Gilgal (Bible)

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Gilgal ( Hebrew גלגל 'Circle, stone circle' ) probably refers to several places in the Tanach .

The first camp of Israel

In the book of Joshua , Gilgal is mentioned in 4:19–20 EU as the first deposit of the Israelites after entering the promised land. In Joshua 9.6  EU and 10,6ff EU is there Joshua fixed quarters. This place was located five kilometers east-south-east of Jericho at the end of the 19th century . However, the Byzantine tradition locates this Gilgal two kilometers northeast of Jericho.

The place of worship

For the place of worship Gilgal, which is often mentioned in the stories of Saul , Samuel and Elijah as well as by the prophets Amos and Hosea , a different location was proposed - in addition to the same location as for Joshua's camp - twelve kilometers north of Bet-El and 5 km east -south-east of Shechem .

Local traditions

“In Gilgal Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been taken from the Jordan.” ( Joshua 4.20  EU ) These should always remind the Israelites how YHWH led them dry-footed through the Red Sea and the Jordan ( Joshua 4.21-23  EU ).

In Gilgal Saul was elected the first king of Israel ( 1 Sam 11  EU ).

The early scriptural prophets Amos and Hosea, however, criticized the places of worship:

“But don't go to Bet-El, don't go to Gilgal, don't move to Beersheba! Because Gilgal is threatened with banishment and Bet-El with its downfall. "

- Amos 5.5  EU

“Don't come to Gilgal, don't go up to Bet-Awen! Do not swear: As the Lord lives! "

- Hosea 4.15  EU


  • Article Gilgal. In: Stuttgart Biblical Reference Work. Württemberg Bible Institute, Stuttgart 1955, p. 522.


  1. corruption of Bet-El (= house of God): Bet-Awen = "house of iniquity"