Joshua 22:1-20

Talks for Growing Christians

The Controversial Altar Built Near the Jordan River

Joshua 22:1-20

      Listen to this Talk


Lesson Number 30

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. It is wrong for believers to judge the motives of other believers.
  2. It is right for believers to investigate before taking action.

Practical Application

  1. Give credit where credit is due.
  2. Don't forget to share.


  1. Why did Moses rebuke the two and one-half tribes?
  2. How did Moses deal with this issue?
  3. There was a threat of civil war in Israel. What was this about?
  4. There was a threat of civil war in Israel. What was this about?
  5. How was the threat of war settled?


  1. Because of their lack of full commitment and unwillingness to go all the way into the land of promise.
  2. Moses gave the two and one-half tribes permission to settle on the east side of the Jordan River as long as their armies went over and fought with the rest of Israel until the land was conquered. They agreed and kept their word.
  3. They had served well, and they were given an honorable discharge.
  4. The two and one-half tribes built a large altar, and the other tribes believed that they were setting up another system of worship. This would have been an act of rebellion and apostasy.
  5. The nine and one-half tribes investigated, sending a delegation of men to see what was happening. They realized they had misjudged their motives when the two and one-half tribes explained that they were only setting up a symbolic and memorial replica altar as a witness for their families that they were one nation under God.


  1. The nine and one-half tribes misjudged the motives of the two and one-half tribes, jumping to a wrong conclusion which nearly resulted in civil war. They were right in being concerned and zealous for the holiness of God, but they were wrong in so quickly judging their brothers. Can you identify? Did you learn a lesson, too?
  2. The nine and one-half tribes investigated before taking action, sending a delegation of ten men headed up by the priest. They asked before assaulting, and things were straightened out. Do you investigate before taking action within your church and family structure? Beware of misguided zeal.


  1. Joshua was a good and beloved leader because he gave credit where credit was due. See Joshua 22:1-3. We should do the same.
  2. Joshua told the tribes to share the booty of war with their brethren when they returned home. Are you sharing from what the Lord has given you?

Key Verses

  • "Take careful heed to do the commandment and the law: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to obey His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul." (Joshua 22:5)
  • "Return to your homes with your great wealth, and divide with your brothers..." (Joshua 22:8)

Comments are closed.