Joshua 22:34
And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the LORD is God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34) That the Lord (i.e., Jehovah) is God (of all the twelve tribes alike).

Joshua 22:34. They called the altar Ed — That is, a witness; a witness of the relation they stood in to God and Israel, and of their concurrence with the other tribes in the common faith, that Jehovah he is God. It was a witness to posterity of their care to transmit their religion pure and entire; and it would be a witness against them, if ever they should turn from following the Lord.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!The word עד ‛êd is not found after "altar" in the text of most manuscripts, nor is it represented in the Septuagint or Vulgate. The passage should probably run: "the children of Reuben and the children of Gad named the altar, that (as they said) it might be, etc." The title placed on the altar was perhaps simply a witness between them that the Lord was God (Wordsworth). 33, 34. the thing pleased the children of Israel—The explanation not only gave perfect satisfaction to the deputies, but elicited from them expressions of unbounded joy and thankfulness. "This day we perceive that the Lord is among us" [Jos 22:31], that is, by His gracious presence and preventing goodness, which has kept you from falling into the suspected sin and rescued the nation from the calamity of a fratricidal war or providential judgments. This episode reflects honor upon all parties and shows that piety and zeal for the honor and worship of God animated the people that entered Canaan to an extent far beyond what was exemplified in many other periods of the history of Israel. No text from Poole on this verse. 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.

And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the LORD is God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
34. called the altar Ed] The word Ed is not found after altar in the Hebrew, nor is it represented in the LXX. or Vulgate, nor are the words in the next clause, “shall be,” in the original. The words indicate the title which was placed upon the altar, “a witness between us that the Lord is God.” Wyclif renders the verse, “And the sones of Ruben and the sones of Gad clepen the auter, that thei hadden maad, Oure Witnessynge, that the Lord he be God.”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).



"So we thought, we will make ourselves to build an altar (an expression derived from the language of ordinary life, for 'we will build ourselves an altar'), not for burnt-offerings and slain-offerings; but it shall be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we may perform the service of Jehovah before His face (i.e., before the tabernacle in which Jehovah was enthroned), with our burnt-offerings, slain-offerings, and peace-offerings," - in order, as they repeat in Joshua 22:27 from Joshua 22:24, Joshua 22:25, that they might not be denied a part in Jehovah in time to come. For if it should so happen in time to come, that this should be said to them and to their descendants, they would say (or reply), "Behold the copy of the altar of Jehovah, which our fathers made, not for burnt-offerings," etc. (Joshua 22:28, as in Joshua 22:26, Joshua 22:27). For this reason they had built the altar according to the pattern of the altar before the tabernacle, and that not in their own land, but on the western side of the Jordan, where the dwelling-place of Jehovah was standing, as a witness that they worshipped one and the same God with the tribes on this side.
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