The site of the first camp of the Israelites on the west of the Jordan, the place at which they passed the first night after crossing the river, and where the twelve stones were set up which had been taken from the bed of the stream (Joshua 4:19-20, comp. Joshua 4:3). Where also they kept the first passover in the land of Canaan (Joshua 5:10). It was “in the east border of Jericho,” apparently on a hillock or rising ground (Joshua 5:3, comp. Josh 5:9) in the Arboth-Jericho (Authorized Version “the plains”), that is, the hot depressed district of the Ghor which lay between the town and the Jordan (Joshua 5:10). Here Samuel was judge, and Saul was made king. We again have a glimpse of it, some sixty years later, in the history of David’s return to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 19:40). A Gilgal is spoken of in Joshua 15:7 in describing the north border of Judah. In Joshua 18:17 it is given as Geliloth. Gilgal near Jericho is doubtless intended.
In 2 Kings 2:1-2; 4:38 is named a Gilgal visited by Elijah and Elisha. This could not be the Gilgal of the low plain of the Jordan, for the prophets are said to have gone down to Bethel, which is 3,000 feet above the plain. It has been identified with Jiljilia, about four miles from Bethel and Shiloh respectively.
The “king of the nations of Gilgal” or rather perhaps the “king of Goim at Gilgal,” is mentioned in the catalogue of the chiefs overthrown bv Joshua (Joshua 12:23). Possibly the site of this place is marked by the modern village Jiljulieh, about four miles south of Antipatris, which lies 16 miles northeast of Joppa. But another Gilgal, under the slightly-different form of Kilkilieh, lies about two miles east of Antipatris.
Smith's Bible Names Dictionary (1866)
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