Chapter 22: The return of the tribes of Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menashe to their lands
1. Yehoshua instructs the tribes of Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menashe to return home:
- After the conquering and settling of the land, Yehoshua instructed the tribes of Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menasheh to return home. He told them that they have indeed fulfilled their promise to escort the Jewish people in battle to conquer the land, as commanded to them by Moshe, and since the mission has been complete, they may therefore return home to their land.
- Yehoshua warns them to abide by the Torah and Mitzvos that they were commanded by Moshe, and to love G-d and walk in his ways.
- Yehoshua blessed them and sent them off to their homes.
- They returned home with much booty and plunder, and abundance of silver, gold, copper, iron and clothing.
2. The tribe of Reuvein, Gad and half of Menashe build an altar and almost cause a civil war:
- The tribes of Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menashe built a large altar on the Jordon river for the sake of a monument [and not to offer sacrifices].
- A civil war is about to take place: The Jewish people received word of this and stated that the above tribes have built a counter altar [to offer sacrifices, in opposition to the altar in Shiloh]. The entire Jewish people therefore gathered in Shiloh to wage war against them [as G-d had prohibited offering sacrifices].
- A delegation is sent to confront the tribes of Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menashe: The Jewish people sent a delegation consisting of Pinchas Ben Elazar Hakohen, and the leader of the ten tribes, to the tribes of Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menashe. The delegation confronted the tribes saying that they have gravely sinned against G-d by building an altar to rebel against Him. They warned the tribes that this sin will anger G-d and cause His wrath to spill upon the entire nation. They reminded the tribes of what had happened with Achan, and how Hashem punished all the Jewish people as a result.
- The tribes of Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menashe explain their actions: The tribes of Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menashe explained to the delegation of tribal leaders that G-d knows the truth of their intents and by no means did they ever intend to offer sacrifices on the altar, and stray from G-d’s will. Rather, they built it to serve as a monument for the children and descendants of the Jewish people in Israel, to know that they too [i.e. the tribes of Reuvein, Gad and half of Menashe] have a portion in the G-d of Israel. They feared that the descendants of the tribes in Israel will tell their descendants that they do not have a portion in the G-d of Israel, being that they were segregated across the Jordon. They hence built the altar to serve as an eternal monument and reminder for all generations that they too have a portion in the G-d of Israel. They explained to the delegation that Heaven forfend, they would never build an altar to offer sacrifices in opposition to the altar of G-d that is in His Temple.
- The delegation is satisfied with the explanation and rescind their plans: Pinchas the Kohen and the delegation of tribal leaders who were with him accepted the explanation of the tribes of Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menashe, and said that they now see that Hashem is amongst them, and they have not rebelled against Him. Pinchas and the delegation returned to the Jewish people and informed them of what happened, and it found favor in their eyes that they would not have to wage war to destroy their lands.
- The naming of the altar: The tribes of Reuvein, and Gad, named the altar “Eid”, as it is a testimony between them that Hashem is their G-d.
 See Metzudos David 22:10
 See Radak 22:12; Ralbag 22:10
 Rashi 22:12