Joshua 22:13-29 - Explanation Of The Altar

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.