Gilead and surrounding area

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Genesis 31:21 So he fled with all that he had. He rose up, passed over the River, and set his face toward the mountain of Gilead.

Genesis 31:23 He took his relatives with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey. He overtook him in the mountain of Gilead.

Genesis 31:25 Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain, and Laban with his relatives encamped in the mountain of Gilead.

Genesis 37:25 They sat down to eat bread, and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spices and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

Numbers 32:1 Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of livestock: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that behold, the place was a place for livestock;

Numbers 32:3 "Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Sebam, and Nebo, and Beon,

Numbers 32:5 They said, "If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession; don't bring us over the Jordan."

Numbers 32:8 Your fathers did so when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to see the land.

Numbers 32:9 For when they went up to the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which Yahweh had given them.

Numbers 32:11 'Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:

Numbers 32:19 For we will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan, and forward; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side of the Jordan eastward."

Numbers 32:21 and every armed man of you will pass over the Jordan before Yahweh, until he has driven out his enemies from before him,

Numbers 32:26 Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our livestock, shall be there in the cities of Gilead;

Numbers 32:29 Moses said to them, "If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will pass with you over the Jordan, every man who is armed to battle, before Yahweh, and the land shall be subdued before you; then you shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession:

Numbers 32:30 but if they will not pass over with you armed, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan."

Numbers 32:39 The children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, and took it, and dispossessed the Amorites who were therein.

Numbers 32:40 Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh; and he lived therein.

Deuteronomy 2:36 From Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and from the city that is in the valley, even to Gilead, there was not a city too high for us; Yahweh our God delivered up all before us:

Deuteronomy 3:10 all the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, to Salecah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.

Deuteronomy 3:12 This land we took in possession at that time: from Aroer, which is by the valley of the Arnon, and half the hill country of Gilead, and its cities, gave I to the Reubenites and to the Gadites:

Deuteronomy 3:13 and the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, gave I to the half-tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, even all Bashan. (The same is called the land of Rephaim.

Deuteronomy 3:15 I gave Gilead to Machir.

Deuteronomy 3:16 To the Reubenites and to the Gadites I gave from Gilead even to the valley of the Arnon, the middle of the valley, and the border of it, even to the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon;

Deuteronomy 4:43 namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, for the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, for the Manassites.

Deuteronomy 34:1 Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. Yahweh showed him all the land of Gilead, to Dan,

Joshua 12:2 Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and the middle of the valley, and half Gilead, even to the river Jabbok, the border of the children of Ammon;

Joshua 12:5 and ruled in Mount Hermon, and in Salecah, and in all Bashan, to the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and half Gilead, the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.

Joshua 13:11 and Gilead, and the border of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan to Salecah;

Joshua 13:25 Their border was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the children of Ammon, to Aroer that is before Rabbah;

Joshua 13:31 Half Gilead, Ashtaroth, and Edrei, the cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, were for the children of Machir the son of Manasseh, even for the half of the children of Machir according to their families.

Joshua 17:1 This was the lot for the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph. As for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.

Joshua 17:5 Ten parts fell to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is beyond the Jordan;

Joshua 17:6 because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons. The land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the sons of Manasseh.

Joshua 20:8 Beyond the Jordan at Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness in the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.

Joshua 21:38 Out of the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead with its suburbs, the city of refuge for the manslayer, and Mahanaim with its suburbs,

Joshua 22:9 The children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go to the land of Gilead, to the land of their possession, which they owned, according to the commandment of Yahweh by Moses.

Joshua 22:13 The children of Israel sent to the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest,

Joshua 22:15 They came to the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, to the land of Gilead, and they spoke with them, saying,

Joshua 22:17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we have not cleansed ourselves to this day, although there came a plague on the congregation of Yahweh,

Joshua 22:32 Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, to the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them word again.

Judges 5:17 Gilead lived beyond the Jordan. Why did Dan remain in ships? Asher sat still at the haven of the sea, and lived by his creeks.

Judges 10:4 He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkey colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havvoth Jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead.

Judges 10:8 They troubled and oppressed the children of Israel that year: eighteen years oppressed they all the children of Israel that were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.

Judges 10:17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. The children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpah.

Judges 10:18 The people, the princes of Gilead, said one to another, "What man is he who will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."

Judges 11:5 It was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah out of the land of Tob;

Judges 11:7 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "Didn't you hate me, and drive me out of my father's house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?"

Judges 11:8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "Therefore we have turned again to you now, that you may go with us, and fight with the children of Ammon; and you shall be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."

Judges 11:9 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you bring me home again to fight with the children of Ammon, and Yahweh deliver them before me, shall I be your head?"

Judges 11:10 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "Yahweh shall be witness between us; surely according to your word so will we do."

Judges 11:11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them: and Jephthah spoke all his words before Yahweh in Mizpah.

Judges 11:29 Then the Spirit of Yahweh came on Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over to the children of Ammon.

Judges 12:4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim; and the men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, "You are fugitives of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim, and in the midst of Manasseh."

Judges 12:5 The Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. It was so, that when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, Let me go over, the men of Gilead said to him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he said, "No;"

Judges 12:7 Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

Judges 20:1 Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was assembled as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, to Yahweh at Mizpah.

1 Samuel 13:7 Now some of the Hebrews had gone over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead; but as for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

2 Samuel 2:9 and he made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.

2 Samuel 17:26 Israel and Absalom encamped in the land of Gilead.

2 Samuel 24:6 then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim Hodshi; and they came to Dan Jaan, and around to Sidon,

1 Kings 4:13 Ben Geber, in Ramoth Gilead (to him pertained the towns of Jair the son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead; even to him pertained

1 Kings 4:19 Geber the son of Uri, in the land of Gilead, the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and of Og king of Bashan; and he was the only officer who was in the land.

1 Kings 17:1 Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the foreigners of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As Yahweh, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."

2 Kings 10:33 from the Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the valley of the Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan.

2 Kings 15:25 Pekah the son of Remaliah, his captain, conspired against him, and struck him in Samaria, in the castle of the king's house, with Argob and Arieh; and with him were fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his place.

2 Kings 15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath Pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel Beth Maacah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria.

1 Chronicles 2:22 Segub became the father of Jair, who had twenty-three cities in the land of Gilead.

1 Chronicles 2:23 Geshur and Aram took the towns of Jair from them, with Kenath, and its villages, even sixty cities. All these were the sons of Machir the father of Gilead.

1 Chronicles 2:49 She bore also Shaaph the father of Madmannah, Sheva the father of Machbena, and the father of Gibea; and the daughter of Caleb was Achsah.

1 Chronicles 5:9 and eastward he lived even to the entrance of the wilderness from the river Euphrates, because their livestock were multiplied in the land of Gilead.

1 Chronicles 5:10 In the days of Saul, they made war with the Hagrites, who fell by their hand; and they lived in their tents throughout all the land east of Gilead.

1 Chronicles 5:16 They lived in Gilead in Bashan, and in its towns, and in all the suburbs of Sharon, as far as their borders.

1 Chronicles 6:80 and out of the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead with its suburbs, and Mahanaim with its suburbs,

1 Chronicles 26:31 Of the Hebronites was Jerijah the chief, even of the Hebronites, according to their generations by fathers' houses. In the fortieth year of the reign of David they were sought for, and there were found among them mighty men of valor at Jazer of Gilead.

1 Chronicles 27:21 of the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo the son of Zechariah: of Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner:

Jeremiah 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no physician there? why then isn't the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Jeremiah 22:6 For thus says Yahweh concerning the house of the king of Judah: You are Gilead to me, and the head of Lebanon; yet surely I will make you a wilderness, and

Jeremiah 46:11 Go up into Gilead, and take balm, virgin daughter of Egypt: in vain do you use many medicines; there is no healing for you.

Jeremiah 50:19 I will bring Israel again to his pasture, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead.

Ezekiel 47:18 The east side, between Hauran and Damascus and Gilead, and the land of Israel, shall be the Jordan; from the north border to the east sea you shall measure. This is the east side.

Hosea 6:8 Gilead is a city of those who work iniquity; it is stained with blood.

Hosea 12:11 If Gilead is wicked, surely they are worthless. In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls. Indeed, their altars are like heaps in the furrows of the field.

Amos 1:3 Thus says Yahweh: "For three transgressions of Damascus, yes, for four, I will not turn away its punishment; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron;

Amos 1:13 Thus says Yahweh: "For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, yes, for four, I will not turn away its punishment; because they have ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead, that they may enlarge their border.

Obadiah 1:19 Those of the South will possess the mountain of Esau, and those of the lowland, the Philistines. They will possess the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria. Benjamin will possess Gilead.

Micah 7:14 Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your heritage, who dwell by themselves in a forest, in the midst of fertile pasture land, let them feed; in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.

Zechariah 10:10 I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and there won't be room enough for them.


gil'-e-ad (ha-gil`adh, "the Gilead"): The name is explained in Genesis 31:46, 51, as derived from Hebrew gal, "a cairn," and `edh, "witness," agreeing in meaning with the Aramaic yegharsahadhutha'. The Arabic jilead means "rough," "rugged."

(1) A city named in Hosea 6:8; Hosea 12:11, possibly to be identified with Gilead near to Mizpah (Judges 10:17). If this is correct, the ancient city may be represented by the modern Jil`ad, a ruin about 5 miles North of es-Salt.

(2) A mountain named in Judges 7:3. Gideon, ordered to reduce the number of men who were with him, commanded all who were "fearful and trembling" to "return and depart from Mt. Gilead." the Revised Version, margin reads "return and go round about from Mt. Gilead." Gideon and his army lay to the South of the plain of Jezreel on the lower slopes of Gilboa. It has been suggested (Studer, Comm., at the place) that, as the Midianites lay between the men of the northern tribes and their homes, they were told to cross the Jordan, make a detour through Gilead, and thus avoid the enemy. Possibly, however, we should read Gilboa for Gilead; or part of the mountain may have borne the name of Gilead. The last suggestion is favored by the presence of a strong spring under the northern declivity of Gilboa, nearly 2 miles from Zer`in, possibly to be identified with the Well of Harod. In the modern name, `Ain Jalud, there may be an echo of the ancient Gilead.

(3) The name is applied generally to the mountain mass lying between the Yarmuk on the North, and Wady Chesban on the South; the Jordan being the boundary on the West, while on the East it marched with the desert.

1. The Land of Gilead:

Mount Gilead-literally, "Mount of the Gilead"-may refer to some particular height which we have now no means of identifying (Genesis 31:23). The name Jebel Jil`ad is still, indeed, applied to a mountain South of Nahr ez-Zerqa and North of es-Salt; but this does not meet the necessities of the passage as it stands. The same expression in Deuteronomy 3:12 obviously stands for the whole country. This is probably true also in Songs 4:1. The name Gilead is sometimes used to denote the whole country East of the Jordan (Genesis 37:25 Joshua 22:9 2 Samuel 2:9, etc.). Again, along with Bashan, it indicates the land East of Jordan, as distinguished from the Moab plateau (Deuteronomy 3:10 Joshua 13:11 2 Kings 10:33).


In the North Gilead bordered upon Geshur and Maacah (Joshua 13:11, 13); and here the natural boundary would be formed by the deep gorge of the Yarmuk and Wady esh-Shellaleh. In pre-Israelite times the Jabbok (Nahr ez-Zerqa), which cuts the country in two, divided the kingdom of Sihon from that of Og (Deuteronomy 3:16 Joshua 12:2). The frontiers between the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh cannot be indicated with any certainty. Probably they varied at different times (compare Joshua 13:24; 1 Chronicles 5:8, 9, 11, 16). It greatly increases the difficulty that so many of the cities named are still unidentified. But in any case it is clear that the bulk of Gilead fell to Gad, so that Gilead might stand for Gad (Judges 5:17). HAVVOTH-JAIR (which see), "the villages of Jair," lay in Gilead (Judges 10:4). The modern division of the country follows the natural features. From the Yarmuk to Nahr ez-Zerqa is the district of `Ajlun; and from the Zerqa to the Arnon is el-Belqa.

3. Geology:

The geological formation is the same as that of Western Palestine, but the underlying sandstone, which does not appear West of the Jordan, forms the base slopes of the chain of Moab and Gilead, and is traceable as far as the Jabbok. It is covered in part by the more recent white marls which form the curious peaks of the foothills immediately above the Jordan valley; but reaches above them to an elevation of 1,000 ft. above the Mediterranean on the South, and forms the bed of the Buqei`a basin farther East, and 1,000 ft. higher. Above this lies the hard, impervious dolomite limestone which appears in 'the rugged hills round' the Jabbok and in Jebel `Ajlun, rising on an average 1,500 ft. above the sandstone and forming the bed of the copious springs. It also dips toward the Jordan valley, and the water from the surface of the plateau, sinking down to the surface of their formation, bursts out of the hill slopes on the West in perennial brooks. It was from the ruggedness of this hard limestone that Gilead obtained its name. Above this again is the white chalk of the desert plateau, the same as that found in Samaria and Lower Galilee, with bands of flint or chert in contorted layers, or strewn in pebbles on the surface. Where this formation is deep the country is bare and arid, supplied by cisterns and deep wells. Thus the plateau becomes desert, while the hill slopes abound in streams and springs; and for this reason Western Gilead is a fertile country, and Eastern Gilead is a wilderness (Conder, DB, under the word).

4. Mountains:

The uplands of Gilead may be described as the crumpling of the edge of the great eastern plateau ere it plunges into the Ghor. The average height of the range is about 4,000 ft. above the Jordan valley, or 3,000 ft. above the Mediterranean. The greatest height is toward the South, where it culminates in Jebel Osh`a (3,597 ft.), to the North of es-Salt. This mountain commands a most spacious view. To the East of it lies the hollow (an old lake bottom) of el-Buqei`a, fully 1,500 ft. lower. In the North we have Jebel Hakart (3,408 ft.) W, of Reimun. Almost as high (3,430 ft.) is Jebei Kafkafah, about 12 miles to the Northeast. A striking point (2,700 ft.) fully 2 miles Northwest of `Ajlun, is crowned by Qal`at er-Rabad, whence again a view of extraordinary extent is gained.

5. Streams and Products:

The Yarmuk and the Zerqa (see JABBOK) are the main streams, but almost every valley has its perennial brook. While not so rich as the volcanic loam in the North and in and the South, the soil of Gilead amply repays the labor of the husbandman. Of flowers the most plentiful are the phlox, the cistus and the narcissus. Hawthorn, mastic and arbutus abound, while many a glen and slope is shady with shaggy oak woods, and, in the higher reaches, with pines. The streams are fringed with oleander. The monotony of the stony plateau is broken by clumps of the hardy white broom. In the lower ground are found the tamarisk and the lotus, with many a waving cane-brake. The scenery is more beautiful and picturesque than that of any other district of Palestine. The soil is not now cultivated to any great extent; but it furnishes ample pasture for many flocks and herds (Songs 6:5).

The Ishmaelites from Gilead (Genesis 37:25) were carrying "spicery and balm and myrrh." From old time Gilead was famed for its BALM (which see). The loT, translated "myrrh" in the above passage, was probably the gum produced by the Cistus ladaniferus, a flower which still abounds in Gilead.

6. History:

After the conquest, as we have seen, Gilead passed mainly into the hands of Gad. An Ammonite attack was repulsed by the prowess of Jephthah (Judges 11:1); and the spite of the Ephraimites was terribly punished (Judges 12:1). Gilead at first favored the cause of Ishbosheth (2 Samuel 2:9), but after the murder of that prince the Gileadites came with the rest of Israel to David (2 Samuel 5:1). By the conquest of the fortress Rabbah, which the Ammonites had continued to hold, the land passed finally under the power of David (2 Samuel 12:26). David fled to Mahanaim from Absalom, and that rebel prince perished in one of the forests of Gilead (2 Samuel 17:24; 2 Samuel 18:6). Joab's census included Gilead (2 Samuel 24:6). Solomon had two commissariat districts in Gilead (1 Kings 4:13, 19). Before Ramoth-gilead, which he sought to win back from the Syrians who had captured it, Ahab received his death wound (1 Kings 22:1). The Syrians asserted their supremacy in Gilead (2 Kings 10:32 f) where Moab and Israel had contended with varying fortune (M S). At length Tiglath-pileser overran the country and transported many of the inhabitants (2 Kings 15:29). This seems to have led to a reconquest of the land by heathenism, and return to Gilead was promised to Israel (Zechariah 10:10).

At a later time the Jewish residents in Gilead were exposed to danger from their heathen neighbors. On their behalf Judas Maccabeus invaded the country and met with striking success (1 Maccabees 5:9). Alexander Janneus, who had subdued Gilead, was forced to yield it again to the king of Arabia (Ant., XIII, xiv, 2; BJ, I, iv, 3). During the Roman period, especially in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D., the land enjoyed great prosperity. Then were built such cities as Gadara and Gerasa, which are still imposing, even in ruins. The appearance of the Moslem armies was the signal for its decay. Attempts were made to recover it for Christianity by Baldwin I (1118 A.D.) and Baldwin II (1121 A.D.); and the Crusaders left their mark in such strong-holds as Kal`at er-Rabad and the castle at es-Salt. With the reassertion of Moslem supremacy a curtain falls over the history of the district; and only in comparatively recent times has it again become known to travelers. The surveys directed by the Palestine Exploration Fund, in so far as they have been carried out, are invaluable. North of the Jabbok are many villages, and a fair amount of cultivation. Es Salt is the only village of any importance in the South. It is famous for its raisins. Its spacious uplands, its wooded and well-watered valleys have been for centuries the pasture-land of the nomads.


Useful information will be found in Merrill, East of the Jordan; Oliphant, Land of Gilead; Thomson, LB; and especially in Conder, Heth and Moab, and in Memoirs of the Survey of Eastern Palestine

W. Ewing

GIL'EAD, the name of a mountain and a district e. of Jordan, 50 ms. n.e. from Jerusalem.
Strong's Hebrew
H1568: Gilad

a region in Palestine, also the name of several Israelites

Gilboa (Mount Gilboa)
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