The tribe of Gad during the march through the wilderness had their place with Simeon and Reuben on the south side of the tabernacle ( Numbers 2:14 ). The tribes of Reuben and Gad continued all through their history to follow the pastoral pursuits of the patriarchs ( Numbers 32:1-5 ).
The portion allotted to the tribe of Gad was on the east of Jordan, and comprehended the half of Gilead, a region of great beauty and fertility ( Deuteronomy 3:12 ), bounded on the east by the Arabian desert, on the west by the Jordan ( Joshua 13:27 ), and on the north by the river Jabbok. It thus included the whole of the Jordan valley as far north as to the Sea of Galilee, where it narrowed almost to a point.
This tribe was fierce and warlike; they were "strong men of might, men of war for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, their faces the faces of lions, and like roes upon the mountains for swiftness" ( 1 Chronicles 12:8 ; 5:19-22 ). Barzillai ( 2 Samuel 17:27 ) and Elijah ( 1 Kings 17:1 ) were of this tribe. It was carried into captivity at the same time as the other tribes of the northern kingdom by Tiglath-pileser ( 1 Chronicles 5:26 ), and in the time of ( Jeremiah 49:1 ) their cities were inhabited by the Ammonites.
a band; a troop
(a troop ).
(gadh, "fortune"; Gad):
1. The Name:
The seventh son of Jacob, whose mother was Zilpah (Genesis 30:11), and whose birth was welcomed by Leah with the cry, "Fortunate!" Some have sought to connect the name with that of the heathen deity Gad, of which traces are found in Baal-gad, Migdal-gad, etc. In the blessing of Jacob (Genesis 49:19) there is a play upon the name, as if it meant "troop," or "marauding band." "Gad, a troop shall press upon him; but he shall press upon their heel" (Hebrew gadh, gedhudh, yeghudhennu, wehu yaghudh `aqebh). Here there is doubtless a reference to the high spirit and valor that characterized the descendants of Gad. The enemy who attacked them exposed himself to grave peril. In the blessing of Moses again (Deuteronomy 33:20) it is said that Gad "dwelleth as lioness, and teareth the arm, yea, the crown of the head." Leonine qualities are ascribed to the Gadites, mighty men of valor, who joined David (1 Chronicles 12:8,14). Their "faces were like the faces of lions, and they were as swift as the roes upon the mountain." Among their captains "he that was least was equal to a hundred, and the greatest to a thousand."
2. The Tribe:
Of the patriarch Gad almost nothing is recorded. Seven sons went down with him into Egypt, when Jacob accepted Joseph s invitation (Genesis 46:16). At the beginning of the desert march Gad numbered 45,650 "from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war" (Numbers 1:24). In the plains of Moab the number had fallen to 40,500 (Numbers 26:18). The place of Gad was with the standard of the camp of Reuben on the South side of the tabernacle (Numbers 2:14). The prince of the tribe was Eliasaph, son of Deuel (Numbers 1:14), or Reuel (Numbers 2:14). Among the spies Gad was represented by Geuel son of Machi (Numbers 13:15).
3. The Tribal Territory:
From time immemorial the dwellers East of the Jordan have followed the pastoral life. When Moses had completed the conquest of these lands, the spacious uplands, with their wide pastures, attracted the great flock-masters of Reuben and Gad. In response to their appeal Moses assigned them their tribal portions here:
only on condition, however, that their men of war should go over with their brethren, and take their share alike in the hardship and in the glory of the conquest of Western Palestine (Numbers 32). When the victorious campaigns of Joshua were completed, the warriors of Reuben and Gad returned to their possessions in the East. They halted, however, in the Jordan valley to build the mighty altar of Ed. They feared lest the gorge of the Jordan should in time become all too effective a barrier between them and their brethren on the West. This altar should be for all time a "witness" to their unity in race and faith (Joshua 22). The building of the altar was at first misunderstood by the western tribes, but the explanation given entirely satisfied them.
It is impossible to indicate with any certainty the boundaries of the territory of Gad. Reuben lay on the South, and the half-tribe of Manasseh on the North. These three occupied the whole of Eastern Palestine. The South border of Gad is given as the Arnon in Numbers 32:34; but six cities to the North of the Arnon are assigned in 32:16 to Reuben. Again, Joshua 13:26 makes Wady Chesban the southern boundary of Gad. Mesha, however (MS), says that the men of Gad dwelt in Ataroth from old time. This is far South of Wady Chesban. The writer of Numbers 32 may have regarded the Jabbok as the northern frontier of Gad; but Joshua 13:27 extends it to the Sea of Chinnereth, making the Jordan the western boundary. It included Rabbath-ammon in the East. We have not now the information necessary to explain this apparent confusion. There can be no doubt that, as a consequence of strifes with neighboring peoples, the boundaries were often changed (1 Chronicles 5:18). For the Biblical writers the center of interest was in Western Palestine, and the details given regarding the eastern tribes are very meager. We may take it, however, that, roughly, the land of Gilead fell to the tribe of Gad. In Judges 5:17 Gilead appears where we should naturally expect Gad, for which it seems to stand. The city of refuge, Ramoth in Gilead, was in the territory of Gad (Joshua 20:8). For description of the country see GILEAD.
Reuben and Gad were absent from the muster against Sisera (Judges 5:15); but they united with their brethren in taking vengeance on Benjamin, Jabesh-gilead, from which no contingent was sent, being destroyed (20 f). Jephthah is probably to be reckoned to this tribe, his house, Mizpah (Judges 11:34), being apparently within its territory (Joshua 13:26). Gad furnished a refuge for some of the Hebrews during the Philistine oppression (1 Samuel 13:7). To David, while he avoided Saul at Ziklag, certain Gadites attached themselves (1 Chronicles 12:8). A company of them also joined in making him king at Hebron (1 Chronicles 12:38). In Gad the adherents of the house of Saul gathered round Ish-bosheth (2 Samuel 2:8). Hither David came in his flight from Absalom (2 Samuel 17:24). Gad fell to Jeroboam at the disruption of the kingdom, and Penuel, apparently within its borders, Jeroboam fortified at first (1 Kings 12:25). It appears from the Moabite Stone that part of the territory afterward passed into the hands of Moab. Under Omri this was recovered; but Moab again asserted its supremacy. Elijah probably belonged to this district; and the brook Cherith must be sought in one of its wild secluded glens.
Gad formed the main theater of the long struggle between Israel and the Syrians. At Ramoth-gilead Ahab received his death wound (1 Kings 22). Under Jeroboam II, this country was once more an integral part of the land of Israel. In 734 BC, however, Tiglath-pileser appeared, and conquered all Eastern Palestine, carrying its inhabitants captive (2 Kings 15:29; 1 Chronicles 5:26). This seems to have furnished occasion for the children of Ammon to occupy the country (Jeremiah 49:1). In Ezekiel's ideal picture (Ezekiel 48:27,34), a place is found for the tribe of Gad. Obadiah seems to have forgotten the tribe, and their territory is assigned to Benjamin (1:19). Gad, however, has his place among the tribes of Israel in Re 7.
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(1) to advise David while an outlaw fleeing before Saul to return to the land of Judah (1 Samuel 22:5);
(2) to rebuke David and give him his choice of punishments when, in spite of the advice of Joab and the traditional objections (compare Exodus 30:11), he had counted the children of Israel (2 Samuel 24:11; 1 Chronicles 21:9);
(4) to assist in the arrangement of Levitical music with cymbals, psalteries and harps (compare 2 Chronicles 29:25).
Of his writings none are known, though he is said to have written a history of a part of David's reign (1 Chronicles 29:29).
Ella Davis Isaacs
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A god of Good Luck, possibly the Hyades. The writer in Isaiah 65:11 (margin) pronounces a curse against such as are lured away to idolatry. The warning here, according to Cheyne, is specifically against the Samaritans, whom with their religion the Jews held in especial abhorrence. The charge would, however, apply just as well to superstitious and semi-pagan Jews. "But ye that forsake Yahweh, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto Destiny; I will destine you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter." There is a play upon words here: "Fill up mingled wine unto Destiny" (meni) and "I will destine manithi, i.e. portion out) you for the sword" (Isaiah 65:11,12). Gad and Meni mentioned here are two Syrian-deities (Cheyne, Book of the Prophet Isaiah, 198). Schurer (Gesch. d. jud. Volkes, II, 34 note, and bibliography) disputes the reference of the Greek (Tuche) cult to the Semitic Gad, tracing it rather to the Syrian "Astarte" worship. The custom was quite common among heathen peoples of spreading before the gods tables laden with food (compare Herod. i. 181, 183; Smith, Rel. of Semites, Lect X).
Nothing is known of a Babylonian deity named Gad, but there are Aramean and Arabic equivalents. The origin may have been a personification of fortune and destiny, i.e. equivalent to the Fates. The Nabatean inscriptions give, in plural, form, the name of Meni. Achimenidean coins (Persian) are thought by some to bear the name of Meni. How widely spread these Syrian cults became, may be seen in a number of ways, e.g. an altar from Vaison in Southern France bearing an inscription:
"Belus Fortunae rector, Menisque Magister."
Belus, signifying the Syrian Bel of Apamaea (Driver). Canaanitish place-names also attest the prevalence of the cult, as Baal-gad, at the foot of Hermen (Joshua 11:17; 12:7; 13:5); Migdal-gad, possibly Mejdel near Askalon (Joshua 15:37); Gaddi and Gaddiel (Numbers 13:10). In Talmudic literature the name of Gad is frequently invoked (compare McCurdy in Jewish Encyclopedia, V, 544). Indeed the words of Leah in Genesis 30:11 may refer not to good fortune or luck but to the deity who was especially regarded as the patron god of Good Fortune (compare Kent, Student's Old Testament, I, 111). Similar beliefs were held among the Greeks and Romans, e.g. Hor. Sat. ii.8, 61:
".... Fortuna, quis est crudelior in nos te deus?"
Cic. N.D. iii.24, 61:
"Quo in genere vel maxime est Fortuna numeranda."
The question has also an astronomical interest. Arabic tradition styled the planet Jupiter the greater fortune, and Venus the lesser fortune. Jewish tradition identified Gad with the planet Jupiter, and it has been conjectured that Meni is to be identified with the planet Venus.
See, however, ASTROLOGY, 10.
W. N. Stearns
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('azal, "to go about"):
Used once in Jeremiah 2:36, "Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way?" of going after Egypt and Assyria.
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