Gilead [is] a city of them that work iniquity
The chief city in the land of Gilead, which lay beyond Jordan, inhabited by Gad and Reuben, and the half tribe of Manasseh; and so belonged to the ten tribes, whose sins are here particularly observed. It had its name from the country, or the country from that, or both from the mountain of the same name. It is thought to be Ramothgilead, a city of refuge, and put for all the cities of refuge in those parts, which were inhabited by priests and Levites; and who ought to have had knowledge of the laws, and instructed the people in them, and observed them themselves, and set a good example to others; but, instead of this, the whole course of their lives, was vicious; they made a trade of sinning, did nothing else but work iniquity; and this was general among them, the city or cities of them consisted of none else; and all manner of iniquity was committed by them, particularly idolatry; for so the words may be rendered, "a city of them that serve an idol" F1; not only at Dan and Bethel, but in the cities of the priests, idols were set up and worshipped; this shows the state to be very corrupt: [and is] polluted with blood;
with the blood of murderers harboured there, who ought not to have been admitted; or with the blood of such who were delivered up to the avenger of blood, that ought to have been sheltered, and both for the sake of money; or with the blood of children, sacrificed to Moloch: the word used has the signification of supplanting, lying in wait, and so is understood of a private, secret, shedding of blood, in a deceitful and insidious way: hence some render it, "cunning for blood" F2; to which the Targum seems to agree, calling it a city
``of them that secretly or deceitfully shed innocent blood.''It has also the signification of the heel of a man's foot, and is by some rendered, "trodden by blood" F3; that is, by bloody men: or "footed" or "heeled by blood" F4; that is, such an abundance of it was shed, that a man could not set his foot or his heel any where but in blood.
F1 (Nwa ylep tyrq) "civitas operantium idolum", V. L.
F2 (Mdm hbqe) "callida et astuta sanguine", so some in Vatablus; "callida sanguine", Castslio.
F3 "Calcata a sanguine", Piscator.
F4 "Vestigiata a sanguine", Capellus, Tarnovius; "vestigis sanguinolentis", Juuius & Tremellius.