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Only nine and a half of Israel’s twelve tribes settled in the area commonly known as Canaan (i.e. the land west of the Jordan River). The other two and a half tribes settled in the area east of Jordan. In this eastern area half of the tribe of Manasseh was in the north, the tribe of Gad in the centre and the tribe of Reuben in the south (Numbers 32:1-5; Numbers 32:33; Joshua 13:8-33). (For the settlement of the two and a half eastern tribes see REUBEN.)

Although the tribe was known as Gad (after the son of Jacob who fathered it; Genesis 30:9-11), the area where it dwelt was commonly known as Gilead. Sometimes the names Gad and Gilead were used interchangeably (Joshua 13:24-25; Judges 5:17; Judges 11:5; Judges 12:4; 1 Samuel 13:7). (For the physical features of the region see GILEAD.)

Gad, like the other eastern tribes, was more open to attack than the western tribes, but the men of Gad were fierce fighters who drove back the invaders (Genesis 49:19). They could not, however, withstand invasions for ever, and when Israel was later destroyed by Assyria, they were among the first Israelites to go into captivity (2 Kings 10:32-33; 2 Kings 15:29).

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Gad'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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