Joshua Chapter 22  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Joshua 22
Jos 22:1(top)
Jos 22:2(top)
Jos 22:3

“these many days to this day.” This does not mean the men of the Transjordan tribes never went home to see their families, but they did what it took to help the other tribes of Israel conquer their territory.

“kept the requirement.” The literal is more like, “kept the keeping,” or “guarded the guarding,” which is idiomatic for keeping the requirement of the commandment of God.

Jos 22:4

“beyond the Jordan.” In this context, Joshua was on the west side of the Jordan River, so “beyond the Jordan” was east of the Jordan.

Jos 22:5

“to do the commandment.” Joshua’s command to the tribes in the Transjordan is specific and complete: do the commands, love Yahweh, walk in His ways, keep His commands, hold fast to Him, and serve Him. Sadly, they, like Israel in the Promised Land on the west side of the Jordan, forgot God.

Jos 22:6

“went to their tents.” The people of the Transjordan (the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh) had flocks and herds, so although some of them lived in houses, many lived in tents.

Jos 22:7

“beyond the Jordan, to the west.” That is, on the west side of the Jordan.

Jos 22:8(top)
Jos 22:9

“out of Shiloh.” The camp of Israel had moved from Gilgal to Shiloh (cp. Josh. 18:1).

“which is in the land of Canaan.” The Bible is not embarrassed to say this was the land of Canaan but now God has driven them out and given the land to Israel.

“to go to the land of Gilead.” The majority of the tribes in the Transjordan would have gone to Gilead, and the tribe of Reuben might have traveled east to Gilead and then south to their own tribal land.

“according to the commandment of Yahweh by Moses.” The Hebrew is very concrete, and is literally, “by the mouth of Yahweh by the hand of Moses.”

Jos 22:10

“that is in the land of Canaan.” The altar built by the Reubenites, Gadites, and the eastern half-tribe of Manasseh may have been on the west side of the Jordan River in the tribal area of west Manasseh. However, the vocabulary of Joshua 22:10-11 has so many meanings that the altar could have been on the east side of the Jordan as well as the west side. It is very difficult given the different meanings the Hebrew words can have to determine where the altar was built, and arguments can be made for both sides.

Jos 22:11

“an altar opposite of the land of Canaan, in the region of the Jordan, across from the children of Israel.” The scholars are divided, and the translation can differ considerably. If the altar was on the west side, the translation would read that the altar “at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel” (Jos. 22:11 ESV).

Jos 22:12

“at Shiloh.” Where the Tent of Meeting was (Josh. 18:1).

Jos 22:13(top)
Jos 22:14

“Phinehas.” The Hebrew reads “him,” referring to Phinehas.

Jos 22:15(top)
Jos 22:16

“the whole congregation.” That is, the whole gathering of Israel. It is a covenant word; this is the covenant community.

Jos 22:17

“Peor.” In Numbers 25:1-9, the Israelites got involved with the worship of Baal at Peor, and participated in the sexual sin and pagan worship of Baal. The result of that was the death of the head-men of Israel and some 24,000 other Israelites (Num. 25:9). Phinehas himself had to spear two flagrant sinners to death (Num. 25:6-8).

“which we have not yet cleansed ourselves from to this day.” This is a very startling and important statement. The sin of Peor occurred in Numbers 25, which was toward the end of Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, so many of the people who experienced the sin at Peor would still be alive, since the event at Peor was likely only a decade or so earlier than Joshua 22. Phinehas was an astute priest, and sensitive to the people and the spirit of God, and he realized that what happened at Peor was still having an effect in Israel. It seems the attraction of the sex involved with the worship of Baal-peor and the promises made by pagan gods still pulled Israel toward paganism, and surely enough, as we see popping up in Joshua and Judges, pagan worship and worship practices did indeed pull Israel away from Yahweh.

Jos 22:18

“he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel.” People do not realize that when a people group, clan, or nation relies on God for help or says they will follow God, that God holds them to that commitment. Satan wants everyone to forget that people are connected together with God in communities and that if people in the community sin, the whole community can suffer the consequences of that sin. Not paying attention to the fact that a whole community can suffer if a segment of that community sins allows Satan to spread an “each person for themselves” mentality, and also a “You should not care what I do by myself” mentality. But that mentality denies the way that God has created the earth and its inhabitants and can lead to immense suffering. Wise leaders know the problems that sin in the community can cause and work to keep it in check.

Jos 22:19(top)
Jos 22:20

“unfaithful, yes, unfaithful.” The Hebrew has the figure of speech polyptoton for emphasis (see commentary on Gen. 2:16).

“die.” The Hebrew verb gava (#01478 גָּוַע) refers to dying and is fundamentally synonymous with the verb “die” muth (#04191 מָוֹת), although it can infer a violent death (see commentary on Gen. 25:8, “breathed his last”).

Jos 22:21(top)
Jos 22:22

“The Mighty One, God, Yahweh; the Mighty One, God, Yahweh.” This could be translated, “Yahweh is God of gods; Yahweh is God of gods.”

Jos 22:23

“burnt offerings or grain offerings.” The Hebrew is singular; a collective singular expressed in English as a plural.

“from following after Yahweh.” People follow Yahweh in the same sense that students follow the Rabbi.

“let Yahweh himself examine it.” The Transjordan tribes had nothing to hide and were willing to prove it. If the altar was in rebellion, Yahweh’s wrath would be upon them.

Jos 22:24

In the future.” The literal Hebrew is an idiom, “tomorrow,” meaning, “in the future.”

“What do you have to do with.” The literal Hebrew is, “What to you and to Yahweh, the God of Israel.”

Jos 22:25

“You have no portion.” That is, no inherited portion of land associated “in” Yahweh. It is almost as if a person had land from Yahweh they had a right to a share of Yahweh.

“So your children might make our children cease fearing Yahweh.” Good parents know the value of fearing God and do what they can to make sure their children love and reverence God.

Jos 22:26(top)
Jos 22:27

“carry out the service of Yahweh.” The Hebrew is more literally, “serve the service” (or even, “work the work”) and it refers to worship. The worship of Yahweh was not with hollow words, but with work. The worship of God, as dictated by the Torah, involved the making of sacrifices and offerings, which was a lot of work.

“in his presence.” The Hebrew is literally, “before him,” but it means “in his presence,” and God is in the Tent of Meeting which at this time in history was at Shiloh. The people of the Transjordan tribes knew they would have to go to the Tent of Meeting to serve him. The NIV adds specificity to the text and says, “at His sanctuary.”

Jos 22:28(top)
Jos 22:29

“Far be it.” A single word in Hebrew that is an idiomatic expression and therefore difficult to bring exactly into English. Some scholars would go with “God forbid.”

“before his tabernacle.” The altar of burnt offering was in front of, to the east of, the Tabernacle.

Jos 22:30(top)
Jos 22:31

“Today we know that Yahweh is in the midst of us because you have not committed this unfaithfulness.” If the Transjordan tribes had committed an act of unfaithfulness against Yahweh, then He would not be in their midst, and the hand of Yahweh would have been against Israel. The leaders of Israel sensed that Yahweh was still present with them.

Jos 22:32(top)
Jos 22:33(top)
Jos 22:34

“A Witness Between Us that Yahweh is God.” A long name for an altar was not uncommon (cp. Exod. 17:15; Judg. 6:24).


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