Joshua 22: A Blessing & an Accusation

Joshua 22:1-34

A man goes swimming in the ocean but gets sucked out to
sea. A boat passes by him and tells him to climb aboard but
he says “I have faith, God will save me.”
The Coast Guard comes by with a rescue helicopter and tells
him to climb the ladder up, but he says “I have faith, God will
save me.”

The man is now getting tired but thankfully a dolphin swims
under him and starts to carry him to shore, but the man
pushes the dolphin away saying “I have faith, God will save

The man dies and goes to Heaven. He asks God “Why didn’t
you save me?”

God replies “I tried! I sent a ship, a helicopter and a dolphin!”

The last 3 chapters of Joshua all begin with Joshua summoning
different groups from the nation of Israel. Today we start off with
the 2 1⁄2 tribes that settled to the East of the Jordan.

Joshua 22:1-9

He starts by giving them a 3 fold blessing
First, he:

Commends their Obedience and Faithfulness

They obeyed Moses v.2
They obeyed Joshua v.2
They fought diligently with their brothers v.3
They obeyed the Lord v.3
After commending them, he

Commissions them to Return to their Land

First, Joshua gives them a reminder that God has given them
They have been fighting for years but that’s over now.
He also reminds them of the physical blessing God has given
He said “Go back to your tents with much wealth and with very
much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, and iron, and with much
clothing.” v.8
As always, God has taken care of His children. They don’t have to
worry, because God has provided them with more than a little. He
has blessed them with so much.

Joshua is concerned with more than their physical welfare.
Next he speaks to their hearts.
Now that he has commended and commissioned them, he:

Compels them to Continue Following the Lord

Joshua urges them to keep following the commandments that
Moses had given them.
Then he carefully lists several of them as a reminder.

● To Love the Lord your God – the first and greatest
● To Walk in all His ways – speaks to a lifestyle
● To Keep His Commandments – God gave Moses the 10
● To Cling to Him – Deut. 10:20 “You shall fear the LORD
your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you
shall swear by His name.” NASB
● To Serve Him with all your heart and soul – Deut 6:5
The point here is not mere conformity to a set of rules.
It’s much more than that. God wants Israel’s devotion to Him.
And He wants the same from us.

He has called us to Himself
He has rescued us from the pit
He has reconciled us to Himself through His Son.

Our loving response should be to live for Him and cling to Him.
Like Jesus said in Matthew 15, abide in Him and He abides in us.
Apart from Him we can do nothing.

Joshua 22:10-20

An Altar of Imposing Size Incites Accusation

The people from Gad, Reuben and 1⁄2 tribe of Manasseh built a
huge altar.
When the 9 1⁄2 tribes on the other side of the Jordan heard about
the altar they immediately gathered together at Shiloh to start a
war against them. Here’s why.

Leviticus 17:8-9 “And you shall say to them, Any one of the
house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them,
who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice and does not bring it
to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it to the Lord,
that man shall be cut off from his people.”

There was only one place designated for sacrifices and burnt
Tabernacle. That was God’s plan.
It appeared that the 2 1⁄2 tribes had gone rogue.
The problem here is that the 9 1⁄2 tribes jumped to a conclusion
about the altar.

Sometimes things aren’t always as they seem.
A lady received an email containing only Scripture verses
from a church member she didn’t know very well.
There was a disagreement among some of the members of
the committee she was on.
She assumed the verses were targeting her and accusing her
of wrongdoing.
Her husband recommended she reach out to the sender.
When she called, the sender said,

“I’m glad you called, my
computer has a virus and has been sending out emails with
portions of my Sunday school lesson to random people in
my address book.”
The lady was grateful she didn’t jump to conclusions and
start off on the defensive with the church member.

When something appears wrong, it’s best to approach the
situation with the intention of understanding rather than

The good news is that the 9 1⁄2 tribes didn’t just attack
They send Phinehas along with 10 chiefs, one from each tribe to
speak to the 2 1⁄2 tribes.
But they led with accusation rather than questioning their intent.
● They accused them of a breach of faith
● They equated their act with the sin at Peor.
● They asked if they had turned from following the Lord?
Their concern was that their sin would bring God’s judgment on
● They offer to share their land with the 2 1⁄2 tribes
● They compare them to Achan breaking faith

Tribes of Reuben, Gad and 1⁄2 tribe of Manasseh’s Humble

Joshua 22:21-29

Acknowledging the Lord God calling Him Mighty One.

Argue that they are not in breach of faith

Admit that God should take them out if they had done what
Israel thought

Apprise Israel of the reason for the altar, a witness between
you and us

Ally themselves with the Lord

Joshua 22:30-34

Accusation Rescinded

Phinehas confirmed that the Lord was in their midst.
He is grateful that the 2 1⁄2 tribes hadn’t done what they thought.
They went back praising God and giving a good report of the 2 1⁄2

The tribes of Reuben and Gad named the altar Witness because
it is a witness between the 2 1⁄2 tribes and the 9 1⁄2 tribes. It will
stand like a memorial similar to the stones that were set up near
the Jordan River.

Don’t Rush to Judgment – things aren’t always as they seem.
Follow the Lord Closely – Love Him, Follow His Example, Love