Gad [Găd]—good fortune, a troop or a seer.
1. The seventh son of Jacob, first-born of Zilpah, Leah’s maid, and full brother of Asher. A tribe also sprang from Gad (Gen. 30:11; 35:26; 46:16; 49:19; Exod. 1:4; 1 Chron. 5:11; 12:14).
No name in all the twelve tribes of Israel is so much played upon in Jacob’s blessing as the name of Gad, meaning “a troop.” Invaders and robbers might try to plunder Gad but victory would be his with resultant enlargement. Jacob predicted for the tribe of Gad a time of sore conflict, yet of final conquest. “He shall overcome at last.” God enabled Gad to discomfit and defeat his foes (1 Chron. 5:18-22).
The men of Gad had faces like “the faces of lions,” and when David needed help, the Gadites of lion-like character befriended the fugitive king. “They put to flight all them of the valleys, both of the east and of the west.” These Gadite helpers of David “executed the justice of the Lord, and His judgments with Israel.” Jephthah the Gileadite, of the tribe of Gad, judged Israel six years after delivering the nation from Ammonite oppression.
How fortunate Gad was to have God to enlarge him! “The place where we dwell... is too strait for us.” Such an energetic, aggressive tribe could not remain static, so their inheritance was extended beyond its original limits until it covered the whole of Gilead. How loathe we are to possess our spiritual possessions! May ours be the enlargements of heart David prayed for (Ps. 119:32)! May ours also be the constant victorious Christian experience!
2. The prophet who joined David when in “the hold,” and through whose advice he left it for the forest of Hareth (1 Sam. 22:5; 2 Sam. 24:11-19; 1 Chron. 21:9-19; 2 Chron. 29:25). Gad, “the king’s seer,” announced God’s judgment upon David for numbering the people. “The arm of flesh will fail us, we dare not trust our own.” Gad the prophet advised the erection of the altar, and is also before us as an associate of the prophet Nathan.