1 THEN JOSHUA called the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh,
2 And said to them, You have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you.
3 You have not deserted your brethren [the other tribes] these many days to this day but have carefully kept the charge of the Lord your God.
4 But now the Lord your God has given rest to your brethren, as He promised them; so now go, return to your homes in the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the [east] side of the Jordan.
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 cling to and unite with Him and to serve Him with all your heart and soul [your very life].
6 So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their homes.
7 Now to one-half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, but to the other half Joshua gave a possession on the west side of the Jordan among their brethren. So when Joshua sent them away to their homes, he blessed them,
8 And he said to them, Return with much riches to your tents and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, iron, and very much clothing. Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.
9 So the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home, parting from the [other] Israelites at Shiloh in the land of Canaan to go to the land of Gilead, their own land of which they had been given possession by the command of the Lord through Moses.
10 And when they came to the region of the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar great to behold.
11 And the [other] Israelites heard it said, Behold, the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built an altar at the edge of the land of Canaan in the region [west] of the Jordan in the passage [belonging to us], the Israelites.
12 When the Israelites heard of it, the whole congregation of the sons of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war on them.
13 And the [other] Israelites sent to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest,
14 And with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel; and each one was a head of a father's house among the clans of Israel.
15 And they came to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them,
16 The whole congregation of the Lord says, What trespass is this that you have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the Lord, in that you have built yourselves an altar to rebel this day against the Lord?
17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed even now, although there came a plague [in which 24,000 died] in the congregation of the Lord, [Num. 25:1-9.]
18 That you must turn away this day from following the Lord? The result will be, since you rebel today against the Lord, that tomorrow He will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel.
19 But now, if your land is unclean, pass over into the Lord's land, where the Lord's tabernacle resides, and take for yourselves a possession among us. But do not rebel against the Lord or rebel against us by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God.
20 Did not Achan son of Zerah commit a trespass in the matter of taking accursed things [devoted to destruction] and wrath fall on all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone in his perversity and iniquity. [Josh. 7.]
21 Then the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said to the heads of the clans of Israel,
22 The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows, and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in transgression against the Lord, spare us not today.
23 If we have built us an altar to turn away from following the Lord, or if we did so to offer on it burnt offerings or cereal offerings or peace offerings, may the Lord Himself take vengeance.
24 No! But we did it for fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel?
25 For the Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you Reubenites and Gadites; you have no part in the Lord. So your children might make our children cease from fearing the Lord.
26 So we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering nor for sacrifice,
27 But to be a witness between us and you and between the generations after us, that we will perform the service of the Lord before Him with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings; lest your children say to our children in time to come, You have no portion in the Lord.
28 So we thought, if that should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we can reply, Behold the copy of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings nor for sacrifices, but to be a witness between us and you.
29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord and turn away this day from following the Lord to build an altar for burnt offerings, for cereal offerings, or for sacrifices, besides the altar of the Lord our God that is before His tabernacle.
30 And when Phinehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation and heads of the clans of Israel who were with him heard the words that the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manassites spoke, it pleased them.
31 Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, said to the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manassites, Today we know the Lord is among us, because you have not committed this trespass and treachery against the Lord; now you have saved the Israelites from the Lord's hand.
32 Then Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, and the chiefs returned from the Reubenites and Gadites in the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the [other] Israelites, and brought back word to them.
33 The report pleased the Israelites and they blessed God; and they spoke no more of going to war against them to destroy the land in which the Reubenites and Gadites dwelt.
34 The Reubenites and Gadites called the altar Ed [witness], saying, It shall be: A Witness Between Us that the Lord is God.