Gad’s name comes from the Hebrew word “Troop”. Leah named him Gad, saying, “A troop is coming.” Troop is translated from Gedud, and this is what Leah meant when she said Ba Gad. Her sons now made up a “whole troop.”
The Tribe of Gad was known for being mighty by the time when Jacob and his family of seventy came to live in Egypt. Gad was the father of seven sons. We will learn more about this in a moment, but when the Patriarch Jacob blessed his sons before his death, he prophesied that the tribe of Gad will provide brave troops who will lead the children of Israel to victory in the conquest of the Promised Land. Then they will return to their inheritance on the eastern side of the Jordan. Even Moses, when he blessed the tribes before his passing, likened Gad to a lion. This was an allusion to the mighty warriors of this tribe who will strike down Israel’s enemies.
Moses said of Gad, “Blessed be he who enlarges Gad! Gad crouches like a lion; he tears off arm and scalp. He chose the best of the land for himself, for there a commander’s portion was reserved; and he came with the heads of the people, with Israel he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments for Israel.” (Deuteronomy 33:20-21 ESV)
In the arrangement of the camp and order of the march, the tribe of Gad was placed under the Staff of Reuben, together with Simon, south of the Tabernacle. Num. 2:10-14.
After the Eastern area of Canaan was captured from the Amorites (Num. 21:21-3 5), the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh chose to settle in that area. These tribes had large herds of cattle and sheep, and when they saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead, east of Jordan, were very suitable for grazing, they approached Moses, Eleazar, and all the princes and requested that this area be given to them as their share of the Promised Land. This seemed, at first, like another rebellion, and Moses sternly rebuked the tribes of Ruben and Gad.
But Moses said to the people of Gad and to the people of Reuben, “Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here? Why will you discourage the heart of the people of Israel from going over into the land that the Lord has given them? Your fathers did this when I sent them from Kadesh-Barnea to see the land.” NUMBERS 32:6-8 (ESV)
However, the leaders of Reuben and Gad assured him that they were not only willing to accompany the other tribes, and help in the conquest of Canaan but also would march in the forefront of the battles. Accepting this offer and making it a condition of acceptance, Moses granted their request.
Then, the Reubenites and Gadites were permitted to build fortified cities in the Transjordan area for the women and children and sheepfolds for their flocks, while the fighting men of these tribes would cross the Jordan with the other tribes to lead in the conquest of Canaan. The tribes of Gad and Reuben built quite a few cities, while the clan of Machir, the son of Manasseh, went and conquered the land of Gilead from the Amorites dwelling there and received it as their inheritance.
The tribes of Gad and Reuben faithfully carried out their pledge. When most of the land of Canaan had been conquered, Joshua confirmed their inheritance and set the borders of the lands given to these tribes. The Territory of the Tribe of Gad was on land east of the Jordan River. Gad gained renown for its military spirit and was one of the ten northern tribes that formed a separate kingdom in 930 BC with Jeroboam as king. Following the Assyrian conquest of 721 BC, the ten tribes were partially dispersed. The tribe of Gad thus became one of the Ten scattered Tribes of Israel.
Upon their return from war, the two-and-a-half tribes built an altar near the Jordan River. They did this as a symbol and reminder of their unity with the rest of the tribes of Israel for future generations.
They built the altar on the river Jordan so future generations might know they did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, “What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? For the Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, your people of Reuben and people of Gad. You have no portion in the Lord. So, your children might make our children cease to worship the Lord. Then the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle!” (Joshua 22:24-29).
The Prophet Ezekiel described the boundaries of the lands repossessed by the twelve tribes. He declares that the City of Jerusalem will have twelve gates, each named after a tribe. The Gate of Gad will be one of the three southern gates. Gad will have one portion; it will border the territory of Zebulun from east to west. “Adjoining the territory of Zebulun, from the east side to the west, Gad, one portion.” EZEKIEL 48:27 (ESV)
I love the effort these tribes east of Jordan made to leave a witness to their children and future generations concerning their commitment to worship Elohim. Sadly, the time came when they did turn away. This example challenges us to leave a witness to our children about our faith to pass it on to future generations. What altars have we set to remind our Children to not just follow what we say, but also our actions. Therefore, we must be consistent in how we live for God.
The Voice of Aliyah is being heard in the Nations for Gad
Declaration for the Tribe of Gad
“Gad, who is a troop anointed for war, the Lord is calling you. It is time to return from the nations to the land of your inheritance east of the Jordan River. Can you hear the roar of Hashem? He has promised you good fortune and the day of obedience is now upon you to heed your call to return to Israel to your land. Return to the altar you left your descendants and worship the Lord your God.” Gen. 49:19. The God of Israel you pledged to worship by the banks of the river Jordan is calling you to return to Him and worship Him in the Promised Land.
Location of the Tribe of Gad
Where is Gad in the nations today?
“The two prophecies that give us the most information about the tribes of Israel in the post-exilic world are in Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33. Genesis 49 is specifically for the “latter days” period of time (the time just prior to the Messianic Age). Genesis 49:19 states: “Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.” Deuteronomy 33 is a prophecy specifically for “the latter days,” but it is also a prophecy given to Moses about the general futures of the tribes of Israel. These clues can be fulfilled in the latter days and over the course of history. The prophecy about Gad is in Deut. 33: 20-21, which includes these words:
“And of Gad, he said, Blessed be he that enlarges Gad, he dwells as a lion, and tears the arm with the crown of the head…”
Taking the two prophecies together, it is evident that Gad will become one of the larger tribes of Israel (it will be “enlarged”) and exhibit a predatory, lion-like nature. It will also be “overcome by a troop” in the latter days but will recover afterward and “overcome…at the last” (during the very “last’” part of the latter-day period of time).
Like many of the scattered tribes, the Tribe of Gad has scattered to many places in the nations. In the latter days, they will return from the various points of the compass as described by the prophets, “Thus says the Lord God; surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land.” (Ezekiel 37:21).
There are many ideas as to where this tribe went in the nations. The descendants of the tribe of Gad are thought to include groups such as the Goths. Speculations are that they may have spread into many lands, including Spain, Italy, Sweden, and eventually the Americas.