Gilead or Gilad (//; Hebrew: גִּלְעָד, Arabic: جلعاد – Ǧalʻād, Jalaad) is the name of three persons and two geographic places in the Bible. Gilead may mean 'hill of testimony'. If this is the case, it is likely derived from גלעד gal‛êd, which in turn comes from gal ('heap, mound, hill') and ‛êd ('witness, testimony'). There also exists an alternative theory that it means 'rocky region'. It is now within the Kingdom of Jordan.
Gilead was a mountainous region east of the Jordan River, situated in modern-day Jordan. It is also referred to by the Aramaic name Yegar-Sahadutha, which carries the same meaning as the Hebrew Gilead, namely "heap [of stones] of testimony" (Genesis 31:47–48). According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, it refers to a region in Transjordan. The deep ravine of the river Yarmuk (the Classical-period Hieromax, modern-day Shari'at al-Manaḍirah) separated Bashan from Gilead, which was about 60 miles (97 km) in length and 20 miles (32 km) in breadth, extending from near the south end of the Lake of Gennesaret to the north end of the Dead Sea. Abarim, Pisgah, Nebo, and Peor are its mountains mentioned in Scripture. From its mountainous character, it is called the mount of Gilead (Genesis 31:25; Song 4:1). It is called also the land of Gilead (Numbers 32:1, Judges 10:4) in many translations, and sometimes simply Gilead (Genesis 37:25; Judges 10:8; Psalm 60:7).
During the Exodus, "half Gilead" was possessed by Sihon, and the other half, separated from it by the river Jabbok, by Og, king of Bashan (Numbers 20). After the two kings were defeated, the region of Gilead was allotted by Moses to the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and the eastern half of Manasseh (Deuteronomy 3:13; Numbers 32:40).
The name Gilead first appears in the biblical account of the last meeting of Jacob and Laban (Genesis 31:21–22). In the Book of Judges, the thirty sons of the biblical judge Jair controlled the thirty towns of Gilead (Judges 10:4), and in the First Book of Chronicles, Segub controlled twenty-three towns in Gilead (1 Chronicles 2:21–22). It was bounded on the north by Bashan, and on the south by Moab and Ammon (Genesis 31:21 KJV; Deuteronomy 3:12–17).
The kingdoms Ammon and Moab sometimes expanded to include southern Gilead. King David fled to Mahanaim in Gilead during the rebellion of Absalom. Gilead is later mentioned as the homeplace of the prophet Elijah.
Gilead (Arabic: جلعاد, Ǧalʻād or Jalaad) is an Arabic term used to refer to the mountainous land extending north and south of Jabbok. It was used more generally for the entire region east of the Jordan River. It corresponds today to the northwestern part of the Kingdom of Jordan.
Gilead may also refer to:
- A grandson of Manasseh and son of Machir (Makir), ancestor of the Iezerites and Helekites and of Segub (Numbers 26:28-30 and 1 Chronicles 2:21). He also may have been the founder of the Israelite tribal group of Gilead, which is mentioned in biblical passages which textual scholars attribute to early sources. Textual scholars regard the genealogy in the Book of Numbers, which identifies Gilead as Machir's son, as originating in the priestly source, a document written centuries after the early JE source, in which the Gilead and Machir tribal groups are mentioned, and possibly having been written to rival the JE source. Biblical scholars view the biblical genealogies as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the group to others in the Israelite confederation; the identification of Gilead as an aspect of Manasseh was the traditional explanation of why the tribal groups of Machir and Gilead are mentioned along with northern tribes in the ancient Song of Deborah, while Manasseh is absent from it. The text of the Book of Numbers appears to portray Gilead as the father of Asriel, but the Book of Chronicles states that Manasseh was the father of Asriel; it is possible for there to have been two different Asriels, though Manasseh is only indicated as having had one son – Machir – in the genealogy of the Book of Numbers.
- The son of Michael and father of Jaroah, in the Gadite genealogies (1 Chronicles 5:11-14);
- The father of Jephthah (Judges 11:1).
In Hebrew, גלעד (transcribed Gilad or Ghil'ad) is used as a male given name and is often analysed as deriving from גיל (gil) "happiness, joy" and עד (ad) "eternity, forever"; i.e. "eternal happiness".
In popular culture
- Gilead is the fictional home of Roland Deschain and Capital of the Barony of New Canaan, from Stephen King's series The Dark Tower.
- The Republic of Gilead is the theonomic nation which replaces the United States in Margaret Atwood's dystopic novels The Handmaid's Tale, published in 1985, and The Testaments, published 2019.
- Gilead is mentioned in verse 15 of Edgar Allan Poe's 1845 poem, The Raven.
- Gilead is the first title of a multi-generational trilogy by Marilynne Robinson. The story is about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart. The title of the trilogy comes from the fictional setting of the town in the novel, Gilead, Iowa.
- Charlotte Brontë refers to Gilead in her 1849 novel Shirley, Chapter XI, "...come Cary, never fear. We’ll find balm in Gilead ."
- Playwright Lanford Wilson's 1965 play Balm in Gilead takes its title from a quote in the Old Testament (Book of Jeremiah, chapter 46, verse 11).
- Balm in Gilead: Journey of a Healer is Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot's 1988 biography of her mother, Dr. Margaret Morgan Lawrence, who was one of the first black women to graduate from Cornell University and Columbia University Medical School.
- Balm in Gilead is an album by American singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones, released in November 2009 on the Fantasy Records label.
- In the Dante Valentine books (2005 to 2008) by Lilith Saintcrow the Republic of Gilead was a previous fundamentalist dictatorship that had existed before the events of the books.
- Gilead is a short story in Zenna Henderson's "People" series.
- Gilead Sciences is the name of an American biopharmaceutical company in California, taken from the ancient medicine Balm of Gilead, mentioned in Jeremiah 8:22.
- Church of Jesus Christ: "Book of Mormon Pronunciation Guide" (retrieved 25 February 2012), IPA-ified from «gĭl´ē-ud»
- Hebrew Dictionary, Strong's Concordance of the Bible, reference #5707
- Smith's Bible Dictionary, "Gil'e-ad"
- Bible Atlas, Jegar-sahadutha (Ramoth-gilead).
- Easton's Bible Dictionary, Galeed
- Richard Elliott Friedman, Who wrote the Bible?
- Peake's commentary on the Bible
- Jewish Encyclopedia, Machir
- 1 Chronicles 7:14
- Wilson, Lanford (1993). Balm in Gilead - Acting Edition (9780822216278). Amazon. ISBN 0822216272.
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