The name comes from a root that speaks of circles and rolling, it probably refers to a circle of stones. It is used in the Bible of four locations:

  1. where Israel erected stones after crossing the Jordan (Josh 4:19-20)
  2. a Gilgal on the Judah-Benjamin border is mentioned in Josh 15:7
  3. Dt 11:30 mentions a Gilgal which seems to be near Mt. Gerizim and Mt Ebal in Samaria
  4. the prophetic guild associated with Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kgs 2:1 & 4:38 lived at a Gilgal (often identified as modern Jiljilie near Shiloh)

The first of these is most likely to be the major cult and administrative center mentioned in the stories of Joshua-Samuel. To judge by the references in Amos (4:4 & 5:5), Hosea (4:15; 9:15; 12:12) and Micah (6:5) it remained an important center during all the preexilic period.

This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos , if you have reached it as a standalone page, to view it in context, go to
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.