(Galʹe·ed) [Witness Heap].
The place in the mountainous region of Gilead E of the Jordan where the patriarchs Jacob and Laban concluded a covenant. (Ge 31:43-48) The later name of this region, “Gilead,” was probably drawn from “Galeed,” the name originally given to the spot where this event occurred about 1761 B.C.E.
In obedience to divine direction, and without giving notice, Jacob left Paddan-aram and the service of Laban, who was both his uncle and his father-in-law. (Ge 28:2) With all his belongings, and with his wives and children, Jacob crossed the Euphrates River and headed for the land of Canaan. After three days Laban, accompanied by his “brothers,” went in pursuit for the distance of a seven days’ journey, finally overtaking Jacob’s caravan in the mountains of Gilead N of the torrent valley of Jabbok.—Ge 31:17-25.
Peaceably settling the points over which they had disputed, Jacob and Laban concluded a covenant with each other. In this connection, Jacob set up a stone pillar and directed his “brothers” to make a heap of stones, perhaps in the form of a table, upon which the covenant meal was eaten. Thereupon, Laban called the place after this heap, giving it the Aramaic (Syrian) name “Jegar-sahadutha,” but which Jacob called “Galeed,” the Hebrew equivalent. Laban said: “This heap [Heb., gal] is a witness [Heb., ʽedh] between me and you today.” (Ge 31:44-48) The heap of stones (and the stone pillar) served as a witness to all passersby. It was as verse 49 says, “The Watchtower [Heb., mits·pahʹ],” testifying that Jacob and Laban had agreed to preserve the peace between and within their respective families. (Ge 31:50-53) On later occasions stones were used in a similar fashion as silent witnesses.—Jos 4:4-7; 24:25-27.