Colossians 3:3-5; Joshua 4:19-20; Joshua 5:2-11; Joshua 9:6; Joshua 10:6-15; Joshua 14:6; 1 Samuel 11:14-15; 1 Samuel 13:4-15; 1 Samuel 15:12,21,33; 2 Samuel 19:15; Hosea 4:15; Hosea 9:15; Amos 4:4; Amos 5:5; Joshua 15:7; Joshua 18:17; Nehemiah 12:29; 2 Kings 2:1; 2 Kings 4:38; Joshua 12:23; Deuteronomy 11:30
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 (compare Col. 3:3-53For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (Colossians 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 center of heavenly things on which the Christian feeds (Josh. 4:19-2019And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. 20And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. (Joshua 4:19‑20); Josh. 5:2-112At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. 3And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. 4And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. 5Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised. 6For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord: unto whom the Lord sware that he would not show them the land, which the Lord sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey. 7And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way. 8And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole. 9And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day. 10And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. 11And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. (Joshua 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 (Josh. 9:66And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us. (Joshua 9:6); Josh. 10:6-156And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us. 7So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. 8And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. 9Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night. 10And the Lord discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah. 11And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. 12Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 13And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 14And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel. 15And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal. (Joshua 10:6‑15); Josh. 14:66Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea. (Joshua 14:6)). It was here that Saul was made king, 1 Samuel 11:14-1514Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there. 15And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly. (1 Samuel 11:14‑15); and here he offered sacrifices, and Samuel hewed Agag in pieces (1 Sam. 13:4-154And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal. 5And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Beth-aven. 6When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. 7And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. 8And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. 9And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. 10And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. 11And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; 12Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. 13And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee. 15And Samuel arose, and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men. (1 Samuel 13:4‑15); 1 Sam. 15:12,21,3312And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. (1 Samuel 15:12)
21But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal. (1 Samuel 15:21)
33And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal. (1 Samuel 15:33)
When David returned after the overthrow and death of Absalom, Judah gathered at Gilgal to meet the king and conduct him over Jordan (2 Sam. 19:1515So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan. (2 Samuel 19:15)). In the days of Jeroboam Gilgal was defiled with idolatry (Hos. 4:1515Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Beth-aven, nor swear, The Lord liveth. (Hosea 4:15); Hos. 9:1515All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters. (Hosea 9:15); Amos 4:44Come to Beth-el, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: (Amos 4:4)). Gilgal which signifies “rolled away” should be itself “rolled away” (Amos 5:55But seek not Beth-el, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Beth-el shall come to nought. (Amos 5:5)). In Joshua 15:77And the border went up toward Debir from the valley of Achor, and so northward, looking toward Gilgal, that is before the going up to Adummim, which is on the south side of the river: and the border passed toward the waters of En-shemesh, and the goings out thereof were at En-rogel: (Joshua 15:7) the border of Judah’s portion “looked toward” Gilgal, which well agrees with its being near Jericho. But in Joshua 18:1717And was drawn from the north, and went forth to En-shemesh, and went forth toward Geliloth, which is over against the going up of Adummim, and descended to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben, (Joshua 18:17) the same place is called GELILOTH, which cannot be traced. Gilgal is identified with Jiljulieh, 31° 51' N, 35° 29' E. In Nehemiah 12:2929Also from the house of Gilgal, and out of the fields of Geba and Azmaveth: for the singers had builded them villages round about Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 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 (2 Kings 2:11And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. (2 Kings 2:1); 2 Kings 4:3838And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets. (2 Kings 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 neighborhood 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 RV, “the king of Goiim in Gilgal.” He was slain under Joshua. Being mentioned between Dor and Tirzah it is apparently a third Gilgal (Josh. 12:2323The king of Dor in the coast of Dor, one; the king of the nations of Gilgal, one; (Joshua 12:23)). It has been identified with Jiljulieh, 32° 10' N, 34° 57' E.
4. In Deuteronomy 11:3030Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh? (Deuteronomy 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 neighborhood of the two mountains.