Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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gilgal Summary and Overview

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gilgal in Easton's Bible Dictionary

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 (Josh. 9:6; 10:6). It was "beside the oaks of Moreh," near which Abraham erected his first altar (Gen. 12:6, 7). This was one of the three towns to which Samuel resorted for the administration of justice (1 Sam. 7:16), and here also he offered sacrifices when the ark was no longer in the tabernacle at Shiloh (1 Sam. 10:8; 13:7-9). To this place, as to a central sanctuary, all Israel gathered to renew their allegiance to Saul (11:14). At a later period it became the scene of idolatrous worship (Hos. 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 (Josh. 4:19, 20). Here they kept their first Passover in the land of Canaan (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 (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 (2 Kings 4:38), and whence Elijah and Elisha, who resided here, "went down" to Bethel (2:1,2). It is mentioned also in Deut. 11:30. It is now known as Jiljilia, a place 8 miles north of Bethel.

gilgal in Smith's Bible Dictionary

(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, #Jos 4:19,20| comp. Josh 4:3 where also they kept the first passover in the land of Canaan ch. #Jos 5:10| It was "in the east border of Jericho," apparently on a hillock or rising ground, #Jos 5:3| 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. #Jos 5:10| 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. #2Sa 19:40| A Gilgal is spoken of in #Jos 15:7| in describing the north border of Judah. In #Jos 18:17| it is given as Geliloth. Gilgal near Jericho is doubtless intended. 2. In #2Ki 2:1,2; 4:38| 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. #Jos 12:23| 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.

gilgal in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

GIL'GAL (rolling). 1 . The name of the first station of the Israelites after crossing the Jordan, and "in the east border of Jericho," Josh 4:19-20, the twelve stones were set up, and the tabernacle remained at Gilgal until removed to Shiloh. Josh 18:1. Samuel judged, and Saul was made king there, 1 Sam 7:16; 1 Sam 10:8; 1 Sam 11:14-15; at Gilgal the people gathered for war; there Agag was hewn in pieces. 1 Sam 13:4-7; 1 Sam 15:33. Later on, Gilgal became a seat of idolatry, but whether this one or the Gilgal above Bethel is yet unsettled. Gilgal is not named in the N.T. Josephus places this Gilgal 10 furlongs from Jericho and 50 from the Jordan; Jerome had it pointed out 2 miles from Jericho; Thomson and others locate it near the modern village of Riba; Zschokke, at Tell Jeljal, north of Wady Kelt. Conder favors this, and gives the name Jiljulieh. 1. The Gilgal in Elijah's time was probably in the range of hills beyond Bethel, since the prophet "went down" from that Gilgal to Bethel, 2 Kgs 2:2. As Bethel is 3300 feet above the Jordan plain, it must have been a Gilgal not in that plain, but one higher up than Bethel. It has been identified with Jijilia, 8 miles north of Bethel, where the school of the prophets was probably established. 2. Gilgal of Josh 12:23 is supposed to be at a Jiljulieh, 4 miles south of Antipatris, in the plain of Sharon. There is a Kilkilieh -- another form of Gilgal -- also, 2 miles east of Antipatris.

gilgal in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

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 (Joshua 4:3; Joshua 4:19-20). Here they kept the first Passoverin Canaan (Joshua 5:10). On arising ground ("hill," Joshua 5:3; Joshua 5:9) 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, Israel Exploration). The distances stated by Josephus accord with this site. The Israelites born in the wilderness were here circumcised with stone knives (Joshua 5:2 margin; Exodus 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 (Deuteronomy 2:14; Numbers 21:12-13), when all the sentenced generation was dead (Numbers 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 (Galatians 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 (Galatians 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 (Genesis 34:25) would be no bar to their joining in the feast. The "reproach of Egypt rolled off" is (like "the reproach of Moab" Zephaniah 2:8, and "Syria" Ezekiel 16:57) that heaped on Israel by Egypt, namely, that Jehovah had brought them into the wilderness to slay them (Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:13-16; Deuteronomy 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 Micah 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 (2 Samuel 19:15). 2. Gilgal from which Elijah and Elisha went down to Bethel (2 Kings 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 2 Kings 2:3. Gilgal not far from Shechem, beside the plains of Moreh (Deuteronomy 11:30). Joshua 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.