KIDRON, TORRENT VALLEY OF
(Kidʹron), [perhaps from a root meaning “black, dirty,” or one meaning “glow, burn, radiate heat”].
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 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 St. Stephen’s gate near the former temple area, it is approximately 100 feet (c. 30 meters) deep and 400 feet (c. 120 meters) wide. To the S of the former temple area the Kidron valley is joined by the Tyropean valley and the Valley of Hinnom respectively. From then on it continues 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 (“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 Tyropean and Kidron valleys, is the spring of Gihon. (See GIHON.) 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.”—2 Ki. 25:4.
King David, when fleeing from rebellious Absalom, crossed the Kidron valley on foot. (2 Sam. 15:14, 23, 30) For cursing David on that occasion, Solomon later restricted Shimei to Jerusalem, not permitting him to cross the Kidron valley under pain of death. (1 Ki. 2:8, 9, 36, 37) It was this same valley that Jesus traversed on his way to the garden of Gethsemane. (John 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. (1 Ki. 15:13; 2 Ki. 23:4, 6, 12; 2 Chron. 15:16; 29:16; 30:14) It also served as a place of burial. (2 Ki. 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.
[Picture on page 991]
Looking south along the Torrent Valley of Kidron