约书亚记 22

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1 当时,约书亚召了流便人、迦得人,和玛拿西支派的人来,

2 对他们耶和华仆人摩西所吩咐你们的,你们都遵守了;我所吩咐你们的,你们也都从了。

3 你们这许多日子,总没有撇离你们的弟兄,直到今日,并守了耶和华─你们所吩咐你们当守的。

4 如今耶和华─你们照着他所应许的,使你们弟兄得享平安,现在可以转回你们的帐棚,到耶和华的仆人摩西在约但河东所赐你们为业之地。

5 只要切切的谨慎遵行耶和华仆人摩西所吩咐你们的诫命耶和华─你们的,行他一切的道,守他的诫命,专靠他,尽心尽性事奉他。

6 於是约书亚为他们祝福,打发他们去,他们就回自己的帐棚去了。

7 玛拿西支派,摩西早已在巴珊分他们地业。这支派,约书亚在约但河西,在他们弟兄中,分他们地业。约书亚打发他们回帐棚的时候为他们祝福

8 对他们:你们带许多财物,许多牲畜和、铜、,并许多衣服,回你们的帐棚去,要将你们从仇敌夺来的物,与你们众弟兄同分。

9 於是流便人、迦得人、玛拿西支派的人从迦南地的示罗起行,离开以色列人,回往他们得为业的基列地,就是照耶和华摩西所吩咐的得了为业之地。

10 流便人、迦得人,和玛拿西支派的人到了靠近约但河的一迦南地,就在约但河那里筑了一座;那看着高

11 以色列人流便人、迦得人、玛拿西支派的人靠近约但河边,在迦南地属以色列人的那边筑了一座

12 全会众一见,就聚集在示罗,要上去攻打他们。

13 以色列人打发祭司以利亚撒的儿子非尼哈,往基列地去见流便人、迦得人、玛拿西支派的人;

14 又打发个首领与非尼哈同去,就是以色列每支派的个首领,都是以色列军中的统领。

15 他们到了基列地,见流便人、迦得人,和玛拿西支派的人,对他们

16 耶和华全会众这样,你们今日去不跟从耶和华,干犯以色列的,为自己筑一座,悖逆了耶和华,这犯的是甚麽罪呢?

17 从前拜?珥的罪孽还算小麽?虽然瘟疫临到耶和华的会众,到今日我们还没有洗净这罪。

18 你们今日竟去不跟从耶和华麽?你们今日既悖逆耶和华,明日他必向以色列全会众发怒。

19 你们所得为业之地,若嫌不洁净,就可以过到耶和华之地,就是耶和华的帐幕所住之地,在我们中间得地业。只是不可悖逆耶和华,也不可得罪我们,在耶和华我们以外为自己筑

20 从前谢拉的曾孙亚干岂不是在那当灭的物上犯了罪,就有忿怒临到以色列全会众麽?那在所犯的罪中不独死亡。

21 於是流便人、迦得人、玛拿西支派的人回答以色列军中的统领

22 大能者耶和华!大能者耶和华!他是知道的!以色列人也必知道我们若有悖逆的意思,或是干犯耶和华(愿你今日不保佑我们),

23 为自己筑,要去不跟从耶和华,或是要将燔祭、素祭、平安祭献在上,愿耶和华亲自讨我们的罪。

24 我们行这事并非无故,是特意做的,:恐怕日後你们的子孙对我们的子孙:你们与耶和华以色列的有何关涉呢?

25 因为耶和华把约但河定为我们和你们这流便人、迦得人的交界,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:不如为自己筑一座,不是为献燔祭,也不是为献别的祭,

27 乃是为你我中间和你我人中间作证据,好叫我们也在耶和华面前献燔祭、平安祭,和别的祭事奉他,免得你们的子孙日我们的子孙,你们与耶和华无分了。

28 所以我们:日後你们对我们,或对我们的後人这样我们就可以回答,你们我们列祖所筑的耶和华的样式;这并不是为献燔祭,也不是为献别的祭,乃是为作你我中间的证据。

29 我们耶和华我们帐幕前的以外,另筑一座,为献燔祭、素祭,和别的祭,悖逆耶和华,今日去不跟从他,我们断没有这个意思。

30 祭司非尼哈与会中的首领,就是与他同来以色列军中的统领,见流便人、迦得人、玛拿西人所,就都以为美。

31 祭司以利亚撒的儿子非尼哈对流便人、迦得人、玛拿西:今日我们知道耶和华我们中间,因为你们没有向他犯了这罪。现在你们救以色列人脱离耶和华的了。

32 祭司以利亚撒的儿子非尼哈与众首领离了流便人、迦得人,从基列地回往迦南地,到了以色列人那里,便将这事回报他们。

33 以色列人以这事为美,就称颂,不再提上去攻打流便人、迦得人、毁坏他们所的地了。

34 流便人、迦得人给起名,意思: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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