|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:30-34 It is well that there was on both sides a disposition to peace, as there was a zeal for God; for quarrels about religion, for want of wisdom and love, often prove the most fierce and difficult to be made up. Proud and peevish spirits, when they have passed any unjust blame on their brethren, though full evidence be brought of its unfairness, can by no means be persuaded to withdraw it. But Israel was not so prejudiced. They looked upon their brethren's innocence as a token of God's presence. Our brethren's zeal for the power of godliness, and faith and love, notwithstanding the fears of their breaking the unity of the church, are things of which we should be very glad to be satisfied. The altar was called ED, a witness. It was a witness of their care to keep their religion pure and entire, and would witness against their descendants, if they should turn from following after the Lord. Happy will it be when all professed Christians learn to copy the example of Israel, to unite zeal and steady adherence to the cause of truth, with candour, meekness, and readiness to understand each other, to explain and to be satisfied with the explanations of their brethren. May the Lord increase the number of those who endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace! may increasing grace and consolation be with all who love Jesus Christ in sincerity!
Verse 34. - Ed. This word is not in the original. It is found in some late MSS. and in the Syriac and Arabic versions, but not in the LXX. or Chaldee. Even in the MSS. which have it, the word is found sometimes before and sometimes after the Hebrew word signifying "altar." This may either be because, once omitted, it was conjecturally supplied, but it is more probable that it was never there at all. The passage may be rendered, "And the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad gave a name to the altar, 'for it is a witness between us.'" But it seems more likely that the word "Ed," though not expressed, is in. tended to be understood. The LXX. and Vulgate give incorrect renderings of the passage. The Lord is God. Rather, as in 1 Kings 18:39, Jehovah is the God; that is, the one true God. Some MSS. have interpolated הוּא here from the above cited passage. Such altars, or mounds, of witness seem not to have been unusual among the Eastern nations (see Genesis 31:47-52).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, called the altar Ed,.... Which signifies a "witness"; they caused such an inscription to be put upon it, or this word to be engraved on it, that so the intention of erecting it might be known in future time; that it was not for sacrifice, but to be a testimony of their being one with their brethren on the other side Jordan, in worship, faith, and fellowship:
for it shall be a witness between us that the Lord is God; is the one God, the God of them both, of all Israel, whether on the one or the other side of Jordan; to be worshipped by them in one and the same manner, and their sacrifices to be offered to him on his altar before the tabernacle.
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