Verse 15: And they came unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and they spake with them, saying…
Verse 16: Thus saith the whole congregation of the LORD, What trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the LORD, in that ye have builded you an altar, (see Lev. 17:8, 9; Deut. 12:13, 14) that ye might rebel this day against the LORD?
[The people of the Lord] This carries emphasis. The people faithful to God, to the apostate people (Menochius). When they say this, they are able to seem to announce commands from heaven itself. And the Church is certainly to be heard when the cause of Religion is treated (Masius). That is to say, The religious children of Israel, who especially love the honor of the Lord, have ordered that these things be said by us (Vatablus).
The whole congregation of the Lord, who do and are resolved to cleave unto that God from whom you have revolted, and who speak this to you in the name of the Lord.
[What is that transgression? (thus Munster)] Or, treachery (Tigurinus), or, prevarication (Pagnine, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius). How great is (or, what is the meaning of) that prevarication? that is, How great do ye suppose that prevarication is? (Vatablus). The מָעַל they translate to act treacherously (Tigurinus), to prevaricate (Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius), to err (Masius), to commit deceit (the Chaldean in Masius), καταγινώσκειν, to think little of, or to despise, or to neglect and reject in contempt (Symmachus in Masius). The הַיּוֹם, this day, they translate today (Montanus, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius), at this time (Vatablus). But that today signifies the obviousness of the matter, rather than the time; as often elsewhere. Unless one might prefer to think that in this place it pertains to the demonstration of the hastiness of the defection, since they next say that they are not yet cleansed from the shame of Peor (Masius).
What trespass is this? how heinous a crime is this! To turn away this day, that is, so soon after God hath obliged you by such wonderful favours, and when God is now conducting you home to reap the fruits of all your pains and hazards. That ye might rebel; with a design to revolt from and rebel against God, and against his express command of worshipping him at one only altar, Exodus 20:24; Leviticus 17:8, 9; Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 13.
Verse 17: Is the iniquity (Num. 25:3, 4; Deut. 4:3) of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD…
[Is it too little, etc.? הַמְעַט־לָ֙נוּ֙ אֶת־עֲוֹ֣ן פְּע֔וֹר] Is it too little for us (does it appear to be a small thing [Vatablus, similarly Tigurinus]), the iniquity of Peor? (Munster, Tigurinus) (or, with the iniquity of Peor? [Pagnine]). Is it (that is, ought it to appear) a small thing for us, the iniquity with Peor? that is to say, Should we not be content with that iniquity, if we do not include the other? or, more plainly, Does that sin appear small to us, etc.? (Vatablus). Was it too little to us to have admitted that sin? (Masius). [Others conjoin this with what follows in this manner:] Is it too little for us that we have not yet purified ourselves from the iniquity of Peor? (Junius and Tremellius). Hebrew: Is it too little for us from the iniquity of Peor, that we are not purified from it? A Trajection (Junius). Phineas makes use of this example with good reason, since he had been a great part of that (Masius).
[The blemish…remains, etc., אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־הִטַּהַ֙רְנוּ֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ] From which we are not yet purged (Vatablus, similarly the Septuagint, Montanus, Syriac); that we are not cleansed from it (Jonathan). Question: How is this true, seeing that Phineas appeased God, and atoned for the crime? The passage in Numbers 14:20, etc., I have pardoned…nevertheless, as I live, etc., is clearly a twin to this passage (Masius). Responses: 1. Some refer this to the disgrace of the sin (Masius). But this is very weak (Masius). 2. Others more rightly take it of guilt. God was placated to the extent that He was unwilling that more should die at that time in the mutual slaughter; but notwithstanding those impious remained in their guilt, as those that were in the future going to pay the penalty to Divine judgment (Masius, Bonfrerius). He had expiated the guilt of the sin to the extent that God does not go against the people as a whole, or individually against those that were accessories to it, to avenge this with destruction, but to chasten in His own time with certain punishments, as a most merciful father, who, although he pardons his son’s sins, nevertheless corrects his son in certain ways (Masius). 3. Others take this of the fault. Thus the Arabic: from the following of which [namely, sin] we have not yet been cleansed. [Junius and Tremellius also seem thus to have understood it, that we have not yet cleansed ourselves from it.] There were many that had not yet blotted out that fault by repentance, indeed, they were still desiring that fornication (Lapide); they were not yet warding off that sin from the soul (Bonfrerius).
The iniquity of Peor, that is, of our worshipping of Baal-peor, Numbers 25:3, 5. From which we are not cleansed until this day; for though God had pardoned it, as to the national punishment of it, Numbers 25:11, yet they were not yet thoroughly purged from it; partly because the shame and blot of that filthy and odious practice was not yet wiped of; and partly because some of that corrupt leaven still remained among them, and though it smothered for a time, yet was ready to break forth upon all occasions. See Joshua 24:23. And God also took notice of these idolatrous inclinations in particular persons, and found out ways to punish them one time or other.
Verse 18: But that ye must turn away this day from following the LORD? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the LORD, that to morrow (Num. 16:22) he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel.
[And ye have left] He speaks assertively, so that he might elicit a confession of sin (Bonfrerius).
[And tomorrow] That is, in the future, and quickly, or soon (Lyra, Lapide, Bonfrerius).
To-morrow, that is, suddenly, as that word is oft used, as Matthew 6:30; 1 Corinthians 15:32.
[Against all Israel] Both against you, as the authors of the sin, and against us, as those permitting it (Lapide).
He will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel; with you for doing so, and with us for suffering, or not punishing it.
 Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֜אוּ אֶל־בְּנֵי־רְאוּבֵ֧ן וְאֶל־בְּנֵי־גָ֛ד וְאֶל־חֲצִ֥י שֵֽׁבֶט־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ הַגִּלְעָ֑ד וַיְדַבְּר֥וּ אִתָּ֖ם לֵאמֹֽר׃
 Hebrew: כֹּ֣ה אָמְר֞וּ כֹּ֣ל׀ עֲדַ֣ת יְהוָ֗ה מָֽה־הַמַּ֤עַל הַזֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֤ר מְעַלְתֶּם֙ בֵּאלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לָשׁ֣וּב הַיּ֔וֹם מֵאַחֲרֵ֖י יְהוָ֑ה בִּבְנֽוֹתְכֶ֤ם לָכֶם֙ מִזְבֵּ֔חַ לִמְרָדְכֶ֥ם הַיּ֖וֹם בַּיהוָֽה׃
 Joshua 22:16a: “Thus saith the whole congregation of the Lord, What trespass is this that ye have committed (מָֽה־הַמַּ֤עַל הַזֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֤ר מְעַלְתֶּם֙) against the God of Israel…”
 Joshua 22:16b: “…to turn away this day (הַיּוֹם) from following the Lord, in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day (הַיּוֹם) against the Lord?”
 See Numbers 25.
 Hebrew: הַמְעַט־לָ֙נוּ֙ אֶת־עֲוֹ֣ן פְּע֔וֹר אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־הִטַּהַ֙רְנוּ֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ עַ֖ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וַיְהִ֥י הַנֶּ֖גֶף בַּעֲדַ֥ת יְהוָֽה׃
 Hebrew: וְאַתֶּם֙ תָּשֻׁ֣בוּ הַיּ֔וֹם מֵאַחֲרֵ֖י יְהוָ֑ה וְהָיָ֗ה אַתֶּ֞ם תִּמְרְד֤וּ הַיּוֹם֙ בַּֽיהוָ֔ה וּמָחָ֕ר אֶֽל־כָּל־עֲדַ֥ת יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל יִקְצֹֽף׃