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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. id. גִּד , fortune, Genesis 30:11, although another signification is alluded to in Gaen. 49:19 Sept. and N.T. Γάδ ), the name of two men, and of the descendants of one of them; also of a heathen deity and of a plant. (See BAAL-GAD); (See MIGDAL-GAD).

1. (Josephus Γάδας .) Jacob's seventh son, the first-born of Zilpah, Leah's maid, and whole-brother to Asher (Genesis 30:11-13; Genesis 46:16; Genesis 46:18), born autumn B.C. 1915. The following is a copious account of him and his posterity. (See JACOB).

1. As to the name, there are several interpretations:

(a.) The passage in which the bestowal of the name of Gad is preserved like the others, an exclamation on his birth is more than usually obscure: "And Leah said, 'In fortune (be-gad, בְּגָד ), and she called his name Gad" (Genesis 30:11). Such is supposed to be the meaning of the old text of the passage (the Kethib); so it stood at the time of the Sept., which renders the key word by ἐν τύχῃ, in which it is followed by Jerome in the Vulg. Feliciter. In his Quaest. in Genesim, Jerome has infortuna. Josephus (Ant. 1:19, 8) gives it still a different turn-τυχαῖος = fortuitous. But in the Marginal emendations of the Masoretes (the Keri) the word is given בָּא גָד, "Gad has come." This construction is adopted by the ancient versions of Onkelos, Aquila (ἡλθεν ζῶσις ), and Synemachus (῏ηλθεν Γάδ ).

(b.) In the blessing of Jacob, however, we find the name played upon in a different manner: "Gad" is here taken as meaning a piratical band or troop (the term constantly used for which is gedud', גְּדוּד ), and the, allusion the turns of which it is impossible adequately to convey in English would seem to be to the irregular life of predatory warfare which should be pursued by the tribe after their settlement on the borders of the Promised Land. "Gad, a plundering troop (gedud') shall plunder him (ye-gud-en'nu), but he will plunder (ya-gutd') [at the] heel" (Genesis 49:19). Jerome (De Benedict. Jacobi) interprets this of the revenge taken by the warriors of the tribe on their return from the conquest of Western Palestine for the incursions of the desert tribes during their absence.

(c.) The force here lent to the name has been by some partially transferred to the narrative of Genesis 30, e.g. time Samaritan version, the Veneto- Greek, and our own A.V. (uniting this with the preceding) "a troop (of children) cometh." But it must not be overlooked that the word gedut by which it is here sought to interpret the gad of Genesis 30:11 possessed its own special signification of turbulence and fierceness, which makes it hardly applicable to children in the sense of a number or crowd, the image suggested by the A.V. Exactly as the turns of Jacob's language apply to the characteristics of the tribe, it does not appear that there is any connection between his allusions and those in the exclamation of Leah. The key to the latter is probably lost. To suppose that Leah was invoking some ancient divinity, the god Fortune, who is conjectured to be once alluded to and once only in the latter part of the book of Isaiah, under the title of Gad (Isaiah 65:11; A.V. "that troop;" Gesenius, "dem Gluck"), is surely a poor explanation. See below, 3.

2. Of the childhood and life of the individual GAD nothing is preserved. At the time of the descent into Egypt seven sons are ascribed to him, remarkable from the fact that a majority of their meaemses have plural terminisations, as if those of families rather than persons (Genesis 46:16). The list, with a slight variation, is again given on the occasion of the census in the wilderness of Sinai (Numbers 26:15-18). (See AROD EZBON); (See OZNI).

TRIBE OF GAD. The position of Gad during the march to the Promised Land was on the south side of the tabernacle (Numbers 2:14). The leader of the tribe at the time of the start from Sinai was Eliasaph, son of Renel or Des-el (Numbers 2:14; Numbers 10:20). Gad is regularly named in the various enumerations of the tribes through the wanderings-at the dispatching of the spies (Numbers 13:15), the numbering in the plains of Moab (Numbers 26:3; Numbers 26:15) but the only inference we can draw is an indication of a commencing alliance with the tribe which was subsequently to be his next neighbor. He has left the more closely-related tribe of Asher to take up his position next to Reuben. These two tribes also preserve a near equality in their numbers, not suffering from the fluctuations which were endured by the others. At the first census Gad had 45,650, and Reuben 46,500; at the last Gad had 40,500, and Reuben 43,330. This alliance was doubtless induced by the similarity of their pursuits. Of all the sons of Jacob, these two tribes alone returned to the land which their forefathers had left five hundred years before with their occupations unchanged. "The trade of thy slaves hath been about cattle froms our youth even till now "we are shepherds, baothe cee and our fathers" (Genesis 46:34; Genesis 47:4) such was the account which the patriarchs gave of themselves to Pharaoh. The civilization and the persecutions of Egypt had worked a change in the habits of most of the tribes but Reuben and Gad remained faithful to the pastoral pursuits of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and at the halt on the east of Jordan we find them coming forward to Moses with the representation that they "have cattle" "a great multitude of cattle,"and the land where they now are is a "place for cattle." What should they do in the close precincts of the contatry west of Jordan with all their flocks and herds? Wherefore let this land, they pray, be given them for a possession, and let them not be brought over Jordan (Numbers 32:1-5). They did not, however, attempt to evade taking their proper share of the difficulties of subduing the land of Canaan, and after that task bad been effected, and the apportionment amongst the nine and a half tribes completed "at the doorway of the tabernacle of the congregation in Sheil before Jehovah," they were dismissed by Joshua "to their tents," to their "wives, their little ones, and their cattle," which they had left behind them in Gilead. To their tents they went to the dangers and delights of the free Bedouin life in which they had elected to remain, and in which a few partial glimpses excepted the later history allows them to remain hidden from view.

The country allotted to Gad appears, speaking roughly, to have lain chiefly about the center of the land east of Jordan. The south of that district from the Arnon (wady Mojeb), about half way down the Dead Sea, to Heshbon, nearly due east of Jerusalem was occupied by Reuben, and at or about Heshbon the possessions of Gad commenced. They embraced half Gilead, as the oldest record specially states (Deuteronomy 3:12), or half the land of the children of Ammon (Joshua 13:25), probably the mountainous district which is intersected by the torrent Jabbok if the wady Zurka be the Jabbok including as its most northern town the ancient sanctuary of Mahanaim. On the east the furthest landmark given is "Aroer, that faces Rabbah," the present Amman (Joshua 13:25). The Arabian desert thus appears to have been the eastern boundary. West was the Jordan (Joshua 13:27). The northern boundary is somewhat more difficult to define. Gad possessed the whole Jordan valley as far as the Sea of Galilee (13:27), but among the mountains eastward the territory extended no farther north than the river Jabbok. The border seems to have run diagonally from that point across the mountains by Mahanaim to the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee (Joshua 12:1-6; Joshua 13:26; Joshua 13:30-31; Deuteronomy 3:12-13; see Porter's Damascus, 2:252). The territory thus consisted of two comparatively separate and independent parts, (1) the high land on the general level of the country east of Jordan, and (2) the sunk valley of the Jordan itself; the former diminishing at the Jabbok, the latter occupying the whole of the great valley on the east side of the river, and extending up to the very Sea of Cinnereth or Gennesaret itself.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Gad'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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