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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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KADESH or KADESH-BARNEA was a place of note in olden time ( Genesis 14:7; Genesis 16:14 ). This it could not have been without a supply of water. The Israelites may therefore have expected to find water here, and finding none a peculiarly exasperating experience were naturally embittered. The flow of the spring, by whatever means it had been obstructed, was restored by Moses, under Divine direction ( Numbers 20:2 ff.), and for a long time it was the centre of the tribal encampments ( Numbers 20:1 , Deuteronomy 1:46 ). It was the scene of Korah’s rebellion ( Numbers 16:1-50 ), and of Miriam’s death ( Numbers 20:1 ). The spies were sent hence ( Numbers 32:8 , Deuteronomy 1:20 ff.,) and returned hither ( Numbers 13:26 ). Before moving from here, the embassy was despatched to the king of Edom ( Numbers 20:14 ff., Judges 11:16 ).

Kadesh-barnea lay on the south boundary of the Amorite highlands (Deuteronomy 1:18 ), ‘in the uttermost border’ of Edom ( Numbers 20:6 ). The conquest of Joshua reached thus far ( Joshua 10:41 ): It was therefore on the line, running from the Ascent of Akrabbim to the Brook of Egypt, which marked the southern frontier of Canaan ( Numbers 34:4 , Joshua 15:3 ). In Genesis 20:1 it is placed east of Gerar; and in Ezekiel 47:19; Ezekiel 48:28 between Tamar and the Brook of Egypt. All this points definitely to the place discovered by the Rev. J. Rowlands in 1842. The ancient name persists in the modern ‘Ain Qadîs , ‘holy spring.’ An abundant stream rises at the foot of a limestone cliff. Caught by the wells and pools made for its reception, it creates in its brief course, ere it is absorbed by the desert, a stretch of greenery and beauty amid the waste. From the high grazing grounds far and near, the flocks and herds come hither for the watering. The place was visited again by Dr. H. Clay Trumbull, whose book, Kadesh Barnea (1884), contains a full account of the spring and its surroundings. It lies in the territory of the ‘Azâzine Arabs, about 50 miles south of Beersheba, to the south-west of Naqb es-Safâh a pass opening towards Palestine from Wâdy el-Fiqra , which may he the Ascent of Akrabbim and east of Wâdy Jerûr . The name ‘ En-mishpat , ‘Fountain of Judgment’ ( Genesis 14:7 ), was doubtless due to the custom of coming here for the authoritative settlement of disputes (Driver, Genesis, ad loc ).

For Kadesh on the Orontes see Tahtim-hodshi.

W. Ewing.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Kadesh'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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