witness, a word not found in the original Hebrew, nor in the LXX. and Vulgate, but added by the translators in the Authorized Version, also in the Revised Version, of Joshua 22:34 . The words are literally rendered: "And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad named the altar. It is a witness between us that Jehovah is God." This great altar stood probably on the east side of the Jordan, in the land of Gilead, "over against the land of Canaan." After the division of the Promised Land, the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, on returning to their own settlements on the east of Jordan ( Joshua 22:1-6 ), erected a great altar, which they affirmed, in answer to the challenge of the other tribes, was not for sacrifice, but only as a witness ('Ed) or testimony to future generations that they still retained the same interest in the nation as the other tribes.
(witness ), a word inserted in the Authorized Version of ( Joshua 22:34 ) apparently on the authority of a few MSS., and also of the Syriac and Arabic versions, but not existing in the generally-received Hebrew text.
The name of the altar erected by the trans-Jordanic tribes upon finally taking possession of Gilead (Joshua 22:10,11,34); probably East of the Jordan opposite Jericho. But neither the Massoretic Text nor the Septuagint contained the word. Both the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American), however, insert the word on the authority of a few manuscripts. It has been suggested that it is the final `edh in Gal`edh, the name given by Laban and Jacob to the memorial heap of stones erected by them in the vicinity (Genesis 31:47,48). According to the Massoretic Text, the name of the altar is the entire sentence:
"It is a witness between us that Yahweh is God." The opposition of the ten tribes to the erection of this altar was on the score that it was built after the pattern of the great altar of burnt offering (Joshua 22:11,29), which was a horned altar forbidden in ordinary lay sacrifice. There is in it, therefore, no indication of a general opposition to lay sacrifices on altars of earth or unhewn stone (see Wiener, EPC, 198).
George Frederick Weight
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