Look at you - turning your back on God! If you rebel against God today, tomorrow he'll vent his anger on all of us, the entire congregation of Israel.
"If you think the land of your possession isn't holy enough but somehow contaminated, come back over to God's possession, where God's Dwelling is set up, and take your land there, but don't rebel against God. And don't rebel against us by building your own altar apart from the Altar of our God.
When Achan son of Zerah violated the holy curse, didn't anger fall on the whole congregation of Israel? He wasn't the only one to die for his sin."
The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh replied to the heads of the tribes of Israel:
The God of Gods is God, The God of Gods is God!
If we built ourselves an altar in rebellion against God, if we did it to present on it Whole-Burnt-Offerings or Grain-Offerings or to enact there sacrificial Peace-Offerings, let God decide.
"But that's not it. We did it because we cared. We were anxious lest someday your children should say to our children, 'You're not connected with God, the God of Israel!
God made the Jordan a boundary between us and you. You Reubenites and Gadites have no part in God.' And then your children might cause our children to quit worshiping God.
"So we said to ourselves, 'Let's do something. Let's build an altar - but not for Whole-Burnt-Offerings, not for sacrifices.'
"We built this altar as a witness between us and you and our children coming after us, a witness to the Altar where we worship God in his Sacred Dwelling with our Whole-Burnt-Offerings and our sacrifices and our Peace-Offerings. "This way, your children won't be able to say to our children in the future, 'You have no part in God.'
"We said to ourselves, 'If anyone speaks disparagingly to us or to our children in the future, we'll say: Look at this model of God's Altar which our ancestors made. It's not for Whole-Burnt-Offerings, not for sacrifices. It's a witness connecting us with you.'