Joshua 22:9: The Transjordanian Tribes Depart

Verse 9:[1] 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 (Num. 32:1, 26, 29) 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.

[From the children of Israel] Understanding, the rest[2] (Vatablus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּשֻׁ֣בוּ וַיֵּלְכ֡וּ בְּנֵי־רְאוּבֵ֙ן וּבְנֵי־גָ֜ד וַחֲצִ֣י׀ שֵׁ֣בֶט הַֽמְנַשֶּׁ֗ה מֵאֵת֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל מִשִּׁלֹ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּאֶֽרֶץ־כְּנָ֑עַן לָלֶ֜כֶת אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ הַגִּלְעָ֗ד אֶל־אֶ֤רֶץ אֲחֻזָּתָם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נֹֽאחֲזוּ־בָ֔הּ עַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה בְּיַד־מֹשֶֽׁה׃

[2] That is, from the rest of the children of Israel.

Joshua 22:7, 8: Joshua Blesses and Dismisses the Half Tribe of Manasseh

Verse 7:[1] Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given possession in Bashan: (Josh. 17:5) 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…

[Now to the half tribe of Manasseh, etc.] Because there had been a mention of the Manassites, the reason why this Tribe was divided into two parts is explained parenthetically (Masius, Bonfrerius).

[And when he sent them away…and had blessed them,וְ֠גַם כִּ֣י שִׁלְּחָ֧ם יְהוֹשֻׁ֛עַ אֶל־אָהֳלֵיהֶ֖ם וַיְבָרֲכֵֽם׃] [They vary. Some take this of the Manassites:] So then Joshua dismissed them [namely, the Manassites] also…blessing them (Tigurinus, Munster) [similarly Castalio, and, if I am not mistaken, Jonathan and the Arabic]. [Others understand it of all the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manassites:] And also, when he sent them away, and had bless them, verse 8, then he said, etc. (Pagnine). [The Syriac refers it to verse 6, and encloses most of verse 7 in parentheses, in this manner:] verse 6, Joshua blessed them, and sent them away, and they departed to their cities, verse 7, (for to the half tribe…on the other side of Jordan westward), these, I say, he sent away…and they departed, and he blessed them (Syriac).


Verse 8:[2] And he spake 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: (Num. 31:27; 1 Sam. 30:24) divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.

[Divide the spoil with your brethren] Question: With what justice are those that remained at home in peace made level with those that endured war and dangers? Response: Neither the verb חָלַק, to divide,[3] nor חָצָה, to divide,[4] proves that they had equal parts. And, even if we should grant it so to be, nevertheless, when those that took the spoil keep half for themselves, they take far more man-by-man than those sitting idle; for they were far fewer. For only forty thousand fought,[5] but above seventy thousand remained on the other side of Jordan.[6] But neither are those treated as equal in Numbers 31. But there was a different method with those in 1 Samuel 30, for the danger of all was equal; since the enemy was able easily to overwhelm those two hundred also (Masius). Joshua does not consult, but he prescribes (Lapide, Serarius, Masius, Bonfrerius, Tirinus). [Grotius takes the passage otherwise: Divide the spoil, etc., that is, Depart happily with that part of the spoil that has fallen to you (Grotius).

With your brethren: that is, With them who staid beyond Jordan for the defence of their land, and wives, and children, who therefore were to have a share, though not an equal share, with these. See Numbers 31:27. But for them, 1 Samuel 30:24, their share was equal, because their danger was equal.

[1] Hebrew: וְלַחֲצִ֣י׀ שֵׁ֣בֶט הַֽמְנַשֶּׁ֗ה נָתַ֣ן מֹשֶׁה֮ בַּבָּשָׁן֒ וּלְחֶצְי֗וֹ נָתַ֤ן יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ עִם־אֲחֵיהֶ֔ם מֵעֵ֥בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן יָ֑מָּה וְ֠גַם כִּ֣י שִׁלְּחָ֧ם יְהוֹשֻׁ֛עַ אֶל־אָהֳלֵיהֶ֖ם וַיְבָרֲכֵֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֜ם לֵאמֹ֗ר בִּנְכָסִ֙ים רַבִּ֜ים שׁ֤וּבוּ אֶל־אָֽהֳלֵיכֶם֙ וּבְמִקְנֶ֣ה רַב־מְאֹ֔ד בְּכֶ֙סֶף וּבְזָהָ֜ב וּבִנְחֹ֧שֶׁת וּבְבַרְזֶ֛ל וּבִשְׂלָמ֖וֹת הַרְבֵּ֣ה מְאֹ֑ד חִלְק֥וּ שְׁלַל־אֹיְבֵיכֶ֖ם עִם־אֲחֵיכֶֽם׃

[3] Joshua 22:8b:  “…divide (חִלְקוּ) the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.”

[4] Numbers 31:27:  “And divide (וְחָצִיתָ) the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation…”

[5] Joshua 4:12, 13.

[6] See Numbers 26:7, 18, 34.

Joshua 22:4-6: Joshua Blesses and Dismisses the Transjordanian Tribes

Verse 4:[1] And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, (Num. 32:33; Deut. 29:8; Josh. 13:8) which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.

[Return, פְּנוּ֩ וּלְכ֙וּ לָכֶ֜ם] Look back, and go for yourselves (Montanus); turn again and depart (Munster, Pagnine, Dutch); having turned around, depart (Junius and Tremellius).

[Unto your tabernacles (similarly Malvenda, Junius and Tremellius)] Houses (Septuagint); cities (Jonathan, Syriac). He certainly understands their cities; for they had not left their property in tents, but in cities, Numbers 32:17. But he makes use of a military term among soldiers (Masius, Malvenda). Or, he alludes to their property of cattle, which they were especially cultivating, Numbers 32:1, 4, 16 (Malvenda). Tents are taken broadly for whatever dwelling; as in Judges 19:9;[2] Hosea 9:6. The reason for which is that the former use was of tents rather than of houses: afterward, when houses were built, the same name remained. Just as we use the term libros/books,[3] for those things that are not libri/books, with the term enduring, since initially it was wont to be written in libro, that is, on the bark of trees. Thus in Malachi 2:12, from the tabernacles of Jacob. To this refer that out of 2 Samuel 18:17, they fled unto their tents, that is, unto their houses, or cities (Drusius). In the land of Canaan many were preferring tents to houses. We have the tent of Jael, Judges 4:17; of David, 1 Samuel 17:54; of the Reubenites, 1 Chronicles 5:10; and of the Rechabites, Jeremiah 35:7. Hence also the villages of Jair, Numbers 32:41;[4] Deuteronomy 3:14[5] [concerning which see on those passages]. Moreover, this use of tents, as it had its beginning among shepherds, so it lasted long among those peoples that cultivated cattle (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:45:465).

Unto your tents, that is, to your settled habitations, as appears from Joshua 22:8, which are oft called tents, as Judges 19:9; 2 Samuel 18:17; Hosea 9:6; Malachi 2:12.


Verse 5:[6] But (Deut. 6:6, 17; 11:22) take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, (Deut. 10:12) 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.

Take diligent heed; watch over yourselves and all your actions.

[The commandment and the law] The former signifies morals, the latter judgments and ceremonies (Lyra). But that subtlety is overly contrived, and not well-founded enough: both signify the entire teaching of Moses (Masius).

The commandment and the law; two words expressing the same thing, the law of commandments delivered by Moses.

[That ye love] Now, because the whole law was posited in this great commandment, according to Matthew 22:36-38, he inculcates this one in them (Masius).

[In His ways] The precepts of God are called ways, because, just like a way, they direct men in their actions, and show in which route one is to walk (Bonfrerius).

[In all your heart and…soul] Heart here is the mind and intelligence, or will, of man; soul is that part of the inner man that is wont to be agitated by the perturbations of the body, which the Greeks call the ἐπιθυμητικὸν/ epithymeticon, the seat of desire and the affections, and Theologians the ψυχικὸν/ natural. Question: But does Moses or Joshua so emphasize these things, since no one after the spoiling of nature is able to fulfill them? I respond with Augustine, Retractions 1:19, that God set forth that forcible expression of perfection, not because mortals, while they are enclosed in flesh, are able to attain to it, but so that all might strive after it, to which with immortal life they are going at last to come: and to what extent they feel that they are not strong enough to fulfill that, to that extent they more ardently implore the help of Divine grace. God, when He commands, instructs that we should do what we are able; but that we should ask help from Him to do those things that we ourselves are not able; He also by His grace is going to make us able: and in addition this medicine for duty not fully accomplished He prescribes for us, commanding that we should ask Him, Forgive us our debts[7] (Masius).

With all your heart and with all your soul; with the whole strength of your minds, and wills, and affections.


Verse 6:[8] So Joshua (Gen. 47:7; Ex. 39:43; Josh. 14:13; 2 Sam. 6:18; Luke 24:50) blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.

[And he blessed them] He wished them well (Masius, Bonfrerius). This is said by way of anticipation (Vatablus). Rather, he gave to them gifts, on account eminent support in the wars. To bless often signifies this (Drusius, Junius).

[1] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֗ה הֵנִ֙יחַ יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֙ לַֽאֲחֵיכֶ֔ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר דִּבֶּ֣ר לָהֶ֑ם וְעַתָּ֡ה פְּנוּ֩ וּלְכ֙וּ לָכֶ֜ם לְאָהֳלֵיכֶ֗ם אֶל־אֶ֙רֶץ֙ אֲחֻזַּתְכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר׀ נָתַ֣ן לָכֶ֗ם מֹשֶׁה֙ עֶ֣בֶד יְהוָ֔ה בְּעֵ֖בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּֽן׃

[2] Judges 19:9:  “And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father in law, the damsel’s father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night:  behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home (לְאֹהָלֶךָ, to thy tent).”

[3] Liber can signify the inner bark of a tree, or a book.

[4] Numbers 32:41:  “And Jair the son of Manasseh went and took the small towns thereof (חַוֹּתֵיהֶם, the tent-villages thereof), and called them Havoth-jair (חַוֹּ֥ת יָאִֽיר׃, the Tent-villages of Jair).”

[5] Deuteronomy 3:14:  “Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his own name, Bashan-havoth-jair (הַבָּשָׁן֙ חַוֹּ֣ת יָאִ֔יר, Bashan of the Tent-villages of Jair), unto this day.”

[6] Hebrew: רַ֣ק׀ שִׁמְר֣וּ מְאֹ֗ד לַעֲשׂ֙וֹת אֶת־הַמִּצְוָ֣ה וְאֶת־הַתּוֹרָה֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה אֶתְכֶם֮ מֹשֶׁ֣ה עֶֽבֶד־יְהוָה֒ לְ֠אַהֲבָה אֶת־יְהוָ֙ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֜ם וְלָלֶ֧כֶת בְּכָל־דְּרָכָ֛יו וְלִשְׁמֹ֥ר מִצְוֹתָ֖יו וּלְדָבְקָה־ב֑וֹ וּלְעָבְד֕וֹ בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶ֖ם וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁכֶֽם׃

[7] Matthew 6:12.

[8] Hebrew: וַֽיְבָרְכֵ֖ם יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ וַֽיְשַׁלְּחֵ֔ם וַיֵּלְכ֖וּ אֶל־אָהֳלֵיהֶֽם׃

Joshua 22:1-3: The Transjordanian Tribes Commended for Faithfulness in the Conquest

Verse 1:[1] Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh…


Verse 2:[2] And said unto them, Ye have kept (Num. 32:20; Deut. 3:18) all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, (Josh. 1:16, 17) and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you…

[Ye have done] He commends these soldiers, 1. for their obedience; which deservedly obtains the first place: for this uniquely upholds the entire military discipline. 2. For their faithfulness; ye have not left your brethren. 3. He amplifies this commendation with their longsuffering and constancy; through many days. Which constancy and patience was all the greater because they had left their wives, children, and all their property on the other side of the river in places not yet quite safe. 4. He commends their piety, rare in those that lead a military life (Masius).


Verse 3:[3] Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God.

[For a long time] That time was thirteen or fourteen years (Masius, Serarius, Junius, Drusius), in which the war against the Canaanites lasted. See on the end of chapter 10 (Junius). Joshua lived one hundred and ten years. Now, that he was in command for twenty-seven or twenty-eight years, many have written. But, that he died before the second שְׁמִיטָה/shemitah, that is, seventh year given for the rest of the land, returned again, was published in a book, which is inscribed The Series of the World [vulgarly, Seder Olam]. Thus fourteen years were spent in subduing the land, and he lived thirteen years after the acquired peace (Masius). [Others otherwise:] The war was waged in only seven years (Lapide, Bonfrerius). See what things we said on Joshua 11:18 (Bonfrerius); 18:1 (Lapide).

These many days, that is, for divers years together, so long as the war lasted. See Joshua 11:18; 14:10.

[Keeping the command of the Lord, וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֕ם אֶת־מִשְׁמֶ֕רֶת מִצְוַ֖ת יְהוָ֥ה] And ye have kept the charge of the precept of the Lord (Montanus, Pagnine, Munster); ye have observed the observation and precept of the Lord (Junius and Tremellius); and circumspectly (diligently [Tigurinus]) ye have kept the precept of the Lord (Arabic, Tigurinus) [which is to say, ye have watched with a watch, etc.].

[1] Hebrew: אָ֚ז יִקְרָ֣א יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ לָרֽאוּבֵנִ֖י וְלַגָּדִ֑י וְלַחֲצִ֖י מַטֵּ֥ה מְנַשֶּֽׁה׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם אַתֶּ֣ם שְׁמַרְתֶּ֔ם אֵ֚ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה אֶתְכֶ֔ם מֹשֶׁ֖ה עֶ֣בֶד יְהוָ֑ה וַתִּשְׁמְע֣וּ בְקוֹלִ֔י לְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוִּ֖יתִי אֶתְכֶֽם׃

[3] Hebrew: לֹֽא־עֲזַבְתֶּ֣ם אֶת־אֲחֵיכֶ֗ם זֶ֚ה יָמִ֣ים רַבִּ֔ים עַ֖ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֕ם אֶת־מִשְׁמֶ֕רֶת מִצְוַ֖ת יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

Joshua 22 Outline

The two tribes and half are sent home with a blessing, strict charge to fear the Lord, and great booty, 1-9. They build an altar of testimony at the brink of Jordan, 10. The Israelites are offended, and assemble to wage war against them, 11, 12. They first send Phinehas and ten princes ambassadors to reprove them, 13-20. They clear themselves; their brethren rest satisfied, 21-34