Monday, February 18, 2008

Altar of Witness Joshua 22

Joshua 22:26-27a "Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt-offering, nor for sacrifice: But that it may be a witness between us and you and our generations after us..."

The children of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh are going home to the other side of Jordan. They had left their families behind in fenced cities while they joined the rest of Israel in battle as promised to Moses.

The Jordan River separates them from the rest of Israel. They were afraid that they would be disowned by future generations as being part of the children of Israel and worshippers of the one true God, the LORD.

So, they set up a replica of the real altar that was in the tabernacle. It was a memorial of sorts and not to be used for actual sacrifices or offerings. The tribes in Canaan became fearful that the wrath of God would come on them because of a breach of the law. It was explained to them that the altar built was only for a witness and peace was made between them.

v33 "And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt. v34 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."

Ed means witness.

Scofield (in his reference Bible) calls this altar a schismatic altar. I don't like disagreeing with the expert but schismatic depicts a division or separation or one that takes part in the division. It was thought by the tribes in Canaan that Reuben and Gad and 1/2 Manassah were trying to set up a different altar other than the tabernacle, at first, but it was explained to them that it was only a witness between those on one side of Jordan and those on the other. The division part was a misunderstanding and both parties were satisfied in the end, so there was no division, except the natural division created by the Jordan. I suppose, though, that it is inevitable that the two peoples would develop differently because of the natural boundary.

Psalms 78 39 "For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again."

Keywords: Bible Study, Joshua, Old Testament,Gad, Reuben, altar, Milton Southerland

No comments: