(Aʹin) [Fountain; Spring].
The word literally means “eye” but by analogy is used to mean a natural spring or fountain as distinguished from a man-made well or tank, which latter water source is expressed by the Hebrew terms beʼerʹ and bohr. (Ge 49:22; De 8:7; see CISTERN; WELL.) It is often written “En-” when used in compounds, as En-rimmon, En-gedi, En-gannim.
1. A place mentioned by Jehovah when setting out the E boundary of Israel to Moses. (Nu 34:11) The “Riblah” mentioned in this text as being “on the east of Ain” evidently does not refer to the Riblah in the land of Hamath considerably to the N of Damascus, inasmuch as Ain is named in relation to the Sea of Chinnereth (Galilee). It lay to the N of that sea, but its exact location is uncertain.
2. One of the southernmost cities originally assigned to the tribe of Judah (Jos 15:32), then assigned to the tribe of Simeon when Simeon’s allotment was taken out from Judah’s overly large territory. (Jos 19:1, 7, 9; 1Ch 4:24, 32) Ain was near the city of Rimmon, and it appears that when it was resettled following the exile in Babylon, the names of the two places were combined as one: En-rimmon. (Ne 11:29) As such, it is usually identified with Khirbet Umm er-Ramamin (Horvat Remalya), lying about 15 km (9 mi) N of Beer-sheba.—See RIMMON No. 2.
3. At Joshua 21:16 Ain is listed as one of the cities given to the Levites. A comparison of this text with Joshua 15:42; 19:7 and 1 Chronicles 6:59 indicates that the city here referred to is elsewhere called Ashan.—See ASHAN.