[Yehoshua 22 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]
1 Then Joshua [Yehoshua] called the Reubenites [Reuveni], and the Gadites [Gadi], and the half tribe of Manasseh [Menasheh],
2 And said unto them, Ye have kept all [been shomer] that Moses [Moshe] the servant [Eved]of Yahweh commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you:
3 Ye have not left your brethren [deserted your achim] these many days unto this day [yamim rabbim to yom hazeh], but have kept the charge [been shomer] of the commandment [mishmeret mitzvat] of Yahweh your Elohim.
Joshua called ("summoned" - J.B.) the leaders of these tribes into his presence. This was the occasion for which these men had patiently waited for more than seven years. The national leader addressed them with words of warm commendation.
... These unstinting words of approbation indicate not only that the men of these three tribes had exercised obedience to the commands of God, they had also manifested a wonderful spirit of true fellowship towards their brethren of the other tribes. During a long and arduous period, they had supported their brethren and had encouraged them by their own example of dedication to the cause. For those who labour in the service of God, self-denial will inevitably
bring its own reward. Christ made a special comment concerning the question of reward for those who sacrifice themselves for the benefit of their brethren:
"He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. . . And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in
the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. . ." (Mat. 10:40, 42).
These men who now stood before Joshua, awaiting confirmation of their promised reward, had conducted themselves in a similar spirit to that for which Paul commended the Philippians:
"Let the lives you live be worthy of the gospel of the Christ, in order that, whether I come and see you or, being absent, only hear of you, I may know that you are standing fast, in one spirit and with one mind, fighting shoulder to shoulder for the faith of the gospel. Never for a moment quail before your antagonists. . ." (1:27-28, Wey.)
Soldiering is an arduous and demanding way of life; yet these men had continued to carry out their difficult and dangerous assignments faithfully. They typify the true spiritual Israelites, who will "soldier on" as "warriors" of the faith "patiently unto the end. . ." (2 Tim.2:3-4; Mat. 24:13, Diag.).
The personal note introduced by Joshua reveals a great feeling of oneness and intimacy between Joshua and the men he led during those far-reaching major campaigns. He commended the men who stood before him, and those whom they represented, not only because of their loyal adherence to the terms which Moses had made with them, but also because they had "obeyed" the voice of Joshua himself.
This means that they had wholeheartedly accepted Joshua as Moses' successor,and the authority which was associated with the office of national leader. All too easily they could have fretted to be made free from their obligation, which bound them to a hard and demanding way of life for so many years. But they had not done so. Even after the
conclusion of the major campaigns they waited patiently for Joshua to release them, and to despatch them, with his blessing, to their promised inheritance.
The men of these three tribes had proved themselves outstanding examples in the areas of discipline, faithfulness, self-sacrifice and unreserved dedication to the cause of Yahweh. They had regarded their covenant with absolute integrity; they had shown consistent loyalty to their brethren of the other tribes; and they had honoured God's word by rendering obedience to His servants, Moses and Joshua.*
4 And now Yahweh your elohim hath given rest unto your brethren [manoach unto your achim], as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents [ohalim], and unto the land of your possession [Eretz Achuzzatechem], which Moses [Moshe] the servant [eved] of Yahweh gave you on the other side Jordan [the Yarden].
Before the death of Moses, the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh had favourably viewed the areas on the east of Jordan. Accordingly, they had requested that their tribal inheritances should be assigned them in the regions of their choice. Moses agreed to their proposal,
conditional upon these three tribes agreeing to cross Jordan with the other tribes, to fight with their brethren on the west, in subduing the Canaanites. Having accepted these terms readily, and Yahweh having given their brethren rest in the land, the time had now come for the fighting men of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh to return to their respective inheritances (Num. 32, cp. Josh. 1: 12-15).
...It appears evident that the writer to the Hebrews had this passage in mind (ch. 4). However, there is a most intriguing aspect regarding the way in which the passage is used. In the LXX of Josh. 22:4, the translators have used the word katepause, meaning simply a rest, or
place of rest. However, in Hebrews a different word has been used in several key passages. In Vv. 1,3 (twice), 5, and 8 the writer has used a similar word, but with a subtle difference in meaning. The word used in those verses is katapauoo, which, whilst certainly alluding to the
subject of "rest" implies a final and lasting rest.
However, Joshua was not able to provide such a rest for the people of Israel; for, though a
man of great faith and dedication, he was not the promised Messiah, nor was he the perfect sacrifice to take away the sins of the world. Being aware of his limited mission in this regard, Joshua's final words to the three eastern-bound tribes were words of warning and exhortation.
5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law [But be shomer to do the mitzvah and the torah], which Moses [Moshe] the servant [Eved] of Yahweh charged you, to love Yahweh your Elohim, and to walk in all his ways [darkhei], and to keep his commandments [ be shomer mitzot], and to cleave unto him [to have deveykus (attachment)], and to serve him [in avodas (kodesh)]with all your heart and with all your soul [kol levavchem uvkhol nafshechem].
"But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law. . ." This statement is taken from Deut. 4:9. However, the same word also occurs in Deut. 6:5, where it has been rendered as "might". *
The Hebrew word indicates strength, or force; it may also be associated with exertion, violence or haste. A highly expressive Hebrew word, it therefore has a strong relationship to the total effort and strength of dedication which God's saints must apply in striving to fulfil the will of Yahweh in their daily lives.
Joshua's obvious desire being to strengthen and encourage the men of these tribes as they took their departure from his presence. The key terms should be noted carefully: he counselled them to love Yahweh; walk in His ways; keep His commandments; cleave unto Him; and serve Him. Additional to the references already made to the book of Deuteronomy, Joshua drew upon other Deuteronomic passages (see 10:12; 11:13, 22; 30:6, 16, 20, etc.).
Then, using the same words as occur in Gen. 2:24 in regard to the marriage state, he further exhorted the tribes to "cleave unto" Yahweh. This is an expression which speaks of the development of an intimate relationship between Yahweh and His people. This phrase has
also been strongly implanted in the book of Deuteronomy (see 10:20;11:22; 13:4; 30:20, etc.). It is the desire of Israel's God to be "married" to His people and to thereby become their "husband" (Jer. 3:14; Isa. 54:5).
This they were to do, serving God with "all" their "heart" and with "all" their "soul. . .". Again, the allusion to Deuteronomy is clear (6:5; 10:12; 11:1, 13; 30:6; etc., cp. Mat. 22:37). To the ancient Hebrews, the "heart" represented the mental processes, and therefore the intellect; whilst the "soul" (life) signified the inner being, the true disposition of the individual. Joshua's exhortation reminded the three tribes that a servant of Yahweh had to dedicate himself to his God, totally and absolutely.
"Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. . ." (Ps. 106:3). *
6 So Joshua [Yehoshua] blessed them [gave them a brocha], and sent them away: and they went unto their tents [ohalim].
7 Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses [Menasheh Moshe] had given possession in Bashan: but unto the other half thereof gave Joshua [Yehoshua] among their brethren [achim] on this side Jordan[Yarden] westward. And when Joshua [Yehoshua] sent them away also unto their tents [ohalim], then he blessed them [gave them a brocha],
"So Joshua blessed them. . .". A simple expression which conveys a great deal. Under such circumstances it signifies a warm sense of fellowship and mutual love. In like manner the Greater Joshua will "bless" those whom he will send into their eternal inheritance.
Many will be sent to distant places, far and wide, to administer the Kingdom throughout the earth (Ps. 72:11). *
8 And he spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches [nekasim rabbin (many possessions)] unto your tents [ohalim], and with very much cattle [mikneh rav me'od], with silver [kesef], and with gold [zahav], and with brass [nechoshet], and with iron [barzel], and with very much raiment [selamot (clothes)]: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren [achim].
In sending them away "unto their tents" (that is, to the places where they had left their women and children and brethren, on the other side of Jordan), Joshua saw that they received their fair share of the bounty. They divided "the spoil" of their "enemies". This is a type of the inheritance to be distributed among the immortalised saints. Spoils are divided after victorious warfare.
"Therefore will I divide him (Christ) a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death. . ." (Isa. 53:12).
The three tribes formally departed from Shiloh...*
11 And the children of Israel heard say, Behold, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan, at the passage of the children of Israel.
12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them.
Reaction From Western Tribes
Word of that which had been done was quickly spread among the remaining tribes on the west of Jordan. The western tribes were furious. They were so angered at this apparent blatant wrong-doing on the part of the three eastern tribes that they were prepared to go to war over the matter.
They assembled their men at Shiloh, ready for action. All were quite united in their opposition to what had been done. Similarly, the Ecclesia of God, in every age, must share a common desire to see the Truth of God's word upheld without fear or favour, and without compromise. This necessitates not only sound knowledge and wisdom, but also the ability to see the issues clearly, and to make decisions accordingly.
It was to be expected that they would gather together at Shiloh. It had become the chief spiritual city of the Israelites, and therefore a rallying point for the nation, based upon mutual reverence for Yahweh and His Tabernacle.
As the western tribes saw it, their brethren who were to live on the east of Jordan were guilty of a three-fold crime: Firstly, (they assumed) that in killing animals, the beasts would be taken to a strange altar rather than the Tabernacle at Shiloh; secondly, in the offering of
sacrifices, the brethren on the east would be using for sacred purposes a site not either chosen or blessed by Yahweh; thirdly, the eastern brethren would have effectually set up a rival place of worship, thus bringing disunity to the nation, and sowing the seeds of deep animosity among the tribes (Lev. 17:3-4, 8-9; Deut. 12:20-25).
The Law decreed that the punishment for such large-scale apostasy should be death for those involved, and the destruction of all their property (Deut. 13:12-18). This is why the western tribes were prepared to fight. The western tribes were eager and zealous in this matter. They determined wholeheartedly to uphold the principles of the Truth. And these
were most admirable characteristics.
However, there remained a glaring paradox in regard to the dramatic unfolding of these events, which the western tribes should have considered with grave care. If there
were any of the tribes who had provided ample evidence as to their loyalty, warm fellowship, self-sacrifice and dedication, they were the three tribes who had now departed eastward.
How could they change so quickly? Why would they suddenly turn apostate?
The western tribes were prepared to act hastily, and with consequences which may well have proven irreparably disastrous for the nation. They had not, as yet, investigated the motives of their brethren east of Jordan. They may well have been stunned and bewildered; but the tribes on the west should have realised that unwise, precipitate action can develop into a major, uncontrollable catastrophe. *
*Bro John Ullman - Joshua His life and times