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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Kidron (1)

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KIDRON (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] Cedron ), THE BROOK ( nachat , ‘torrent valley,’ ‘wady,’ 2 Samuel 15:23 , 1Ki 2:37 , 2 Chronicles 33:14 , Nehemiah 2:15 etc.; Gr. cheimarrous , John 18:1 ). The name of a valley, nearly 3 miles in length, which bounds the plateau of Jerusalem on the East. It is always dry except during and immediately after heavy rain; it is the same valley that is referred to as the Valley of Jehoshaphat (wh. see). It commences about 1 1 / 4 miles N. of the N.W. corner of the city walls, as a wide, open, shallow valley. At first it runs S.E., receiving tributaries from the W. and N., but where it is now crossed by the modern carriage road to the Mt. of Olives, it turns South. Near this spot (as well as higher up) there are a number of ancient tombs; among them on the W. side of the valley are the so-called ‘Tombs of the Kings,’ and on the East the reputed tomb of ‘Simon the Just,’ much venerated by the Jews. The whole of this first open section of the valley is to-day known as Wady el-Joz ; (‘Valley of the Nuts’): it is full of fertile soil, and in a great part of its extent is sown with corn or planted with olives or almonds. As the valley approaches the East wall of the city it rapidly deepens, and rocky scarps appear on each side; it now receives the name Wady Sitti Miriam, i.e . ‘Valley of the Lady Mary.’ Opposite the Temple area the bottom of the valley, now 40 feet below the present surface, is about 400 feet below the Temple platform. S. of this it continues to narrow and deepen, running between the village of Silwân (see Siloam) on the E. and the hill Ophel on the West. Here lies the ‘Virgin’s Fount,’ ancient Gihon (wh. see), whose waters to-day rise deep under the surface, though once they ran down the valley itself. A little farther on the valley again expands into a considerable open area, where vegetables are now cultivated, and which perhaps was once the ‘ King’s Garden ’ (wh. see). The Tyropœon Valley, known now as el-Wâd , joins the Kidron Valley from the N., and farther on the Wady er-Rabâbi traditionally Hinnom (wh. see), runs in from the West. The area again narrows at Bîr Eyyûb , the ancient En-rogel (wh. see), and the valley continues a long winding course under the name of Wady en-Nâr (‘Valley of Fire’) till it reaches the Dead Sea.

There is no doubt whatever that this is the Kidron of the OT and NT. It is interesting that the custom of burying Israelites there, which is observed to-day (see Jehoshaphat [Valley of]), is referred to in 2 Kings 23:4 ; 2Ki 23:6 ; 2 Kings 23:12 , and 2 Chronicles 34:5 . It is probable that the place of the ‘graves of the common people’ ( Jeremiah 26:23 ) was also here, and it has been suggested, from a comparison with Jeremiah 31:40 , with less plausibility, that this may have been the scene of Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones ( Ezekiel 37:1-28 ). The ‘fields of Kidron’ ( 2 Kings 23:4 ), though generally identified with the open part of the valley when it is joined by the Tyropœon Valley, are more likely to have been the open upper reaches of the valley referred to above as Wady el-Joz , which were on the way to Bethel.

The Valley of the Kidron is mentioned first and last in the Bible at two momentous historical crises, when David crossed it (2 Samuel 15:23 ) amid the lamentations of his people as he fled before Absalom, and when Jesus ‘went forth with His disciples over the brook Kidron’ ( John 18:1 ) for His great and terrible agony before His crucifixion.

E. W. G. Masterman.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Kidron (1)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/k/kidron-1.html. 1909.

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