And when Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel which were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the children of Manasseh spoke, it pleased them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Joshua 22:30-31. It pleased them — They were fully satisfied with this answer. We perceive that the Lord is among us — By his gracious presence and preventing goodness, in keeping you from so great an offence, and all of us from those calamities that would have followed it. Out of the hand of the Lord — That is, from the wrath and dreadful judgments of God. By avoiding that sin which would have involved both you and us in a most bloody war, you have delivered us from the evils we feared. He that prevents an approaching disease or mischief, doth as truly deliver a man from it, as he that cures or removes it after it hath been inflicted.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.Joshua 22:13; is to be joined, not to Eleazar but to Phinehas:
and the princes of the congregation; the ten princes, who were sent by the congregation of Israel, one out of each tribe:
and heads out of the thousands of Israel; these are the same with the princes, and this belongs to their title, who were heads of the Chiliarchs, or those who were rulers of thousands in Israel:
which were with him; with Phinehas, who were joined with him in the embassy, and now present with him:
heard the words that the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad,
and the children of Manasseh; spake; in defence of themselves, explaining the meaning and design of the altar they had built:And when Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel which were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the children of Manasseh spake, it pleased them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)30. it pleased them] Or, it was good in their eyes. Comp. Genesis 34:18, “And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son;” Genesis 41:37, “And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh;” Genesis 45:16, “And it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants” (where see Margin); and see 2 Samuel 3:36; 1 Kings 3:10.Verse 30. - It pleased them. The genuine. ness of their zeal for God's service is shown by their readiness to be appeased by a plain explanation. Had they been actuated by jealousy or party spirit, they would have admitted no defence, or have endeavoured out of the clearest exculpation to find some new topic for complaint. So religious party spirit has been wont to inflame men's minds in later times, so that they desired rather victory over a supposed antagonist than the discovery that no offence at all bad been committed. True religious zeal is slow to anger, and easy to be appeased, when it appears that no harm has been intended. It might have been contended in this case, if controversy rather than truth had been the object, that the action had a dangerous tendency; that though the altar was not intended for sacrifice, it might be used for that purpose; that it was unwise to put a temptation in the way of future ages to substitute worship there for worship in the tabernacle. Such arguments are not unknown even to Christian zealots. Israel was satisfied that no harm was intended. It was not thought necessary to point out possibilities which were not likely to be realised. Joshua 22:22), - serves to strengthen the invocation of God, as in Psalm 50:1; and this is strengthened still further by the repetition of these three names. God knows, and let Israel also know, sc., what they intended, and what they have done. The אם which follows is the usual particle used in an oath. "Verily (it was) not in rebellion, nor in apostasy from Jehovah," sc., that this was done, or that we built the altar. "Mayst Thou not help us to-day," sc., if we did it in rebellion against God. An appeal addressed immediately to God in the heat of the statement, and introduced in the midst of the asseveration, which was meant to remove all doubt as to the truth of their declaration. The words which follow in Joshua 22:23, "that we have built," etc., continue the oath: "If we have done this, to build us an altar, to turn away from the Lord, or to offer thereon burnt-offering, meat-offering, or peace-offering, may Jehovah himself require it (דּרשׁ, as in Deuteronomy 18:19; cf. 1 Samuel 20:16). Another earnest parenthetical adjuration, as the substance of the oath, is continued in Joshua 22:24. "But truly (לא ואם, with an affirmative signification) from anxiety, for a reason (lit. on account of a thing) have we done this, thinking (לאמר, since we thought) in time to come your sons might say to our sons, What have ye to do with Jehovah, the God of Israel?" i.e., He does not concern you; He is our God. "Jehovah has made the Jordan a boundary between us and your sons; ye have no part in Jehovah. Thus your sons might make our sons cease to fear Jehovah," i.e., might make them desist from the worship of Jehovah (for the infinitive form ירא instead of the abbreviated form לרא used in 1 Samuel 18:29, there are analogies in יצק in Ezekiel 24:3, and לישׁון, Ecclesiastes 5:11, whereas יראה is the only form used in the Pentateuch). There was some reason for this anxiety. For, inasmuch as in all the promises and laws Canaan alone (the land on this side of the Jordan, Numbers 34:1-12) is always mentioned as the land which Jehovah would give to His people for their inheritance, it was quite a possible thing that at some future time the false conclusion might be drawn from this, that only the tribes who dwelt in Canaan proper were the true people of Jehovah.
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