as Tel Goren, Tell el-Jurn, Tell Jurn, 'Ain Jidi, 'Ein Jidi, 'En Gedi,
En-gedi, Ein Gedi, Eggadi, Engaddi, Engedi, Hazazon Tamar, Hazazon-tamar,
Dead Sea Oasis
Gedi is the largest oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea.
The springs here have allowed nearly continuous inhabitation of the site
since the Chalcolithic period. The area was allotted to the tribe
of Judah, and was famous in the time of Solomon (Josh 15:62). Today the Israeli kibbutz of En Gedi sits along the southern bank of the Nahal Arugot.
abundant springs and year-round temperate climate provided the perfect
conditions for agriculture in ancient times. Solomon compared his lover to
"a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi," an
indication of the beauty and fertility of the site (Song 1:14). Evidence
has been of workshops used in the perfume industry to distill products made
from balsam. It has even been suggested that the perfume production at En
Gedi was part of a royal estate.
Even though there are many springs around the Dead Sea, most of them have
a high salt content. En Gedi is one of only two fresh water springs
located on the western shore of the Dead Sea and, because of the greater
availability of land for agriculture at En Gedi, it is the best spring by
which to settle.
praised En Gedi for its palm trees and balsam, and the writer of
Ecclesiasticus spoke of wisdom that was exalted like a palm tree in En
Gedi" (24:14). One day, the prophet Ezekiel predicted,
fishermen would line the shores of the Dead Sea by En Gedi (47:10).
David's Flight from Saul
Around 1000 BC, En Gedi served as one of the main places of refuge for
David as he fled from Saul. David "dwelt in strongholds at En Gedi" (1 Sam
23:29). En Gedi means literally "the spring of the kid (goat)." Evidence
exists that young ibex have always lived near the springs of En Gedi. One
time when David was fleeing from King Saul, the pursuers searched the
"Crags of the Ibex" in the vicinity of En Gedi. In a cave near here, David
cut off the corner of Saul's robe (1 Sam 24).
The earliest remains at En Gedi are of a temple from the Chalcolithic
Period (about 4000 - 3150 B.C.). Archaeologist believe that this is proof
that En Gedi supported a significant settlement at that time. The "Cave
of Treasure" in the Nahal Mishmar was excavated by P. Bar-Adon and is
thought to be connected with this temple. The cave is approximately six
miles south of En Gedi. A hoard of extremely well preserved artifacts was
found in the cave, most of which were made of copper. It has been
suggested that the articles were used in the temple rituals at En Gedi
and were hid in the cave for safe keeping.
At BiblePlaces.com, see the related sites of the
Dead Sea, Masada,
Qumran, Qumran Caves,
Jericho, and the
(AncientSandals.com) Helpful geographical information together with the
major historical events of significance. Includes photographs.
Brief description and photograph of the site.
Gedi Oasis Excavations (Hebrew University) Information about the
archaeological excavation of the Roman period village led by Gideon
Hadas of Hebrew University. Includes a call for volunteers and
application. Current excavations are focused on revealing the
"Pebbled House" and adjacent buildings.
Ein Gedi An Ancient Oasis Settlement
(Jewish Virtual Library) A lengthier article describing the Chalcolithic
temple, village at Tell Goren, and Roman-Byzantine synagogue.
(Jewish Agency) A selective article on some aspects
of En Gedi's history.
(NET Tours) Includes five excellent pages of description and numerous
well-chosen photos. Some of our favorites are those adapted from
photos from the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands with labels
major features from the air.