Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 22:16

"Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord , ‘What is this unfaithful act which you have committed against the God of Israel, turning away from following the Lord this day, by building yourselves an altar, to rebel against the Lord this day?
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Fear of God;   Government;   Haste;   Misjudgment;   Motive;   Phinehas;   Prudence;   Reproof;   Reubenites;   Uncharitableness;   War;   Zeal, Religious;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Gad, the Tribe of;   Rebellion against God;   Reuben, the Tribe of;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Phinehas;   Reuben;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Phinehas;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Manasseh;   Phinehas;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jordan;   Phinehas;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Faith;   High Priest;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Joshua;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Phinehas ;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Phin'ehas;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Altar;   Government of the Hebrews;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joshua, Book of;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Thus saith the whole congregation of the Lord,.... By whom they were sent, and whom they represented; and they do not call them the congregation of Israel, but of the Lord, because it was not on a civil but religious account they were come, and not to plead their own cause, but the cause of God; and not so much to show a concern for their own honour and interest as for the glory of God:

what trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel; they took it for granted that they had committed a sin, and that so great, they were not able to express the greatness of it in all its aggravated circumstances, and plainly suggest it was idolatry; which was too premature, when as yet they had not inquired into it; but their zeal for God, and his honour, hurried them into this hasty step:

to turn away this day from following the Lord; they intimate, that they had begun a revolt from the worship of God, which is aggravated by their falling into it so soon, having received so many favours from God, and had so lately seen such wonderful appearances of his power and goodness, and had just had such excellent instructions, exhortations, and cautions given them by Joshua, when he dismissed them:

in that ye have built you an altar; which they supposed was to offer sacrifices upon; whereas there was to be but one altar, and that in the place which the Lord should choose to put his name in, and which he had now chosen, where all sacrifices were to be brought and offered up; see Exodus 20:24,

that ye might rebel this day against the Lord? against the commandment of the Lord expressed in the places referred to, which they charge with rebellion against himself, a very high and heavy charge indeed! but they should first have inquired whether they were guilty of the trespass, or with what view they had built the altar, whether for sacrifice, or for some other use; but they took it for granted it was for sacrifice.

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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 22:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-22.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Thus saith h 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?

(h) Not only of the princes, but also of the common people.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 22:16". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-22.html. 1599-1645.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

Assuming at the outset that the altar was intended for a second place of sacrifice in opposition to the command of God, the delegates, with Phinehas no doubt as their speaker, began by reproaching them for falling away from the Lord. “ What faithlessness is this ( מעל : see at Leviticus 5:15) that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from Jehovah, in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against Jehovah? ” מרד (to rebel) is stronger than מעל .

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Bibliographical Information
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Joshua 22:16". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/joshua-22.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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?

The congregation — Who do and are resolved to cleave unto that God from whom you have revolted.

What trespass — How heinous a crime is this! This day - That is, so soon after God hath obliged you by such wonderful favours, and when God is now conducting you home to reap the fruits of all your pains and hazards.

Rebel — With a design to rebel against God, and against his express command of worshipping him at one only altar.

Copyright Statement
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 22:16". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-22.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 22:16 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?

Ver. 16. What trespass is this?] Idolatry is a wickedness with a witness; and they that withdraw from God, do it to the perdition of their souls. [Hebrews 10:39]

In that ye have builded you an altar.] Another besides that in the tabernacle: whereas God will have but one altar, for a figure of Christ’s cross, which was the only true altar.

That ye might rebel.] Wilful disobedience is open rebellion, yea, it is blasphemy. [Ezekiel 20:27] But why were these good men, that found the fault, so faulty themselves in passing this rash and harsh censure upon a sinister suspicion, upon a mere mistake? Ea quemque ansa prehendamus quae commode teneri potest, saith Epictetus. If one action had a hundred faces, saith another, we should always cast our sight upon the fairest: "Charity hopeth all things, thinketh no evil"; [1 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Corinthians 13:7] holdeth that things are reverenter glossanda, as one said of the pontifician law, to have a reverent gloss put upon them. Quarrels grow many times upon mistakes. Cyril, and John, bishop of Antioch, excommunicated one another for heresy on each side objected: so did Cyril and Theodoret; yet afterwards they found that they held the same things, when once they grew to a right understanding of one another’s meaning. (a)

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 22:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-22.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The whole congregation of the Lord, who do and are resolved to cleave unto that God from whom you have revolted, and who speak this to you in the name of the Lord.

What trespass is this? how heinous a crime is this! To turn away this day, i.e. so soon after God hath obliged you by such wonderful favours, and when God is now conducting you home to reap the fruits of all your pains and hazards.

That ye might rebel; with a design to revolt from and rebel against God, and against his express command of worshipping him at one only altar, Exodus 20:24 Leviticus 17:8,9 Deu 12:5,11,13.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 22:16". 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

16.What trespass is this — The erection of the altar is justly regarded as prima facie proof of violating the unity of divine worship, inasmuch as sacrifices offered in any other place than at the door of the tabernacle were strictly forbidden. Leviticus 17:7-8.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 22:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-22.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 22:16. Thus saith the whole congregation — Who do, and are resolved to cleave unto that God from whom you have revolted. What trespass is this that you have committed? — How heinous a crime! To turn away this day — That is, so soon after God hath obliged you by such wonderful favours, and when he is now conducting you home to reap the fruits of all your pains and hazards. In that you have builded you an altar — For sacrifice, as they supposed. That ye might rebel — With a design to rebel against God, and against his express command enjoining you to worship him at one only altar.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 22:16". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-22.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Lord. Thus Phinees shews that he speaks in the name of those who still continued faithful to the Lord. He imputes the crime of apostacy to Ruben, &c., that they may declare more openly for what reason they had built this altar. (Menochius)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 22:16". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-22.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

trespass. Hebrew. chata. App-44.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 22:16". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-22.html. 1909-1922.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"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?"Joshua 22:16

The children of Israel are here represented as coming unto the children of Reuben and to the children of Gad and to the half tribe of Prayer of Manasseh, and challenging them respecting a certain action.—Here is a great principle, the application of which is world-wide and time-wide: the principle is that men have a right to inquire into the trespasses committed by one another.—There is no right of trespass; there is no chartered sin.—Men are the keepers of one another, and ought to be severely critical as to the moral atmosphere which any man or number of men may create.—It is worse than a fallacy to suppose that a man has a right to do even with himself as he pleases.—There is a sense in which there is no mere "self" to be dealt with.—In a sense, every man is a part of some other Prayer of Manasseh, or part of the body corporate.—There is no isolation in any sense that limits evil action.—Even an infamous example may be doing untold mischief in society, though the man himself may be taking no direct or energetic part in the propagation of evil.—Every householder has a right to inquire into the nuisances created by adjoining householders.—No man has a right to vitiate the common air; it belongs to all the people, and they have a right to protect its purity, or to avenge any violation of its healthfulness.—This principle is not sufficiently recognised; hence men are told to mind their own business and to let other people alone.—The merit of this speech consists entirely in its brevity, for it is wholly without wit, sense, charity, or beneficence.—The mother has a right to inquire into the nature of every road along which her child travels day by day.—The parent is called upon to inquire into the character of the school in which he may place his child.—He who detects any noisomeness in the air has a right to follow that noisomeness to its origin, if he possibly can, though in doing so he may have to trample down hedges and boundaries and land-marks.—The public health is of more consequence than the temporary integrity of mechanical boundaries.—If we had more challenging of one another in this matter of trespass, we should have a healthier state of society.—The time will come when men will not only be anxious about nuisances that vitiate the air or throw disquietness into the social life; they will be still more anxious about thoughts that unbalance the mind, ambitions that fever the soul, and speculations that destroy the serenity and peace of the heart and mind.—It is in vain to preach a doctrine of brotherhood or commonwealth, and yet to desist from the exercise of those rights which belong to community and fellowship.—To preach that all the world is a brotherhood, and then to act as if every man had a right to do as he pleased, is simply to contradict preaching by practice.—When man asks, Am I my brother"s keeper? the answer should be a grand and solemn affirmation.

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Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 22:16". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/joshua-22.html. 1885-95.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

16.Thus says the whole congregation, etc Just as if it had been known that this second altar was opposed to the one only altar of God, they begin with upbraiding them, and that in a very harsh and severe manner. They thus assume it as confessed, that the two tribes had built the altar with a view of offering sacrifices upon it. In this they are mistaken, as it was destined for a different use and purpose. Moreover, had the idea which they had conceived been correct, all the expostulation which they employ would have been just; for it was a clear case of criminal revolt to make any change in the Law of God, who values obedience more than all sacrifices, (1 Samuel 15:22) and there would have been perfect ground for condemning them as apostates, in withdrawing from the one only altar.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 22:16". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-22.html. 1840-57.