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 Jabesh-gilead (Judges 21), Ramoth-gilead (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). Please see our article dedicated to the balm for more information.
Numbers 26:29 - 30
Of the sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites: and Machir begat Gilead: of Gilead come the family of the Gileadites.
These are the sons of Gilead: of Jeezer, the family of the Jeezerites: of Helek, the family of the Helekites . . .
Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
And Gilead's wife bare him sons: and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house: for thou art the son of a strange woman.
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.
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.
And Moses said unto them, If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will pass with you over Jordan, every man armed to battle, before the LORD, and the land shall be subdued before you: then ye shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession . . .
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.
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.
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?
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.