Bible Commentaries

Joshua 22

Verses 1-34

We now begin the third and last division of the Book, which tells the story of the final things circling around Joshua's farewell and passing. The first incident recorded is the return of the two and a half tribes to their possessions on the west of the Jordan. As they departed, Joshua addressed them, first commending them for fulfilling the covenant they had made with Moses in helping their brethren. He then charged them concerning the future, that they should be obedient to the commandments of the Law. How they might fulfil this charge he explained in brief and suggestive words, the principal thoughts of which were that they were to love, to walk, to keep, to cleave, to serve.

After their return, they built an altar east of the Jordan. To the erection of this the nine and a half tribes objected, not because they had any fear of their brethren possessing within the actual borders of the land so recently divided, but because the act of erecting an altar seemed to indicate the setting up of a new center of worship. In their protest they invited their brethren to come into the land and possess it if the land allotted to them was unclean and urged them not to commit the sin of departure from God. The reply made was that so far from desiring to set up any new worship, their altar was erected as a sign to their children and to all others that their worship was identical with that of their brethren, who had passed over to the eastern side of the river.