約書亞記 22

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1 當時,約書亞召了流便人、迦得人,和瑪拿西支派的人來,

2 對他們耶和華僕人摩西所吩咐你們的,你們都遵守了;我所吩咐你們的,你們也都從了。

3 你們這許多日子,總沒有撇離你們的弟兄,直到今日,並守了耶和華─你們所吩咐你們當守的。

4 如今耶和華─你們照著他所應許的,使你們弟兄得享平安,現在可以轉回你們的帳棚,到耶和華的僕人摩西在約但河東所賜你們為業之地。

5 只要切切的謹慎遵行耶和華僕人摩西所吩咐你們的誡命耶和華─你們的,行他一切的道,守他的誡命,專靠他,盡心盡性事奉他。

6 於是約書亞為他們祝福,打發他們去,他們就回自己的帳棚去了。

7 瑪拿西支派,摩西早已在巴珊分他們地業。這支派,約書亞在約但河西,在他們弟兄中,分他們地業。約書亞打發他們回帳棚的時候為他們祝福

8 對他們:你們帶許多財物,許多牲畜和、銅、,並許多衣服,回你們的帳棚去,要將你們從仇敵奪來的物,與你們眾弟兄同分。

9 於是流便人、迦得人、瑪拿西支派的人從迦南地的示羅起行,離開以色列人,回往他們得為業的基列地,就是照耶和華摩西所吩咐的得了為業之地。

10 流便人、迦得人,和瑪拿西支派的人到了靠近約但河的一迦南地,就在約但河那裡築了一座;那看著高

11 以色列人流便人、迦得人、瑪拿西支派的人靠近約但河邊,在迦南地屬以色列人的那邊築了一座

12 全會眾一見,就聚集在示羅,要上去攻打他們。

13 以色列人打發祭司以利亞撒的兒子非尼哈,往基列地去見流便人、迦得人、瑪拿西支派的人;

14 又打發個首領與非尼哈同去,就是以色列每支派的個首領,都是以色列軍中的統領。

15 他們到了基列地,見流便人、迦得人,和瑪拿西支派的人,對他們

16 耶和華全會眾這樣,你們今日去不跟從耶和華,干犯以色列的,為自己築一座,悖逆了耶和華,這犯的是甚麼罪呢?

17 從前拜毘珥的罪孽還算小麼?雖然瘟疫臨到耶和華的會眾,到今日我們還沒有洗淨這罪。

18 你們今日竟去不跟從耶和華麼?你們今日既悖逆耶和華,明日他必向以色列全會眾發怒。

19 你們所得為業之地,若嫌不潔淨,就可以過到耶和華之地,就是耶和華的帳幕所住之地,在我們中間得地業。只是不可悖逆耶和華,也不可得罪我們,在耶和華我們以外為自己築

20 從前謝拉的曾孫亞干豈不是在那當滅的物上犯了罪,就有忿怒臨到以色列全會眾麼?那在所犯的罪中不獨死亡。

21 於是流便人、迦得人、瑪拿西支派的人回答以色列軍中的統領

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

23 為自己築,要去不跟從耶和華,或是要將燔祭、素祭、平安祭獻在上,願耶和華親自討我們的罪。

24 我們行這事並非無故,是特意做的,:恐怕日後你們的子孫對我們的子孫:你們與耶和華以色列的有何關涉呢?

25 因為耶和華把約但河定為我們和你們這流便人、迦得人的交界,你們與耶和華無分了。這樣,你們的子孫就使我們的子孫不再敬畏耶和華了。

26 因此我們:不如為自己築一座,不是為獻燔祭,也不是為獻別的祭,

27 乃是為你我中間和你我人中間作證據,好叫我們也在耶和華面前獻燔祭、平安祭,和別的祭事奉他,免得你們的子孫日我們的子孫,你們與耶和華無分了。

28 所以我們:日後你們對我們,或對我們的後人這樣我們就可以回答,你們我們列祖所築的耶和華的樣式;這並不是為獻燔祭,也不是為獻別的祭,乃是為作你我中間的證據。

29 我們耶和華我們帳幕前的以外,另築一座,為獻燔祭、素祭,和別的祭,悖逆耶和華,今日去不跟從他,我們斷沒有這個意思。

30 祭司非尼哈與會中的首領,就是與他同來以色列軍中的統領,見流便人、迦得人、瑪拿西人所,就都以為美。

31 祭司以利亞撒的兒子非尼哈對流便人、迦得人、瑪拿西:今日我們知道耶和華我們中間,因為你們沒有向他犯了這罪。現在你們救以色列人脫離耶和華的了。

32 祭司以利亞撒的兒子非尼哈與眾首領離了流便人、迦得人,從基列地回往迦南地,到了以色列人那裡,便將這事回報他們。

33 以色列人以這事為美,就稱頌,不再提上去攻打流便人、迦得人、毀壞他們所的地了。

34 流便人、迦得人給起名,意思:這我們中間證明耶和華

  

Exploring the Meaning of 約書亞記 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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