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THEN Joshua called the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh,
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And said to them, You have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I have commanded you;
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You have not deserted your brethren these many days even to this time, but have kept the commandments of the LORD your God.
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And now the LORD your God has given rest to your brethren, as he promised them;
therefore now return, and go to your towns and to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan to the east.
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But only take diligent heed to observe the commandments and the laws which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, to keep his commandments, and to cleave to him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
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So Joshua blessed them and sent them away;
and they went to their towns.
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Now to the half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given an inheritance in Mathnin;
but to the other half thereof Joshua had given an inheritance among their brethren on this side of the Jordan to the west.
And when Joshua sent them away to their towns, he blessed them;
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And he spoke to them, saying, Return to your towns and to the land of your inheritance with much wealth and with very many cattle, with silver, with gold, with brass, with iron, and with very much clothing;
divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.
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So the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go to the land of Gilead, to the land of their possessions, in which they were given an inheritance, according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
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¶ And when they came to Gilgal, which is by the side of the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, a large and remarkable altar.
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And the children of Israel heard it said, Behold, the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar at the border of the land of Canaan, in Gilgal which is by the side of the Jordan, in the land of the children of Israel.
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Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh to go to war against them.
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And the children of Israel sent to the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest,
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And with him ten princes, one prince from every tribe of Israel;
and these men were chiefs of the armies of Israel.
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And they came to the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they spoke with them, saying.
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Thus says the whole congregation of the LORD, What treachery is this which you have committed against the God of Israel, in turning away from following the LORD, in that you have builded yourselves an altar, that you might abandon the worship of the LORD?
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Is the iniquity of Peor not enough for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD?
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And as for you, when you turned away this day from the worship of the LORD, tomorrow the anger will be against the whole congregation of Israel.
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If, however, the land of your possession is unclean, then pass over to the land of the possession of the LORD, where the LORD’S tabernacle dwells, and inherit land among us;
but do not disdain the worship of the LORD, nor rebel against us by building for yourselves an altar beside the altar of the LORD the God of Israel.
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Did you not see that when Achar the son of Carmi coveted and took the devoted things, wrath fell upon the whole congregation of Israel?
He was but one man, yet he devoured us all in his iniquity.
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Then the Reubenites the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh answered and said to Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest and to the heads of the armies of Israel,
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The LORD is the God of gods, the God of gods is the LORD, and he is our God, and he knows Israel and he knows us also;
if we shall depart from him, or if we shall transgress against the worship of the LORD in doing this thing, then let him not save us this day.
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And if we have built us an altar to turn from the worship of the LORD, or to offer upon it burnt offerings, or use it for any other service, let the LORD himself seek vengeance against us;
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And if we have not rather done this thing because of reverence to him, so that in time to come your children might not say to our children, What have you to do with the LORD God of Israel, O you Reubenites and Gadites?
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For the LORD has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you;
now therefore you have no part in the LORD;
so in time to come shall your children make our children cease from worshipping the LORD.
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Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice;
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But that it may be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, and between ourselves 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, in the place where the LORD chooses to dwell;
so that your children may not say to our children in time to come, You have no part in the LORD.
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Therefore we said that it shall be, if they should ever speak to us or to our generations in time to come, then we may say to them, Behold the pattern of the altar of the LORD which our fathers made not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices;
but to be a witness between us and you.
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God forbid that we should reject the worship of the LORD, and turn away from revering him, and build for ourselves an altar for burnt offerings, for gift offerings, or for sacrifices, besides the altar of the LORD God of Israel that is before his tabernacle.
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¶ And when Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest and the princes of the congregation and the heads of the armies of Israel who were with him heard the words that the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh spoke, it pleased them.
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And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half tribe of Manasseh.
This day we know that the LORD is among us, because you have not committed this trespass against the LORD;
now you have delivered the children of Israel, that the hand of the LORD might not be against them with wrath.
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Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes who were with him, returned from the Reubenites and from the Gadites and the Manashites, out of the land of Gilead, to the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them an answer.
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And the answer pleased the children of Israel;
and the children of Israel blessed God, and decided not to go up against them to battle to destroy the land wherein the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manashites dwelt.
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And the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manashites called the altar which they had made, The Altar of Testimony, for it is a witness between us that the LORD is the only God.