Joshua 22:27
But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the LORD before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) Ye have no part in the Lord.—Something of the kind was insinuated in the abuse of the Gileadites by the men of Ephraim (Judges 12:4), when they said, “Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.” That taunt cost the Ephraimites the lives of 42,000 men. The person who made it the law of Israel to have no part in Jehovah was “Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin” by setting up the calves, and thus diverting the stream of national worshippers from Jerusalem, the place chosen by the Lord. It may be further observed that Joshua’s efforts under the direction of Jehovah for the establishment of national unity in Israel are proved by the narrative in this chapter to have taken considerable effect. At whatever cost, it was felt that the unity of national worship must be maintained. Rebellion “against Jehovah” is treated by the heads of Israel (Joshua 22:19) as rebellion “against us.”

Joshua 22:27. But that it may be a witness — It was an ancient way of preserving the remembrance of things to raise such structures. That we might do the service of the Lord before him — That we and ours may have and retain the privilege of serving and worshipping God, not upon this altar, but in the place of God’s presence, in your tabernacle, and upon your altar.

22:21-29 The tribes took the reproofs of their brethren in good part. With solemnity and meekness they proceeded to give all the satisfaction in their power. Reverence of God is expressed in the form of their appeal. This brief confession of faith would remove their brethren's suspicion that they intended to worship other gods. Let us always speak of God with seriousness, and mention his name with a solemn pause. Those who make appeals to Heaven with a careless God knows, take his name in vain: it is very unlike this. They express great confidence of their own uprightness in the matter of their appeal. God knows it, for he is perfectly acquainted with the thoughts and intents of the heart. In every thing we do in religion, it highly concerns us to approve ourselves to God, remembering that he knows the heart. And if our sincerity be known to God, we should study likewise to let others know it by its fruits, especially those who, though they mistake us, show zeal for the glory of God. They disdained the design of which they were suspected to be guilty, and fully explained their true intent in building this altar. Those who have found the comfort and benefit of God's ordinances, cannot but desire to preserve them to their seed, and to use all possible care that their children may be looked upon as having a part in him. Christ is the great Altar that sanctifies every gift; the best evidence of our interest in him is the work of his Spirit in our hearts.The repeated invocation of God, and that by His three names - אל 'êl, אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym, יהוה yehovâh: compare Psalm 50:1 - marks the earnestness of the protestation. The conduct of the two tribes and a half has often been noted as exemplary. They had had a grave and capital crime most unexpectedly laid to their charge, of which they were entirely innocent. Yet there is no word of reproach or recrimination in their vindication of themselves. They are contented simply to repudiate the false accusation and to explain the real motives of conduct perhaps suggested to them by a precedent set by Moses Exodus 17:15.

Save us not this day - The words are a direct appeal to God, exactly equivalent in effect to our form "So help me God."

21. Then the children of Reuben … answered—repudiating, in the strongest terms, the alleged crime, and deponing that so far from entertaining the intention imputed to them, their only object was to perpetuate the memory of their alliance with Israel [Jos 22:24, 25], and their adherence to the worship of Israel's God [Jos 22:26, 27]. That we might do the service of the Lord before him; that we and ours may have and hold our privilege of serving and worshipping God, not upon this altar, but in the office of God’s presence, in your tabernacle, and upon your altar.

But that it may be a witness between us and you, and our generations after us,.... That we are one people, worship one God, and serve at one altar, of which this built was a resemblance, and would put them in mind of it:

that we might do the service of the Lord before him; in the tabernacle, and at the altar, in the place where he had chosen to put his name and dwell:

with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; to be brought at stated times, or as occasion required:

that your children may not say to our children, in time to come, ye have no part in the Lord; nor right to his altar, and so forbid them offering their sacrifices on it; or"have no part in the Word of the Lord,''as the Targum; the Messiah, whose sacrifice was typified by the sacrifices of the legal dispensation, and all such, who offered theirs in the faith of that, had a part in it, and their sins were expiated by it.

But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the LORD before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
27. be a witness] Instead of meaning a separation, they had set up their altar as a monument to future ages of the connection between the tribes divided by the river, so that if, at any time to come, their descendants should attempt to cast off the connection and assert their own independence, or if the Israelites should hereafter attempt to disown their union, and declare that the people beyond the river “had no part in the Lord,” this monument might be pointed to in evidence of the fact. Observe the calmness maintained by the accused tribes. There is no syllable of reproach or recrimination in their vindication of themselves.

Verse 27. - But that it may be a witness. Rather, for this altar is a witness before Him. Literally, before His face; in the tabernacle, that is, where His special presence was enshrined. Joshua 22:27"So we thought, we will make ourselves to build an altar (an expression derived from the language of ordinary life, for 'we will build ourselves an altar'), not for burnt-offerings and slain-offerings; but it shall be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we may perform the service of Jehovah before His face (i.e., before the tabernacle in which Jehovah was enthroned), with our burnt-offerings, slain-offerings, and peace-offerings," - in order, as they repeat in Joshua 22:27 from Joshua 22:24, Joshua 22:25, that they might not be denied a part in Jehovah in time to come. For if it should so happen in time to come, that this should be said to them and to their descendants, they would say (or reply), "Behold the copy of the altar of Jehovah, which our fathers made, not for burnt-offerings," etc. (Joshua 22:28, as in Joshua 22:26, Joshua 22:27). For this reason they had built the altar according to the pattern of the altar before the tabernacle, and that not in their own land, but on the western side of the Jordan, where the dwelling-place of Jehovah was standing, as a witness that they worshipped one and the same God with the tribes on this side.
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