Judges 6:24: Gideon's Altar of Memorial

Verse 24:[1] Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom (that is, the LORD send peace:[2] see Gen. 22:14; Ex. 17:15; Jer. 33:16; Ezek. 48:35): unto this day it is yet (Judg. 8:32) in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.


[Therefore he built, etc.] Question: Whether he erected two altars? Response 1: Some affirm this (Tostatus, Lapide). He erected one of his own will, the other by the command of God (certain interpreters in Serarius). This first one he erected only as a monument, as in Joshua 22:10 (Lapide). Response 2: Other deny this (Serarius, Bonfrerius, Menochius, Montanus’ Commentary, Martyr). It is the same altar, here and in verse 26, but often in the Scriptures a matter is briefly touched upon, which afterwards is explained more fully and at greater length (Menochius, Martyr). It is set down here proleptically; for he was prompted by the Lord to build this altar (Martyr).


There, to wit, on the top of the rock, as is evident from verse 20, and especially from verse 26, where that which is here expressed only in general, and by anticipation, is more particularly described, according to the usage of the Scripture.


[And he called it, the Lord’s peace] Understanding, is,[3] that is to say, He is the author of peace, or salvation (Menochius). Or, the Lord is peace (Drusius, Tigurinus), or, the Lord of peace (Munster), or, Jehovah-Shalom (Pagnine). Thus he calls it from that peace and security promed to him by the Angel at his departure (Bonfrerius). It was customary to impose names upon newly erected altars, as in Genesis 28:18, 19; Exodus 17:15 (Menochius).


[וַיִּקְרָא־ל֥וֹ יְהוָ֖ה שָׁל֑וֹם] I translate it, since Jehovah had proclaimed (or, had promulgated, that is, promised [Piscator]) to him peace (Junius and Tremellius, Piscator), that is, since he had assured him of his own salvation, and of the common salvation of the Israelites. The Hebrew distinctions or accents cry out that this, our interpretation is genuine (Junius, Piscator).


Jehovah-shalom, that is, the Lord’s peace; the sign or witness of God’s speaking peace to me, and to his people; or the place where he spake peace to me, when I expected nothing but destruction.


[Unto the present day] Namely, on which the Hagiographer was writing those things; or, on which these things were perhaps inserted by some other (Vatablus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּבֶן֩ שָׁ֙ם גִּדְע֤וֹן מִזְבֵּ֙חַ֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה וַיִּקְרָא־ל֥וֹ יְהוָ֖ה שָׁל֑וֹם עַ֚ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה עוֹדֶ֕נּוּ בְּעָפְרָ֖ת אֲבִ֥י הָעֶזְרִֽי׃


[2] Hebrew: יְהוָ֖ה שָׁל֑וֹם.


[3] That is, Peace is of the Lord.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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