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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

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Commentary on Joshua

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22, 11 :

In the region of the Jordan facing the land of Canaan: on the eastern side of the Jordan valley. The river itself formed the boundary between these eastern tribes and the rest of the tribes who lived in what was formerly Canaan—though the term Canaan could also be used of both sides of the Jordan valley (cf v 10 ). The Transjordan tribes naturally built their altar in their own territory.

22, 12 :

To declare war on them: the western Israelites considered this altar, which seemed to violate the customary unity of the sanctuary (cf Lv 17, 1–9; Dt 12, 4–14 ), as a sign of secession and dangerous to national unity. The motives for the war were political as well as religious.

22, 19 :

Unclean: not sanctified by the Dwelling of the Lord.

22, 20 :

Achan … did not perish alone: his guilt caused the failure of the first attack on Ai (Jos 7, 4–23 ); this fact is adduced as an argument for the solidarity and mutual responsibility of all the Israelites.

22, 22 :

The LORD, the God of gods: the Hebrew, which cannot be adequately rendered in English here, adds to the divine name Yahweh (“the LORD”) two synonymous words for “God,” el and elohim. The repetition of these three sacred words adds force to the protestations of fidelity and innocence.

22, 28 :

To witness: far from being destined to form a rival sanctuary, the model of the altar was intended by the eastern tribes solely as a means of teaching their children to be faithful to the one true sanctuary beyond the Jordan.

22, 34 :

The name of this altar was the Hebrew word for “witness,”c ed.

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