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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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A place on the western frontier of Edom, in the "wilderness of Paran," "eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir" (Numbers 13:26, 20:16; Deuteronomy 1:2). In whole or in part, the same region was apparently known also as the "wilderness of Zin" (Numbers 13:21, 20:1), as the "wilderness of Kadesh" (Psalms 29:8), and as the "country of the Amalekites" (Genesis 14:7). The term "city" (, Numbers 20:16) may possibly refer to an Amalekite encampment. The name "En-mishpat" = "well of judgment" (Genesis 14:7) seems to point to the existence of an ancient sanctuary which, as the seat of an oracle, was a place of judgment (comp. Exodus 21:6; 22:8,9, where, also, the Hebrew sanctuary is the place of judgment). Just to the south, according to Numbers 34:4 (P), ran the boundary-line of Judah (see also Joshua 10:40-42, 15:3; Ezekiel 47:19, 48:28). Hither the Israelites came in the second year of the Exodus (Numbers 12:16, 13:26; Deuteronomy 1:19; but comp. Numbers 20:1, where the date given is, apparently, the first month of the fortieth year). From this place the spies were sent to "spy out the land of Canaan." Here occurred the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Here, too, Miriam died and was buried. At one time the springs failed, and Moses, at the command of Yhwh, "smote the rock twice; and the water came out abundantly." Owing to the rebellious conduct of the people on this occasion the name "water of Meribah" (= "strife") was given to the springs (Numbers 20:2-13; comp. Deuteronomy 32:51 and 33:2, where Wellhausen reads "Meribat Ḳadesh"). Moses and Aaron on account of the angry spirit they exhibited were forbidden by Yhwh to lead Israel into the land of promise (Numbers 20:12; Psalms 106:32-33).

The site of Kadesh was discovered in 1842 by John Rowland, and has since been visited and described by Trumbull. It lies midway between Al-'Arish and Mount Hor in a great treeless limestone plateau. The spring of clear water, which rises at the foot of a limestone cliff, is still called "'Ain-Ḳadis"= "spring of Kadesh."

  • Trumbull, Kadesh Barnea, New York, 1884;
  • Pal. Explor. Fund Quarterly Statement, 1881, p. 210;
  • Palmer, Desert of the Exodus;
  • Gray, Commentary on Numbers.
E. G. H.
J. F. M.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Kadesh'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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