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Commentary On Joshua by Jean Calvin

Joshua 22:1-9

1. Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh,

1. Tunc accersivit Josue Rubenitas et Gaditas ac dimidiam tribum Manasse,

2. And said unto them, You have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you:

2. Dixitque ad eos, Vos custodistis omnia quae praecepit vobis Moses servus Jehovae, et obedistis voci meae in cunctis quae praecepi vobis.

3. You have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God.

3. Non deseruistis fratres vestros jam diebus multis usque ad diem hanc, sed custodistis custodiam praecepti Jehovae Dei vestri.

4. And now the LORD your God has given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return you, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.

4. Nunc autem requiem dedit Jehova Deus vester fratribus vestris, quemadmodum dixerat eis: nunc igitur revertimini, et proficiscimini ad tabernacula vestra, ad terram possessionis vestrae, quam dedit vobis Moses servus Jehovae trans Jordanem.

5. But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

5. Tantum observate diligenter ut faciatis praeceptum et legem quam praecepit vobis Moses servus Jehovae, ut diligatis Jehovam Deum vestrum, et ambuletis in omnibus viis ejus, servetisque praecepta ejus, et adhaereatis ei, atque serviatis ei toto corde vestro, et tota anima vestra.

6. So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.

6. Benedixitque eis Josue, ac dimisit eos, abieruntque in tabernacula sua.

7. Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given possession in Bashan: but unto the other half thereof gave Joshua among their brethren on this side Jordan westward. And when Joshua sent them away also unto their tents, then he blessed them,

7. Dimidiae autem tribui Manasse dederat Moses in Basan: alteri autem ejus parti dedit Josue cum fratribus suis trans Jordanem ad occidentem. Et etiam quum dimitteret eos Josue in tabernacula sua, et benedixisset eis.

8. And he spoke unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and with very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.

8. Tunc dixit ad eos, dicendo. Cum divitiis multis revertimini ad tabernacula vestra, et cum aquisitione multa valde, cum argento, et auro, et aere, et ferro, et vestibus multis valde: dividite spolia inimicorum vestrorum cum fratribus vestris.

9. And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad 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 unto the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, whereof they were possessed, according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

9. Reversi sunt itaque, et abierunt filii Ruben, et filii Gad, et dimidia tribus Manasse a filiis Israel de Silo quae est in terra Channan, ut irent ad terram Gilead, ad terram possessionis suae, in qua possessionem acceperunt secundum sermonem Jehovae per manum Mosis.

1. Then Joshua called the Reubenites, etc Here is related the discharge of the two tribes and half-tribe, who had followed the rest of the people, not that they might acquire anything for themselves, but that, as they had already obtained dwellings and lands without lot, they might carry on war in common with their brethren, until they also should have a quiet inheritance. Now, as they had been faithful companions and helpers to their brethren, Joshua declares that they were entitled to their discharge, and thus sends them back to their homes released and free. It is asked, however, how he can consider them to have performed their due measure of military service, while the enemy were still in possession of part of the land, of which the sole possession was to be the proper termination of the war? But if we bear in mind what I lately said, the knot will be loosed. Had the Israelites followed the invitation of God, and seconded his agency, nay, when he was stretching out his hand to them, had they not basely drawn back, the remaining part of the war would have been finished with no danger and little trouble. From their own sloth, therefore, they refused what God was ready to bestow. And thus it happened that the agreement by which the two tribes and half-tribe had bound themselves, ceased to be binding. For the only obligation they had undertaken was to accompany the ten tribes, and contend for their inheritance as strenuously as if their condition had been exactly the same. Now, when they have perseveringly performed their part as faithful allies, and the ten tribes contented with their present fortune, not only do not demand, but rather tacitly repudiate their assistance, a free return to their homes is justly allowed them. They, indeed, deserve praise for their patient endurance, in not allowing weariness of the service to make them request their discharge, but in waiting quietly till Joshua of his own accord sends for them.

5. But take diligent heed, etc He thus releases and frees them from temporary service, that he may bind them for ever to the authority of the one true God. He therefore permits them to return home, but on the condition that wherever they may be they are to be the soldiers of God; and he at the same time prescribes the mode, namely, the observance of his Law. But since such is the vanity and inconstancy of the human mind, that religion easily fades away from the heart, while carelessness and contempt creep in, he requires of them zeal and diligence in executing the Law. He calls it the Law of Moses, that they may not be carried to and fro by airy speculations, but remain fixed in the doctrine which they had learned from the faithful servant of God. He touches also on the end and sum of the Law, love to God, and adherence to him, because outward worship would otherwise be of little value. He confirms the same thing by other words, by which sincerity is denoted, namely, serving the Lord with their whole heart and soul.

8. Return with much riches, etc As it was formerly seen that the greater part of the two tribes were left in their territories beyond the Jordan, when the others passed over to carry on the war, it was fair that, as they had lived in case with their families, or been only occupied with domestic concerns, they should be contented with their own livelihood and the produce of their own labor. And they certainly could not, without dishonesty, have demanded that any part of the booty and spoil should be distributed among them, when they had taken no share in all the toil and the danger. Joshua, however, does not insist on the strictly legal view, but exhorts the soldiers to deal liberally with their countrymen, by sharing the prey with them. Here some one may unseasonably raise the question, Whether or not the booty was common? For Joshua does not decide absolutely that it is their duty to do as he enjoins; he admonishes them that, after they have been enriched by the divine blessing, it would betray a want of proper feeling not to be liberal and kind towards their brethren, especially as it was not their fault that they did not take part in the same expedition. Moreover, when he bids them divide, he does not demand an equal partition, such as that which is usual among partners and equals, but only to bestow something that may suffice to remove all cause of envy and hatred.

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