Joshua 221 In the same time, Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the one half tribe of Manasseh. 2 And he said to them: “You have done all that Moses, the servant of the Lord, instructed you. You have also obeyed me in all things. 3 Neither have you forsaken your brothers during this long time, even to the present day, keeping the orders of the Lord your God. 4 Therefore, since the Lord your God has given your brothers peace and quiet, just as he promised: return, and go into your tents and into the land of your possession, which Moses, the servant of the Lord, delivered to you beyond the Jordan. 5 And may you continue to observe attentively, and to work to fulfill, the commandment and the law that Moses, the servant of the Lord, instructed to you, so that you may love the Lord your God, and walk in all his ways, and keep all his commandments, and cling to him, and serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” 6 And Joshua blessed them, and he sent them away. And they returned to their tents. 7 Now to the one half tribe of Manasseh, Moses had given a possession in Bashan. And therefore, to the one half that was left over, Joshua gave a lot among the remainder of their brothers across the Jordan, in the western region. And when he had blessed them and dismissed them to their tents, 8 he said to them: “Return to your settlements with much substance and wealth, with silver and gold, brass and iron, and a multitude of garments. Divide the spoils of your enemies with your brothers.” 9 And the sons of Reuben, and the sons of Gad, and the one half tribe of Manasseh returned, and they went away from the sons of Israel at Shiloh, which is situated in Canaan, so that they might enter into Gilead, the land of their possession, which they had obtained according to the order of the Lord, by the hand of Moses. 10 And when they had arrived at the hills of the Jordan in the land of Canaan, they built an altar of immense magnitude beside the Jordan. 11 And when the sons of Israel had heard of it, and certain messengers had reported to them that the sons of Reuben, and of Gad, and of the one half tribe of Manasseh had built an altar in the land of Canaan, upon the hills of the Jordan, facing the sons of Israel, 12 they all assembled at Shiloh, so that they might go up and battle against them. 13 And in the interim, they sent to them, in the land of Gilead, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the priest, 14 and ten leaders with him, one from each tribe. 15 And they went to the sons of Reuben, and of Gad, and of the one half tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them: 16 “All the people of the Lord declare this: What is this transgression? Why have you forsaken the Lord, the God of Israel, by building a sacrilegious altar, and by withdrawing from the worship of him? 17 Is it a small thing to you that you have sinned with Baal of Peor, and that the stain of that crime continues among us, even to the present day? And many of the people have fallen. 18 And yet you have forsaken the Lord today, and tomorrow his wrath will rage against all of Israel. 19 But if you consider the land of your possession to be unclean, cross over to the land in which is the tabernacle of the Lord, and live among us. But do not withdraw from the Lord, and from our fellowship, by building an altar contrary to the altar of the Lord our God. 20 Did not Achan, the son of Zerah, go against the commandment of the Lord, and so his wrath was laid over all the people of Israel? And he was only one man. If only he had perished in his wickedness alone!” 21 And the sons of Reuben, and of Gad, and of the one half tribe of Manasseh responded to the leaders of the delegation from Israel: 22 “The Lord, the almighty God, the Lord, the almighty God, he knows, and also Israel will understand: If we have constructed this altar with intent of transgression, let him not preserve us, but instead punish us immediately. 23 And if we have acted with a mind so that we might present upon it holocausts, and sacrifice, and victims of peace offerings, let him inquire and judge. 24 Instead, we have acted with this greater thought and design, that we would say: Tomorrow your sons will say to our sons: ‘What is there between you and the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 The Lord has stationed the river Jordan as the border between us and you, O sons of Reuben, O sons of Gad. And therefore, you have no part in the Lord.’ And by this occasion, your sons would turn away our sons from the fear of the Lord. And so we sought something better, 26 and we said: Let us build us an altar, not for holocausts, and not to offer victims, 27 but as a testimony between us and you, and between our descendents and your progeny, so that we may serve the Lord, and so that it may be our right to offer holocausts, and victims, and peace offerings, and so that tomorrow your sons may not say to our sons: ‘You have no part in the Lord.’ 28 And if they decide to say this, they shall respond to them: ‘Behold, the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for holocausts, and not for sacrifice, but instead as a testimony between us and you.’ 29 May this wickedness be far from us, such that we would withdraw from the Lord, and would forsake his paths, by constructing an altar to offer holocausts, and sacrifices, and victims, contrary to the altar of the Lord our God, which was built before his tabernacle.” 30 And when Phinehas, the priest, and the leaders of the delegation who were with him, had heard this, they were pleased. And they accepted very willingly the words of the sons of Reuben, and of Gad, and of the one half tribe of Manasseh. 31 And Phinehas, the priest, the son of Eleazar, said to them: “Now we know that the Lord is with us. For you are a stranger to this transgression. And so you have freed the sons of Israel from the hand of the Lord.” 32 And he returned with the leaders, from the sons of Reuben and of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, into the parts of Canaan, to the sons of Israel. And he reported to them. 33 And the word pleased all who heard it. And the sons of Israel praised God, and they no longer said that they would go up against them, and fight, and destroy the land of their possession. 34 And the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad called the altar that they had built: Our testimony that the Lord himself is God.
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