约书亚记 22

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1 两个支派返回河东

2 对他们:“耶和华的仆人摩西吩咐你们的一切,你们都遵守了;我吩咐你们的一切,你们也都从了。

3 许多日子以来,你们一直没有撇弃你们的兄弟,直到今日;耶和华你们的吩咐你们的命令,你们也遵守了。

4 现在耶和华你们的,照着他应许的,已经使你们兄弟得享平安;现在你们可以返回自己家里,回到耶和华的仆人摩西约旦河东赐你们作产业的地方去。

5 只是你们要谨慎遵守耶和华的仆人摩西吩咐你们的诫命和律耶和华你们的,遵行他的一切道路,谨守他的诫命,紧紧倚靠他,一心一意事奉他。”

6 于是约书亚给他们祝福,打发他们回去,他们就回自己的家里去了。

7 摩西在巴珊已经把产业分玛拿西个支派;至于另外个支派,约书亚在约旦河西他们的兄弟中间,也把产业分了他们。约书亚打发他们回家去的时候,他们祝福

8 对他们:“你们带着许多财物,许多牲畜和、铜、,以及许多衣服,回自己的家去吧;也要把你们从仇敌夺得的战利品与你们的兄弟同分。”

9 于是流本人、迦得人和玛拿西个支派的人,从迦南地的示罗起程,离开以色列人,回到他们所得的产业基列地去,就是照着耶和华借着摩西所吩咐,赐给他们的产业。

10 两个支派在河畔筑流本人、迦得人和玛拿西个支派的人,迦南地靠近约旦河的地区,就在约旦河边那里筑了一座祭坛,那十分壮观。

11 以色列人见了这事,就:“看哪,流本人、迦得人和玛拿西个支派的人,在迦南地边境,靠近约旦河的地区,以色列人境内,筑了一座。”

12 以色列人见了这事,以色列全体会众就聚集在示罗,要上去讨伐他们。

13 其他支派产生疑惑以色列人派以利亚撒祭司儿子非尼哈,到基列地去见流本人、迦得人和玛拿西个支派的人;

14 又派个首领与非尼哈同去,每个都代表以色列的支派家族;他们是全体以色列各家族的领袖。

15 他们去到基列地,流本人、迦得人和玛拿西个支派的人那里,对他们

16 耶和华的全体会众这样:‘你们作的是什么事?竟对以色列的不忠,今日离不跟从耶和华,为自己筑了一座,背叛了耶和华

17 从前拜毗珥的罪孽,我们还以为是小事吗?虽然有灾疫临到耶和华的会众,直到今日我们还没有洗净这罪呢。

18 你们今日竟离不跟从耶和华吗?今日你们既然背叛耶和华,明日他必向以色列全体会众发怒了。

19 如果你们认为所得的地业不洁净,你们可以过到耶和华的地业,就是耶和华的帐幕居住的地方,在我们中间得地业;只是不可背叛耶和华,也不可背叛我们,在耶和华我们以外,为自己筑另一座

20 从前谢拉的曾孙亚干,不是在当毁灭的物上犯了不忠的罪,以致神的忿怒临到以色列全体会众吗?因他的罪孽而死的,还不只他呢!’”

21 释疑于是流本人、迦得人玛拿西个支派的人回答以色列的统领

22 “大能者耶和华!大能者耶和华,他是知道的,愿以色列知道;如果我们存心背叛,或是对耶和华不忠,今日就不要放过我们

23 我们若是为自己筑离不跟从耶和华,或是把燔祭、素祭和平安祭献在上,愿耶和华亲自追究我们

24 我们作这事,实在是有理由的,因为顾虑将来你们的子孙对我们的子孙:‘你们与耶和华以色列的有什么关系呢?

25 流本人和迦得人啊,耶和华定了约旦河我们和你们中间的疆界;你们与耶和华无分了。’这样,你们的子孙就使我们的子孙不再敬畏耶和华了。

26 “因此我们:‘我们筑一座吧,不是为了献燔祭,也不是为了献别的祭,

27 而是为了在你们和我们中间,也在我们中间作证据,使我们也可以在耶和华面前用燔祭、别的祭和平安祭事奉耶和华,免得你们的子孙将来对我们的子孙:你们与耶和华无分了。’

28 因此我们:‘将来有人对我们,或是对我们的后这样我们就可以回答:你们我们列祖所筑的,是耶和华的祭坛的模式,这并不是用来献燔祭,也不是用来献别的祭,而是在我们和你们中间作证据。’

29 我们决没有背叛耶和华的意思,今日要离不跟从耶和华,在耶和华我们的帐幕前的祭坛以外,另筑一座,为了献燔祭、素祭和别的祭。”

30 彼此谅解非尼哈祭司会众的领袖,以及与祭司同来的以色列的统领,了流本人、迦得人玛拿西,都很满意。

31 以利亚撒祭司儿子非尼哈对流本人、迦得人和玛拿西:“今天我们知道耶和华是在我们中间的,因为你们并没有对耶和华不忠;现在你们已经救了以色列人脱离耶和华的。”

32 以利亚撒祭司儿子非尼哈和众领袖离开了流本人和迦得人,从基列地回到迦南以色列人那里,把这事向他们报告。

33 以色列人对这事都很满意,就称颂,不再要上去讨伐流本人和迦得人,毁灭他们所的地方了。

34 流本人和迦得人给那起名,因为他们:“这我们中间证明耶和华。”

  

Exploring the Meaning of 约书亚记 22      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua 22: The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half Manasseh return.

With the land of Canaan now settled by Israel, the time had come for the men of Reuben, Gad, and one half of Manasseh to return to the other side of the Jordan, where their wives, children, cattle and sheep were left. The men of these two and a half tribes had been ordered to fight alongside the other tribes of Israel, and only then to return home.

They left, and when they came to the banks of the River Jordan, they built a large altar to the Lord. When the rest of Israel caught word of this, they wanted to go to war with these tribes, because they felt the altar was a sacrilege - Israel had the tabernacle for its worship of the Lord. They sent Phineas the priest to ask why they had built the altar. These tribes across the Jordan replied that in the future, the people of Israel may move against them, and reject them. They said the altar would serve as a witness to their worship of the Lord, just as the Israelites in Canaan worshiped. This answer pleased the priest, and when he told the leaders of Israel, it pleased them too.

The spiritual meaning of this episode is a very important one for us. The tribes living on the other side of the River Jordan stand for the worldly activities of our outward life, which in themselves are a very important part of our spiritual life. These actions make up the external part of spiritual life, in which we are able to do good (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 9824[2]).

The tribes building an altar to God portrays our understanding that all the good we do, and all the use we provide, is possible because of the Lord. He is the giver of all good, which is why we must serve the Lord. Without use, spiritual thoughts and beliefs do not have a foundation (Arcana Caelestia 9473[3]).

Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh said that the people of Israel might cut them off in the future. In spiritual terms, this would be to separate spiritual life and external life in daily living. This would result in such things as hypocrisy, and faith without charity, both of which are a threat to our spiritual well-being (see Swedenborg’s work, Doctrine of Life 4).

The altar, which was built on Canaan’s side of the Jordan before these tribes crossed over, was to stand as a witness to the union between the tribes within Canaan and the tribes across the Jordan, as one nation before the Lord (Arcana Caelestia 9714).

This unity means that we must be equally present in three areas of life: in the depths of our heart, in our worship and adoration of the Lord; in our mind, in our understanding and delight in the Lord’s Word with all its truth; and in our outward actions, where our acknowledgement of the Lord as our God leads us to be sincere, just, moral, fair, compassionate and dedicated to the service of God.

The answer from the three tribes pleased the priest and, in turn, the leaders of Israel. This reception represents our affirmation that ‘being spiritual’ does not take the place of helping others, but really demands that we serve the Lord in our daily actions (see Swedenborg’s work, Apocalypse Explained 325[4]).

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