Gilead

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The district on the east of the Jordan, extending from the river Yarmouk, a little south of the Sea of Galilee, to the north corner of the Dead Sea. It fell to the lot of Gad, except its northern part, which, where it joined Bashan, was possessed by Manasseh. It is a mountainous district, which accounts for some part of it being called “the mount of Gilead” in Genesis 31:21-2521So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead. 22And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. 23And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead. 24And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 25Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead. (Genesis 31:21‑25). Some of the mountains are 2,000 to 3,500 feet high, but from the west they look much higher because of the depression of the Jordan valley. Pasturage abounds in Gilead, and accounts for Gad and the others choosing it for their cattle. The district is divided into north and south by the river Jabbok (Zerka). The northern part is cultivated and has numerous villages; but the southern is mostly held by nomadic tribes, with but little cultivation, and having but one inhabited town now, called es Salt, 32° 2' N, 35° 42' E.
In the days of Ahab Ramoth-gilead was in possession of the Syrians, which was followed by all Gilead and Moab falling into their hands (1 Kings 22:33And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria? (1 Kings 22:3); 2 Kings 10:32-3332In those days the Lord began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel; 33From Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan. (2 Kings 10:32‑33)). This was followed by Tiglath-pileser conquering the region, and carrying the Israelites into captivity (2 Kings 15:2929In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria. (2 Kings 15:29); 1 Chron. 5:2626And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day. (1 Chronicles 5:26)). In the restoration of Israel their border eastward will extend to Damascus and Gilead (Ezek. 47:1818And the east side ye shall measure from Hauran, and from Damascus, and from Gilead, and from the land of Israel by Jordan, from the border unto the east sea. And this is the east side. (Ezekiel 47:18)). This ancient possession will thus be brought into blessing. The Ishmaelites who bought Joseph were traveling with balm and myrrh from Gilead (Gen. 37:2525And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. (Genesis 37:25)). The balm of Gilead was proverbial for its healing virtues (Jer. 8:2222Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? (Jeremiah 8:22); Jer. 46:1111Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured. (Jeremiah 46:11)).