Engedi, from the Hebrew meaning spring of the wild goat, was located at about the midway point of the west coast of the Dead Sea (see The Salt Sea), about 35 miles / 55 kilometers southeast of Jerusalem. It was a major oasis with lush vegetation, high quality dates and medicinal plants. Israel's only naturally-occurring waterfall is found at Engedi.
Engedi was well-known during Bible History:
- Abraham was well familiar with Engedi, when it was known as Hazazon-tamar:
"then they turned back and came to Enmishpat (that is, Kadesh), and subdued all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazazon-tamar ... So the enemy took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way; they also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, who dwelt in Sodom [see The Destruction Of Sodom], and his goods, and departed. Then one who had escaped came, and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner; these were allies of Abram." (Genesis 14:7,11-13 RSV)
- During the Division Of The Land under Joshua, Engedi was assigned within the territory of the tribe of Judah:
"The cities belonging to the tribe of the people of Judah in the extreme south, toward the boundary of Edom, were ... In the wilderness, Beth-arabah, Middin, Secacah, Nibshan, the City of Salt, and En-gedi: six cities with their villages." (Joshua 15:21,61-62 RSV)
- While being pursued by Saul, David sought refuge in the area of Engedi:
"And David went up from there, and dwelt in the strongholds of En-gedi. When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, "Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi." (1 Samuel 23:29-24:1 RSV)
- With God's help, King Jehoshaphat of Judah (see Kings of Israel and Judah) defeated a major enemy force that had mustered near Engedi:
"After this the Moabites [see Moab] and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar" (that is, En-gedi) ... You will not need to fight in this battle; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of The Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Fear not, and be not dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, and The Lord will be with you." (2 Chronicles 20:1-2,17 RSV)
- Engedi was well-known as a verdant place in the time of Solomon (see also Solomon's Kingdom):
"My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Engedi." (Song of Solomon 1:14 RSV)
Engedi will also be well-known in the future, after the The Return Of Jesus Christ (see Prophecy):
"Then he brought me back to the door of the Temple; and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the Temple toward the east (for the Temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the Temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me round on the outside to the outer gate, that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side."
"Going on eastward with a line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water; and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water; and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water; and it was up to the loins. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. And he said to me, "Son of man, have you seen this?"
"Then he led me back along the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw upon the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other."
"And he said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the stagnant waters of the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes every living creature which swarms will live, and there will be very many fish; for this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes."
"Fishermen will stand beside the sea; from En-gedi to En-eglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea [see The Mediterranean Sea]. But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt."
"And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing." Thus says the Lord God." (Ezekiel 47:1-13 RSV)
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