Joshua 22:26-28: The Answer of the Transjordanian Tribes, Part 3

Verse 26:[1] Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice…

[Let us build for us, וַנֹּ֕אמֶר נַעֲשֶׂה־נָּ֣א לָ֔נוּ לִבְנ֖וֹת אֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּ֑חַ] Let us do now for ourselves by building an altar (Montanus, Vatablus, thus Dutch, Tigurinus Notes). Let us, building, make now for ourselves an altar (Junius and Tremellius). Let us give ourselves now, so that we might build the altar (Pagnine, Vatablus). Let us now prepare to build us an altar (English). Come (the נָא is often an adverb of exhortation, rather than of the present time), let us act so that we might establish an altar (Masius): which is to say, therefore, with this intention we applied ourselves to build the altar, etc. (Vatablus).


Verse 27:[2] But that it may be (Gen. 31:48; Josh. 24:27; 22:34) a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might (Deut. 12:5, 6, 11, 12, 17, 18, 26, 27) do the service of the LORD before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the LORD.

[But for a testimony…that we might serve, etc., כִּי֩ עֵ֙ד ה֜וּא—לַעֲבֹ֞דו גו״] That it might be a witness (Montanus) (but so that it might be a witness [Pagnine, Tigurinus, Dutch]: but it shall be a witness [Vatablus]: but for a testimony [Munster]) to serve, or, that we might serve, the service of the Lord (Pagnine, Montanus, Dutch, similarly Munster, Junius and Tremellius, Septuagint). That it might be a witness concerning the worship of God, etc. (Arabic). That it might be a public testimony that we are not able, nor ought we, to be excluded from the worship of God (Osiander).

That we might do the service of the Lord before him; that we and ours may have and hold our privilege of serving and worshipping God, not upon this altar, but in the office of God’s presence, in your tabernacle, and upon your altar.


Verse 28:[3] Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between us and you.

[Which if they should say, etc.,וְהָיָ֗ה כִּֽי־יֹאמְר֥וּ—מָחָ֑ר וְאָמַ֡רְנוּ רְא֣וּ ] And, or thus, it shall be when they shall address us…that we might say, or, and we shall say, See, or, Look (Junius and Tremllius, Montanus). If they wish (supply, thus [Munster, Tigurinus, English], or, such things [Osiander]) to say…we shall say, See, etc. (Munster, Tigurinus, English). If it should happen, or, if it is going to be, that they speak thus, namely, that we have no part in the Lord (Vatablus).

[Behold the altar] Hebrew: See the figure of the altar, etc.[4] Thus the Church places the figure of the cross of Christ before our eyes, not so that we might adore it [let today’s Papists note this, who are all σταυρολάτραι, that is, worshippers of the cross]; but so that we might recall to mind that true and saving altar, etc. (Masius).

The pattern; an exact representation and resemblance. A witness between us and you, that we both serve one God, and approve and make use of one and the same altar.

[1] Hebrew: וַנֹּ֕אמֶר נַעֲשֶׂה־נָּ֣א לָ֔נוּ לִבְנ֖וֹת אֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּ֑חַ לֹ֥א לְעוֹלָ֖ה וְלֹ֥א לְזָֽבַח׃

[2] Hebrew: כִּי֩ עֵ֙ד ה֜וּא בֵּינֵ֣ינוּ וּבֵינֵיכֶ֗ם וּבֵ֣ין דֹּרוֹתֵינוּ֮ אַחֲרֵינוּ֒ לַעֲבֹ֞ד אֶת־עֲבֹדַ֤ת יְהוָה֙ לְפָנָ֔יו בְּעֹלוֹתֵ֥ינוּ וּבִזְבָחֵ֖ינוּ וּבִשְׁלָמֵ֑ינוּ וְלֹא־יֹאמְר֙וּ בְנֵיכֶ֤ם מָחָר֙ לְבָנֵ֔ינוּ אֵין־לָכֶ֥ם חֵ֖לֶק בַּיהוָֽה׃

[3] Hebrew: וַנֹּ֕אמֶר וְהָיָ֗ה כִּֽי־יֹאמְר֥וּ אֵלֵ֛ינוּ וְאֶל־דֹּרֹתֵ֖ינוּ מָחָ֑ר וְאָמַ֡רְנוּ רְא֣וּ אֶת־תַּבְנִית֩ מִזְבַּ֙ח יְהוָ֜ה אֲשֶׁר־עָשׂ֣וּ אֲבוֹתֵ֗ינוּ לֹ֤א לְעוֹלָה֙ וְלֹ֣א לְזֶ֔בַח כִּי־עֵ֣ד ה֔וּא בֵּינֵ֖ינוּ וּבֵינֵיכֶֽם׃

[4] Hebrew: רְא֣וּ אֶת־תַּבְנִית֩ מִזְבַּ֙ח וגו״.

1 thought on “Joshua 22:26-28: The Answer of the Transjordanian Tribes, Part 3

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘The project they had to prevent this, Joshua 22:26-28. “Therefore, to secure an interest in the altar of God to those who shall come after us, and to prove their title to it, we said, Let us build an altar, to be a witness between us and you,” that, having this copy of the altar in their custody, it might be produced as an evidence of their right to the privilege of the original. Every one that saw this altar, and observed that it was never used for sacrifice and offering, would enquire what was the meaning of it, and this answer would be given to that enquiry, that it was built by those separate tribes, in token of their communion with their brethren and their joint-interest with them in the altar of the Lord. Christ is the great altar that sanctifies every gift; the best evidence of our interest in him will be the pattern of his Spirit in our hearts, and our conformity to him. If we can produce this it will be a testimony for us that we have a part in the Lord, and an earnest of our perseverance in following him.’

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