Bible: Josh 22:10-34

Civil War is Averted

22:10 The Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh came to Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan and built there, near the Jordan, an impressive altar. 1  22:11 The Israelites received this report: 2  “Look, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh have built an altar at the entrance to 3  the land of Canaan, at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side.” 22:12 When the Israelites heard this, the entire Israelite community assembled at Shiloh to launch an attack against them. 4 

22:13 The Israelites sent Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the priest, to the land of Gilead to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. 22:14 He was accompanied by ten leaders, one from each of the Israelite tribes, each one a family leader among the Israelite clans. 5  22:15 They went to the land of Gilead to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them: 22:16 The entire community of the Lord says, ‘Why have you disobeyed the God of Israel by turning back today from following the Lord? You built an altar for yourselves and have rebelled today against the Lord. 6  22:17 The sin we committed at Peor was bad enough. To this very day we have not purified ourselves; it even brought a plague on the community of the Lord. 7  22:18 Now today you dare to turn back 8  from following the Lord! You are rebelling today against the Lord; tomorrow he may break out in anger against 9  the entire community of Israel. 22:19 But if your own land 10  is impure, 11  cross over to the Lord’s own land, 12  where the Lord himself lives, 13  and settle down among us. 14  But don’t rebel against the Lord or us 15  by building for yourselves an altar aside from the altar of the Lord our God. 22:20 When Achan son of Zerah disobeyed the command about the city’s riches, the entire Israelite community was judged, 16  though only one man had sinned. He most certainly died for his sin!’ 17 

22:21 The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered the leaders 18  of the Israelite clans: 22:22 El, God, the Lord! 19  El, God, the Lord! He knows the truth! 20  Israel must also know! If we have rebelled or disobeyed the Lord, 21  don’t spare us 22  today! 22:23 If we have built 23  an altar for ourselves to turn back from following the Lord by making 24  burnt sacrifices and grain offerings on it, or by offering 25  tokens of peace 26  on it, the Lord himself will punish us. 27  22:24 We swear we have done this because we were worried that 28  in the future your descendants would say to our descendants, ‘What relationship do you have with the Lord God of Israel? 29  22:25 The Lord made the Jordan a boundary between us and you Reubenites and Gadites. You have no right to worship the Lord.’ 30  In this way your descendants might cause our descendants to stop obeying 31  the Lord. 22:26 So we decided to build this altar, not for burnt offerings and sacrifices, 22:27 but as a reminder to us and you, 32  and to our descendants who follow us, that we will honor the Lord in his very presence 33  with burnt offerings, sacrifices, and tokens of peace. 34  Then in the future your descendants will not be able to say to our descendants, ‘You have no right to worship the Lord.’ 35  22:28 We said, ‘If in the future they say such a thing 36  to us or to our descendants, we will reply, “See the model of the Lord’s altar that our ancestors 37  made, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices, but as a reminder to us and you.”’ 38  22:29 Far be it from us to rebel against the Lord by turning back today from following after the Lord by building an altar for burnt offerings, sacrifices, and tokens of peace 39  aside from the altar of the Lord our God located in front of his dwelling place! 40 

22:30 When Phinehas the priest and the community leaders and clan leaders who accompanied him heard the defense of the Reubenites, Gadites, and the Manassehites, 41  they were satisfied. 42  22:31 Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the priest, said to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the Manassehites, 43 Today we know that the Lord is among us, because you have not disobeyed the Lord in this. 44  Now 45  you have rescued the Israelites from the Lord’s judgment.” 46 

22:32 Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the priest, and the leaders left the Reubenites and Gadites in the land of Gilead and reported back to the Israelites in the land of Canaan. 47  22:33 The Israelites were satisfied with their report and gave thanks to God. 48  They said nothing more about launching an attack to destroy the land in which the Reubenites and Gadites lived. 49  22:34 The Reubenites and Gadites named the altar, “Surely it is a Reminder to us 50  that the Lord is God.”

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