Scriptures, "Gilead" means hill of
testimony or mound of witness, (Genesis 31:21), a mountainous region east of
River, situated in the present-day Kingdom of Jordan.
is also referred to by the Aramaic
, which carries the same meaning as
the Hebrew (Gen. 31:47). From its mountainous character it is
called "the mount of Gilead" (Gen. 31:25). It is called also "the
land of Gilead" (Num. 32:1), and sometimes simply "Gilead" (Ps.
60:7; Gen. 37:25). As a whole, it included the tribal territories
of Gad, Reuben, and the eastern half of Manasseh (Deut. 3:13; Num.
32:40). It was bounded on the north by Bashan
, and on the south by Moab
(Gen. 31:21; Deut. 3:12-17). "Half
Gilead" was possessed by Sihon, and the other half, separated from
it by the river Jabbok, by Og, king of Bashan. The deep ravine of
the river Hieromax (the modern Sheriat el-Mandhur) separated Bashan
from Gilead, which was about 60 miles in length and 20 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.
In the Bible
( , "Heap/mass of testimony/witness",
; ) is the name of three persons
and two geographic places. Gilead is divided among the tribes of
Specifically, it may refer to:
- A grandson of Manasseh, ancestor of the
Iezerites and Helekites. (1 Chronicles 2: 21-23)
- A person in the Gadite genealogies. (1 Chronicles 5:11-14)
- The father of Jephthah.
- "Gilead" mentioned in Book of
Hosea may refer to Ramoth-Gilead,
Jabesh-Gilead, or the whole region
Gilead, treated below.
- In Hebrew, Gilead can also mean a memorial site, and is used to
name boys, while "Gil" equals joy in Hebrew and "ad" means forever
name Gilead ( ) is used in strict sense of the mountainous land
extending north and south of Jabbok.
It is used
more generally for all the region east of the Jordan River. It corresponds today to the northwestern
part of the Kingdom of Jordan. The
name Gilead first appears in the biblical account of the last
meeting of Jacob and Laban (Gen. 31:21-22). After king Sihon was defeated, the Tribe of Reuben, Tribe of Gad, and half the Tribe of Manasseh were assigned to the
area. 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. King
Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria says he established the province of Gal'azu
References in culture
The Old Testament
(or Hebrew Bible
) repeatedly mentions a
mythological or real "balm in Gilead" or "balm of Gilead
," references and symbolism
which have appeared repeatedly in Western culture, see Balsam of Mecca
"There Is A Balm in Gilead" is a
traditional United States African-American
In Edgar Allan Poe
's poem "The Raven
," the speaker asks the spectral bird:
"Is there balm in Gilead? Tell me truly I implore."
Balm in Gilead,
dramatist Lanford Wilson's first full-length play, centers on a
café frequented by heroin addicts, prostitutes, and thieves.
In the novel The Handmaid's
by Margaret Atwood
the United States has been replaced by a theocratic
totalitarian nation, the "Republic of
In Stephen King
's Dark Tower
protagonist, Roland Deschain
from a kingdom called Gilead, which was destroyed by agents of the
In Christopher Paolini
Gil'ead is a location through which Eragon travels.
is also the title of
the 2004 award-winning novel (2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and
the National Book Critics Circle Award) by American writer Marilynne Robinson
The 1996 film The Spitfire
a story of a young woman's transformation of a
community and redemption of her own and her fellow townpersons'
past, is set in the small town of Gilead, Maine. The 2001 musical
of the same name set Gilead in Wisconsin, perhaps due to its
premiere in Milwaukee.
The song “Balsam in Gilead”, based on Jeremiah 8:22
included in Jehovah's Witnesses
1984 hymnbook "Sing Praises to
". The lyrics mention God's provisions for comforting,
and also encourage being a comfort to others.