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Josua 22

Krigerne fra de østlige stammer vender hjem

1Josva kaldte nu krigerne fra Rubens og Gads stammer samt fra Manasses halve stamme til sig 2-3 og sagde til dem:

„I har gjort nøjagtig, som Herrens tjener Moses gav jer besked på—og I har også gjort, hvad jeg har sagt. I har gjort jeres pligt over for de andre stammer ved nøje at følge Herrens befalinger i al den tid, det tog at indtage landet. Nu har Herren endelig givet os fred og fremgang i landet, sådan som han lovede. Derfor er det på tide, at I vender hjem til det land på den anden side af Jordanfloden, som Moses gav jer. Men husk fortsat at adlyde Guds bud, de love, som han gav til Moses. Elsk Herren, jeres Gud, gør hans vilje og adlyd hans bud. Vær tro imod ham og tjen ham af hele jeres hjerte og med hele jeres sjæl!”

Så velsignede Josva dem og gav dem fri til at tage hjem. Moses havde jo givet den ene halvdel af Manasses stamme land i Bashan, og Josva havde givet den anden halvdel land blandt de andre israelitter vest for Jordanfloden. Efter at Josva havde velsignet dem, sagde han til dem: „I vender rige hjem med masser af krigsbytte: kvæg, sølv, guld, bronze, jern og tøj. Alt dette skal I dele med jeres slægtninge derhjemme!”

Så forlod krigerne fra Rubens, Gads og Manasses halve stamme israelitternes lejr ved Shilo i Kanaʼan og satte kurs mod Jordanfloden for at vende hjem til deres eget land i Gilead. 10 Men inden de satte over floden, byggede de ved Gelilot i Kanaʼan et stort alter, som kunne ses på lang afstand.

11 Da israelitterne fik at vide, at de havde bygget deres eget alter, 12 samledes lederne i Shilo og gjorde klar til krig imod dem. 13-15 De sendte en delegation i forvejen anført af Pinehas, præsten Eleazars søn. Delegationen, som foruden Pinehas bestod af lederne for hver af de ti øvrige stammer, satte over floden for at tale med Rubens, Gads og Manasses halve stamme i Gilead.

16 „Israels folk forlanger en forklaring på, hvorfor I har syndet imod Israels Gud og vendt jer fra ham, så I har bygget et alter og gjort oprør imod ham,” sagde de. 17-18 „I burde have taget ved lære af den synd, vi begik ved Peor, og som stadig tynger os. Hvorfor vil I gøre oprør igen, når I udmærket ved, at det vil udløse Herrens straf over os? 19 Hvis det land, I bor i, er besmittet af afgudsdyrkelse, så kom tilbage til Herrens land, hvor hans bolig er. Vi deler gerne vores land med jer, men hvis I begynder at ofre på et andet alter end Herrens sande alter, gør I oprør imod ham og drager os med ind i det. 20 Har I glemt, at dengang Akan, Zerachs søn, syndede imod Herren, ramte straffen ikke kun ham, men hele Israels folk?”

21 Rubens, Gads og Manasses halve stamme svarede: 22-23 „Herren er almægtig, Gud over alle guder, og han ved, at hensigten med dette alter ikke var at gøre oprør imod ham. Vi ønsker også, at hele Israel skal vide, at vi ikke har i sinde at ofre brændofre, afgrødeofre og takofre på det alter. Må Herrens forbandelse ramme os, hvis det havde været vores hensigt. 24-25 Nej, vi har bygget det, fordi vi frygter, at jeres efterkommere i fremtiden kan finde på at sige til vores efterkommere: ‚Hvad ret har I til at tilbede Herren, Israels Gud? Herren har sat Jordanfloden som en grænse mellem vores folk og jeres folk; det viser, at I ikke er rigtige israelitter.’ Resultatet bliver så, at I får vores efterkommere til at opgive at tilbede Herren. 26-27 Denne frygt er baggrunden for, at vi har bygget alteret som en påmindelse. Det skal være et tegn for vores og jeres efterkommere, at vi har samme ret som jer til at tilbede Herren med brændofre, takofre og andre ofre. Jeres efterkommere skal ikke komme og påstå, at vi ikke hører Herren til! 28 Gør de det, kan vores efterkommere frimodigt svare: ‚Se det alter, som vores forfædre byggede. Det ligner Herrens sande alter, men det er ikke beregnet til at ofre på. Det er et tegn på, at vi har samme ret som jer til at tilbede Herren, Israels Gud.’ 29 Det er bestemt ikke vores hensigt at gøre oprør imod Herren og bygge et alter, der skal konkurrere med Herrens sande alter, der står foran hans bolig, for kun på det alter kan der ofres til ham.”

30 Da præsten Pinehas og stammelederne hørte den forklaring, var de lettede. 31 „I dag står det klart,” sagde Pinehas, „at Herren stadig er med os, for I har ikke syndet imod ham, sådan som vi troede. Tværtimod har I reddet os fra at begå en stor fejl og blive straffet af Herren.”

32 Så vendte Pinehas og hans delegation tilbage til Israels folk og fortalte, hvordan det var gået, 33 og hele Israel frydede sig og lovpriste Gud. Fra da af var der ikke længere tale om at gå i krig mod stammerne øst for Jordanfloden. 34 Rubens og Gads stamme kaldte alteret for „Mindealter”, fordi det skulle minde begge parter om, at de alle regnede Herren som deres Gud.

The Message

Joshua 22

11-5 Then Joshua called together the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He said: “You have carried out everything Moses the servant of God commanded you, and you have obediently done everything I have commanded you. All this time and right down to this very day you have not abandoned your brothers; you’ve shouldered the task laid on you by God, your God. And now God, your God, has given rest to your brothers just as he promised them. You’re now free to go back to your homes, the country of your inheritance that Moses the servant of God gave you on the other side of the Jordan. Only this: Be vigilant in keeping the Commandment and The Revelation that Moses the servant of God laid on you: Love God, your God, walk in all his ways, do what he’s commanded, embrace him, serve him with everything you are and have.”

6-7 Then Joshua blessed them and sent them on their way. They went home. (To the half-tribe of Manasseh, Moses had assigned a share in Bashan. To the other half, Joshua assigned land with their brothers west of the Jordan.)

7-8 When Joshua sent them off to their homes, he blessed them. He said: “Go home. You’re going home rich—great herds of cattle, silver and gold, bronze and iron, huge piles of clothing. Share the wealth with your friends and families—all this plunder from your enemies!”

The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh left the People of Israel at Shiloh in the land of Canaan to return to Gilead, the land of their possession, which they had taken under the command of Moses as ordered by God.

10 They arrived at Geliloth on the Jordan (touching on Canaanite land). There the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an altar on the banks of the Jordan—a huge altar!

11 The People of Israel heard of it: “What’s this? The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built an altar facing the land of Canaan at Geliloth on the Jordan, across from the People of Israel!”

12-14 When the People of Israel heard this, the entire congregation mustered at Shiloh to go to war against them. They sent Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (that is, to the land of Gilead). Accompanying him were ten chiefs, one chief for each of the ten tribes, each the head of his ancestral family. They represented the military divisions of Israel.

15-18 They went to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh and spoke to them: “The entire congregation of God wants to know: What is this violation against the God of Israel that you have committed, turning your back on God and building your own altar—a blatant act of rebellion against God? Wasn’t the crime of Peor enough for us? Why, to this day we aren’t rid of it, still living with the fallout of the plague on the congregation of God! Look at you—turning your back on God! If you rebel against God today, tomorrow he’ll vent his anger on all of us, the entire congregation of Israel.

19-20 “If you think the land of your possession isn’t holy enough but somehow contaminated, come back over to God’s possession, where God’s Dwelling is set up, and take your land there, but don’t rebel against God. And don’t rebel against us by building your own altar apart from the Altar of our God. When Achan son of Zerah violated the holy curse, didn’t anger fall on the whole congregation of Israel? He wasn’t the only one to die for his sin.”

21-22 The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh replied to the heads of the tribes of Israel:

The God of Gods is God,
The God of Gods is God!

22-23 “He knows and he’ll let Israel know if this is a rebellious betrayal of God. And if it is, don’t bother saving us. If we built ourselves an altar in rebellion against God, if we did it to present on it Whole-Burnt-Offerings or Grain-Offerings or to enact there sacrificial Peace-Offerings, let God decide.

24-25 “But that’s not it. We did it because we cared. We were anxious lest someday your children should say to our children, ‘You’re not connected with God, the God of Israel! God made the Jordan a boundary between us and you. You Reubenites and Gadites have no part in God.’ And then your children might cause our children to quit worshiping God.

26 “So we said to ourselves, ‘Let’s do something. Let’s build an altar—but not for Whole-Burnt-Offerings, not for sacrifices.’

27 “We built this altar as a witness between us and you and our children coming after us, a witness to the Altar where we worship God in his Sacred Dwelling with our Whole-Burnt-Offerings and our sacrifices and our Peace-Offerings.

“This way, your children won’t be able to say to our children in the future, ‘You have no part in God.’

28 “We said to ourselves, ‘If anyone speaks disparagingly to us or to our children in the future, we’ll say: Look at this model of God’s Altar which our ancestors made. It’s not for Whole-Burnt-Offerings, not for sacrifices. It’s a witness connecting us with you.’

29 “Rebelling against or turning our backs on God is the last thing on our minds right now. We never dreamed of building an altar for Whole-Burnt-Offerings or Grain-Offerings to rival the Altar of our God in front of his Sacred Dwelling.”

30 Phinehas the priest, all the heads of the congregation, and the heads of the military divisions of Israel who were also with him heard what the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had to say. They were satisfied.

31 Priest Phinehas son of Eleazar said to Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, “Now we’re convinced that God is present with us since you haven’t been disloyal to God in this matter. You saved the People of Israel from God’s discipline.”

32-33 Then Priest Phinehas son of Eleazar left the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (from Gilead) and, with the chiefs, returned to the land of Canaan to the People of Israel and gave a full report. They were pleased with the report. The People of Israel blessed God—there was no more talk of attacking and destroying the land in which the Reubenites and Gadites were living.

34 Reuben and Gad named the altar:

A Witness Between Us.
God Alone Is God.