GALEED (găl'ē-ĕd, Heb. gal‘ēdh, a heap of witnesses). The name given by Jacob to the heap of stones that he and Laban raised on Mount Gilead as a memorial of their brotherly covenant (Gen.31.47-Gen.31.48). Sealing their compact of friendship with a common meal, Laban called the place Jegarsahadutha, the Aramaic or Chaldean equivalent, meaning “the heap of testimony.”
GALEED găl’ ĭ əd
, LXX βουνὸς μάρτυς
, heap of witness
). The Heb. name that Jacob gave to the heap of stones erected as a memorial, or witness, to the covenant of reconciliation and nonaggression between himself and Laban, his father-in-law (Gen 31:44-54
). Laban called the heap of stones Jegar-sahadutha,
which means “heap of witness” in Aram. Jacob and Laban sealed their covenant with a communal meal. The erection of a stele or stone-heap as a memorial of some important event or treaty was common in the history of Israel (cf. Gen 28:18
; Josh 4:3
). This story may well provide the reason why this territory in Trans-Jordan has been named Gilead.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
Derived from the Hebrew gal, "a heap of stones," and `edh, "witness." The meaning therefore is "cairn" or "heap of witness," corresponding to yeghar-sahddhutha’ in Aramaic (Ge 31:47). It is applied to the cairn raised by Jacob and Laban, beside which they sealed their covenant in a common meal, the memory of which they appealed to the silent cairn to preserve. The ancient custom of associating events with inanimate objects as witnesses is often illustrated in Hebrew history (Jos 4:4 ff, etc.). There may be in this narrative a suggestion of how the name "Gilead" came to be applied to that country.