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Joshua 22:10 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And when they came unto the region about the Jordan, that is in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, a great altar to look upon.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And when they came unto the borders of Jordan, that [are] in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see to.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— When they came to the region 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 by the Jordan, a large altar in appearance.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And when they came to the borders of Jordan, that [are] in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by Jordan, a great altar to the sight.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And they came to the districts of the Jordan that are in the land of Canaan; and the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of grand appearance.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And, when they came into the circles of the Jordan, which were in the land of Canaan,—then did the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh build there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of large dimensions,
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— and they come in unto the districts of the Jordan, which [are] in the land of Canaan, and the sons of Reuben, and the sons of Gad, and the half of the tribe of Manasseh, build there an altar by the Jordan—a great altar for appearance.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And when they were come to banks of the Jordan, in the land of Chanaan, they built an altar immensely great near the Jordan.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And when they came vnto the borders of Iordan, that [are] in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and the halfe tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by Iordan, a great altar to see to.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And they came to Gilead{gr.Galaad} of Jordan, which is in the land of Canaan{gr.Chanaan}: and the children of Reuben{gr.Ruben}, and the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh{gr.Manasse} built there an alter by Jordan, a great altar to look at.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And when they came unto the borders of Yarden, that [are] in the land of Kenaan, the children of Reuven and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Menashsheh built there an altar by Yarden, a great altar to see to.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And when they came 935
{0935} Prime
בּוֹא
bow'
{bo}
A primitive root; to go or come (in a wide variety of applications).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
unto x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
the borders 1552
{1552} Prime
גְּלִילָה
g@liylah
{ghel-ee-law'}
Feminine of H1550; a circuit or region.
of Yardn יַרדֵּן, 3383
{3383} Prime
יַרְדֵּן
Yarden
{yar-dane'}
From H3381; a descender; Jarden, the principal river of Palestine.
that x834
(0834) Complement
אֲשֶׁר
'asher
{ash-er'}
A primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as adverb and conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc.
[are] in the land 776
{0776} Prime
אֶרֶץ
'erets
{eh'-rets}
From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land).
of Cn`an כְּנָעַן, 3667
{3667} Prime
כְּנַעַן
K@na`an
{ken-ah'-an}
From H3665; humiliated; Kenaan, a son of Ham; also the country inhabited by him.
the children 1121
{1121} Prime
בֵּן
ben
{bane}
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of Rvn רְאוּבֵן 7205
{7205} Prime
רְאוּבֵן
R@'uwben
{reh-oo-bane'}
From the imperative of H7200 and H1121; see ye a son; Reuben, a son of Jacob.
and the children 1121
{1121} Prime
בֵּן
ben
{bane}
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of G גָּד 1410
{1410} Prime
גָּד
Gad
{gawd}
From H1464; Gad, a son of Jacob, including his tribe and its territory; also a prophet.
and the half 2677
{2677} Prime
חֲצִי
chetsiy
{khay-tsee'}
From H2673; the half or middle.
tribe 7626
{7626} Prime
שֵׁבֶט
shebet
{shay'-bet}
From an unused root probably meaning to branch off; a scion, that is, (literally) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (figuratively) a clan.
of Mna מְנַשֶּׁה 4519
{4519} Prime
מְנַשֶּׁה
M@nashsheh
{men-ash-sheh'}
From H5382; causing to forget; Menashsheh, a grandson of jacob, also the tribe descendant from him, and its territory.
built 1129
{1129} Prime
בָּנָה
banah
{baw-naw'}
A primitive root; to build (literally and figuratively).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
there x8033
(8033) Complement
שָׁם
sham
{shawm}
A primitive particle (rather from the relative H0834); there (transfered to time) then; often thither, or thence.
an altar 4196
{4196} Prime
מִזְבֵּחַ
mizbeach
{miz-bay'-akh}
From H2076; an altar.
by x5921
(5921) Complement
עַל
`al
{al}
Properly the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above, over, upon, or against (yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
Yardn יַרדֵּן, 3383
{3383} Prime
יַרְדֵּן
Yarden
{yar-dane'}
From H3381; a descender; Jarden, the principal river of Palestine.
a great 1419
{1419} Prime
גָּדוֹל
gadowl
{gaw-dole'}
From H1431; great (in any sense); hence older; also insolent.
altar 4196
{4196} Prime
מִזְבֵּחַ
mizbeach
{miz-bay'-akh}
From H2076; an altar.
to see x4758
(4758) Complement
מַרְאֶה
mar'eh
{mar-eh'}
From H7200; a view (the act of seeing); also an appearance (the thing seen), whether (real) a shape (especially if handsome, comeliness; often plural the looks), or (mental) a vision.
to. y4758
[4758] Standard
מַרְאֶה
mar'eh
{mar-eh'}
From H7200; a view (the act of seeing); also an appearance (the thing seen), whether (real) a shape (especially if handsome, comeliness; often plural the looks), or (mental) a vision.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Joshua 22:10

_ _ Joshua 22:10. They build the Altar of Testimony on their journey.

_ _ when they came unto the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben ... built there an altar by Jordan — This altar was probably an immense pile of stones and earth. The generality of our translators supposes that it was reared on the banks of the Jordan, within the limits of Canaan proper. But a little closer examination seems to make the conclusion irresistible that its position was on the eastern side of the river, for these two reasons; first, because it is said (Joshua 22:11) to have been built “over against,” or in the sight of the land of Canaan — not within it; and secondly, because the declared motive of the trans-jordanic Israelites in erecting it was to prevent their brethren in Canaan ever saying, “in time to come, What have ye to do with the Lord God of Israel? For the Lord hath made Jordan a border between us and you,” etc. [Joshua 22:24, Joshua 22:25]. Such a taunt would be obviously prevented or confuted by the two tribes and a half having on the eastern side of Jordan, within their own land, a facsimile of the altar at Shiloh, as a witness that they acknowledged the same God and practiced the same rites of worship as the brethren in Canaan.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Joshua 22:10-20

_ _ Here is, I. The pious care of the separated tribes to keep their hold of Canaan's religion, even when they were leaving Canaan's land, that they might not be as the sons of the stranger, utterly separated from God's people, Isaiah 56:3. In order to this, they built a great altar on the borders of Jordan, to be a witness for them that they were Israelites, and as such partakers of the altar of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 10:18. When they came to Jordan (Joshua 22:10) they did not consult how to preserve the remembrance of their own exploits in the wars of Canaan, and the services they had done their brethren, by erecting a monument to the immortal honour of the two tribes and a half; but their relation to the church of God, together with their interest in the communion of saints, is that which they are solicitous to preserve and perpetuate the proofs and evidences of; and therefore without delay, when the thing was first proposed by some among them, who, though glad to think that they were going towards home, were sorry to think that they were going from the altar of God, immediately they erected this altar, which served as a bridge to keep up their fellowship with the other tribes in the things of God. Some think they built this altar on the Canaan-side of Jordan, in the lot of Benjamin, that, looking over the river, they might see the figure of the altar at Shiloh, when they could not conveniently go to it; but it is more likely that they built it on their own side of the water, for what had they to do to build on another man's land without his consent? And it is said to be over-against the land of Canaan; nor would there have been any cause of suspecting it designed for sacrifice if they had not built it among themselves. This altar was very innocently and honestly designed, but it would have been well if, since it had in it an appearance of evil, and might be an occasion of offence to their brethren, they had consulted the oracle of God about it before they did it, or at least acquainted their brethren with their purpose, and given them the same explication of their altar before, to prevent their jealousy, which they did afterwards, to remove it. Their zeal was commendable, but it ought to have been guided with discretion. There was no need to hasten the building of an altar for the purpose for which they intended this, but they might have taken time to consider and take advice; yet, when their sincerity was made to appear, we do not find that they were blamed for their rashness. God does, and men should, overlook the weakness of an honest zeal.

_ _ II. The holy jealousy of the other tribes for the honour of God and his altar at Shiloh. Notice was immediately brought to the princes of Israel of the setting up of this altar, Joshua 22:11. And they, knowing how strict and severe that law was which required them to offer all their sacrifices in the place which God should choose, and not elsewhere (Deuteronomy 12:5-7), were soon apprehensive that the setting up of another altar was an affront to the choice which God had lately made of a place to put his name in, and had a direct tendency to the worship of some other God. Now,

_ _ 1. Their suspicion was very excusable, for it must be confessed the thing, prima facieat first sight, looked ill, and seemed to imply a design to set up and maintain a competitor with the altar at Shiloh. It was no strained innuendo from the building of an altar to infer an intention to offer sacrifice upon it, and that might introduce idolatry and end in a total apostasy from the faith and worship of the God of Israel. So great a matter might this fire kindle. God is jealous for his own institutions, and therefore we should be so too, and afraid of every thing that looks like, or leads to, idolatry.

_ _ 2. Their zeal, upon this suspicion, was very commendable, Joshua 22:12. When they apprehended that these tribes, which by the river Jordan were separated from them, were separating themselves from God, they took it as the greatest injury that could be done to themselves, and showed a readiness, if it were necessary, to put their lives in their hands in defence of the altar of God, and to take up arms for the chastising and reducing of these rebels, and to prevent the spreading of the infection, if no gentler methods would serve, by cutting off from their body the gangrened member. They all gathered together, and Shiloh was the place of their rendezvous, because it was in defence of the divine charter lately granted to that place that they now appeared; their resolution was as became a kingdom of priests, who, being devoted to God and his service, did not acknowledge their brethren nor know their own children, Deuteronomy 33:9. They would immediately go up to war against them if it appeared they had revolted from God, and were in rebellion against him. Though they were bone of their bone, had been companions with them in tribulation in the wilderness, and serviceable to them in the wars of Canaan, yet, if they turn to serve other gods, they will treat them as enemies, not as sons of Israel, but as children of whoredoms, for so God had appointed, Deuteronomy 13:12, etc. They had but lately sheathed their swords, and retired from the perils and fatigues of war to the rest God had given them, and yet they are willing to begin a new war rather than be any way wanting in their duty to restrain, repress, and revenge, idolatry, and every step towards it — a brave resolution, and which shows them hearty for their religion, and, we hope, careful and diligent in the practice of it themselves. Corruptions in religion are best dealt with at first, before they get head and plead prescription.

_ _ 3. Their prudence in the prosecution of this zealous resolution is no less commendable. God had appointed them, in cases of this nature, to enquire and make search (Deuteronomy 13:14), that they might not wrong their brethren under pretence of righting their religion; accordingly they resolve here not to send forth their armies, to wage war, till they had first sent their ambassadors to enquire into the merits of the cause, and these men of the first rank, one out of each tribe, and Phinehas at the head of them to be their spokesman, Joshua 22:13, Joshua 22:14. Thus was their zeal for God tempered, guided, and governed by the meekness of wisdom. He that knows all things, and hates all evil things, would not punish the worst of criminals but he would first go down and see, Genesis 18:21. Many an unhappy strife would be prevented, or soon healed by an impartial and favourable enquiry into that which is the matter of the offence. The rectifying of mistakes and misunderstandings, and the setting of misconstrued words and actions in a true light, would be the most effectual way to accommodate both private and public quarrels, and bring them to a happy period.

_ _ 4. The ambassadors' management of this matter came fully up to the sense and spirit of the congregation concerning it, and bespeaks much both of zeal and prudence.

_ _ (1.) The charge they draw up against their brethren is indeed very high, and admits no other excuse than that it was in their zeal for the honour of God, and was now intended to justify the resentments of the congregation at Shiloh and to awaken the supposed delinquents to clear themselves, otherwise they might have suspended their judgment, or mollified it at least, and not have taken it for granted, as they do here (Joshua 22:16), that the building of this altar was a trespass against the God of Israel, and a trespass no less heinous than the revolt of soldiers from their captain (you turn from following the Lord), and the rebellion of subjects against their sovereign: that you might rebel this day against the Lord. Hard words. It is well they were not able to make good their charge. Let not innocency think it strange to be thus misrepresented and accused. They laid to my charge things that I knew not.

_ _ (2.) The aggravation of the crime charged upon their brethren is somewhat far-fetched: Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us? Joshua 22:17. Probably that is mentioned because Phinehas, the first commissioner in this treaty, had signalized himself in that matter (Numbers 25:7), and because we may suppose they were not about the very place in which that iniquity was committed on the other side Jordan. It is good to recollect and improve those instances of the wrath of God, revealed from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, which have fallen out in our own time, and which we ourselves have been eye-witnesses of. He reminds them of the iniquity of Peor, [1.] As a very great sin, and very provoking to God. The building of this altar seemed but a small matter, but it might lead to an iniquity as bad as that of Peor, and therefore must be crushed in its first rise. Note, The remembrance of great sins committed formerly should engage us to stand upon our guard against the least occasions and beginnings of sin; for the way of sin is down-hill. [2.] As a sin that the whole congregation had smarted for: “There was a plague in the congregation of the Lord, of which, in one day, there died no fewer than 24,000; was not that enough for ever to warn you against idolatry? What! will you bring upon yourselves another plague? Are you so mad upon an idolatrous altar that you will run yourselves thus upon the sword's point of God's judgments? Does not our camp still feel from that sin and the punishment of it? We are not cleansed from it unto this day; there are remaining sparks,” First, “Of the infection of that sin; some among us so inclined to idolatry that if you set up another altar they will soon take occasion from that, whether you intend it or no, to worship another God.” Secondly, “Of the wrath of God against us for that sin. We have reason to fear that, if we provoke God by another sin to visit, he will remember against us the iniquity of Peor, as he threatened to do that of the golden calf, Exodus 32:34. And dare you wake the sleeping lion of divine vengeance?” Note, It is a foolish and dangerous thing for people to think their former sins little, too little for them, as those do who add sin to sin, and so treasure up wrath against the day of wrath. Let therefore the time past suffice, 1 Peter 4:3.

_ _ (3.) The reason they give for their concerning themselves so warmly in this matter is very sufficient. They were obliged to it, in their own necessary defence, by the law of self-preservation: “For, if you revolt from God today, who knows but tomorrow his judgments may break in upon the whole congregation (Joshua 22:18), as in the case of Achan? Joshua 22:20. He sinned, and we all smarted for it, by which we should receive instruction, and from what God did then infer what he may do, and fear what he will do, if we do not witness against your sin, who are so many, and punish it.” Note, The conservators of the public peace are obliged, in justice to the common safety, to use their power for the restraining and suppressing of vice and profaneness, lest, if it be connived at, the sin thereby become national, and bring God's judgments upon the community. Nay, we are all concerned to reprove our neighbour when he does amiss, lest we bear sin for him, Leviticus 19:17.

_ _ (4.) The offer they make is very fair and kind (Joshua 22:19), that if they thought the land of their possession unclean, for want of an altar, and therefore could not be easy without one, rather than they should set up another in competition with that at Shiloh they should be welcome to come back to the land where the Lord's tabernacle was, and settle there, and they would very willingly straiten themselves to make room for them. By this they showed a sincere and truly pious zeal against schism, that rather than their brethren should have any occasion to set up a separate altar, though their pretence for it, as here supposed, was very weak and grounded upon a great mistake, yet they were willing to part with a considerable share of the land which God himself had by the lot assigned them, to comprehend them and take them in among them. This was the spirit of Israelites indeed.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Joshua 22:10

Built an altar — About that time when they came to them, they designed it, and as soon as they were got over Jordan, which was in a very little time, they effected and perfected it. They built it, no doubt, on their own side of the water: for how could they build on other men's land, without their consent? And it is said, in the following verse, to be over against the land of Jordan. Nor would there have been cause to suspect that it was designed for sacrifice, if they had not built it among themselves.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Joshua 22:10

And when they came unto the borders of Jordan, that [are] in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built (f) there an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see to.

(f) That is, beyond Jordan: for sometime the whole country on both sides of Jordan is referred to as Canaan.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
the children:
This verse should probably be rendered, "And when they came to the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, Then built an altar by (or beyond, al) Jordan, a great altar to the view." It would appear, that when they came to the river, they formed the purpose of building the altar; and when they crossed it they put that purpose into execution. It is evident that they did not build it west of the Jordan, for that was not in their territories, and the next verse expressly says that it was built over against the land of Canaan.

built:

Joshua 22:25-28 For the LORD hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the LORD: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the LORD. ... Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should [so] say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say [again], 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.
Joshua 4:5-9 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: ... And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.
Joshua 24:26-27 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that [was] by the sanctuary of the LORD. ... And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.
Genesis 28:18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put [for] his pillows, and set it up [for] a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
Genesis 31:46-52 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap. ... This heap [be] witness, and [this] pillar [be] witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.
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Gn 28:18; 31:46. Jsh 4:5; 22:25; 24:26.

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