🔼The name Geliloth: Summary
- Circles, Circuits
- From the verb גלל (galal), to roll.
🔼The name Geliloth in the Bible
The name Geliloth is a special case and there's no consensus on whether it's actually a name or not. It occurs four times in the Hebrew Bible:
- Joshua 13:2 — All major English translations translate the word גלילות, as: regions (NAS, NIV, JSP, ASV), borders (KJV), districts (Darby), and circuits (Young).
- Joshua 18:17 — All major English translations have the transliterated name Geliloth here, but, for instance, Luther's German translation of the 16th century doesn't, and translates it with Haufen.
- Joshua 22:10-11 — No major translations reads the name here. All use translations.
- Joel 3:4 — idem
🔼Etymology of the name Geliloth
Our "name" is a feminine plural form of the noun גלילה (gelila), meaning circuit, boundary or territory. It comes from the verb גלל (galal), meaning to roll:
The verb גלל (galal) primarily expresses rolling, whirling or heaping and may also denote a broad sweep (of land or time). Noun גל (gal) means heap or pile; גיל (gel), a heap specifically of dung; גלל (galal), dung; גלול (gillul), idols. Noun גלה (gulla) means bowl, basin or spring; noun גלילה (gelila), circuit, boundary or territory. Noun גליל (galil) denotes a supporting cylinder or rod; adjective גליל (galil), probably describes a cylindrical hinge column, noun מגלה (megilla) means scroll. Noun גלגל (gilgal) means wheel; noun גלגל (galgal), wheel or whirlwind. Noun גלגלת (gulgoleth) means skull or head. In cognate languages verb גלל (galal) extends to also describe the nobility of someone who rules a region.
The parallel verb גיל (gil) expresses a circular motion as is mostly associated with expressions of joy and celebration (dance). Nouns גיל (gil) and גילה (gila) mean a rejoicing. Noun גיל (gil) describes a circle or time: an age.
For a meaning of the name Geliloth, NOBSE Study Bible Name List acknowledges only its occurrence in Joshua 18:17, reads Circles and declares that it is "probably" the same as Gilgal, although that is by no means certain. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names appears to acknowledge no name Geliloth at all. BDB Theological Dictionary translates our name with Circles as well, and states that Geliloth is (1) a place on the border between Judah and Benjamin, and (2) a locality described in Joshua 22:10-11.