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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Kidron (the turbid), the brook or winter torrent which flows through the valley of Jehoshaphat (as it is now called), on the east side of Jerusalem. 'The brook Kidron' is the only name by which 'the valley' itself is known in Scripture; for it is by no means certain, nor even probable, that the name 'valley of Jehoshaphat' in Joel () was intended to apply to this valley. The word rendered 'brook' (;; etc.), may be taken as equivalent to the Arabic Wady, meaning a stream and its bed or valley, or properly the valley of a stream, even when the stream is dry. The Septuagint, Josephus, and the Evangelists (), designate it a storm brook, or winter torrent.

The brook Kidron derives all its importance from its vicinity to the holy city, being nothing more than the dry bed of a winter torrent, bearing marks of being occasionally swept over by a large volume of water. No stream flows through it, except during the heavy rains of winter, when the waters descend into it from the neighboring hills. But even in winter there is no constant flow, and the resident missionaries assured Dr. Robinson that they had not during several years seen a stream running through the valley. The ravine in which the stream is collected takes its origin above a mile to the north-east of the city. This ravine deepens as it proceeds, and forms an angle opposite the temple. It then takes a southeast direction, and, passing between the village of Siloam and the city, runs off in the direction of the Dead Sea, through a singularly wild gorge, the course of which few travelers have traced. It is in this ravine that the celebrated monastery of Santa Saba is situated. Dr. Madden, who went through the valley to the Dead Sea, thus speaks of the character which it assumes as it approaches the monastery:—'After traversing for the last hour a wild ravine, formed by two rugged perpendicular mountains, the sides of which contained innumerable caverns, which once formed a sort of troglodyte city, in which the early Christians resided, the sight of the convent in this desolate place was like a glimpse of paradise.' On leaving the convent the next day he says that he 'marched through the bed of the Kidron, along the horrible ravine which he entered the day before;' but he gives no account of its outlet into the Dead Sea. This defect is supplied by Dr. Robinson, who, on passing along the western borders of the lake, came 'to the deep and almost impassable ravine of the Kidron, running down by Mar Saba, and thence called Wady-er-Rahib, “Monk's Valley;” but here also bearing the name of Wady en-Nar, “Fire Valley.” At this place it was running E.S.E., in a deep narrow channel, between perpendicular walls of rock, as if worn away by the rushing waters between these desolate chalky hills. There was, however, no water in it now, nor had there apparently been any for a long time.'





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Kidron'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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