- GAD (Heb. גָּד, "fortune" cf. Gen. 30:11), a deity of fortune, equivalent in function and meaning to the Greek Tyché and Latin Fortuna. In Isaiah 65:11 Gad is mentioned together with Meni as the beneficiary of a food offering: "Who prepare a table for Gad, and who give Meni a full drink offering." Although the name appears here (according to the masoretic pointing) preceded by the definite article, it refers to the deity (and see below). The Septuagint translates "for Gad" as tō daimoniō, "for the demon" while Vulgate renders both Gad and Meni by Fortuna. The rite described has elements in common with the Roman lectisternium in which food was spread on a table before an image of the deity. The Roman ceremony was meant to propitiate gods and repel pestilence and enemies. The rite condemned by the prophet may have served a similar function. This is the only unequivocal mention of the deity in the Bible. There are other references, however, which might be connected with the deity. Thus a place named Baal-Gad, "Lord of fortune," is mentioned as the extreme northern limit of Joshua's conquest (e.g., Josh. 11:17); Migdal-Gad, "Tower of Gad," appears as a place in the southwest lowlands of Judah (Josh. 15:37). The word gad also occurs in proper names, but probably as the appellative meaning "(good) fortune" rather than as the name of a god, e.g., Gaddi (Num. 13:11), Gaddiel (Num. 13:10), and Azgad (Ezra 2:12). This is almost certainly the case in the name Gaddiyo ("YHWH is my fortune"), which occurs on one of the Samaria ostraca. The character of the element gad in the names Gad Melekh and Gad-Marom, on seals from the fifth to fourth centuries B.C.E. and an earlier period respectively, found in Jerusalem, is uncertain. Gad also appears in other Semitic religions as an element in names. Though the meaning cannot always be determined, in many cases it is possible to interpret the element gad as an appellative meaning "fortune." Thus in a number of Palmyrene inscriptions the word occurs in combinations where the second element is the name of Nabū, Bel, and other Babylonian deities. One Palmyrene inscription found at a sacred spring (Efka), reading "Gadda," clearly points to a deity to whom the spring was sacred. A bilingual inscription of the second century CE equates Palmyrene Gad with Greek Tyché. In Phoenicia the word is found as an element in personal names (e.g., גדי, גדעזיז). A Punic (overseas Phoenician) inscription of the 4th–3rd century B.C.E. from Sardinia reads: lrbt ltnt pn bʿl wgd, "for the Lady, for Tinit Face-of-Baal and Gad." An early second century B.C.E. Punic inscription from Spain (KAI 72) reads: lrbt ltnt ʾdrt whgd, "For the Lady, for mighty Tinit and the Gad" (cf. the definite article used with Gad in Isa. 65:11). It appears also as an element in Nabatean (e.g., גדטב), Aramaic e.g., גדיא), and South Arabian (e.g., עמגד) names. As a heterogram, GDE survived into Middle Persian, where it is read as xwarrah, "fortune." Babylonian talmudic גדא refers to the god/genius of fortune and serves as well as the common noun "luck." -BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. Dussaud, Notes de mythologie syrienne (1905), 73ff.; idem, La pénétration des Arabes en Syrie avant l'Islam (1955), 91, 110ff., 144; J. Hastings (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, 1 (1908), 662; E. Littmann, Thamūd und Ṣafā (1940), 108; O. Eissfeld, in: Der alte Orient, 40 (1941), 94, 123; S. Bottéro, in: S. Moscati (ed.), Le Antiche Divinità Semitiche (1958), 56; H.B. Huffmon, Amorite Personal Names in the Mari Texts (1965), 179; M. Hoefner in: H.W. Haussig (ed.), Woerterbuch der Mythologie, 1 (1965), 438–9. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Ribichini, in: DDD, 339–41; idem, in: DBJA, 260; J. Linderski, Oxford Classical Dictionary, 837; J. Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 56–66 (AB; 2003), 274–79. (Yuval Kamrat / S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.