“Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you: Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God. And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.” (Joshua 22:1-4)
More than five years, and perhaps as much as ten years after crossing the Jordan and defeating Jericho, Israel was settled into the land. For that time, the men of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh had left the land given them east of Jordan to help the rest of Israel conquer their lands. Finally, Joshua told them they had ulfuilled their obligation and are free to return to the land they had been given.
“But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.” (Joshua 22:5-6)
Separated from the rest of Israel by the Jordan river, it would be easy for the Trans-Jordan tribes to forget their connection to the rest of Israel and turn to the other groups on three sides of them. Joshua warned them of the danger before sending them home. The same danger exists anytime something separates one from the influences that have kept his focus on God.
“Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given possession in Bashan: but unto the other half thereof gave Joshua among their brethren on this side Jordan westward. And when Joshua sent them away also unto their tents, then he blessed them, And he spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and with very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.
And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go unto the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, whereof they were possessed, according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.” (Joshua 22:7-9)
The Trans-Jordanian tribes received equal shares of the Canaanite spoils which they took back to their families in their lands. They returned home with considerable wealth to justify the time they had been away from home.