|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
33:17-20 Jacob did not content himself with words of thanks for God's favour to him, but gave real thanks. Also he kept up religion, and the worship of God in his family. Where we have a tent, God must have an altar. Jacob dedicated this altar to the honour of El-elohe-Israel, God, the God of Israel; to the honour of God, the only living and true God; and to the honour of the God of Israel, as a God in covenant with him. Israel's God is Israel's glory. Blessed be his name, he is still the mighty God, the God of Israel. May we praise his name, and rejoice in his love, through our pilgrimage here on earth, and for ever in the heavenly Canaan.
Verse 20. - And he erected there an altar, - as Abram his ancestor had done (Genesis 12:7) - and called it - not invoked upon it, invocavit super illud (Vulgate), ἐτεκαλήσατο (LXX.), but named it (Dathe, Rosenmüller, Keil, &c.) - El-elohe-Israel - i.e. God, the God of Israel; meaning, he called it the altar of God, the God of Israel (Rosenmüller), or, reading el as a preposition, "To the God of Israel" (Quarry, p. 508).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he erected there an altar,.... To offer sacrifice upon to God, by way of thanksgiving, for the many mercies he had received since he went out of the land of Canaan, whither he was now returned; and especially for his safety in journeying hither from Padanaram, and for deliverance from Laban and Esau, and for all other favours that he and his had been partakers of. And this he also erected for the sake of religious worship, to be continued in his family; he intending to reside here for some time, as appears by the purchase he had made, and as it is certain he did:
and called it Elelohe-Israel: God, the God of Israel; that is, he called the altar the altar of God, who is the God of Israel, who had been his God, his preserver and protector; and had lately given him the name of Israel, and had made good what answered to it, and was designed by it, that as he had had power with God, and prevailed, so he should with man; and as a memorial of all these favours and mercies, he erected this altar, and devoted it to God and his service, and called it by this name: or "he called upon God, the God of Israel", as the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions; he prayed unto him at the time he offered sacrifice on the altar, and gave him praise for all the great and good things he had done for him. Jacob must have stayed at Succoth, and at this place, many years, especially at the latter; since, when he came into those parts, Dinah was a child of little more than six years of age, and Simeon and Levi were very young, not above eleven or twelve years of age; and yet, before he left Shechem, Dinah was marriageable, and Simeon and Levi were grown strong and able bodied men, and did a most strange exploit in slaying all the males in Shechem, as recorded in the next chapter.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. and he erected … an altar—A beautiful proof of his personal piety, a most suitable conclusion to his journey, and a lasting memorial of a distinguished favor in the name "God, the God of Israel." Wherever we pitch a tent, God shall have an altar.
Genesis 33:20 Parallel Commentaries
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