(En-geʹdi) [spring of the kid].
The name of a city and the surrounding wilderness in the territory of Judah. (Josh. 15:62; 1 Sam. 24:1) The city is usually identified with Tell ej-Jurn, near the modern settlement of ʽAin Jidi, approximately twenty-four miles (38.6 kilometers) SE of Jerusalem on the shores of the Dead Sea.
The Shulammite maiden alluded to the fruitfulness of the region, referring to “a cluster of henna . . . among the vineyards of En-gedi.” (Song of Sol. 1:14) This, however, only partly describes the rich plant life that flourishes there even today. En-gedi’s particular location in the depression of the region of the Dead Sea is conducive to the growth of semitropical vegetation, palms and balsam, plus a variety of fruits, making En-gedi an oasis that stands out from the nearby severely desolate Wilderness of Judah.—See JUDAH, WILDERNESS OF.
Not only this abundant growth, but also the En-gedi region’s inaccessibility made it an ideal hideout for David when he was being pursued by King Saul. Thus the Bible speaks of certain “places difficult to approach at En-gedi.” (1 Sam. 23:29) Modern-day visitors have similarly depicted the dangerous and precipitous rocky passes in that area. The hostility of parts of the terrain is also indicated by the reference to the “bare rocks of the mountain goats.” (24:2) Some scholars consider this a proper name, “Rocks of the Wild Goats” (AT, JB, RS), referring to some particular locality where goats were likely to congregate, as they do even in modern times in the En-gedi region. However, others view this term as simply a descriptive phrase for the region’s goat-inhabited, rough, conical mountains and ridges. The rocks of En-gedi are honeycombed with roomy caves. David and his men may have hidden in one of these. (24:3) Some suggest that the “stone sheepfolds” where Saul stopped may refer to these caves, with a rough wall built in front to give weather protection.—24:2-10.
The united forces of Ammon, Moab and the mountainous region of Seir came against Judah in the days of King Jehoshaphat by way of “Hazazon-tamar, that is to say, En-gedi.” (2 Chron. 20:2; see HAZAZON-TAMAR.) In Ezekiel’s vision of the “healed” seawater fishers were prophesied to station themselves “from En-gedi even up to En-eglaim.”—Ezek. 47:8-10.