INTERNET BIBLE STUDIES

Joshua – Lesson 19 - Joshua Chapter 22

 

Distributed by: Internet Bible Studies

Contact: David Parham 940-322-4343

Website: http://fp.cyberstation.net/internetbible/index.htm

E-mail: davidparham@cyberstation.net

Introduction:

Last week we saw the Levites receiving a portion of the inheritance in the land of Canaan. They were not promised any portion, but they petitioned the leaders and did receive 48 cities as gifts from the various other tribes. We completed the study by reviewing the work assigned to Levi’s sons, Kohath, Gershon, and Merari. This week we begin Chapter 22 where Joshua sends the tribe of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh to their possession on the east of Jordan

I. Reuben, Gad and Manasseh go to their Inheritance

Josh 22:1 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh,

Josh 22:2 And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you:

Josh 22:3 Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God.

Josh 22:4 And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.

Josh 22:5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Josh 22:6 So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.

Josh 22:7 Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given possession in Bashan: but unto the other half thereof gave Joshua among their brethren on this side Jordan westward. And when Joshua sent them away also unto their tents, then he blessed them,

Josh 22:8 And he spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and with very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.

Josh 22:9 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go unto the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, whereof they were possessed, according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

Joshua releases Reuben, Gad and Manessah from their obligation to the other tribes. For seven and a half years, these two and one half tribes had served under Joshua. They had made no attempt to rejoin their families and cattle on the east side of Jordan. Not only had they not went back, but they had not even asked to be released from their obligation. They had patiently endured and waited for Joshua to give them their leave. That is the way God wants you and I to be involved in the army of God. Know who our leader is, and be dedicated no matter what the battle we may face. Paul told young Timothy to stay true to God and not be involved with the affairs of this life.

2 Tim 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Tim 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

2 Tim 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

2 Tim 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

2 Tim 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

These men had left their families to serve with Joshua to fight until the enemies of Israel were driven out from before them.

Num 32:20 And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the LORD to war,

Num 32:21 And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the LORD, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him,

Num 32:22 And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD.

We see in verse 4 of our text that Joshua gave God the credit for driving the enemies out. When we see things accurately, we will acknowledge that Jesus is the one fighting and winning our battles in life.

We see that while Joshua released the tribes from present military duty, he imposed upon them other obligations of both spiritual and material character. Re-read verses 4 and 5.

Joshua reminds them to be mindful of the Lord and their brethren. They were to do 5 things:

  1. Love the Lord
  2. Walk in His ways
  3. Observe His commandments
  4. Cleave to Him
  5. Serve Him.

Those may have been the commandments to the three tribes, but they are still valid for you and I today. When we do the right things and serve God with a whole heart, God is

honored and glorified. And more than that, our lives will be fruitful, happy, and successful.

We see in the next verses that they were to divide the spoils of the enemies with their brethren. This was a normal custom in the land to divide up the spoils with those who had remained at home to guard their belongings.

Num 31:26 Take the sum of the prey that was taken, both of man and of beast, thou, and Eleazar the priest, and the chief fathers of the congregation:

Num 31:27 And divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation:

1 Sam 30:24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.

One thing we can know for sure. The two and a half tribes returned home with the blessings of Joshua upon them. And because they had done the will of the Lord, they were blessed by God also.

II. The Tribes build an Altar

Josh 22:11 And the children of Israel heard say, Behold, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan, at the passage of the children of Israel.

Josh 22:12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them.

It is possible that the two and a half tribes felt that as a memorial witnessed the entering into Canaan, so a memorial should also witness to their children why they recrossed the Jordan. This would point to why they had their inheritance on the east side of Jordan. For whatever the purpose the altar was built, there was a great difference between the stones Joshua placed on the west side of Jordan when they crossed the river the first time.

The monument of stones Joshua erected was in obedience to the Word of God. The altar that Reuben, Gad, and the one half tribes of Manessah erected was because of human reasoning and planning. When what we do is done to bless the people of the Lord and for the generations that follow after us, and it does not conflict with God’s Word, it is good for us to do it. We can not be sure, but the memorial possibly might have been a trap for future generations instead of a witness. It was a large altar so as to attract attention. When the other tribes heard of this altar, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them.

III. Israel Looks into the Matter

Josh 22:13 And the children of Israel sent unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest,

Josh 22:14 And with him ten princes, of each chief house a prince throughout all the tribes of Israel; and each one was an head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel.

Josh 22:15 And they came unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and they spake with them, saying,

Their investigation was conducted according to the will of the Lord.

Deu 13:12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, Deu 13:13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; Deu 13:14 Then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you; Deu 13:15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. Deu 13:16 And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again. Deu 13:17 And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and show thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers; Deu 13:18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.

The procedure they were to follow required both caution and patience. They were to inquire, to search diligently. They were to seek for proof.. They sent Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the priest, with the princes of Israel. It is possible that they sent Phinehas because of his stand that he took for God while they were in the wilderness.

Num 25:11 Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.

Num 25:12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:

When our lives count for God, we become great men and women in God’s sight, and normally the world takes notice. But if we only please one, that one should be God.

Prov 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

Prov 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

The people knew that without doubt Phinehas would maintain the honor of Jehovah’s name, and that he would defend the testimony of the nation. God wants us to put men of faith and responsibility in places of authority in the church. Those that are not serving the Lord are not to be used to teach or usurp authority.

2 Tim 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Tim 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

2 Tim 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

We read those verses earlier concerning being a good warrior, but they are true it the regard of service in God’s house also. God wants faithful men and women, boys and girls that love Him to make up the hedge against Satan.

IV. What the Nation Thought

Josh 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?

Josh 22:17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD,

Josh 22:18 But that ye must turn away this day from following the LORD? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the LORD, that to morrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel.

Josh 22:19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of the LORD, wherein the LORD'S tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not against the LORD, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the LORD our God.

Josh 22:20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity.

We see that Phinehas and his company state their suspicions concerning possible use of the altar for idolatry and rebellion towards God. They feared that perhaps this altar was built to worship Baal. He reminds the tribes of Peor, and the results that came from that idol worship.

Num 25:18 For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor's sake.

Num 31:16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.

Phinehas also reminds them of Achan and the results of sin in his life.

Josh 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.

Josh 7:2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai.

Josh 7:3 And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.

Josh 7:4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.

Josh 7:5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.

Josh 7:6 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.

Josh 7:7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!

Josh 7:8 O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!

Josh 7:9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?

Josh 7:10 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?

Josh 7:11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.

We know that when Achan was found out, both he and his family were stoned to death. If God punished Israel for those two sins, He would surely punish these 2 tribes who built an altar to offer sacrifices on. This was departing from the service of the Tabernacle at Shiloh. As I mentioned earlier, it is good to do things for God as long as it does not conflict with the Bible. But we know if the altar was built to worship an idol, this was in direct violation of the first commandment to have no other God’s before us.

V. The Reason for Building the Altar

Josh 22:21 Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh answered, and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel,

Josh 22:22 The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the LORD, (save us not this day,)

Josh 22:23 That we have built us an altar to turn from following the LORD, or if to offer thereon burnt offering or meat offering, or if to offer peace offerings thereon, let the LORD himself require it;

Josh 22:24 And if we have not rather done it for fear of this thing, saying, In time to come your children might speak unto our children, saying, What have ye to do with the LORD God of Israel? Josh 22:25 For the LORD hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the LORD: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the LORD.

Josh 22:26 Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice: Josh 22:27 But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the LORD before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the LORD.

Josh 22:28 Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between us and you. Josh 22:29 God forbid that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn this day from following the LORD, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the LORD our God that is before his tabernacle.

The people state that in times to come the children on the west side of Jordan might say to the children of the 2 tribes, "What have ye to do with the Lord God of Israel?" Perhaps that some in Israel had manifested an attitude that caused them to feel this way. You and I must be careful how we act to those that visit in the church. If we do not welcome those that visit, why would they want to return to a place where they are not welcome. We are to treat all men and women with respect equally.

James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. James 2:2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

James 2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: James 2:4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? James 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

We see that the tribes fear was not over their own children but that of others. These were the very ones to transgress.

1 Chr 5:18 The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war. 1 Chr 5:19 And they made war with the Hagarites, with Jetur, and Nephish, and Nodab. 1 Chr 5:20 And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was entreated of them; because they put their trust in him. 1 Chr 5:21 And they took away their cattle; of their camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand, and of men an hundred thousand. 1 Chr 5:22 For there fell down many slain, because the war was of God. And they dwelt in their steads until the captivity. 1 Chr 5:23 And the children of the half tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land: they increased from Bashan unto Baalhermon and Senir, and unto mount Hermon.

1 Chr 5:24 And these were the heads of the house of their fathers, even Epher, and Ishi, and Eliel, and Azriel, and Jeremiah, and Hodaviah, and Jahdiel, mighty men of valour, famous men, and heads of the house of their fathers. 1 Chr 5:25 And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them. 1 Chr 5:26 And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.

VI. The Company is pleased

Josh 22:30 And when Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel which were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the children of Manasseh spake, it pleased them.

Josh 22:31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, This day we perceive that the LORD is among us, because ye have not committed this trespass against the LORD: now ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the LORD.

Josh 22:32 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, unto the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them word again.

Josh 22:33 And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt.

Josh 22:34 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the LORD is God.

We find that the reason the 2 tribes gave for building the altar pleased Phinehas and his company. They were not pleased in that they had built an altar, but in the fact that they had not trespassed against the Lord. This report pleased the nation and the altar was called Ed. We rejoice when God’s people do the right things and do not sin. God wants obedience, not sacrifice.

Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge. The lessons may not be sold without consent. If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.

e-mail at: davidparham@cyberstation.net

Home Page