heap of witness, the name of the pile of stones erected by Jacob and Laban to mark the league of friendship into which they entered with each other ( Genesis 31:47 Genesis 31:48 ). This was the name given to the "heap" by Jacob. It is Hebrew, while the name Jegar-sahadutha, given to it by Laban, is Aramaic (Chaldee or Syriac). Probably Nahor's family originally spoke Aramaic, and Abraham and his descendants learned Hebrew, a kindred dialect, in the land of Canaan.
the heap of witness
Derived from the Hebrew gal, "a heap of stones," and `edh, "witness." The meaning therefore is "cairn" or "heap of witness," corresponding to yeghar-sahddhutha' in Aramaic (Genesis 31:47). It is applied to the cairn raised by Jacob and Laban, beside which they sealed their covenant in a common meal, the memory of which they appealed to the silent cairn to preserve. The ancient custom of associating events with inanimate objects as witnesses is often illustrated in Hebrew history (Joshua 4:4, etc.). There may be in this narrative a suggestion of how the name "Gilead" came to be applied to that country.
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