Gil’e-ad (rocky region).
1. A mountainous region bounded on the west by the Jordan, on the north by Bashan, on the east by the Arabian plateau, and on the south by Moab and Ammon. Gen. 31:21; Deut. 3:12-17. It is sometimes called “Mount Gilead,” Gen. 31:25, sometimes “the land of Gilead,” Num. 32:1, and sometimes simply “Gilead.” Ps. 60:7; Gen. 37:25. The name Gilead, as is usual in Palestine, describes the physical aspect of the country: it signifies “a hard rocky region.” The mountains of Gilead, including Pisgah, Abarim, and Peor, have a real elevation of from 2000 to 3000 feet; but their apparent elevation on the western side is much greater, owing to the depression of the Jordan valley, which averages about 1000 feet. Their outline is singularly uniform, resembling a massive wall running along the horizon. Gilead was specially noted for its balm collected from “balm of Gilead” trees, and worth twice its weight in silver.
2. Possibly the name of a mountain west of the Jordan, near Jezreel. Judges 7:3. We are inclined, however, to think that the true reading in this place should be Gilboa.