Then Y'hoshua called the Re'uveni, the Gadi and the half-tribe of M'nasheh,
and said to them, "You have done everything Moshe the servant of ADONAI ordered you to do and heeded what I said in all the orders I gave you.
All this time you have not abandoned your kinsmen but have obeyed your commission, as ADONAI your God ordered.
Now ADONAI your God has given rest to your kinsmen, as he told them he would. So you too, return to your tents in the land which is your possession, which Moshe the servant of ADONAI gave you beyond the Yarden.
Only take great care to obey the mitzvah and the Torah which Moshe the servant of ADONAI gave you - to love ADONAI your God, follow all his ways, observe his mitzvot, cling to him, and serve him with all your heart and being."
Then Y'hoshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.
(To the one half-tribe of M'nasheh, Moshe had given an inheritance in Bashan; but to the other half, Y'hoshua gave one among their kinsmen on the west side of the Yarden.) When Y'hoshua sent them away to their tents he blessed them,
saying, "Return with great riches to your tents - with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, iron and with great quantities of clothing; share the spoil of your enemies with your kinsmen."
So the descendants of Re'uven, the descendants of Gad and the half-tribe of M'nasheh returned; they left the people of Isra'el in Shiloh, in the land of Kena'an, to go to the land of Gil'ad, to the land they were to possess and which they already did possess - according to the order of ADONAI through Moshe.
When the descendants of Re'uven, the descendants of Gad and the half-tribe arrived in the area of the land of Kena'an near the Yarden, they built an altar there by the Yarden, a large, impressive altar.
The people of Isra'el heard of it and said, "Look! The descendants of Re'uven, the descendants of Gad and the half-tribe of M'nasheh have built an altar by the frontier of the land of Kena'an, in the area by the Yarden, on the side that belongs to the people of Isra'el."
When the people of Isra'el heard of it, the entire community of Isra'el gathered together in Shiloh to wage war against them.
The people of Isra'el sent Pinchas the son of El'azar the cohen into the land of Gil'ad to the descendants of Re'uven, the descendants of Gad and the half-tribe of M'nasheh.
With him were ten leaders, one leader of an ancestral clan for each of the tribes of Isra'el; each one was a head of his ancestral clan among the thousands of Isra'el.
They came to the descendants of Re'uven, the descendants of Gad and the half-tribe of M'nasheh in the land of Gil'ad and spoke with them; they said,
"Here is what the whole community of ADONAI is saying: 'What is this treachery that you have committed against the God of Isra'el, turning away today from following ADONAI, in that you have built yourselves an altar, thus rebelling today against ADONAI?
Is the guilt we incurred at P'or not enough for us? We haven't cleansed ourselves from it to this day, even though a plague came on the community of ADONAI.
Is this why you have to turn away today from following ADONAI? If you rebel against ADONAI today, he will be angry tomorrow with the whole community of Isra'el.
If the land you have taken possession of is unclean, then cross back over into the land which belongs to ADONAI, where the tabernacle of ADONAI is located, and take a possession among us. But don't rebel against ADONAI, and don't rebel against us, by building yourselves an altar other than the altar of ADONAI our God.
Didn't Achan the son of Zerach commit a sin in regard to things set aside for destruction, and God's anger fell on the whole community of Isra'el? He was not the only one who died for his crime.'"
Then the descendants of Re'uven, the descendants of Gad and the half-tribe of M'nasheh answered the leaders of the thousands of Isra'el:
"The Mighty One, God, is ADONAI! He knows, and Isra'el will know - if we acted in rebellion or treachery against ADONAI, don't vindicate us today!
We haven't built an altar in order to turn away from following ADONAI or to offer on it burnt offerings, grain offerings or sacrifices as peace offerings. If we have, let ADONAI himself require us to atone for it.
Rather, we did this out of anxiety, because we thought, 'Sometime in the future, your descendants might say to our descendants, "You don't have anything to do with ADONAI, the God of Isra'el,
because ADONAI made the Yarden the border between us and you, so you descendants of Re'uven and Gad have no share in ADONAI."' In this way your descendants could make our descendants stop fearing ADONAI.
So we said, 'Let us now make preparations and build ourselves an altar, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices,
but as a witness between us and you, and between our generations who will come after us, so that we may perform the service for ADONAI in his presence with our burnt offerings, sacrifices and peace offerings - so that your descendants will not say to our descendants at some future time, "You have no share in ADONAI."'
For this reason we said, 'When they accuse us or future generations in this way, we will say, "Look! Here is a replica of the altar of ADONAI which our ancestors made, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices, but as a witness between us and you."'
Far be it from us that we should rebel against ADONAI and turn away today from following ADONAI by building an altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings or sacrifices other than the altar of ADONAI our God which stands in front of his tabernacle!"
When Pinchas the cohen and the leaders of the community, the heads of the thousands of Isra'el who were with him, heard what the descendants of Re'uven, the descendants of Gad and the descendants of M'nasheh said, it satisfied them.
Pinchas the son of El'azar the cohen said to the descendants of Re'uven, the descendants of Gad and the descendants of M'nasheh, "Today we know that ADONAI is here with us, because you have not committed this treasonous act against ADONAI. Now you have saved the people of Isra'el from the anger of ADONAI."
So Pinchas the son of El'azar the cohen and the leaders returned from the descendants of Re'uven and Gad, from the land of Gil'ad to the land of Kena'an and the people of Isra'el, bringing word back to them.
What they said satisfied the people of Isra'el. The people of Isra'el blessed God and said no more about going to wage war against the descendants of Re'uven and Gad and destroying the land where they lived.
The descendants of Re'uven and Gad called the altar "'Ed [a witness]" between us that ADONAI is God.