Rolling Thing

ROLLING THING (גַּלְגַּל, H1649). Could be tr. “wheel” or “roller.” It is found in Isaiah 17:13 (KJV) “like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.”

The plant referred to is what is now called the Resurrection Plant, or in Pal., the Tumbleweed, Anastatica hierochuntica. This is a member of the Cruciferae family, often called the Rose of Jericho, because it is found abundantly about that town. This annual loses its leaves after flowering; the stems become incurved and hard, forming a hollow ball. This ball breaks off at ground level in the wind, and then rolls away as light as a feather, distributing the ripened seeds on the surface of the soil as it travels. When this weed is prevalent, one can see large numbers of these “rolling things” traveling before the wind and making quite a noise.

The Heb. university experts consider “galgal” to be Gundelia tournefortii, a member of the thistle family, which certainly behaves similar to Anastatica.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

rol’-ing: Isa 17:13, the King James Version "like a rolling thing before the whirlwind," a noncommittal translation of galgal, "revolving thing," "wheel" (Ec 12:6). the Revised Version (British and American) "like the whirling dust before the storm" is probably right.

See Chaff; Dust; STUBBLE.