(Kidʹron) [possibly from a root meaning “be dark”].
A deep valley that separates Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and runs first southeastward and then southward along the city. Waterless even in winter, except in case of an especially heavy rain, the Kidron Valley (Nahal Qidron) starts some distance to the N of Jerusalem’s walls. At first a broad and shallow valley, it continues to narrow and deepen. By the time it is opposite the former temple area, it is approximately 30 m (100 ft) deep and 120 m (390 ft) wide. Farther to the S the Kidron Valley was joined by the Tyropoeon Valley and the Valley of Hinnom respectively. From then on it continued southeastward across the arid Wilderness of Judah to the Dead Sea. The modern name applied to the valley’s lower course is Wadi en-Nar (meaning “Fire Wadi”), indicating that it is hot and dry most of the time.
Opposite Jerusalem, rock-cut tombs occupy the steep and rocky slopes of the valley’s E side. On its W side, about midway between the former temple area and the junction of the Tyropoeon and Kidron valleys, is the spring of Gihon. (See GIHON No. 2.) Not far from this spring the Kidron Valley widens and forms an open space. It has been suggested that this open area may correspond to the ancient “king’s garden.”—2Ki 25:4.
King David, when fleeing from rebellious Absalom, crossed the Kidron Valley on foot. (2Sa 15:14, 23, 30) For cursing David on that occasion, Shimei was later restricted by Solomon to Jerusalem and was not permitted to cross the Kidron Valley under pain of death. (1Ki 2:8, 9, 36, 37) It was this same valley that Jesus traversed on his way to the garden of Gethsemane. (Joh 18:1) During the reigns of Judean Kings Asa, Hezekiah, and Josiah, the Kidron Valley was used as a place of disposal for appendages of idolatry. (1Ki 15:13; 2Ki 23:4, 6, 12; 2Ch 15:16; 29:16; 30:14) It also served as a place of burial. (2Ki 23:6) This made the Kidron Valley an unclean area, and it is therefore significant that Jeremiah’s prophecy pointed to a time when, by contrast, “all the terraces as far as the torrent valley of Kidron” would be “something holy to Jehovah.”—Jer 31:40.