Dictionary of Bible Names

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Bible Meaning: Rocky region
Strong's Concordance #H1568

Three Biblical men are named Gilead. The first is a grandson of Manasseh, the founder of one of Israel's tribes (Numbers 26:29). The second is the father of Jephthah, a man who became a Judge in Israel from 1087 to 1081 B.C. (Judges 11:1). The third person named Gilead was a leader within the tribe of Gad (1Chronicles 5:14).

Gilead also refers to both a mountain (Genesis 31:21) and a region located east of the Jordan River.

The region hosted several Biblically important cities such as Jabeshgilead (Judges 21), Ramothgilead (1Kings 22:1 - 3), Mahanaim (Genesis 32:1 - 2), Peniel (also called Penuel, 32:30 - 31) and Succoth (33:17). Important people who were from the region included the prophet Elijah (1Kings 17:1) as well as Israel's Judges Jephthah (Judges 11) and Jair (10:3 - 4). It is at Peniel (Penuel) that Jacob wrestled with a mysterious man who proved to be the member of the Godhead who became Jesus Christ (Genesis 32).

The famous balm of Gilead was made from the secretions of the balsam tree. It was widely believed to have healing properties and was therefore used extensively in medicines (Jeremiah 8:22, 46:11, 51:8).

Important Verses


Judges 11:1
Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.

Map of Ancient Canaan showing location of Gilead
Location of Gilead East of Jordan River

1Chronicles 5:14
These are the children of Abihail the son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz.


Genesis 31:20 - 21
And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.

So he fled with all that he had: and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.

Judges 7:2 - 3
And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.

Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand: and there remained ten thousand.

Judges 10:7 - 8
And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon.

And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.

Healing Ointment

Genesis 37:25
And 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.

Jeremiah 8:21 - 22
For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt: I am black: astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead: is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Jeremiah 46:11
Go 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 51:8
Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.

Additional Studies

Dictionary of Biblical Names
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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).