Tribe of Gad

Tribe of Gad

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According to the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, the Tribe of Gad was one of the Tribes of Israel.

From after the conquest of the land by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel in c. 1050 BC, the Tribe of Gad was a part of a loose confederation of Israelite tribes. No central government existed, and in times of crisis the people were led by ad hoc leaders known as Judges
Biblical judges
A biblical judge is "a ruler or a military leader, as well as someone who presided over legal hearings."...

. (see the Book of Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

) With the growth of the threat from Philistine incursions, the Israelite tribes decided to form a strong centralised monarchy to meet the challenge, and the Tribe of Gad joined the new kingdom with Saul
Saul
-People:Saul is a given/first name in English, the Anglicized form of the Hebrew name Shaul from the Hebrew Bible:* Saul , including people with this given namein the Bible:* Saul , a king of Edom...

 as the first king. After the death of Saul, all the tribes other than Judah remained loyal to the House of Saul, but after the death of Ish-bosheth
Ish-bosheth
According to the Hebrew Bible, Ish-bosheth also called Eshbaal , Ashbaal or Ishbaal, was one of the four sons of King Saul, born c. 1047 BC...

, Saul's son and successor to the throne of Israel, the Tribe of Gad joined the other northern Israelite tribes in making David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

, who was then the king of Judah, king of a re-united Kingdom of Israel. However, on the accession of Rehoboam
Rehoboam
Rehoboam was initially king of the United Monarchy of Israel but after the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled in 932/931 BC to form the independent Kingdom of Israel he was king of the Kingdom of Judah, or southern kingdom. He was a son of Solomon and a grandson of David...

, David's grandson, in c. 930 BC the northern tribes split from the House of David
Davidic line
The Davidic line refers to the tracing of lineage to the King David referred to in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the New Testament...

 to reform a Kingdom of Israel as the Northern Kingdom. Gad was a member of the kingdom until the kingdom was conquered by Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

 in c. 723 BC and the population deported.

From that time, the Tribe of Gad has been counted as one of the Ten Lost Tribes
Ten Lost Tribes
The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel refers to those tribes of ancient Israel that formed the Kingdom of Israel and which disappeared from Biblical and all other historical accounts after the kingdom was destroyed in about 720 BC by ancient Assyria...

 of Israel.

Tribal territory


Following the completion of the conquest of Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 by the Israelite
Israelite
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

 tribes after about 1200 BCE, Joshua
Joshua
Joshua , is a minor figure in the Torah, being one of the spies for Israel and in few passages as Moses's assistant. He turns to be the central character in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Joshua...

 allocated the land among the twelve tribes. However, in the case of the Tribes of Gad, Reuben
Tribe of Reuben
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Reuben was one of the Tribes of Israel.From after the conquest of the land by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel in c. 1050 BC, the Tribe of Reuben was a part of a loose confederation of Israelite tribes. No central government...

 and Menasheh, Moses allocated land to them on the eastern side
Transjordan (Bible)
The Transjordan is used to describe an area of land in the Southern Levant lying east of the Jordan River that is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. The area is said to form part of an ill-defined area known as the land of Israel...

 of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea
Dead Sea
The Dead Sea , also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface. The Dead Sea is deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world...

. The Tribe of Gad was allocated a region to the east of the River Jordan, though the exact location is ambiguous.
"The border was Jazer
Jazer
Jazer was a city east of the Jordan River, in or near Gilead, and inhabited by the Amorites. It was taken by a special expedition sent by Moses to conquer it. From the Septuagint, it appears that Jazer was on the border of Ammon. As an important city it gave its name to the whole of the...

, and all the cities of Gilead
Gilead
In the Bible "Gilead" means hill of testimony or mound of witness, , a mountainous region east of the Jordan River, situated in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is also referred to by the Aramaic name Yegar-Sahadutha, which carries the same meaning as the Hebrew . From its mountainous character...

, and half the land of the children of Ammon
Ammon
Ammon , also referred to as the Ammonites and children of Ammon, was an ancient nation located east of the Jordan River, Gilead, and the Dead Sea, in present-day Jordan. The chief city of the country was Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon, site of the modern city of Amman, Jordan's capital...

, unto Aroer
Aroer
Aroer is a Biblical town on the north bank of the River Arnon to the east of the Dead Sea, in present-day Jordan.The town was an ancient Moabite settlement, and is mentioned in the Bible."Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of Arnon" Aroer is a Biblical town on the north bank of the River...

 that is before Rabbah
Rabbah
Rabbah - "Rabbath of the children of Ammon," thechief city and capital of the Ammonites, among the eastern hills, some 20miles east of the Jordan, on the southern of the two streams...

; and from Heshbon unto Ramath-mizpeh, and Betonim; and from Mahanaim unto the border of Lidbir and in the valley, Beth-haram, and Beth-nimrah, and Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon
Sihon
Sihon, according to the Old Testament, was an Amorite king, who refused to let the Israelites pass through his country. The Bible describes that as the Israelites in their Exodus came to the country east of the Jordan, near Heshbon, King of the Amorites refused to let them pass through his...

 king of Heshbon
Heshbon
Heshbon was an ancient town located east of the Jordan River in the modern Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and historically within the territories of Ammon and Ancient Israel....

, the Jordan being the border thereof, unto the uttermost part of the sea of Chinnereth beyond the Jordan eastward."


Among the cities mentioned in as having at some point been part of territory of the Tribe of Gad were Ramoth
Ramoth
Ramoth or Remeth may refer to:* one of several places in ancient Israel:** Ramoth-Gilead, a Levite city of refuge** Baalath-Beer, also known as Ramoth of the South, a city of the tribe of Simeon...

, Jaezer, Aroer
Aroer
Aroer is a Biblical town on the north bank of the River Arnon to the east of the Dead Sea, in present-day Jordan.The town was an ancient Moabite settlement, and is mentioned in the Bible."Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of Arnon" Aroer is a Biblical town on the north bank of the River...

, and Dibon, though some of these are marked in as belonging to Reuben
Tribe of Reuben
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Reuben was one of the Tribes of Israel.From after the conquest of the land by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel in c. 1050 BC, the Tribe of Reuben was a part of a loose confederation of Israelite tribes. No central government...

.

The location was never secure from invasion and attacks, since to the south it was exposed to the Moabites, and like the other tribes east of the Jordan was exposed on the north and east to Aram-Damascus and later the Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

ns.

Origin


According to the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, the tribe consisted of descendants of Gad the seventh son of Jacob
Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

, from whom it took its name. However, some Biblical scholars
Biblical criticism
Biblical criticism is the scholarly "study and investigation of Biblical writings that seeks to make discerning judgments about these writings." It asks when and where a particular text originated; how, why, by whom, for whom, and in what circumstances it was produced; what influences were at work...

 view this also as a postdiction
Postdiction
According to critics of paranormal beliefs, postdiction is an effect of hindsight bias that explains claimed predictions of significant events, such as plane crashes and natural disasters...

, an eponym
Eponym
An eponym is the name of a person or thing, whether real or fictitious, after which a particular place, tribe, era, discovery, or other item is named or thought to be named...

ous metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

 providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite confederation. In the Biblical account, Gad is one of the two descendants of Zilpah
Zilpah
In the Book of Genesis, Zilpah is Leah's handmaid who becomes a wife of Jacob and bears him two sons Gad and Asher....

, a handmaid of Jacob, the other descendant being Asher
Asher
Asher , in the Book of Genesis, is the second son of Jacob and Zilpah, and the founder of the Tribe of Asher.-Name:The text of the Torah argues that the name of Asher means happy/blessing, implying a derivation from the Hebrew term osher ; the Torah actually presents this in two variations—beoshri...

; scholars see this as indicating that the authors saw Gad and Asher as being not of entirely Israelite origin (hence descendants of handmaids rather than of full wives). In common with Asher is the possibility that the tribal name derives from a deity worshipped by the tribe, Gad being thought by scholars to be likely to have taken its name from Gad
Gad (deity)
Gad was the name of the pan-Semitic god of fortune, and is attested in ancient records of Aram and Arabia. Gad is also mentioned by the Book of Isaiah , as having been worshipped by a number of Hebrews during the babylonian captivity. Gad apparently differed from the god of destiny, who was known...

, the semitic god of fortune; the name of Gad does not appear in the Song of Deborah, which scholars regard as one of the oldest parts of the Bible, pre-dating most of the Torah.

Like Asher, Gad's geographic details are diverse and divergent, with cities sometimes indicated as being part of Gad, and sometimes as part of other tribes, and with inconsistent boundaries, with Gilead
Gilead
In the Bible "Gilead" means hill of testimony or mound of witness, , a mountainous region east of the Jordan River, situated in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is also referred to by the Aramaic name Yegar-Sahadutha, which carries the same meaning as the Hebrew . From its mountainous character...

sometimes including Gad and sometimes not. Furthermore, the Moabite Stone seemingly differentiates between the kingdom of Israel and the tribe of Gad, presenting Gad as predating Israel in the lands east of the Jordan,. These details seems to indicate that Gad was originally a northwards-migrating nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic tribe, at a time when the other tribes were quite settled in Canaan.

In the biblical account, Gad's presence on the east of the Jordan is explained as a matter of the tribe desiring the land as soon as they saw it, before they had even crossed the Jordan under Joshua
Joshua
Joshua , is a minor figure in the Torah, being one of the spies for Israel and in few passages as Moses's assistant. He turns to be the central character in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Joshua...

, and conquered Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

. Classical rabbinical literature regards this selection of the other side by Gad as something for which they should be blamed, remarking that, as mentioned in Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

, the full stomach of the rich denies them sleep.

Fate


Though initially forming part of the Kingdom of Israel, from the biblical account it appears that under Uzziah
Uzziah
Uzziah , also known as Azariah , was the king of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, and one of Amaziah's sons, whom the people appointed to replace his father...

 and Jotham
Jotham
Jotham was the youngest of Gideon's seventy sons. He escaped when the rest were put to death by the order of Abimelech . When "the citizens of Shechem and the whole house of Millo" were gathered together "by the plain of the pillar" "that was in Shechem, to make Abimelech king," from one of the...

 the tribe of Gad joined with the kingdom of Judah instead. Nevertheless, when Tiglath-pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III was a prominent king of Assyria in the eighth century BC and is widely regarded as the founder of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Tiglath-Pileser III seized the Assyrian throne during a civil war and killed the royal family...

 annexed the kingdom of Israel in about 733-731 BC, Gad also fell victim to the actions of the Assyrians, and the tribe were exiled; in the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, it is Gad, along with the tribe of Reuben
Tribe of Reuben
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Reuben was one of the Tribes of Israel.From after the conquest of the land by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel in c. 1050 BC, the Tribe of Reuben was a part of a loose confederation of Israelite tribes. No central government...

, that are portrayed as being the first victims of this fate. The manner of the exile led to the further history of the tribe being lost, and according to the Book of Jeremiah
Book of Jeremiah
The Book of Jeremiah is the second of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the book of Isaiah and preceding Ezekiel and the Book of the Twelve....

, their former lands were (re)conquered by the Ammon
Ammon
Ammon , also referred to as the Ammonites and children of Ammon, was an ancient nation located east of the Jordan River, Gilead, and the Dead Sea, in present-day Jordan. The chief city of the country was Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon, site of the modern city of Amman, Jordan's capital...

ites.