Joshua 22:10-34 - Civil War Is Averted

10 And when they came unto the borders of the Jordan, which is in the land of Canaan, the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built an altar there next to the Jordan, a great altar to look upon.

11 And the sons of Israel heard it said, Behold, the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of the Jordan, at the passage of the sons of Israel. 12 And when the sons of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the sons of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them.

13 And the sons of Israel sent unto the sons of Reuben and to the sons of Gad and to the half tribe of Manasseh into the land of Gilead, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the priest, 14 and with him ten princes, of each chief house a prince throughout all the tribes of Israel; and each one was the head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel. 15 And they came unto the sons of Reuben and to the sons of Gad and to the half tribe of Manasseh unto the land of Gilead, and they spoke with them, saying, 16 Thus saith the whole congregation of the LORD, What trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the LORD in that ye have built an altar, that ye might rebel this day against the LORD? 17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, for which there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD? 18 And ye turn away this day from following the LORD; and it will be, seeing ye rebel today against the LORD, that tomorrow he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 If the land of your possession seems unto you to be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of the LORD, in which the LORD's tabernacle dwells and take possession among us; but do not rebel against the LORD, nor rebel against us, in building yourselves an altar in addition to the altar of the LORD our God. 20 Peradventure did Achan, the son of Zerah, not commit a trespass in the anathema, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? And that man did not perish alone in his iniquity.

21 Then the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh answered and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel, 22 The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knows and let Israel also know; if it is in rebellion, or if in transgression against the LORD (save us not this day) 23 that we have built us an altar to turn from following the LORD or if to offer thereon burnt offering or present or if to offer peace offerings thereon, let the LORD himself require it; 24 likewise, if we have not rather done it for fear of this thing, saying, Peradventure tomorrow your children shall speak unto our children, saying, What have ye to do with the LORD God of Israel? 25 The LORD has put the Jordan for a border between us and you, O sons of Reuben and sons of Gad; ye have no part in the LORD, so shall your sons make our sons cease from fearing the LORD.

26 Therefore we said, Let us now work to build us an altar, not for burnt offering nor for sacrifice, 27 but that it may be a witness between us and you and our generations after us, to do the service of the LORD before him with our burnt offerings and with our sacrifices and with our peace offerings that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the LORD. 28 Therefore we said, that it shall be, if they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may reply, Behold the pattern of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings nor for sacrifices, but it is a witness between us and you. 29 Let it never happen that we should rebel against the LORD or that we should turn today from following the LORD, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for presents, or for sacrifices, in addition to the altar of the LORD our God that is before his tabernacle.

30 And when Phinehas the priest and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the sons of Manasseh spoke, it pleased them. 31 And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the priest, said unto the sons of Reuben and to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Manasseh, This day we perceive that the LORD is among us because ye have not intended to trespass against the LORD. Now ye have delivered the sons of Israel from the wrath of the LORD.

32 And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned from the sons of Reuben and from the sons of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, unto the land of Canaan, to the sons of Israel and brought them word again. 33 And the thing pleased the sons of Israel; and the sons of Israel blessed God and did not speak again of going up against them in battle to destroy the land in which the sons of Reuben and Gad dwelt. 34 And the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad called the altar Ed; for it is a witness between us that the LORD is God.