GAD (Heb. גָּד), one of the 12 tribes of Israel, tracing its descent to Gad, a son of Jacob, borne to him by Zilpah, the maidservant of Leah (Gen. 30:10–11). The tribe was comprised of seven large families, the Zephonites, Haggites, Shunites, Oznites, Erites, Arodites, and Arelites, named after the seven sons of Gad (Num. 26:15–17; with slight differences in Gen. 46:16). During the period of the Conquest of Canaan, Gad's fighting men numbered 40,500 (Num. 26:18). According to Jacob's blessing, "Gad shall be raided by raiders; but he shall overcome at last" (Gen. 49:19). Moses declared: "Poised is he like a lion to tear off arm and scalp" (Deut. 33:20), showing that Gad was a tribe of fighting warriors. Indeed, in the era of the monarchy, the Gadites are described as "expert in war," as having faces "like the faces of lions," and as being "as swift as gazelles upon the mountains" (I Chron. 5:18; 12:9). -Its Territory When Transjordan was conquered by Israel in the time of Moses, the Gadites (together with the Reubenites and half of Manasseh) requested permission to settle in the pasture lands east of the Jordan because of their abundant cattle. Moses acceded to their request, but stipulated that they first cross the Jordan and participate fully with all the tribes in the wars of conquest (Num. 32; Deut. 3:12–20; Josh. 1:12–18; 22:1ff.). Accordingly, the Gadites settled in Gilead, which was in the center of Transjordan, between the territory of Reuben in the south and that of the half tribe of Manasseh in the north. In the east their territory bordered that of the Ammonites and that of various nomadic desert tribes. On the west was the Jordan, from the Sea of Chinnereth to the Dead Sea; in the south, the vicinity of Heshbon and the northern tip of the Dead Sea; in the north the border passed by way of Mahanaim (Khirbet Mahna south of Nahal-Jabesh) and Lidbir (probably Lo-Debar (II Sam. 9:4), south of Naḥal-Arav) to the edge of the Sea of Chinnereth. The eastern border apparently receded westward to the region of Rabbath-Ammon, and then extended north-eastward to the region of the upper Yarmuk whence it turned to Mahanaim. This description of the territory of Gad in accordance Territory of the tribe of Gad. After Y. Aharoni in Lexicon Biblicum, Dvir, Tel Aviv, 1965. Territory of the tribe of Gad. After Y. Aharoni in Lexicon Biblicum, Dvir, Tel Aviv, 1965.   with the Book of Joshua (13:24–28; 20:8; 21:36–37) certainly reflects the reality of a definite period; however, some hold it to be very early and, like most of the borders of the Book of Joshua, merely theoretical and ideal. Political developments   subsequently caused changes in the region of the tribe's settlement, sometimes for the worse (e.g., I Kings 22:3; II Kings 10:33) and sometimes for the better (e.g., I Chron. 5:11). -Its History The history of the tribe consists of a succession of wars with Ammon and Moab in the south, with the Kedemites, the Hagrites, and nomadic tribes in the east, and with Arameans in the north. During the era of the Judges, the submission of the people of Succoth and Penuel to the Midianites and the Kedemites led them into a fratricidal war with gideon (Judg. 8; cf. verse 5; Josh. 13:27). The Gileadites as a whole were saved from the Ammonites by Jephthah (Judg. 11). At this time the Gileadites (= Gad) and the Benjamites entered into marital ties and a fraternal alliance (Judg. 21). In addition, the reign of the Benjamite Saul was a period of relief and respite for the tribes of Transjordan (I Sam. 11; I Chron. 5). Hence, the notable act of loyalty of the Gileadites to the slain Saul (I Sam. 31:11–13) and to his family. The capital of Saul's son Ish-Bosheth was Mahanaim (II Sam. 2:8–9). Saul's grandson Mephibosheth took refuge in Lo-Debar (II Sam. 9:4–5), but this, in northern Gilead, was probably not Gadite but Manassite. David's wars with Aram, Ammon, and Moab greatly strengthened the position of Israelite Transjordan. In consequence the Gileadites supported David, and Mahanaim became his base, in his war against Absalom (II Sam. 17:24–27; 19:33). Mahanaim later became the station of one of Solomon's 12 commissioners (I Kings 4:14). In the era of the divided kingdom, Gad belonged to the kingdom of Samaria. Elijah the prophet was a native of Gilead (I Kings 17:1). When King Mesha of Moab rebelled against Israel, he dealt harshly with the Gadites of Ataroth (Mesha Stele, 10–13, in: Pritchard, Texts, 320). The Gileadites suffered greatly from the Arameans and the Ammonites during Israel's weakness in the first half of the rule of the House of Jehu (see jehu , jehoahaz ; cf. Amos 1:3, 13); but Gilead was reconquered by Jeroboam II (cf. Amos 6:13; Lo-Dabar and Karnaim = Lo-Debar and Ashteroth-Karnaim). The reign of Jeroboam son of Joash seems to have been a period of respite in their history (II Kings 14:28; cf. I Chron. 5:17). There are allusions to some sort of ties between Gilead and the kingdom of Judah during the reign of Jotham king of Judah, on the eve of the destruction of Gilead (I Chron. 5:17; II Chron. 27:5). In 732 B.C.E. the territory of Gad was laid waste by Tiglath Pileser III, and most of its inhabitants were exiled from their land (II Kings 15:29), which was then invaded by the Ammonites (Jer. 49:1). However, there are indications that a remnant of the Gadites remained in southern Gilead, and it is possible that the Tobiads known at the beginning of the Second Temple period derived from them. The Gadite remnant and the Judean refugees in Ammon (Jer. 41) formed the foundation of the Jewish community that developed in Transjordan in the days of the Second Temple. (Yehuda Elitzur) -In the Aggadah Gad was born on the tenth of Ḥeshvan and lived to the age of 125 (Yal. Ex. 162). He was born circumcised (Rashi to Gen. 30:11). His name "Gad" was a portent of the manna (which was "like coriander seed," Heb. gad, Ex. 16:31; Ex. R. 1:5). He was among the brothers whom Joseph did not present to Pharaoh, lest Pharaoh, when he saw their strength, would enlist them in his bodyguard (Gen. R. 95:4). Gad was ultimately buried in Ramia, in the portion of his tribe, on the east bank of the Jordan (Sefer ha-Yashar, end). According to some, Elijah was a descendant of Gad (Gen. R. 71:8). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Bergman, The Israelite Occupation of Eastern Palestine in the Light of Territorial History (1934); A. Alt, in: PJB, 35 (1939), 19ff.; Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 67, 77, 82, 103, 123, 138; N. Glueck, in: AASOR, 18–19 (1939), 150ff.; idem, in: D. Winton Thomas (ed.), Archaeology and Old Testament Study (1967), 429ff.; Albright, Arch Rel, 218; idem, in: Miscellanea Biblica B. Ubach (1954), 131–6; M. Noth, in: MNDPV, 58 (1953), 230ff.; idem, in: ZDPV, 75 (1959); S. Yeivin, in: EM, 2 (1954), 423–9; Y. Kaufmann, The Biblical Account of the Conquest (1954), 26–28, 46–52; Y. Aharoni, Ereẓ Yisrael bi-Tekufat ha-Mikra (1962), 178–9, 228, 304–5; B. Mazar (ed.), in: Historyahshel Am-Yisrael, ha-Avot ve-ha-Shofetim (1967), 191–2, 197; Y. Aharoni, ibid., 214–5; Z. Kallai, Naḥalot Shivtei Yisrael (1967), 221–8.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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