Verse 10: And when they came unto the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see to.
[And when they had come unto the mounds of Jordan: that is, where Jordan is enclosed with heaps and mounds of sand, lest it should overflow: אֶל־גְּלִילוֹ] Unto the confines, or limits, of Jordan (Pagnine, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius); unto Gilgal, which is beside Jordan (Syriac).
Built there: Or, built then, as this particle is elsewhere used; and so learned interpreters understand it, Psalm 14:5; 36:12; Ecclesiastes 3:17; Hosea 2:15. And in the Latin tongue adverbs of place are sometimes put for adverbs of time: so I take it here. First, Because this best answers to the when in the beginning of the verse. Secondly, This seems to me to clear a great difficulty as to the place where the altar was built, which though according to our translation it seems, and is generally thought by interpreters to have been, in the land of Canaan; yet if things be more narrowly examined, it may be thought to have been on the other side Jordan in Gilead; and that both, first, from verse 11, where it is said to have been built over against, or in the sight of the land of Canaan, therefore not in it. And secondly, from the reason they gave of the building of this altar, for fear lest the Israelites within Jordan and in Canaan should say unto their children dwelling beyond Jordan, The Lord hath made Jordan a border between us and you, etc.; which jealousy would have been much confirmed by building the altar in Canaan, but would be satisfied and confuted by having on the other side of Jordan, and in their own land, a pattern of that altar at which God was served in the land of Canaan, as a witness that they owned the same God, and the same way of worship, with their brethren that lived in Canaan. But whether the Hebrew particle be rendered then or there, it is not to be taken too strictly: if then, the meaning is not, that they did this as soon as ever they came to the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan; but about that time when they came to them, that they thought and designed it, and as soon as ever they were got over Jordan, which was in a very little time, they effected and perfected it: if it be rendered there, it is not to be limited to the very same spot of ground mentioned before, as if it was built at that border of Jordan that was in the land of Canaan; but to be a little more largely understood; to be built at one or other of the borders of Jordan; or, in general, by Jordan; which is here purposely added, for the explication of the word there, and to prevent the restraint of it to the border of Jordan, within Canaan.
[An altar of exceedingly great size, מִזְבֵּ֥חַ גָּד֖וֹל לְמַרְאֶֽה׃] Enormous in appearance (Arabic, similarly the Syriac, Junius and Tremellius), that is, of remarkable size (Vatablus).
 Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֙אוּ֙ אֶל־גְּלִיל֣וֹת הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן וַיִּבְנ֣וּ בְנֵי־רְאוּבֵ֣ן וּבְנֵי־גָ֡ד וַחֲצִ֣י שֵׁבֶט֩ הַֽמְנַשֶּׁ֙ה שָׁ֤ם מִזְבֵּ֙חַ֙ עַל־הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן מִזְבֵּ֥חַ גָּד֖וֹל לְמַרְאֶֽה׃
 גְּלִילָה, circuit or boundary, is related to the verbal root גָּלַל, to roll.
 Joshua 22:10b: “…the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built there (שָׁם) an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see to.”
 Psalm 14:4, 5: “Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord. There (שָׁם, or, then) were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.”
 Psalm 36:11, 12: “Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me. There (שָׁם, or, then) are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.”
 Ecclesiastes 3:17: “I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there (שָׁם, or, then) for every purpose and for every work.”
 Hosea 2:15: “And I will give her her vineyards from thence (מִשָּׁם), and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there (שָּׁמָּה), as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.”