King David’s pursuers evidently roamed the crags of the ibex in search of him.
In one of these caves, King David cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.
Engedi 1 Samuel 23 v29.
Peter playing King David at Engedi.
Simon at Engedi.
Then David went up from there and dwelt in strongholds at En Gedi.
Having done a bit more research on Eng’edi, the group had realised that it was far more important than they had first thought.
By simon brown
It receives more than one mention in the Bible and raised a few questions.
For example, how could people live in this inhospitable place without shelter, food and water?
It was the lowest place on earth and the daytime temperatures were unbearable in the summer.
As they walked through the gates of what is now a national park their questions were swiftly answered.
They came to the end of a winding path. There, sitting on the western shore of the Dead Sea, was a large and beautiful oasis!
Four streams run through this place, year round and fed from the mountains.
Millions of gallons of clear fresh water are available for agriculture and bottling. Eng’edi is a sanctuary for many types of plants, birds and animals, including plants from the tropical desert like the sodom apple, acacia, jujube and poplar.
Balsam was the specialty of Eng’edi, and the fruit was used to produce a valuable perfume used in trade.
This boundless supply of fresh clear water has created both desert and tropical environments, and there is a diverse selection of animals to be found here.
Foxes, wolves, hyenas and the famous leopards all reside in this paradise in the wilderness.
Many birds are to be seen, and magnificent vultures and eagles breed and soar above the cliffs.
Reptiles exist, including the black viper, Israel’s deadliest serpent.
Both tropical and Mediterranean fauna can be seen, and due to the abundant water supply, the place has been a magnet for humans since time immemorial.
The party examined one of the streams and Peter was tempted to play King David.
The Bible describes many events which occurred in this area around 1000 BC.
1 Samuel 23 v29. “And David went up from thee and lived in the strongholds of Eng’edi”.
David hid from King Saul in this place.
Samuel 1. 19 says that King Saul wanted to kill David, and he chose to flee to Eng’edi and hide in comfort.
Who could blame him? The name Eng’edi means The Spring of the Kid Goat, and there is ample evidence that young ibex have always lived near these springs.
David’s pursuers evidently roamed the crags of the ibex in search of him.
In one of these caves, David cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.
1 Samuel v 24 tells us King Saul was told that David was in the desert of Eng’edi.
He chose three thousand men from all Israel and set out to search for David and his men.
By the crags of the wild goats, near some sheep pens, he found a cave and went in to relieve himself.
The fugitives were far back in the cave, but David crept up un-noticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
There are many caves here and this may have happened in one of them.
Hiking further they came to a beautiful waterfall where people still shelter and swim in the clear waters.
The party could imagine David bathing here, resting from the interminable heat, perfectly hidden and supplied with food and drink.
According to the Bible, King David’s son Solomon wrote the Song of Songs in this wonderland.
Song of Songs v 14, “my lover to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of Eng’edi”. In this verse Solomon compared his lover to the blossoms of Eng’edi, a clear indication of the beauty and fertility of the site.
Genesis 14 v 7, describes the war of four kings against five kings, and mentions the Amorites who dwelt in Hazazom – Tamar.
This is identified as Eng’edi in Chronicles.
Simon struggled to keep up with Einar and Peter as they continued to climb the steep mountain and his natural fear of heights helped not at all.
They were eventually rewarded for their effort by finding a Chalcolithic (or Copper Period) temple dating back approximately 5,000 years.
In the centre stood a large washing basin. In a separate room was the remains of an altar.
Archaeologists discovered animal bones and ash in this altar, clear indications that sacrifices took place here.
The simplest form of altar consists of a pile of stones surmounted by a flat surface of available material, usually stone or wood.
Some include blood drains or channels and altars intended for burnt offerings would sometimes have a depression or hollow for the fire.
Some had canopies and the early examples are usually out of doors.
Here, animals were sacrificed to a God. It is unclear at this point, whether this site was Christian.
Since Jesus was crucified and died for us, the modern altar is of course used to celebrate the Eucharist.
A riddle remained, until archaeologists discovered ritual instruments in a cave in the Mishmar river bed, south of Eng’edi. 429 vessels of copper and ivory that apparently belonged to the temple were found, and they are now in the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem.
Standing on the upper plateau of the mountain with the amazing views toward Jordan, everyone was happy to be here.
This article is taken from the film
Our Search for Real Discoveries DVD. THIS DVD IS FREE ORDER YOURS NOW. In this documentary Simon's team return to Sodom and Gomorrah for a closer look. They also search for Admah and Zoar the surrounding towns. http://www.realdiscoveries.com/cat-dvds-books.php
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