1. A celebrated place between the Jordan and Jericho, where the Israelites first encamped, after the passage of that river; where also they were circumcised, and kept their first Passover in Canaan, Jos 4:19; 5:9-10. It continued to be the headquarters of the Israelites for several years, while Joshua was occupied in subduing the land, Jos 9:6; 10:6,15,43. A considerable city was afterwards built there, Jos 15:7, which became famous for many events. Here the tabernacle rested, until its removal to Shiloh; here also, according to the prevalent opinion, Samuel offered sacrifices, and held his court as a judge of Israel; and here Saul was crowned, 1Sa 7:16; 10:8; 11:15; 1Sa 13:7-9; 15:33. A school of the prophets was established, 2Ki 4:38; and yet it afterwards appears to have become a seat of idolatry, Ho 4:15; 9:15; 12:11; Am 4:4; 5:5. At this day, no traces of it are found. According to Josephus, it lay within two miles of Jericho.
2. Another Gilgol lay near Antipatris, Jos 12:23; Ne 12:29. And perhaps a third in the mountains of Ephraim, north of Bethel, De 11:30; 2Ki 2:1-6. There are not wanting those who would make the Gilgal near Antipatris the seat of Samuel's judgeship, and of one of the schools of the prophets.
rolling. (1.) From the solemn transaction of the reading of the law in the valley of Shechem between Ebal and Gerizim the Israelites moved forward to Gilgal, and there made a permanent camp (Jos 9:6; 10:6). It was "beside the oaks of Moreh," near which Abraham erected his first altar (Ge 12:6-7). This was one of the three towns to which Samuel resorted for the administration of justice (1Sa 7:16), and here also he offered sacrifices when the ark was no longer in the tabernacle at Shiloh (1Sa 10:8; 13:7-9). To this place, as to a central sanctuary, all Israel gathered to renew their allegiance to Saul (1Sa 11:14). At a later period it became the scene of idolatrous worship (Ho 4:15; 9:15). It has been identified with the ruins of Jiljilieh, about 5 miles south-west of Shiloh and about the same distance from Bethel.
(2.) The place in "the plains of Jericho," "in the east border of Jericho," where the Israelites first encamped after crossing the Jordan (Jos 4:19-20). Here they kept their first Passover in the land of Canaan (Jos 5:10) and renewed the rite of circumcision, and so "rolled away the reproach" of their Egyptian slavery. Here the twelve memorial stones, taken from the bed of the Jordan, were set up; and here also the tabernacle remained till it was removed to Shiloh (Jos 18:1). It has been identified with Tell Jiljulieh, about 5 miles from Jordan.
(3.) A place, probably in the hill country of Ephraim, where there was a school of the prophets (2Ki 4:38), and whence Elijah and Elisha, who resided here, "went down" to Bethel (2Ki 2:1-2). It is mentioned also in DE 11:30. It is now known as Jiljilia, a place 8 miles north of Bethel.
1. Hebrew: "the Gilgal," i.e. rolling. Israel's first encampment W. of Jordan (five miles) where they passed their first night after crossing, and set up the twelve stones taken from the river bed (Jos 4:3,19-20). Here they kept the first Passoverin Canaan (Jos 5:10). On arising ground ("hill," Jos 5:3,9) in the hot sunken Ghor between Jericho and the Jordan, one mile and a half E. of Jericho; five miles and a half W. of Jordan (Josephus, Ant. 5:1, 4, 11). On the N. side of wady Kelt, one mile and a third from the tower of modern Jericho (Eriha); toward the E. is a tamarisk, "Shejaret el Ithleh," which tradition makes the site of "the city of brass," whose walls fell on their besiegers marching round them. A pool is 150 yards S.E. of the tree, such as Israel would need in their long encampment at Gilgal; it is built with well packed pebbles without cement.
S.E. of this are twelve or more small mounds, Tell ayla't Jiljulieh, eight or ten ft. diameter, and three or four high, possibly remains of Israel's camp (Conder, Palestine Exploration). The distances stated by Josephus accord with this site. The Israelites born in the wilderness were here circumcised with stone knives (Jos 5:2 margin; Ex 4:25), which "rolling" away of the reproach of uncircumcision gave the name. The sons under 20 years, when at Kadesh in the second year of the wilderness journey the murmuring nation was rejected (Numbers 14), had been already circumcised; those born subsequently needed circumcision. As God abrogated at Kadesh the covenant, the sons of the rejected generation were not to receive the covenant rite. The manna and pillar of cloud were not withdrawn, because God would sustain the rising generation with the prospect of the ban being removed, and of the covenant temporarily suspended being renewed.
The sentence was exhausted when they crossed the Zered and entered the Amorites' land (De 2:14; Nu 21:12-13), when all the sentenced generation was dead (Nu 26:63-65). Moses, himself under sentence to die, did not venture on the steppes of Moab to direct the circumcision of the younger generation without Jehovah's command. And the rule of divine grace is first to give, then to require; so first He showed His grace to Abraham by leading him to Canaan and giving the promises, then enjoined circumcision; also He did not give the law to Israel at Sinai until first He had redeemed them from Egypt, and thereby made them willing to promise obedience. So now He did not require the renewal of circumcision, the covenant sign of subjection to the law (Ga 5:3), until He had first showed His grace in giving them victory over Og and Sihon, and in making a way through Jordan, a pledge that He would fulfill all His promises and finally give them the whole land.
The circumcision was performed the day after crossing Jordan, i.e. the 11th day of the first month (Ga 4:19). The Passover was kept on the 14th (verse 10). The objection that all could not have been circumcised in one day is futile. For the males in Israel at the census in Moab shortly before were 601,730 upward of 20 years old, besides 23,000 Levites of a month old and upward; at the outside all the males would be less than one million. Of these about 300,000 were 38 years old, therefore born before the census at Kadesh and circumcised already; so that only 600,000 would remain to be circumcised. The uncircumcised could easily be circumcised in one day with the help of the circumcised; the latter would prepare and kill the Passover lamb for their brethren whose soreness (Ge 34:25) would be no bar to their joining in the feast.
The "reproach of Egypt rolled off" is (like "the reproach of Moab" Zep 2:8, and "Syria" Eze 16:57) that heaped on Israel by Egypt, namely, that Jehovah had brought them into the wilderness to slay them (Ex 32:12; Nu 14:13-16; De 9:28). This "reproach of Egypt" rested on them so long as they were under the sentence of wandering and dying in the desert. The circumcision at Gilgal was a practical restoration of the covenant, and a pledge of their now receiving Canaan. No village was, or is, at Gilgal. In Mic 6:5, "O My people, remember ... what Balak ... consulted, and what Balaam ... answered ... from Shittim unto Gilgal," the sense is, Remember My kindness from Shittim. the scene of Balaam's wicked counsel taking effect in Israel's sin, from the fatal effects of which I saved thee, all along to Gilgal where I renewed the covenant with Israel by circumcision (2Sa 19:15).
2. Gilgal from which Elijah and Elisha went down to Bethel (2Ki 2:1-2). Clearly distinct from:
3. Gilgal, which is below in the Ghor along Jordan, not above Bethel, which is 1,000 ft. above Jordan. Now perhaps the ruins Jiljilieh, a few miles N. of Bethel. Another Gilgal has been found four miles from Shiloh, and five from Bethel, which is 500 ft. lower; this may be the Gilgal of 2Ki 2:3. Gilgal not far from Shechem, beside the plains of Moreh (De 11:30). Jos 12:23, "king of the nations (goim) of Gilgal," i.e. of the nomadic tribes, the aboriginal inhabitants of the country whose center was Gilgal.
4. To the N. of Judah (Jos 15:7). (See GELILOTH.)
A name meaning 'stone circle' applied to several places mentioned in the OT. 1. A place on the east border of Jericho (Jos 4:19), where the Israelites first encamped after crossing Jordan, and which remained the headquarters of the congregation till after the rout of the northern kings at Merom (Jos 14:6). The stone circle from which it certainly took its name (in spite of the impossible etymology given in Jos 5:9), was no doubt that to which the tradition embodied in Jos 4:20 refers, and the same as the 'images' by Gilgal in the story of Ehud (Jg 3:19 Revised Version margin). The name is still preserved in the modern Jilj
1. Place west of the Jordan, 'in the east border of Jericho,' where the Israelites encamped after passing the river. Here the twelve memorial stones were placed that were taken out of Jordan. Here the Israelites were circumcised: type of the putting off the body of the flesh; that is, of separation from the system in which man in the flesh lives: cf. Col 3:3-5. Here the reproach of Egypt was 'rolled away' (from which the name of the place was called 'Gilgal'), and they had communion figuratively with the death of Christ in the Passover. On the next day they ate of the old corn of the promised land: type of Christ being the centre of heavenly things on which the Christian feeds. Jos 4:19-20; 5:2-11. Gilgal was not only the starting point in taking possession of the land, but the place to which Joshua returned again and again: it was the place of strength. Jos 9:6; 10:6-15; 14:6. It was here that Saul was made king, 1Sa 11:14-15; and here he offered sacrifices, and Samuel hewed Agag in pieces. 1Sa 13:4-15; 15:12,21,33.
When David returned after the overthrow and death of Absalom, Judah gathered at Gilgal. to meet the king and conduct him over Jordan. 2Sa 19:15. In the days of Jeroboam Gilgal was defiled with idolatry. Ho 4:15; 9:15; Am 4:4. Gilgal which signifies 'rolled away' should be itself 'rolled away.' Am 5:5. In Jos 15:7 the border of Judah's portion 'looked toward' Gilgal, which well agrees with its being near Jericho. But in Jos 18:17 the same place is called GELILOTH, which cannot be traced. Gilgal is identified with Jiljulieh, 31 51' N, 35 29' E. In Ne 12:29 occurs 'the house of Gilgal,' or 'Beth-gilgal,' which may refer to the same place, or may be one of the villages built 'round about' Jerusalem.
2. A place connected with the closing scene of Elijah's life and where Elisha wrought one of his miracles. 2Ki 2:1; 4:38. The two prophets went 'down' from Gilgal to Bethel, whereas when No. 1 is referred to it is always 'going up' to the neighbourhood of Bethel, which seems to indicate that different places are alluded to. It has been identified with Jiljilia, 32 2' N, 35 13' E. (It should however be added that if the identification of Nos. 1 and 2, and that of Bethel is correct, No. 2 is not actually higher than Bethel, though being on a high hill it appears to be so, and a valley has to be crossed to reach it. The altitude of No. 2 is 2,441 feet, and that of Bethel 2,890 feet. No. 1 is below the sea level, which makes the 'going up' from thence to Bethel very apparent.)
3. A place whose king is called 'the king of the nations of Gilgal,' or, as in the R.V., 'the king of Goiim in Gilgal.' He was slain under Joshua. Being mentioned between Dor and Tirzah it is apparently a third Gilgal. Jos 12:23. It has been identified with Jiljulieh, 32 10' N, 34 57' E.
4. In De 11:30 Moses, speaking of the mounts of Gerizim and Ebal, asks "Are they not . . . . in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?" This does not at all agree with any of the above, but has not been identified with any place in the neighbourhood of the two mountains.
(a wheel; rolling).
1. The site of the first camp of the Israelites on the west of the Jordan, the place at which they passed the first night after crossing the river, and where the twelve stones were set up which had been taken from the bed of the stream,
comp. Josh 4:3 where also they kept the first passover in the land of Canaan ch.
It was "in the east border of Jericho," apparently on a hillock or rising ground,
comp. Josh 5:9 in the Arboth-Jericho (Authorized Version "the plains"), that is, the hot depressed district of the Ghor which lay between the town and the Jordan. ch.
Here Samuel was judge, and Saul was made king. We again have a glimpse of it, some sixty years later, in the history of David's return to Jerusalem.
A Gilgal is spoken of in
in describing the north border of Judah. In
it is given as Geliloth. Gilgal near Jericho is doubtless intended.
is named a Gilgal visited by Elijah and Elisha. This could not be the Gilgal of the low plain of the Jordan, for the prophets are said to have gone down to Bethel, which is 3000 feet above the plain. It haa been identified with Jiljilia, about four miles from Bethel and Shiloh respectively.
3. The "king of the nations of Gilgal" or rather perhaps the "king of Goim at Gilgal," is mentioned in the catalogue of the chiefs overthrown bv Joshua.
Possibly the site of this place is marked by the modern village Jiljulieh, about four miles south of Antipatris, which lies 16 miles northeast of Joppa. But another Gilgal, under the slightly-different form of Kilkilieh, lies about two miles east of Antipatris.
The word Gilgal signifies rolling. Here the ark was long stationed, and consequently the place was much resorted to by the Israelites. It seems to have been the place in which Jeroboam or some of the kings of Israel instituted idolatrous worship; and hence the allusions to it by the prophets, Ho 4:15; Am 4:4. It is probable that there were idols at Gilgal as early as the days of Ehud, who was one of the judges; for it is said that, having delivered his presents to the king, "Ehud went away, but returned again from the quarries that were by Gilgal," Jg 3:19. The margin of our Bibles reads, "the graven images," or idols set up by the Moabites, the viewing of which, it is thought, stirred up Ehud to revenge the affront thereby offered to the God of Israel. At this same place, the people met to confirm the kingdom to Saul, 1Sa 11:14-15. It was at Gilgal, too, that Saul incurred the divine displeasure, in offering sacrifice before Samuel arrived, 1 Samuel xiii; and there also it was that he received the sentence of his rejection for disobeying the divine command, and sparing the king of Amalek with the spoils which he had reserved, 1 Samuel 15.
It has been supposed that the setting up of stones, as at Gilgal and other places, gave rise to the rude stone circular temples of the Druids, and other Heathens. The idea, however, appears fanciful, and there is an essential difference between stones erected for memorials, and those used to mark sacred, or supposed sacred, places for worship.