Joshua 22

1Then Joshua called a meeting of all the people from the family groups of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. 2Joshua said to them, “Moses was the Lord’s servant. You obeyed all things that Moses told you to do. And also, you obeyed all of my commands. 3And all this time you have supported all the other people of Israel. You carefully obeyed all the commands that the Lord your God gave you. 4The Lord your God promised to give the people of Israel peace. And now, the Lord has kept his promise. So now you can go home. The Lord’s servant Moses gave you the land on the east side of the Jordan River. Now you can go home to that land. 5But remember—continue to obey the law that Moses gave you. You must love the Lord your God and obey his commands. You must continue to follow him and serve him the very best that you can.” 6Then Joshua said goodbye to them and they left. They went home. 7Moses had given the land of Bashan to half of the Manasseh family group. Joshua gave land on the west side of the Jordan River to the other half of the Manasseh family group. Joshua blessed them and sent them home. 8He said, “You have become very rich. You have many animals. You have gold and silver and expensive jewelry. You have many beautiful clothes. You have taken many things from your enemies. Go home and divide these things among yourselves.” 9So the people from the family groups of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh left the other people of Israel. They were at Shiloh in Canaan. They left that place and went back to Gilead. They went home to their own land—the land that Moses gave them. The Lord had commanded Moses to give them this land. 10The people of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh went to the place called Geliloth. This was near the Jordan River in the land of Canaan. At that place the people built a beautiful altar. 11But the other people of Israel that were still at Shiloh heard about the altar that these three family groups built. They heard that the altar was at the border of Canaan at the place called Geliloth. It was near the Jordan River on Israel’s side. 12All the people of Israel became very angry at these three family groups. They met together and decided to fight against them. 13So the people of Israel sent some men to talk to the people of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. The leader of these men was Phinehas, son of Eleazar the priest. 14They also sent ten of the leaders of the family groups there. There was one man from each family group of Israel that was at Shiloh. 15So these eleven men went to Gilead. They went to talk to the people of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. The eleven men said to them, 16“All the people of Israel ask you: Why did you do this thing against the God of Israel? Why did you turn against the Lord? Why did you build an altar for yourselves? You know that this is against God’s teachings! 17Remember what happened at Peor? We are still suffering because of that sin. Because of that great sin, God caused many of the people of Israel to become very sick. And we are still suffering because of that sickness today. 18And now you are doing the same thing! You are turning against the Lord! Will you refuse to follow the Lord? If you don’t stop what you are doing, the Lord will be angry with every person in Israel. 19“If your land is not a good enough place to worship, then come over into our land. The Lord’s Tent is in our land. You can have some of our land and live there. But don’t turn against the Lord. Don’t build another altar. We already have the altar of the Lord our God at the Meeting Tent. 20“Remember the man named Achan son of Zerah. He refused to obey the command about things that must be destroyed. That one man broke God’s law, but all the people of Israel were punished. Achan died because of his sin. But also many other people died.” 21The people from the family groups of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh answered the eleven men. They said, 22“The Lord is our God! Again we say that the Lord is our God! And God knows why we did this thing. We want you to know also. You can judge what we did. If you believe that we have done something wrong, then you can kill us. 23If we broke God’s law, then we ask the Lord himself to punish us. 24Do you think we built this altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings and fellowship offerings? No! We did not build it for that reason. Why did we build this altar? We were afraid that in the future your people would not accept us as part of your nation. Then your people would say that we can’t worship the Lord God of Israel. 25God gave us land on the other side of the Jordan River. This means that the Jordan River separates us. We were afraid that when your children grew up and ruled your land, they would not remember that we were also your people. They would say to us, 'You people of Reuben and Gad aren’t part of Israel!’ Then your children would make our children stop worshiping the Lord. 26“So we decided to build this altar. But we did not plan to use it for burning offerings and sacrifices. 27The real reason we wanted our altar was to show our people that we worship the same God as you. This altar will be the proof to you and to us and to all our future children that we worship the Lord. We give our sacrifices, grain offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. We wanted your children to grow up and know that we are also people of Israel like yourselves. 28In the future, if it happens that your children say that we do not belong to Israel, then our children can say, 'Look! Our fathers who lived before us made an altar. That altar is exactly like the Lord’s altar ˻at the Holy Tent˼. We do not use this altar for sacrifices—this altar is proof that we are part of Israel.’ 29“Truly, we do not want to be against the Lord. We don’t want to stop following him now. We know that the only true altar is the one that is in front of the Holy Tent. That altar belongs to the Lord our God.” 30Phinehas the priest and the leaders with him heard these things the people from Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh said. They were satisfied that these people were telling the truth. 31So Phinehas the priest said, “Now we know that the Lord is with us. And we know that you did not turn against him. We are happy that the people of Israel will not be punished by the Lord.” 32Then Phinehas and the leaders left that place and went home. They left the people of Reuben and Gad in the land of Gilead and went back to Canaan. They went back to the people of Israel and told them what happened. 33The people of Israel were also satisfied. They were happy and thanked God. They decided not to go and fight against the people of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. They decided not to destroy the land where those people live. 34The people of Reuben, and Gad gave the altar a name. They called it, “Proof That We Believe the Lord is God."

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