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The altar of witness

Tribes east of the River Jordan build an altar.
Contributed by Sweet Publishing
Story also available on our translated websites: Portuguese, Polish, Hindi, Simplified Chinese
With Joshua as their leader, the Israelites had crossed the River Jordan and many of the towns and cities in the Promised Land. – Slide 1
Living in that land that God had promised to His people were many nations and people who worshipped idols and were known for their wicked ways. – Slide 2
The Israelites, with God’s help, captured much of the land but there were still seven tribes of Israel that had not yet captured the territory they had been allocated. – Slide 3
Joshua and the Israelites set up the Tabernacle in a place called Shiloh in the middle of the Promised Land. From here Joshua sent out three men from each of the seven tribes without territory to scout out the land so it could be divided up between them. – Slide 4
When they returned, the Lord showed Joshua by the drawing of sacred lots which parts of the land should be allocated to each of the tribes. – Slide 5
One tribe however, the Levites, were not to be given land as they were priests of the Lord. They consulted with Eleazar the High priest, Joshua and leaders of the other tribes. saying, ‘The Lord instructed Moses to give cities to the Levites for our homes, and pasture land for our cattle.’ – Slide 6
So the Levites were given cities, spread throughout the Promised Land, where they could live and have land for their animals. – Slide 7
Six cities were chosen as places of refuge. If someone accidentally killed someone they could flee to a city of refuge and be protected from anyone wanting revenge. In a city of refuge both Jews and foreigners would be given a fair trial, and if innocent they could live there in safety. – Slide 8
So in this way, the Lord gave to Israel all the land He had promised. They conquered it and lived there. The Lord gave them peace, just as He had promised. – Slide 9
The River Jordan ran north to south through the land. Moses had promised the land to the east of the river Jordan to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh. The other half of the tribe of Manasseh had land to the west of the river Jordan. These tribes on the east had crossed the river Jordan to help the other tribes fight to gain their land. – Slide 10
Joshua called together the troops from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh living east of the Jordan. ‘You have obeyed the Lord in every order I have given you,’ Joshua told them. ‘Even though the campaign has lasted a long time you have not deserted the other tribes. Now go and live in the land Moses promised you on the east of the river Jordan and continue to obey the Lord your God.’ – Slide 11
The troops from these tribes headed for their lands. But before they crossed the River Jordan they built a large monument in the shape of an altar on the west bank. – Slide 12
When the tribes on the west of the river saw the altar they were angry and feared the troops from the tribes to the east had set up a rival place of worship. Such was their fury they were ready to go to war against their fellow Jews. – Slide 13
Before attacking, they send a delegation to the eastern tribes. It included Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the High priest and a representative of each of the tribes. ‘Why have you built an altar of rebellion against the Lord God,’ they asked. ‘The one true altar of the Lord is at Shiloh where the Lord lives among us all.’ – Slide 14
‘We have not built this altar in rebellion,’ the eastern tribes protested. ‘The river Jordan acts as a barrier between our tribes and yours. We wanted this monument to remind your children that we too worship the Lord God. The altar is not for burnt offerings or sacrifices but a symbol of the relationship with God that both of us have. We will only worship God at the altar in front of the Tabernacle.’ – Slide 15
Phinehas replied, ‘The Lord is among us because you have not rebelled against the Lord as we thought. Instead, you have saved us from destruction!’ – Slide 16
Phineas and the delegation returned to the tribes on the west side of the River Jordan and explained why the monument had been built. – Slide 17
The people of Reuben and Gad named the altar ‘The Altar of Witness,’ saying, ‘It is a witness between us and them that the Lord is our God too.’ – Slide 18
Slide 19