal for God - the Levites also and Manassites, though of the same tribe; howbeit this holy fire was not without some smoke.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-22.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 12. And—the whole congregation—gathered themselves together at Shiloh That is, the elders and princes of the tribes came from their several cities thither to consult what, in consequence of this step of the two tribes and a half, was necessary to be done. On the first advice of the erection of so elevated an altar, the Israelites in general conceived that their brethren had abandoned the true religion. For, not to mention that the law forbad a plurality of altars, the prodigious height of the present denoted a monument dedicated to the pagan deities, for whose worship they were fond of the highest places, rather than one appropriated to the true God, who can as easily assist the most lowly, as those who are nearest the skies, and who had commanded that His altar should not exceed three cubits in height, and be without steps. See Deuteronomy 12:13 : Exodus 27:1; Exodus 20:26. The congregation at Shiloh, therefore, in the first emotions of its zeal, thought that the Israelites beyond Jordan were fallen into idolatry, either by devoting themselves to the worship of false gods, or by presuming to worship the Lord in another place and manner than he had appointed. Hereupon they consulted how it was necessary to act towards the supposed offenders; and the conclusion was, that they should proceed in strict conformity to the law of Moses; and that in case the 40,000 men had done as was presumed, it was necessary to go up to war against them, to avenge their insulted religion, and destroy them, as God had commanded, Deuteronomy 13:12; Deuteronomy 13:18. Many reflections might be drawn from this determination: we may boldly conclude, that it is not sufficient to have right intentions in what we undertake; but that in the execution of it, piety requires us to avoid, as much as possible, all appearance of evil. The 40,000 ought to have apprised the Israelites of Canaan of what they were about to do, and of their motive for so doing; their manner of proceeding could not but create disagreeable suspicions. But what noble sentiments did these suspicions produce in the hearts they animated! It is very pleasing to see the Israelites, scarcely delivered from the fatigues and dangers of so long a war, and but just beginning to taste the fruits of their conquests, determining immediately to resume arms, in obedience to the laws of their religion and commonwealth. An example of courage and zeal like this well deserves to be remarked.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-22.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The children of Israel; not in their own persons, but by their elders, who used to transact all affairs of this kind in the name and stead of all the people.

To go up to war against them; as apostates from God, according to God’s command in that case, Deuteronomy 13:13, &c.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-22.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12.The children of Israel gathered themselves together — The news produced the greatest consternation, and caused an uprising of all the tribes. A separate altar implied the setting up of a new religion, and fore-shadowed a secession from the theocratic state. Such a movement, therefore, demanded the most careful investigation, according to the express provision of the law. Deuteronomy 13:13-14. So at a later time all Israel assembled at Mizpeh to investigate the offence of Benjamin. Judges 20.

To go up to war against them — For the law ordained that if any city went over to idolatry it should be smitten with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed. Deuteronomy 13:15-16.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-22.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh to be ready to go up to war against them.’

The gathering at Shiloh indicated a summons by the authorities from the central sanctuary for Israel to gather with their arms so that they were ready to act swiftly if it was necessary. The provisions of Deuteronomy 13:12-18, which dealt with the action to be taken when there were suspicions of idolatry, were then correctly carried into force, a thorough investigation to determine the truth of the matter.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-22.html. 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 22:12. The whole congregation of the children of Israel — Not in their own persons, but by their elders, who were used to transact all affairs of this kind in the name of all the people. Gathered themselves together against them — As apostates from God, and the true religion, according to God’s command in such a case. For they too hastily inferred, from the erection of this altar, that their brethren were either going to serve other gods, or to worship the God of Israel in a manner different from that which he had prescribed. For they were expressly commanded that, as there was but one God, so they should offer only upon one altar, and in that one place which the Lord should choose, Deuteronomy 12:5-18.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-22.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

In Silo, without being called, as they were all fired with a holy zeal, (Menochius) to prevent the growth of idolatry among their brethren. (Haydock) --- They knew that one altar was to be allowed (Menochius) in the place which the Lord should appoint, Leviticus xvii. 8., and Deuteronomy xii. 5., &c. (Haydock) --- God had ordered such cities as embraced idolatry among them, to be exterminated, Deuteronomy xiii. 12. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-22.html. 1859.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) To go up to war against them.—There is no more striking proof of Israel’s obedience to the law and veneration for it in the days of Joshua than this. A single altar to Jehovah, besides the one in Shiloh. is sufficient cause for war against the builders of it. But see what is the language of the prophet. “According to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to Bosheth (disgrace), even altars to burn incense to Baal” (Jeremiah 11:13). What stronger proof could we require of the veracity of the narrative in this place, and that it is genuine contemporary history? What writer of the days of Jeremiah, to which date some have referred the Book of Deuteronomy and its requirements, could have conceived such a scene as this, when altars to Jehovah on the high places were hardly regarded as illegal, and altars to Baal were as numerous as the very streets?

Another passage in a different part of the Old Testament corroborates indirectly, but in a striking manner, the tone of this (Nehemiah 8:17): “The congregation. . . . made booths, and sat under the booths” (as required by the law of Moses in the Feast of Tabernacles); “for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so.”

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-22.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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
Reciprocal: Joshua 22:15 - GeneralJoshua 22:32 - and brought;  1 Samuel 1:14 - How long

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 22:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-22.html.