GAD: The name of a Canaanitic deity of fortune.
Isa. lxv. 11
(A.V.) occur the words: "But ye are they .' . . that prepare a table for that troop"
(the Hebrew of which is better rendered in the R.V.
"that prepare a table for Fortune"; margin "Gad,"
Gk. tai. daimoniai). The "Gad"of the R.V. margin reproduces the Hebrew, which is evidently a proper
name introduced in connection with Meni (q.v.),
both Gad and Meni being
deities worshiped by
apostate Israelites in the worship of the former of
wNch a table (lectisternium) was spread. This is
the only unquestionable mention of the deity in
the Old Testament. Other traces occur, however,
which make probable the fact of an extensively
propagated cult of Canaanitic or Aramean origin.
Thus a place named Baal-gad, " Lord of (good)
fortune," situated " in the valley of Lebanon . . .
under mount Hermon " is given as the extreme
northern limit of Joshua's conquest
(Josh. xi. 17, iii. 7, xiii. 5);
while Migdal-gad, "Tower of Gad,"
appears as a 'place in the southwest lowlands of
(Josh. xv. 37).
Gen. xxx. 11
(belonging to the J narrative) at the birth of Zilpah's first son
her mistress is said to have exclaimed " a troop
cometh," R.V.,."Fortunatel" margin, "fortune!"
or "Fortune is come" (an attempt to render in the
R.V. more closely the Hebrew begad
or ba gad). The Talmudists understood this exclamation to
refer to the god Gad in the sense of " Gad
is here, bringing good fortune," but later commentators
are much divided over the sense of the passage.
Since from the passage in Isaiah (and other evidences to be adduced) it is clear that Gad is. the
name of a deity, it would be expected that the
word would be found as an element in proper names.
Num. xiii. 10
appears mention of a " Gaddiel the
son of Sodi," and in xiii. 11 of " Gaddi the son of
Susi," the latter possibly a shortened form of the
II Kings xv. 14, 17
Menahem is called
" the son of Gadi " (Septuagint, Gaddi), and possibly ";Gad " in
I Sam. xxii. 5
is a form still more simplified. Azgad, "Strong is Gad," as the name
of a clan or a chief, appears in
Ezra ii. 12, viii. 12;
Neh. x. 15.
While all of these names do not necessarily contain conscious reference to a deity, there
is a probability that, in the light of known practises
of later Jews, at
least some of them may have been
formed with the god in mind. The practise of
spreading the lectisternium for Gad continued in
Some Jewish families as late as the eleventh century,
this in a way vouching for the worship mentioned
in Isaiah, while Buxtorf (Lexicon talmudicum)
adduces the custom of keeping in the house a couch
called "the couch of Gada," finely fitted up, never
used by the family, 'but reserved for " the prince of
the house," i.e., the protector " Fortune."
In other Semitic regions the name appears as an
element in names, though the meaning can not
always be determined. In most cases it is possible
to take the element Gad as an appellative, "fortune." Thus there are found in very different
the combinations Gad-Nebo, " Fortune
of Nebo," and Gad-shirath. So in a number of
Palmyrene inscriptions the word occurs in combinations where the second element is the name of
another deity, e.g., Gad-Allat, while
gadya, " for
tunate," occurs. One Palmyrene inscription found
at a sacred spring points indubitably to a deity to
whom the spring was sacred, reading "to Gada"
(of. the place name "Ayin-Dada," Nöldeke,
xxix., 1875, 441) and the "Gad-spring" near
Jerusalem. In Phenician and Carthaginian environment the word is found as an element in personal
names, while in many more probable cases the
reading is not sufficiently clear to give entire certainty; moreover the meaning can not always be
definitely determined and may be appellative.
Gadrnelek, " Gad
is king," is an inscription on a stone
found in Jerusalem, possibly due to Canaanitic
influence. In Arabic the proper name Abd al-Gadd
is found, certainly a deity's name (Wellhausen,
148). Isaac of Antioch (Opera, ed.
Bickell, ii. 210, Giessen, 1877) reports that tables
were prepared on the roofs by his countrymen for
and he mentions a "demon"
Gadlat as belonging to the city of Beth-hur. Jacob
of Sarug speaks of a female. goddess of Haran named
Gadlat, while by the plural
he means demons.
It is noteworthy that both of these
in with what is shown by comparative religion as
happening within the Semitic sphere; (1) the development of a shadowy consort correspondmg in
name to the male deity, and (2) in a subsequent
stage of development or under another religion the
degradation of both deities to the rank of demons.
Post-Christian Jews, especially the rabbis, used the
name as that of a demon. Temples of Gad were
known in Syria, and Buxtorf cites a passage which
speaks of an image of Gad. Jacob of Sarug says
that "on the summit of the mountains they now
build monasteries instead of
.e., temples to Jupiter and Venus, who were identified with
the deities of good luck). In late times Gad appears
to have been so popular that his name acquired
the sense of "genius, godhead." Under
rigime Gad seems to have passed over into the
Greek form TychS, who is very often mentioned
on coins and in inscriptions in the region of Syria
and became a patron of very many Greek cities,
possibly also the patron of rulers. The Greek TychB
is unquestionably not of native Greek origin, but
is an importation from the East, and on Greek soil
was sometimes masculine. Whether the Syrian
Tychis is the earlier Gad, renamed under Greek influence, can not be definitely decided, as the data
are not yet sufficiently numerous or continuous.
The origin of the god Gad is in doubt. It is
possible that he arose as the personification of the
abstract concept good fortune, though it must be
said that this process is not usual in the Semitic
sphere. None of the Old Testament passages which
bear on the question are very early, unless the view
of the critical. school be correct which inclines to the
belief that the tribe of Gad, like that of Asher, took
its name from the god. The newer explanation of
the composite origin of the Hebrew nation as including clans absorbed by conquest, tradition
recording this fact by assigning to the clans so
absorbed a humbler origin as the descendants of
concubines, would make for an early origin of the
deity. But these conclusions are by no means
universally accepted, and the worship, even the
existence, of Gad in strictly Canaanitio provenance
earlier than the Exile rests on the two place names
Baal-gad and Migdal-gad (ut sup.).
J. Bolden, De die Syria, L, i., London, 1017,
additions of Boyer in ed. of Amsterdam, 1080;
F. C. Movers, Die
PAonisier, i. 174, Bonn, 1841; D. A.
Chwolson, Die Asabier, ii. 220-227, St. Petersburg, 1850;
W. W. von Baudissin, Jahve et Moloch, pp. 30 sqq., Leipsic, 1874; F. Lenormant,
p. 120, London,
1877; J. H. Mordtmann, in ZDMG, xxxi (1877), 99-101,
xxxix (1885), 44-40; P. Scholz,
Zauberwescn bei den Sebrurn, pp. 409-411, Regensburg, 1877;
C. U. A. Siegfried, in JPT, i (1875), 350-307; F. W. A.
Baetbgen, Beiträge zur semitiechen Religionageschichte, pp.
7&-80, 159-181, Berlin, 1888; T. Nöldeke, in ZDMG,
xlii (1888), 479 sqq.; (1. Kerber, Die religiongeschichtliche
Bedeatung der htbrdisches Rigennamen, pp. 00-88, Freiburg,
the commentaries of Dillmann,
Smith on lesiah, on the passage
1xv. 11, of
Introduction to Book of
Isaiah, pp. 305-300,
DB, ii. 70; EB, ii. 1557-1558. "Fortune."