The name Gilgal (wheel, stone pile, standing stones, heap of stones) portends evil and violence in the Book of Mormon. It is a darker, bleaker Stonehenge.
The name first appears in the enumeration of cities destroyed during the great earthquake described in 3 Nephi 9: And behold, the city of Gilgal have I caused to be sunk, and the inhabitants thereof to be buried up in the depths of the earth (3 Nephi 9:6). Gilgal surfaces again as the name of a Nephite commander slain in the battle for Cumorah, "to be buried up in the depths of the earth" along with his 10,000.
Finally, in the archaic record of Jaredite warfare that Moroni redacts for our benefit at the end of his own record, we all--Gog and Magog--again dress for destruction at Gilgal (Ether 13:27-30):
And it came to pass that Coriantumr was exceedingly angry with Shared, and he went against him with his armies to battle; and they did meet in great anger, and they did meet in the valley of Gilgal; and the battle became exceedingly sore.
And it came to pass that Shared fought against him for the space of three days. And it came to pass that Coriantumr beat him, and did pursue him until he came to the plains of Heshlon.
And it came to pass that Shared gave him battle again upon the plains; and behold, he did beat Coriantumr, and drove him back again to the valley of Gilgal.
And Coriantumr gave Shared battle again in the valley of Gilgal, in which he beat Shared and slew him.
Around and around it goes, this great wheel of Gilgal. Here King Coriantumr begins the civil war that grinds all into annihilation.
There is something universal about this wheel of Gilgal, something as archaic as ruined stone heaps. Gilgal is a timeless word, and it comes as no surprise to find it in Egyptian as well (borrowed from Semitic).
On a Dynasty 19 ostracon (O. Ebinb. 916 vs 3-4) we read:
st h3w m ka=-r=ka--r [or karkar = *galgala]
The mountains topple;
they come down in a rock heap
(James E. Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian, #485, 333: "The word has been identified with BH [Biblical Hebrew] gilgahl n. loc. Stone Pile.")
Could any words better describe the stunning appearance of a valley called Gilgal?
Or the tumbling and sinking of 3 Nephi 9?
And behold, the city of Gilgal have I caused to be
and the inhabitants thereof to be
of the earth.
According to the unpublished Book of Mormon Onomasticon (to be published by the Maxwell Institute at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah), Gilgal twice appears as a Hebrew personal name: 1) "on a bowl from Arad, 8th c. BC (JAT) [John A. Tvedtnes]," and 2) as glgwl among the Elephantine documents 10:21 (EHA)." One of the sons of Jared is named Gilgah [stone pillar?].