was kindly and hospitably received, particularly by the aged Barzillai. (2 Sam. 17:27-29; 19:32) Evidently in Gilead the forces of David and of Absalom met in battle. The signal defeat of Absalom paved the way for David to leave Gilead and return to his throne.—2 Sam. 17:24; 18:6-8.
Not long after the ten-tribe kingdom was established (997 B.C.E.), the Syrians annexed territory from Gilead. In the time of King Ahab and the Gileadite prophet Elijah, Ramoth-gilead, the Gadite city of refuge in eastern Gilead, was in the possession of the Syrians. (1 Ki. 17:1; 22:3) Then, during the reigns of King Jehu and his son Jehoahaz, Gilead lost even more territory and was subjected to a severe threshing experience at the hands of the Syrian kings Hazael and his son Ben-hadad. (2 Ki. 10:32-34; 13:1, 3, 7; Amos 1:3, 4) However, Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz defeated the Syrians three times and recovered the cities Israel had lost to the Syrians during his father’s reign.—2 Ki. 13:25.
Finally, in the days of Israelite King Pekah (c. 778-758 B.C.E.), the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III carried the inhabitants of Gilead into exile. (2 Ki. 15:29) Apparently the Ammonites were quick to take advantage of this situation and began to occupy the territory of Gilead. (Ps. 83:4-8; Jer. 49:1-5) However, through his prophets, Jehovah gave the assurance that in time the Israelites would again be restored to this region.—Jer. 50:19; Mic. 7:14; Zech. 10:10.
5. A “town” mentioned by Hosea as being filled with untruth, bloodshed and practicers of what is harmful. (Hos. 6:8; compare 12:11.) Since Gilead is not identified as a city elsewhere in Scripture, some think that either Jabesh-gilead or Ramoth-gilead is meant. Others suggest that this refers to the entire region E of the Jordan.
(Gilʹgal) [a rolling away].
1. A city “on the eastern border of Jericho.” (Josh. 4:19) Unless referring to another Gilgal farther W, the city was also known as “Geliloth, which is in front of the ascent of Adummim.” (Josh. 18:17; compare Joshua 15:7.) Near Gilgal’s “quarries,” Moabite King Eglon, the oppressor of Israel in the time of Ehud, evidently had his residence.—Judg. 3:12-26.
In the past most geographers favored Khirbet en-Nitleh as the possible location of Gilgal. However, particularly since 1931, Khirbet Mefjir has been suggested. Its position, approximately a mile and a quarter (2 kilometers) NE of ancient Jericho (Tell es-Sultan), corresponds more closely to early literary references (such as those of Josephus and Eusebius) about the distance from Jericho to Gilgal. Then, too, archaeological excavation at Khirbet en-Nitleh has provided no evidence of pre-Common Era habitation. On the other hand, superficial explorations in the vicinity of Khirbet Mefjir have yielded earthenware fragments, indicating the presence of some kind of settlement centuries before the Common Era. Although this site does not lie due E of ancient Jericho, the Biblical designation “eastern border of Jericho” may include the NE.
Gilgal was the site of Israel’s first encampment after crossing the Jordan in Nissan of 1473 B.C.E. Here, in commemoration of Jehovah’s drying up the waters of the Jordan to permit Israel to cross, Joshua set up the twelve stones taken from the middle of the riverbed. (Josh. 4:8, 19-24) At Gilgal all the Israelite males born in the wilderness were circumcised, Jehovah afterward saying that he “rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.” The site was then given the name “Gilgal,” meaning “a rolling away,” to serve as a reminder of this. (Josh. 5:8, 9) Later, disguised Gibeonites from the hill country to the W came down to the Jordan valley and approached Joshua at Gilgal, entering into a covenant with Israel. (Josh. 9:3-15) When the Gibeonites afterward came under attack, Joshua’s army made an all-night march from Gilgal up to their city to rout the league of five Amorite kings. (Josh. 10:1-15) The distribution of the land of Canaan proceeded initially from Gilgal (Josh. 14:6–17:18), being completed from Shiloh.—Josh. 18:1–21:42.
Jehovah’s angel is reported as having gone “from Gilgal to Bochim.” (Judg. 2:1) This may allude to the previous angelic appearance near Gilgal shortly after Israel had crossed the Jordan (Josh. 5:10-14) and therefore suggests that the same angel appeared at Bochim.
It is uncertain whether it was Gilgal near the Jordan or No. 2 (below) that was included on Samuel’s annual circuit. (1 Sam. 7:15, 16) There he offered sacrifices after Saul’s anointing (1 Sam. 10:1, 8) and, along with the people, renewed Saul’s kingship.—1 Sam. 11:14, 15.
While Philistine forces were massing up in the hill country around Mishmash, King Saul was down in the Jordan valley at Gilgal. Fearful that the enemy would sweep down upon him, Saul presumptuously offered up the burnt sacrifice. (1 Sam. 13:4-15) Again at Gilgal, after his victory over Amalek, Saul failed to obey Jehovah’s command to devote all the Amalekites and their flocks and herds to destruction, thereby meriting Jehovah’s final rejection. (1 Sam. 15:12-28) After Absalom’s revolt failed, the men of Judah came to Gilgal to conduct David across the Jordan.—2 Sam. 19:15, 40.
Through the prophet Micah, Jehovah reminded his people of his blessings upon them. “From Shittim . . . to Gilgal” he had blocked the Moabite effort to corrupt them, brought Israel across the Jordan, and rolled away the reproach of Egypt. But Israel failed to discern these “righteous acts of Jehovah.”—Mic. 6:5; Num. 25:1.
The postexilic Beth-gilgal may be the same as the Gilgal near Jericho or No. 2 below.—Neh. 12:28, 29.
2. Although some view it otherwise, the Gilgal mentioned in connection with Elijah and Elisha is evidently not the same as No. 1 above. Before being taken up into the heavens in the windstorm, Elijah, accompanied by Elisha, went from Gilgal down to Bethel and then to Jericho. (2 Ki. 2:1-5) This route suggests a location near Bethel. Also, their going “down” implies that this Gilgal was in a mountainous region. The Gilgal in the Jordan valley would not fit this description. Hence geographers usually link this second Gilgal with Jiljulieh, a large village atop a hill about seven miles (11 kilometers) N of Bethel. Elisha later healed a poisonous stew there. (2 Ki. 4:38-41) Perhaps this or still another Gilgal is the one described at Deuteronomy 11:29, 30 as having Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal in front of it.
In later periods this city (or perhaps No. 1 above) may have become a center of false worship. (Hos. 4:15; 9:15; 12:11) Jehovah, foreseeing the subsequent exile of the northern kingdom, by his prophet Amos scornfully tells the irreformable Israelites to be “frequent in committing transgression” at Gilgal, also foretelling exile for its inhabitants.—Amos 4:4; 5:5.
3. A site W of the Jordan mentioned in a list of Israelite conquests under Joshua. (Josh. 12:7, 8, 23) One of several suggested possible identifications is another Jiljulieh, situated about twelve miles (19 kilometers NE of Tel Aviv. Those believing that the text may contain a scribal error prefer the Greek Septuagint reading of “Galilee.”—RS.
A city in the mountainous region of Judah (Josh. 15:48, 51) and the home of the traitor “Ahithophel the Gilonite.” (2 Sam. 15:12; 23:34) Though its exact location is unknown, some geographers tentatively identify Giloh with Khirbet Jala, somewhat less than seven miles (11.3 kilometers) N-NW of Hebron.