Getting to Know Gad
Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it. And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying, Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land. Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; Until the Lord have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the Lord your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord's servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising. And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses. Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage. – Joshua 1:10-18
Reuben, Gad and Manasseh were sort of like the black sheep of the family in that they were not traditional or mainstream, they were on the fringe; they were Hebrews on their own terms. They were loners and kept to themselves. I say this because they lived on the other side of the Jordan, apart from the other seven tribes (v.12-16). Though they obeyed (v.17) they didn’t necessarily obey in the same manner as everyone else did. They marched to the beat of a different drum. As the old saying goes, ‘there is more than one way to skin a cat,’ in like manner, there is more than one way to fulfill a commandment.
Igbos of the African Equator in Southern Nigeria and the Germanic Scandinavians of the far North shows how extreme Gad was and is; Fire and Ice, Extreme Hot and Cold.
Despite their loner, somewhat of an anti-hero persona if you will, Gadites are loyalists and encouragers (v.18).
Now that’s loyalty!
They are also warriors, the Marines of Israel if you will, the first to go out into battle.
And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the Lord spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day. – Joshua 4:1-9
Another small way we can know the Igbo are Jews, Hebrews, Israelites and Gadites is that in the middle of the Niger River near Aguleri and the Place of Obu-Gad there is a 12 stoned altar that can be seen when the water drops during the dry season that Gad’s son Eri and his entourage erected when he crossed the Niger into Aguleri as a memorial of who they are and where they came from, much as it is described in Joshua chapter 4 and 22.