The tribes of Ruben and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasses return to their possessions. They build an altar by the side of the Jordan, which alarms the other tribes. An embassage is sent to them, to which they give a satisfactory answer.
T the same time Josue called the Rubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasses,
And said to them: You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you: you have also obeyed me in all things,
Neither have you left your brethren this long time, until this present day, keeping the commandment of the Lord your God.
Therefore as the Lord your God hath given your brethren rest and peace, as he promised: return, and go to your dwellings, and to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan:
Yet so that you observe attentively, and in work fulfil the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you: that you love the Lord your God, and walk in all his ways, and keep all his commandments, and cleave to him, and serve him with all your heart, and with all your soul.
And Josue blessed them, and sent them away, and they returned to their dwellings.
Now to half the tribe of Manasses, Moses had given a possession in Basan: and therefore to the half that remained, Josue gave a lot among the rest of their brethren beyond the Jordan to the west. And when he sent them away to their dwellings and had blessed them,
He said to them: With much substance and riches, you return to your settlements, with silver and gold, brass and iron, and variety of raiment: divide the prey of your enemies with your brethren.
So the children of Ruben, and the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasses returned, and parted from the children of Israel in Silo, which is in Chanaan, to go into Galaad the land of their possession, which they had obtained according to the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses.
And when they were come to banks of the Jordan, in the land of Chanaan, they built an altar immensely great near the Jordan.
And when the children of Israel had heard of it, and certain messengers brought them an account that the children of Ruben, and of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasses had built an altar in the land of Chanaan, upon the banks of the Jordan, over against the children of Israel:
They all assembled in Silo, to go up and fight against them.
And in the mean time they sent to them into the land of Galaad, Phinees the son of Eleazar the priest,
And ten princes with him, one of every tribe.
Who came to the children of Ruben, and of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasses, into the land of Galaad, and said to them:
Thus saith all the people of the Lord: What meaneth this transgression? Why have you forsaken the Lord the God of Israel, building a sacrilegious altar, and revolting from the worship of him?
Is it a small thing to you that you sinned with Beelphegor, and the stain of that crime remaineth in us to this day? and many of the people perished.
And you have forsaken the Lord to day, and to morrow his wrath will rage against all Israel.
But if you think the land of your possession to be unclean, pass over to the land wherein is the tabernacle of the Lord, and dwell among us: only depart not from the Lord, and from our society, by building an altar beside the altar of the Lord our God.
Did not Achan the son of Zare transgress the commandment of the Lord, and his wrath lay upon all the people of Israel? And he was but one man, and would to God he alone had perished in his wickedness.
And the children of Ruben, and of Gad, and of the half tribe of Manasses answered the princes of the embassage of Israel:
The Lord the most mighty God, the Lord the most mighty God, he knoweth, and Israel also shall understand: If with the design of transgression we have set up this altar, let him not save us, but punish us immediately:
And if we did it with that mind, that we might lay upon it holocausts, and sacrifice, and victims of peace offerings, let him require and judge:
And not rather with this thought and design, that we should say: To morrow your children will say to our children: What have you to do with the Lord the God of Israel?
The Lord hath put the river Jordan for a border between us and you, O ye children of Ruben, and ye children of Gad: and therefore you have no part in the Lord. And by this occasion your children shall turn away our children from the fear of the Lord. We therefore thought it best,
And said: Let us build us an altar, not for holocausts, nor to offer victims,
But for a testimony between us and you, and our posterity and yours, that we may serve the Lord, and that we may have a right to offer both holocausts, and victims and sacrifices of peace offerings: and that your children to morrow may not say to our children: You have no part in the Lord.
And if they will say so, they shall answer them: Behold the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for holocausts, nor for sacrifice, but for a testimony between us and you.
God keep us from any such wickedness that we should revolt from the Lord, and leave off following his steps, by building an altar to offer holocausts, and sacrifices, and victims, beside the altar of the Lord our God, which is erected before his tabernacle.
And when Phinees the priest, and the princes of the embassage, who were with him, had heard this, they were satisfied: and they admitted most willingly the words of the children of Ruben, and Gad, and of the half tribe of Manasses,
And Phinees the priest the son of Eleazar said to them: Now we know that the Lord is with us, because you are not guilty of this revolt, and you have delivered the children of Israel from the hand of the Lord.
And he returned with the princes from the children of Ruben and Gad, out of the land of Galaad, into the land of Chanaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them word again.
And the saying pleased all that heard it. And the children of Israel praised God, and they no longer said that they would go up against them, and fight, and destroy the land of their possession.
And the children of Ruben, and the children of Gad called the altar which they had built, Our testimony, that the Lord is God,