Joshua 22:26
Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice:
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(26) An altar.—Rather, the altar. It was not an altar (Joshua 22:23), but the altar, i.e., the pattern or copy of the altar of Jehovah, to prove that the two and a half tribes had the same right to approach Him as all the rest.

22:21-29 The tribes took the reproofs of their brethren in good part. With solemnity and meekness they proceeded to give all the satisfaction in their power. Reverence of God is expressed in the form of their appeal. This brief confession of faith would remove their brethren's suspicion that they intended to worship other gods. Let us always speak of God with seriousness, and mention his name with a solemn pause. Those who make appeals to Heaven with a careless God knows, take his name in vain: it is very unlike this. They express great confidence of their own uprightness in the matter of their appeal. God knows it, for he is perfectly acquainted with the thoughts and intents of the heart. In every thing we do in religion, it highly concerns us to approve ourselves to God, remembering that he knows the heart. And if our sincerity be known to God, we should study likewise to let others know it by its fruits, especially those who, though they mistake us, show zeal for the glory of God. They disdained the design of which they were suspected to be guilty, and fully explained their true intent in building this altar. Those who have found the comfort and benefit of God's ordinances, cannot but desire to preserve them to their seed, and to use all possible care that their children may be looked upon as having a part in him. Christ is the great Altar that sanctifies every gift; the best evidence of our interest in him is the work of his Spirit in our hearts.The repeated invocation of God, and that by His three names - אל 'êl, אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym, יהוה yehovâh: compare Psalm 50:1 - marks the earnestness of the protestation. The conduct of the two tribes and a half has often been noted as exemplary. They had had a grave and capital crime most unexpectedly laid to their charge, of which they were entirely innocent. Yet there is no word of reproach or recrimination in their vindication of themselves. They are contented simply to repudiate the false accusation and to explain the real motives of conduct perhaps suggested to them by a precedent set by Moses Exodus 17:15.

Save us not this day - The words are a direct appeal to God, exactly equivalent in effect to our form "So help me God."

21. Then the children of Reuben … answered—repudiating, in the strongest terms, the alleged crime, and deponing that so far from entertaining the intention imputed to them, their only object was to perpetuate the memory of their alliance with Israel [Jos 22:24, 25], and their adherence to the worship of Israel's God [Jos 22:26, 27]. No text from Poole on this verse. Therefore we said,.... One to another, in order to prevent the apostasy of our children from God, their departure from his worship, and going into idolatry:

let us now prepare to build us an altar; get materials ready, and set about it instantly, without any delay, while the thing dwells upon our minds:

not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice; not for offerings of any kind required by the law, neither for sin offerings nor trespass offerings, nor any other not named.

Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice:
26. Let us now prepare to build] “Exstruamus nobis altare,” Vulgate. “Make we out to vs an auter,” Wyclif.Verse 26. - Let us now prepare to build us an altar. Literally, let us make now to build to us an altar. Burnt offering, nor for sacrifice. In the "burnt offering" the whole victim was consumed. In the "sacrifice" part only was offered on the altar. The rest was eaten by the priest or the person who offered it. He finally reminded them of the sin of Achan, how that had brought the wrath of God upon the whole congregation (Joshua 7); and, moreover, Achan was not the only man who had perished on account of the sin, but thirty-six men had fallen on account of it at the first attack upon Ai (Joshua 7:5). The allusion to this fact is to be understood as an argument a minori ad majus, as Masius has shown. "If Achan did not perish alone when he committed sacrilege, but God was angry with the whole congregation, what think ye will be the consequence if ye, so great a number, commit so grievous a sin against God?"
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