7 May. Joshua 22:1-16,21,28,30-34

7 May. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh return home

“Then Joshua called a meeting of all the people from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh. He said to them, ‘You have done everything Moses, the LORD’s servant, told you to do. You have also obeyed all my commands.’”

“’ For a long time you have supported the other Israelites. You have been careful to obey the commands the LORD your God gave you. The LORD your God promised to give the Israelites peace, and he has kept his promise. Now you may go back to your homes, to the land that Moses, the LORD’s servant, gave you, on the east side of the Jordan River...’”

“Then Joshua said goodbye to them, and they left and went away to their homes… He said, ‘Go back to your homes and your riches. You have many animals, silver, gold, bronze and iron, and many beautiful clothes. Also, you have taken many things from your enemies that you should divide among yourselves.’”

“So the people from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh left the other Israelites at Shiloh in Canaan and went back to Gilead. It was their own land, given to them by Moses as the LORD had commanded.”

“The people of Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh went to Geliloth, near the Jordan River in the land of Canaan. There they built a beautiful altar. The other Israelites still at Shiloh heard about the altar these three tribes built at the border of Canaan at Geliloth, near the Jordan River on Israel’s side. All the Israelites became very angry with these three tribes, so they met together and decided to fight them.”

“The Israelites sent Phinehas son of Eleazer the priest to Gilead to talk to the people of Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh. They also sent one leader from each of the ten tribes at Shiloh… These leaders went to Gilead to talk to the people of Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh. They said, ‘All the Israelites ask you: “Why did you turn against the God of Israel by building an altar for yourselves? You know that this is against God’s law…”’”

“The people from Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh answered, ‘The LORD is God of gods! ... If in future your children say that, our children can say, “See the altar made by our ancestors. It is exactly like the LORD’s altar, but we do not use it for sacrifices. It shows that we are part of Israel.”’…”

“When Phinehas the priest and the ten leaders heard the people of Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh, they were pleased. So Phinehas, son of Eleazar the priest, said. ‘Now we know the LORD is with us and that you didn’t turn against him. Now the Israelites will not be punished by the LORD.’”

“Then Phinehas and the leaders left the people of Reuben and Gad in Gilead and went back to Canaan where they told the Israelites what had happened. They were pleased and thanked God. So they decided not to fight the people of Reuben and Gad and destroy their lands. And the people of Reuben and Gad named the altar ‘Proof that We Believe the LORD is God’.”

          (Joshua 22:1-16, 21,28,30-34)



After dividing the conquered land of Canaan between the other Israelite tribes, Joshua sent the tribes of Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh back home to Gilead and Bashan on the east bank of the River Jordan (see the map on 5 May).

The eastern tribes left the other tribes at the LORD’s sacred sanctuary at Shiloh (see the map). But before crossing the River Jordan, these three tribes built an imposing altar at Geliloth (meaning 'circle' of stones). This may have been the same site as the circle of stones set up earlier at Gilgal (which also means a 'circle' of stones) (see Joshua 4:20).

The western tribes objected that the eastern tribes had set up an alternative altar to the one at Shiloh (see Joshua 18:1). Fearing that God’s wrath would fall upon them for allowing sacrifices to take place at an alternative site (see Leviticus 1:1-3 & Numbers 25:1-3), they sent Phinehas – the son of Eleazar the priest – to investigate.

The three eastern tribes explained that they’d not built this new altar as a place of sacrifice (though, by definition, an ‘altar’ is where sacrifices are made). They’d only built it, they said, so their children would know that they really were a part of Israel – even though they were living to the east of the River Jordan, outside the ‘promised land’ of Canaan.

Phinehas accepted the eastern tribes’ explanation and their reassurance that they would continue to offer their sacrifices to God at the sanctuary at Shiloh. The replica altar at Geliloth was then called "Proof that we believe the LORD is God" (Joshua 22:34).

The photo (by gugganij) shows a reconstructed Israelite 4-horned altar at Tel Beer Sheva.

You can read more @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/27-the-israelites-move-into-canaan/six-cities-of-refuge-are-set-up/

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