The tribes on the other side of Jordan received the deputation with courtesy, and answered for themselves without anger.
In the sincerity of their hearts they appealed to God that they had no idea of offering sacrifice anywhere but at the one appointed altar. Appeals to God must never be lightly made, nor in any case where anything less than the highest interests are concerned. It is consoling to feel that God knows our motives, but we must do our best so to act that God’s people shall also know what we aim at.
They feared lest they should lose the means of grace, and lest the Jordan should become a line of division between them and their brethren at some future time.
Joshua 22:28, 29
Their intention was thus shown to be honest, though the action had a very doubtful appearance. We are bound, however, never to put a worse construction than we can help upon other peoples’ conduct.
Religious quarrels are usually very fierce, but in this case true wisdom ended the strife. When one is ready to explain, and the other willing to receive the explanation, difficulties will soon be got over. May all differences in this family be handled wisely and tenderly, and peace and love ever rule among us.
Joshua 22:32, 33
Zeal for the truth made Israel prepare for war, but they were not hot-headed as some are in these days. Once enabled to believe well of their brethren, they were glad of it, and gave God thanks that doubtful matters were cleared up. It is well to watch over others with holy jealousy, but not to be rancorous and bitter.
children of Gad called the altar Ed, or witness
Thus all ended well, and true religion ruled on both sides the Jordan. When shall our land become one again,—knowing only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism?