In Bible versions:
Desert of En Gedi:
eye, or fountain, of the goat, or of happiness
an oasis town in the desert of Judah by the Dead Sea
a place near En-Gedi in the desert of Judah by the Dead Sea
En-gedi = "fount of the kid"
1) a town in the wilderness of Judah on the western shore of the Dead Sea
5872 `Eyn Gediy ane geh'-dee
from 5869 and 1423; fountain of a kid; En-Gedi, a place in Palestine: KJV -- En-gedi.
see HEBREW for 05869
see HEBREW for 01423
(1.) Heb. midbar, "pasture-ground;" an open tract for pasturage; a common (Joel 2:22). The "backside of the desert" (Ex. 3:1) is the west of the desert, the region behind a man, as the east is the region in front. The same Hebrew word is rendered "wildernes," and is used of the country lying between Egypt and Palestine (Gen. 21:14, 21; Ex. 4:27; 19:2; Josh. 1:4), the wilderness of the wanderings. It was a grazing tract, where the flocks and herds of the Israelites found pasturage during the whole of their journey to the Promised Land.
The same Hebrew word is used also to denote the wilderness of Arabia, which in winter and early spring supplies good pasturage to the flocks of the nomad tribes than roam over it (1 Kings 9:18).
The wilderness of Judah is the mountainous region along the western shore of the Dead Sea, where David fed his father's flocks (1 Sam. 17:28; 26:2). Thus in both of these instances the word denotes a country without settled inhabitants and without streams of water, but having good pasturage for cattle; a country of wandering tribes, as distinguished from that of a settled people (Isa. 35:1; 50:2; Jer. 4:11). Such, also, is the meaning of the word "wilderness" in Matt. 3:3; 15:33; Luke 15:4.
(2.) The translation of the Hebrew Aribah', "an arid tract" (Isa. 35:1, 6; 40:3; 41:19; 51:3, etc.). The name Arabah is specially applied to the deep valley of the Jordan (the Ghor of the Arabs), which extends from the lake of Tiberias to the Elanitic gulf. While midbar denotes properly a pastoral region, arabah denotes a wilderness. It is also translated "plains;" as "the plains of Jericho" (Josh. 5:10; 2 Kings 25:5), "the plains of Moab" (Num. 22:1; Deut. 34:1, 8), "the plains of the wilderness" (2 Sam. 17:16).
(3.) In the Revised Version of Num. 21:20 the Hebrew word jeshimon is properly rendered "desert," meaning the waste tracts on both shores of the Dead Sea. This word is also rendered "desert" in Ps. 78:40; 106:14; Isa. 43:19, 20. It denotes a greater extent of uncultivated country than the other words so rendered. It is especially applied to the desert of the peninsula of Arabia (Num. 21:20; 23:28), the most terrible of all the deserts with which the Israelites were acquainted. It is called "the desert" in Ex. 23:31; Deut. 11:24. (See JESHIMON.)
(4.) A dry place; hence a desolation (Ps. 9:6), desolate (Lev. 26:34); the rendering of the Hebrew word horbah'. It is rendered "desert" only in Ps. 102:6, Isa. 48:21, and Ezek. 13:4, where it means the wilderness of Sinai.
(5.) This word is the symbol of the Jewish church when they had forsaken God (Isa. 40:3). Nations destitute of the knowledge of God are called a "wilderness" (32:15, midbar). It is a symbol of temptation, solitude, and persecution (Isa. 27:10, midbar_; 33:9, _arabah).
fountain of the kid, place in the wilderness of Judah (Josh. 15:62), on the western shore of the Dead Sea (Ezek. 47:10), and nearly equidistant from both extremities. To the wilderness near this town David fled for fear of Saul (Josh. 15:62; 1 Sam. 23:29). It was at first called Hazezon-tamar (Gen. 14:7), a city of the Amorites.
The vineyards of Engedi were celebrated in Solomon's time (Cant. 1:4). It is the modern 'Ain Jidy. The "fountain" from which it derives its name rises on the mountain side about 600 feet above the sea, and in its rapid descent spreads luxuriance all around it. Along its banks the osher grows abundantly. That shrub is thus described by Porter: "The stem is stout, measuring sometimes nearly a foot in diameter, and the plant grows to the height of 15 feet or more. It has a grayish bark and long oval leaves, which when broken off discharge a milky fluid. The fruit resembles an apple, and hangs in clusters of two or three. When ripe it is of a rich yellow colour, but on being pressed it explodes like a puff-ball. It is chiefly filled with air...This is the so-called 'apple of Sodom.'" Through Samaria, etc. (See APPLE.)
(1.) Heb. midhbar, denoting not a barren desert but a district or region suitable for pasturing sheep and cattle (Ps. 65:12; Isa. 42:11; Jer. 23:10; Joel 1:19; 2:22); an uncultivated place. This word is used of the wilderness of Beersheba (Gen. 21:14), on the southern border of Palestine; the wilderness of the Red Sea (Ex. 13:18); of Shur (15:22), a portion of the Sinaitic peninsula; of Sin (17:1), Sinai (Lev. 7:38), Moab (Deut. 2:8), Judah (Judg. 1:16), Ziph, Maon, En-gedi (1 Sam. 23:14, 24; 24:1), Jeruel and Tekoa (2 Chr. 20:16, 20), Kadesh (Ps. 29:8).
"The wilderness of the sea" (Isa. 21:1). Principal Douglas, referring to this expression, says: "A mysterious name, which must be meant to describe Babylon (see especially ver. 9), perhaps because it became the place of discipline to God's people, as the wilderness of the Red Sea had been (comp. Ezek. 20:35). Otherwise it is in contrast with the symbolic title in Isa. 22:1. Jerusalem is the "valley of vision," rich in spiritual husbandry; whereas Babylon, the rival centre of influence, is spiritually barren and as restless as the sea (comp. 57:20)." A Short Analysis of the O.T.
(2.) Jeshimon, a desert waste (Deut. 32:10; Ps. 68:7).
(3.) 'Arabah, the name given to the valley from the Dead Sea to the eastern branch of the Red Sea. In Deut. 1:1; 2:8, it is rendered "plain" (R.V., "Arabah").
(4.) Tziyyah, a "dry place" (Ps. 78:17; 105:41).
(5.) Tohu, a "desolate" place, a place "waste" or "unoccupied" (Deut. 32:10; Job 12:24; comp. Gen. 1:2, "without form"). The wilderness region in the Sinaitic peninsula through which for forty years the Hebrews wandered is generally styled "the wilderness of the wanderings." This entire region is in the form of a triangle, having its base toward the north and its apex toward the south. Its extent from north to south is about 250 miles, and at its widest point it is about 150 miles broad. Throughout this vast region of some 1,500 square miles there is not a single river. The northern part of this triangular peninsula is properly the "wilderness of the wanderings" (et-Tih). The western portion of it is called the "wilderness of Shur" (Ex. 15:22), and the eastern the "wilderness of Paran."
The "wilderness of Judea" (Matt. 3:1) is a wild, barren region, lying between the Dead Sea and the Hebron Mountains. It is the "Jeshimon" mentioned in 1 Sam. 23:19.
Not a stretch of sand, an utterly barren waste, but a wild, uninhabited region. The words rendered in the Authorized Version by "desert," when used in the historical books denote definite localities.
- ARABAH. This word means that very depressed and enclosed region--the deepest and the hottest chasm in the world--the sunken valley north and south of the Dead Sea, but more particularly the former. [ARABAH] Arabah in the sense of the Jordan valley is translated by the word "desert" only in (Ezekiel 47:8)
- MIDBAR. This word, which our translators have most frequently rendered by "desert," is accurately "the pasture ground." It is most frequently used for those tracts of waste land which lie beyond the cultivated ground in the immediate neighborhood of the towns and villages of Palestine, and which are a very familiar feature to the traveller in that country. (Exodus 3:1; 6:3; 19:2)
- CHARBAH appears to have the force of dryness, and thence of desolation. It is rendered "desert" in Psal 102:6; Isai 48:21; Ezek 13:4 The term commonly employed for it in the Authorized Version is "waste places" or "desolation."
- JESHIMON, with the definite article, apparently denotes the waste tracts on both sides of the Dead Sea. In all these cases it is treated as a proper name in the Authorized Version. Without the article it occurs in a few passages of poetry in the following of which it is rendered; "desert:" (Psalms 78:40; 106:14; Isaiah 43:19,20)
- dez'-ert midhbar, chorbah, yeshimon, `arabhah, tsiyah, tohu; eremos, eremia): Midhbar, the commonest word for "desert," more often rendered "wilderness," is perhaps from the root dabhar, in the sense of "to drive," i.e. a place for driving or pasturing flocks. Yeshimon is from yasham, "to be empty", chorbah (compare Arabic kharib, "to lie waste"; khirbah, "a ruin"; kharab, "devastation"), from charabh "to be dry"; compare also `arabh, "to be dry," and `arabhah, "a desert" or "the Arabah" (see CHAMPAIGN). For 'erets tsiyah (Ps 63:1
; Isa 41:18
), "a dry land," compare tsiyim, "wild beasts of the desert" (Isa 13:21
, etc.). Tohu, variously rendered "without form" (Gen 1:2
the King James Version), "empty space," the King James Version "empty place" (Job 26:7
), "waste," the King James Version "nothing" (Job 6:18
), "confusion," the Revised Version, margin, "wasteness" (Isa 24:10
the English Revised Version), may be compared with Arabic tah, "to go astray" at-Tih, "the desert of the wandering." In the New Testament we find eremos and eremia: "The child (John) .... was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel" (Lk 1:80
); "Our fathers did eat manna in the desert" (Jn 6:31
the King James Version).
The desert as known to the Israelites was not a waste of sand, as those are apt to imagine who have in mind the pictures of the Sahara. Great expanses of sand, it is true, are found in Arabia, but the nearest one, an-Nufud, was several days' journey distant from the farthest southeast reached by the Israelites in their wanderings. Most of the desert of Sinai and of Palestine is land that needs only water to make it fruitful. East of the Jordan, the line between "the desert" and "the sown" lies about along the line of the Chijaz railway. To the West there is barely enough water to support the crops of wheat; to the East there is too little. Near the line of demarcation, the yield of wheat depends strictly upon the rainfall. A few inches more or less of rain in the year determines whether the grain can reach maturity or not. The latent fertility of the desert lands is demonstrated by the season of scant rains, when they become carpeted with herbage and flowers. It is marvelous, too, how the camels, sheep and goats, even in the dry season, will find something to crop where the traveler sees nothing but absolute barrenness. The long wandering of the Israelites in "the desert" was made possible by the existence of food for their flocks and herds. Compare Ps 65:11,12:
"Thou crownest the year with thy goodness;
And thy paths drop fatness.
They drop upon the pastures of the Wilderness.
And the hills are girded with joy";
and also Joel 2:22: "The pastures of the wilderness do spring."
"The desert" or "the wilderness" (ha-midhbar) usually signifies the desert of the wandering, or the northern part of the Sinaitic Peninsula. Compare Ex 3:1 King James Version: "MOSES .... led theflock (of Jethro) to the backside of the desert"; Ex 5:3 King James Version: "Let us go .... three days' journey into the desert"; Ex 19:2 King James Version: "They .... were come to the desert of Sinai"; Ex 23:31 King James Version: "I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river" (Euphrates). Other uncultivated or pasture regions are known as Wilderness of Beersheba (Gen 21:14), West of Judah (Jdg 1:16), West of En-gedi (1 Sam 24:1), West of Gibeon (2 Sam 2:24), West of Maon (1 Sam 23:24), West of Damascus; compare Arabic Badiyet-ush-Sham (1 Ki 19:15), etc. Midhbar yam, "the wilderness of the sea" (Isa 21:1), may perhaps be that part of Arabia bordering upon the Persian Gulf.
Aside from the towns and fields, practically all the land was midhbar or "desert," for this term included mountain, plain and valley. The terms, "desert of En-gedi," "desert of Maon," etc., do not indicate circumscribed areas, but are applied in a general way to the lands about these places. To obtain water, the shepherds with their flocks traverse long distances to the wells, springs or streams, usually arranging to reach the water about the middle of the day and rest about it for an hour or so, taking shelter from the sun in the shadows of the rocks, perhaps under some overhanging ledge.
Alfred Ely Day
- en'-ge-di, en-ge'-di (`en gedhi, "fountain of the kid"): Identical with the present Ain Jidi. According to 2 Ch 20:2
it is the same as Hazazon-tamar, mentioned in Gen 14:7
as occupied by the Amorites and as having been attacked by Chedorlaomer after leaving Kadesh and El Paran on his way to the Vale of Siddim. The place is situated upon the West shore of the Dead Sea about midway between the North and the South ends, and was included in the territory of Judah (Josh 15:62
). The spot is rendered attractive by the verdure clothing it by reason of immense fountains of warm water, 80 degrees F., which pour out from beneath the limestone cliffs. In the time of Solomon (Song 1:14
) palms and vines were cultivated here. Josephus also mentions its beautiful palm groves. In the time of Eusebius it was still a place of importance, but since the Middle Ages it has been almost deserted, being occupied now only by a few Arabs. The oasis occupies a small area a few hundred feet above the Dead Sea marked by the 650 ft. sedimentary terrace heretofore described (see DEAD SEA). The limestone borders rise so abruptly to a height of 2,000 ft. immediately on the West, that the place can be approached only by a rock-cut path. Two streams, Wady Sugeir and Wady el-Areyeh, descend on either side through precipitous rocky gorges from the uninhabitable wilderness separating it from Bethlehem and Hebron. It was in the caves opening out from the sides of these gorges that David took refuge from Saul (1 Sam 24:1
). During the reign of Jehoshaphat (2 Ch 20:2
), the children of Ammon, Moab and Mt. Seir attempted to invade Judah by way of En-gedi, but were easily defeated as they came up from the gorges to occupy the advantageous field of battle chosen by Jehoshaphat.
George Frederick Wright
See DESERT; JUDAEA, WILDERNESS OF; WANDERINGS OF ISRAEL.