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Joshua 22:12-20

22:12 When the Israelites heard this, the entire Israelite community assembled at Shiloh to launch an attack against them. 1 

22:13 The Israelites sent Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the priest, to the land of Gilead to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. 22:14 He was accompanied by ten leaders, one from each of the Israelite tribes, each one a family leader among the Israelite clans. 2  22:15 They went to the land of Gilead to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them: 22:16 “The entire community of the Lord says, ‘Why have you disobeyed the God of Israel by turning back today from following the Lord? You built an altar for yourselves and have rebelled today against the Lord. 3  22:17 The sin we committed at Peor was bad enough. To this very day we have not purified ourselves; it even brought a plague on the community of the Lord. 4  22:18 Now today you dare to turn back 5  from following the Lord! You are rebelling today against the Lord; tomorrow he may break out in anger against 6  the entire community of Israel. 22:19 But if your own land 7  is impure, 8  cross over to the Lord’s own land, 9  where the Lord himself lives, 10  and settle down among us. 11  But don’t rebel against the Lord or us 12  by building for yourselves an altar aside from the altar of the Lord our God. 22:20 When Achan son of Zerah disobeyed the command about the city’s riches, the entire Israelite community was judged, 13  though only one man had sinned. He most certainly died for his sin!’” 14 

1 tn Heb “to go up against them for battle.”

2 tn Heb “ten leaders with him, one leader, one leader for a paternal house, for all the tribes of Israel, and each a head of the house of their father, they belong to the clans of Israel.”

3 tn Heb “What is this unfaithfulness with which you have been unfaithful against the God of Israel, turning today from after the Lord, when you built for yourselves an altar, rebelling today against the Lord?”

4 tn Heb “Was the sin of Peor too insignificant for us, from which we have not made purification to this day? And there was a plague in the assembly of the Lord.”

5 tn Heb “you are turning back.”

6 tn Or “he will be angry with.”

7 tn Heb “the land of your possession.”

8 sn The western tribes here imagine a possible motive for the action of the eastern tribes. T. C. Butler explains the significance of the land’s “impurity”: “East Jordan is impure because it is not Yahweh’s possession. Rather it is simply ‘your possession.’ That means it is land where Yahweh does not live, land which his presence has not sanctified and purified” (Joshua [WBC], 247).

9 tn Heb “the land of the possession of the Lord.”

10 tn Heb “where the dwelling place of the Lord resides.”

sn The phrase where the Lord himself lives refers to the tabernacle.

11 tn Heb “and take for yourselves in our midst.”

12 tc Heb “and us to you rebel.” The reading of the MT, the accusative sign with suffix (וְאֹתָנוּ, vÿotanu), is problematic with the verb “rebel” (מָרַד, marad). Many Hebrew mss correctly read the negative particle אַל (’al) for the preposition אֶל (’el, “to”).

13 tn Heb “Is it not [true that] Achan son of Zerah was unfaithful with unfaithfulness concerning what was set apart [to the Lord] and against all the assembly of Israel there was anger?”

14 tn The second half of the verse reads literally, “and he [was] one man, he did not die for his sin.” There are at least two possible ways to explain this statement: (1) One might interpret the statement to mean that Achan was not the only person who died for his sin. In this case it could be translated, “and he was not the only one to die because of his sin.” (2) Another option, the one reflected in the translation, is to take the words וְהוּא אִישׁ אֶחָד (vÿhu’ ’ishekhad, “and he [was] one man”) as a concessive clause and join it with what precedes. The remaining words (לֹא גָוַע בַּעֲוֹנוֹ, logavabaavono) must then be taken as a rhetorical question (“Did he not die for his sin?”). Taking the last sentence as interrogative is consistent with the first part of the verse, a rhetorical question introduced with the interrogative particle. The present translation has converted these rhetorical questions into affirmative statements to bring out more clearly the points they are emphasizing. For further discussion, see T. C. Butler, Joshua (WBC), 240.

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