Joshua Challenges the Eastern Tribes
Verses 2-4 – In Numbers 32:20-22, these tribes were given the land on the east side of the Jordan. Before they settled down though they had to promise to help the other tribes to conquer the land on the west side of the Jordan. They did this. Now they were permitted to return to their families and build their city. Beware of the temptation to quit too early and leave God’s work undone.
Verse 5 – Joshua briefly restated the central message Moses gave the people in Deuteronomy. Obedience should be based on our love for God. If we know who we are in Christ, we will joyfully love and serve Him. Don’t let anything take your love away that you have developed for your Father.
Verses 11-34 – When the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an altar, the rest of Israel feared that these tribes were setting up their own religion against God. When Phinehas discovered the truth, only setting up a memorial rather than the pagan sacrifice, war was averted. We should too as Christians hear the whole story before reacting.
Verse 17 – For the story of how Israel turned away from God and began to worship Baal at Peor, see Numbers 25:1-18.
Verse 20 – For the story of Achan, a man who allowed greed to get the best of him, see chapter 7 of Joshua.
Verses 26-28 – This altar patterned after the altar of the Lord, was to remind the people that they all worshiped the same God.