Gilgal — rolling. (1.) From the solemn transaction of the reading of the law in the valley of Shechem between Ebal and Gerizim the Israelites moved forward to Gilgal, and there made a permanent camp (Josh. 9:6; 10:6). It was “beside the oaks of Moreh,” near which Abraham erected his first altar (Gen. 12:6, 7). This was one of the three towns to which Samuel resorted for the administration of justice (1 Sam. 7:16), and here also he offered sacrifices when the ark was no longer in the tabernacle at Shiloh (1 Sam. 10:8; 13:7–9). To this place, as to a central sanctuary, all Israel gathered to renew their allegiance to Saul (11:14). At a later period it became the scene of idolatrous worship (Hos. 4:15; 9:15). It has been identified with the ruins of Jiljilieh, about 5 miles south-west of Shiloh and about the same distance from Bethel.
(2.) The place in “the plains of Jericho,” “in the east border of Jericho,” where the Israelites first encamped after crossing the Jordan (Josh. 4:19, 20). Here they kept their first Passover in the land of Canaan (5:10) and renewed the rite of circumcision, and so “rolled away the reproach” of their Egyptian slavery. Here the twelve memorial stones, taken from the bed of the Jordan, were set up; and here also the tabernacle remained till it was removed to Shiloh (18:1). It has been identified with Tell Jiljulieh, about 5 miles from Jordan.
(3.) A place, probably in the hill country of Ephraim, where there was a school of the prophets (2 Kings 4:38), and whence Elijah and Elisha, who resided here, “went down” to Bethel (2:1,2). It is mentioned also in Deut. 11:30. It is now known as Jiljilia, a place 8 miles north of Bethel.