View Joshua 22 in the note window.
Joshua's dismission of the two tribes and an half,
and their return to their own country, ver. 1 - 9.
The altar they built on that side of Jordan,
which offended the other tribes, ver. 10 - 20.
Their apology, with which the rest were satisfied, ver. 21 - 34.
4: Your tents - That is, to your settled habitations. Tho' their
affections to their families could not but make them very desirous to
return, yet like good soldiers, they would not move 'till they had orders
from their general. So, tho' we desire to be at home with Christ ever so
much, yet we must stay here till our warfare is accomplished, wait for a
due discharge, and not anticipate the time of our removal.
5: Take heed - Watch over yourselves and all your actions.
Commandment and law - Two words expressing the same thing, the law of
commandments delivered by Moses. All your heart and soul - With the
whole strength of your minds, and wills, and affections.
8: With your brethren - That is, with them who stayed beyond
Jordan for the defence of their land, and wives, and children, who
therefore were to have a share, though not an equal share with these.
But for them, (1Sa 30:24), their share was equal, because their danger
10: Built an altar - About that time when they came to them, they
designed it, and as soon as they were got over Jordan, which was in a
very little time, they effected and perfected it. They built it, no doubt,
on their own side of the water: for how could they build on other men's
land, without their consent? And it is said, in the following verse, to be
over against the land of Jordan. Nor would there have been cause to
suspect that it was designed for sacrifice, if they had not built it among
11: At the passage - Where they passed over Jordan, either at
their first entrance into Canaan, or afterwards, and usually.
12: 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, (De 13:13). &c.
16: 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
17: Of Peor - That is, of our worshipping of Baal - peor,(Nu 25:3). Probably this is mentioned the rather, because
Phinehas, the first commissioner in this treaty, had signalized himself
in that matter: and because they were now at or near the very place, where
that iniquity was committed. Are not cleansed - For though God had
pardoned it, as to the national punishment of it, (Nu 25:11), yet they
were not yet throughly purged from it; partly because the shame and blot of
that odious practice was not yet wiped off: and partly, because some of that
corrupt leaven still remained among them, and though smothered for a time,
yet was ready to break forth upon all occasions, See (Jos 24:33).
And God also took notice of these idolatrous inclinations in particular
persons, and found out ways to punish them.
18: To - morrow - That is, suddenly, as that word is often used.
Congregation - With you for doing so, and with us for suffering, or not
19: Be unclean - If you apprehend it to be so for want of the
tabernacle and altar there; as the following words imply: if you now repent
of your former choice in preferring the worldly commodities of that country
before the advantage of God's presence, and more frequent opportunities of
his service. Among us - We will readily resign part of our possessions to
you for the prevention of this sin and mischief. Against us - For all the
tribes were united in one body politick, and made one commonwealth, and one
church; and each tribe was subject to the laws and commands of the whole
society, and of the chief ruler or rulers thereof; so its disobedience to
their just commands was properly rebellion against them.
20: Of Zerah - That is, one of his posterity. Not alone - But
brought destruction upon his whole family, and part of our forces sent
22: The Lord - That Jehovah, whom we no less than you acknowledge and
adore as the God of gods, infinitely superior to all that are called
gods. The multiplying of his titles, and the repetition of these words,
shew their zeal and earnestness in this matter. He knoweth - To him we
appeal who knoweth all things, and the truth of what we are now saying. Not
only our present words, but our future and constant course shall satisfy all
Israel of our perseverance in the true religion. In rebellion - If
this have been done by us with such design, or in such a manner.
Save us not - Thou, O Lord, to whom we have appealed, and without whom we
cannot be saved and preserved, save us not from any of our enemies, nor from
the sword of our brethren. It is a sudden apostrophe to God, usual in such
23: Require it - That is, call us to an account and punish us for it.
24: With the Lord - You have no relation to him, nor interest in him,
or his worship.
25: A border - To shut you out of the land of promise, and
consequently from the covenant made between God and our fathers.
No part - Nothing to do with him; no right to serve him or expect favour
from him. Cease from fearing the Lord - For they that are cut off from
public ordinances, usually by degrees lose all religion. It is true, the
form and profession of godliness, may be kept without the life and power of
it. But the life and power will not long be kept, without the form and
profession of it.
27: Before him - That we and ours may have and hold our privilege of
serving and worshiping God, not upon this altar, but in the place of God's
presence, in your tabernacle, and upon your altar.
28: The pattern - An exact representation and resemblance.
A witness - That we both serve one God, and approve and make use of one
and the same altar.
30: Pleased them - They were fully satisfied with this answer.
31: Is among us - By his gracious presence, and preventing goodness,
in keeping you from so great an offence, and all of us from those calamities
that would have followed it. Hand of the Lord - That is, from the wroth
and dreadful judgments of God, by avoiding that sin which would have
involved both you and us in a most bloody war; you have delivered us from
the evils we feared. He that prevents an approaching disease or mischief,
doth as truly deliver a man from it, as he that cures or removes it after
it hath been inflicted.
33: Destroy the land - As they were by the law of God obliged to do,
if they had been guilty and persisted therein; as afterwards they did the
tribe of Benjamin for the same reason.
34: The altar Ed - That is, a witness: a witness of the relation they
stood in to God and Israel, and of their concurrence with the other
tribes in the common faith, that Jehovah he is God. It was a witness to
posterity, of their care to transmit their religion pure and entire; and
would be a witness against them, if ever they should turn from following
the Lord their God.