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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