Joshua - Chapter 22
1 Joshua then summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh
2 and said to them, 'You have observed everything that Moses, servant of Yahweh, ordered you, and whenever I have given you an order you have listened to me.
3 You have not deserted your brothers, from long ago until today, keeping the observance of the commandment of Yahweh your God.
4 Now that Yahweh your God has granted your brothers the rest that he promised them, go back to your tents, to the country belonging to you which Moses, servant of Yahweh, gave you on the other side of the Jordan.
5 But take great care to practise the commandments and the Law which Moses, servant of Yahweh, has given you: to love Yahweh your God, always to follow his paths, to keep his commandments, to be loyal to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
6 Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went home to their tents.
7 To one half of the tribe of Manasseh, Moses had given a territory in Bashan; to the other half, Joshua gave another among their brothers on the west bank of the Jordan. As Joshua sent them home to their tents, he blessed them
8 and said to them, 'You are going back to your tents with great wealth, with a great deal of livestock, with silver and gold, bronze and iron and great quantities of clothing; share the spoils of your enemies with your brothers.'
9 The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home, leaving the Israelites at Shiloh in Canaan, and made for Gilead, the territory which belonged to them as a result of Yahweh's order given through Moses.
10 When they came to the stone circle by the Jordan, in Canaanite territory, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an altar there beside the Jordan, a large, imposing altar.
11 This came to the ears of the Israelites. 'Look,' the word went round, 'the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built this altar on the Canaanite side, near the stone circle by the Jordan, on the Israelites' bank.'
12 At this news, the whole community of the Israelites mustered at Shiloh, to march against them and make war on them.
13 The Israelites sent the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in Gilead,
14 and with him ten leading men, one man from a leading family from each of the tribes of Israel, each of them being head of his family in the clans of Israel.
15 Having reached the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, they said this:
16 'The whole community of Israel says as follows, "What do you mean by this infidelity, which you have committed against the God of Israel by now repudiating your allegiance to Yahweh, and by building yourselves an altar with the intention now of rebelling against Yahweh?
17 "Was the crime which we committed at Peor so slight -- although we have not managed to purify ourselves from that even now, in spite of the plague which has ravaged the community of Yahweh-
18 that you must now repudiate your allegiance to Yahweh? For since you are in rebellion against him today, tomorrow his anger will be aroused against the whole community of Israel.
19 "Is the country in which you have settled unclean? Then cross over into the country where Yahweh has settled, there where Yahweh's Dwelling now stands, and settle among us. But do not rebel against Yahweh or involve us in your rebellion by building a rival altar to the altar of Yahweh our God.
20 When Achan son of Zerah was unfaithful to the curse of destruction, did not the retribution come down on the whole community of Israel, although he was only one man? Did he not have to die for his crime?" '
21 The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh spoke in their turn and answered the heads of the clans of Israel:
22 'The God of gods, Yahweh, the God of gods, Yahweh well knows, and let Israel know it too: if there has been rebellion or infidelity to Yahweh on our part, may he refuse to save us today!
23 And if we have built ourselves an altar with the intention of repudiating our allegiance to Yahweh and of presenting burnt offering and oblation or of offering communion sacrifices on it, may Yahweh himself call us to account for it!
24 The truth is, we have done this as a precaution: in the future, your descendants might say to ours, "What connection do you have with Yahweh, God of Israel?
25 Has not Yahweh set the frontier of the Jordan between us and you, you Reubenites and Gadites? You have no share in Yahweh." Thus, your descendants would be the cause of stopping ours from fearing Yahweh.
26 'So we said to each other, "Let us build this altar, not for burnt offerings or other sacrifices
27 but as a witness between us and you and between our descendants after us, attesting that we too have the right to worship Yahweh, in his presence, with our burnt offerings, our victims and our communion sacrifices. And so, in the future your descendants will not be able to say to ours: You have no share in Yahweh."
28 And we furthermore said, "If ever it were to happen that they did say this either to us or to our descendants in the future, we should reply: Look at this structure, Yahweh's altar, made by our ancestors not for burnt offerings or other sacrifices but as a witness between us and you."
29 Far be it from us to rebel against Yahweh or now to repudiate our allegiance to Yahweh by building an altar for burnt offerings or oblations or sacrifices, in rivalry with the altar of Yahweh our God that stands before his Dwelling!'
30 When the priest Phinehas, the leaders of the community and the heads of the clans of Israel who were with him, heard the words spoken by the Gadites, the Reubenites and the Manassehites, they approved of them.
31 The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar then said to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the Manassehites, 'Today, we can see that Yahweh is among us, since you have not been unfaithful to Yahweh in this matter; this means that you have spared the Israelites from Yahweh's avenging hand.'
32 The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar and the leaders left the Reubenites and the Gadites and went back from Gilead to Canaan and the Israelites, to whom they reported the answer.
33 The Israelites were pleased to hear this; the Israelites gave thanks to God and spoke no more of marching against them to make war on them and to ravage the country inhabited by the Reubenites and the Gadites.
34 The Reubenites and the Gadites called the altar . . . , 'Because', they said, 'it will be a witness between us that Yahweh is God.'
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