So the Lord sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the appointed time, and from Dan to Beer-sheba 70,000 men died.
He cleared a path for His anger.
He did not spare them from death
but delivered their lives to the plague.
I sent plagues like those of Egypt;
I killed your young men with the sword,
along with your captured horses.
I caused the stench of your camp
to fill your nostrils,
yet you did not return to Me.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
That’s what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land.
I was 40 years old when Moses the Lord’s servant sent me from Kadesh-barnea to scout the land, and I brought back an honest report.
“Then all of you approached me and said, ‘Let’s send men ahead of us, so that they may explore the land for us and bring us back a report about the route we should go up and the cities we will come to.’
They took some of the fruit from the land in their hands, carried it down to us, and brought us back a report: ‘The land the Lord our God is giving us is good.’
Then the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, decided to select men from among them and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men among the brothers. They wrote this letter to be delivered by them: From the apostles and the elders, your brothers, To the brothers from among the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings. Because we have heard that some to whom we gave no authorization went out from us and troubled you with their words and unsettled your hearts, read more.
we have unanimously decided to select men and send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who will personally report the same things by word of mouth. For it was the Holy Spirit's decision-and ours-to put no greater burden on you than these necessary things: that you abstain from food offered to idols, from blood, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these things, you will do well. Farewell. Then, being sent off, they went down to Antioch, and after gathering the assembly, they delivered the letter. When they read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. Both Judas and Silas, who were also prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers and strengthened them with a long message.
The Israelites sent Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead. [They sent] 10 leaders with him-one family leader for each tribe of Israel. All of them were heads of their families among the clans of Israel. They went to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and told them, read more.
"This is what the Lord's entire community says: 'What is this treachery you have committed today against the God of Israel by turning away from the Lord and building an altar for yourselves, so that you are in rebellion against the Lord today? Wasn't the sin of Peor, which brought a plague on the Lord's community, enough for us, so that we have not cleansed ourselves from it even to this day, and now, you would turn away from the Lord? If you rebel against the Lord today, tomorrow He will be angry with the entire community of Israel. But if the land you possess is defiled, cross over to the land the Lord possesses where the Lord's tabernacle stands, and take possession [of it] among us. But don't rebel against the Lord or against us by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God. Wasn't Achan son of Zerah unfaithful regarding what was set apart for destruction, bringing wrath on the entire community of Israel? He was not the only one who perished because of his sin.' " The Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh answered the leaders of the Israelite clans, "The Lord is the God of gods! The Lord is the God of gods! He knows, and may Israel also know. Do not spare us today, if [it was] in rebellion or treachery against the Lord that we have built for ourselves an altar to turn away from Him. May the Lord Himself hold us accountable if [we intended] to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings on it, or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it. We actually did this from a specific concern that in the future your descendants might say to our descendants, 'What relationship do you have with the Lord, the God of Israel? For the Lord has made the Jordan a border between us and you descendants of Reuben and Gad. You have no share in the Lord!' So your descendants may cause our descendants to stop fearing the Lord. "Therefore we said: Let us take action and build an altar for ourselves, but not for burnt offering or sacrifice. Instead, it is to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, so that we may carry out the worship of the Lord in His presence with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and fellowship offerings. Then in the future, your descendants will not be able to say to our descendants, 'You have no share in the Lord!' We thought that if they said this to us or to our generations in the future, we would reply: Look at the replica of the Lord's altar that our fathers made, not for burnt offering or sacrifice, but as a witness between us and you. We would never rebel against the Lord or turn away from Him today by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lord our God, which is in front of His tabernacle." When Phinehas the priest and the community leaders, the heads of Israel's clans who were with him, heard what the descendants of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had to say, they were pleased. Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest said to the descendants of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, "Today we know that the Lord is among us, because you have not committed this treachery against Him. As a result, you have delivered the Israelites from the Lord's power." Then Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest and the leaders returned from the Reubenites and Gadites in the land of Gilead to the Israelites in the land of Canaan and brought back a report to them.