Joshua 22:13-14: The Embassage to the Transjordanian Tribes, Part 1

Verse 13:[1] And the children of Israel (Deut. 13:14; Judg. 20:12) sent unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, (Ex. 6:25; Num. 25:7) Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest…

[And they sent] They wisely try the matter with counsel, rather than with arms (Masius); lest they should undertake anything rashly, without the matter having been sufficiently discussed (Bonfrerius).

[Phinehas the son of the priest Eleazar[2]] Rather, Phinehas the priest: for Phinehas was the Priest, verse 30 (Masius).


Verse 14:[3] And with him ten princes, of each chief house (Heb. house of a father[4]) a prince throughout all the tribes of Israel; and (Num. 1:4) each one was an head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel.

[Princes] These were not the Prefects of their tribes, but Chiliarchs, as the Septuagint has it, and as the Hebrew words indicate, which say that they were head, or put in charge, of the thousands of Israel (Bonfrerius).

[One of every tribe: the Hebrew words otherwise,וְאִ֙ישׁ רֹ֧אשׁ בֵּית־אֲבוֹתָ֛ם הֵ֖מָּה לְאַלְפֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃] And a man (those men [Syriac], individuals [Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus], one man, I say [Arabic], each of them [Junius and Tremellius]) was, or were, a head, or heads (Munster, Tigurinus) (princes [Septuagint, Pagnine]) of the house of his fathers (or, for whatever house of the fathers [Arabic], according to the families of the fathers [Munster, Tigurinus]) among the thousands of Israel (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Montanus), or, according to the thousands of Israel (Arabic). They were commanders of the armies of Israel (Syriac). Each of which was a prefect over a thousand tribesmen, namely, his own. אֲלָפִים sometimes signifies thousand, sometimes those that command a thousand men, that is, τοὺς χιλιάρχους, the chiliarchs: sometimes also leading men, that are commanders of other men in making war. Neither are those wanting that interpret that לְאַלְפֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃, among the Israelitish troops, as if a certain number were put in the place of an uncertain (Masius). Among the thousands of Israel, that is, of the entire Israelitish people, which was in great number (Vatablus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁלְח֙וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶל־בְּנֵי־רְאוּבֵ֧ן וְאֶל־בְּנֵי־גָ֛ד וְאֶל־חֲצִ֥י שֵֽׁבֶט־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ הַגִּלְעָ֑ד אֶת־פִּינְחָ֖ס בֶּן־אֶלְעָזָ֥ר הַכֹּהֵֽן׃

[2] Hebrew: אֶת־פִּינְחָ֖ס בֶּן־אֶלְעָזָ֥ר הַכֹּהֵֽן׃.

[3] Hebrew: וַעֲשָׂרָ֤ה נְשִׂאִים֙ עִמּ֔וֹ נָשִׂ֙יא אֶחָ֜ד נָשִׂ֤יא אֶחָד֙ לְבֵ֣ית אָ֔ב לְכֹ֖ל מַטּ֣וֹת יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְאִ֙ישׁ רֹ֧אשׁ בֵּית־אֲבוֹתָ֛ם הֵ֖מָּה לְאַלְפֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[4] Hebrew: לְבֵ֣ית אָ֔ב.

1 thought on “Joshua 22:13-14: The Embassage to the Transjordanian Tribes, Part 1

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘Their prudence in the prosecution of this zealous resolution is no less commendable. God had appointed them, in cases of this nature, to enquire and make search (Deuteronomy 13:14), that they might not wrong their brethren under pretence of righting their religion; accordingly they resolve here not to send forth their armies, to wage war, till they had first sent their ambassadors to enquire into the merits of the cause, and these men of the first rank, one out of each tribe, and Phinehas at the head of them to be their spokesman, Joshua 22:13, 14. Thus was their zeal for God tempered, guided, and governed by the meekness of wisdom. He that knows all things, and hates all evil things, would not punish the worst of criminals but he would first go down and see, Genesis 18:21. Many an unhappy strife would be prevented, or soon healed by an impartial and favourable enquiry into that which is the matter of the offence. The rectifying of mistakes and misunderstandings, and the setting of misconstrued words and actions in a true light, would be the most effectual way to accommodate both private and public quarrels, and bring them to a happy period.’

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