En Gedi – David’s Dead Sea Hideout with its Waterfalls

En Gedi (also called Ein Gedi) is a fresh, green spot teeming with life on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Since prehistoric times, its freshwater springs have offered life and refreshment in a hot, rugged, brown region. Among its biblical mentions:

  • Chedorlaomer, the king who defeated Sodom and captured Abraham’s nephew Lot, previously defeated an Amorite settlement at En Gedi [called Hazazon-tamar]. (Genesis 14)
  • It was alloted as territory for the tribe of Judah – David’s tribe. (Joshua 15)
  • David hid for a while in “the strongholds of En Gedi” when King Saul was hunting him. (1 Samuel 23:29)
  • An En Gedi cave was the location of a famed encounter between David and King Saul in 1 Samuel 24. Saul, looking to “relieve himself” while hunting David, happened to use the very cave where David and his men were hiding. David snuck up to Saul and cut off a corner of his royal robe. Afterward, when David confronted the king and proclaimed his innocence, Saul lamented his own sin and departed. (The exact location of this cave is unknown. Textual clues suggest it was in the lower parts En Gedi. See 1 Sam. 24:2 – 3a, 22)
One of several waterfalls in the En Gedi National Park.

One of several waterfalls cascading from the cliff summit in En Gedi. One can swim in several refreshing, cold pools such as the one here.

Visitors to the National Park are virtually guaranteed to see wildlife up close. Common animals include the Ibex (a type of mountain goat) and the Hyrax (“rock badger”). Both of these animals are mentioned in the Bible.

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A male Ibex, obviously accustomed to human presence.

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"The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers." (Psalm 104:18)

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"The rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs." (Proverbs 30:26) There are actually two of them in the picture!

Tips for visitors:

  • If you travel to Israel, consider spending one or two nights by the Dead Sea. There is a clean, safe hostel near the highway on the north side of En Gedi. For those with a little more money to spend, the kibbutz has a nice hotel on its grounds. Both have food options available.
  • One can hike throughout the area. Trails are well marked and are assigned difficulty levels, along with estimated time for completion. For the National Park with its waterfalls, allow 1-1/2 or 2 hours to leisurely hike up, swim, take photos and return to the bottom. To get to a prehistoric temple with a spectacular Dead Sea view, allow several more hours’ time.
  • For food options away from the hotel/hostel, there is a snack bar at the National Park entrance. Go across the highway toward the Dead Sea beach for restaurant options.
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About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister in English and Spanish with the North Terrace Church of Christ and participates annually in archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke also leads tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in Bible comments, Interesting places to visit, Israel, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to En Gedi – David’s Dead Sea Hideout with its Waterfalls

  1. afrankangle says:

    Given the arid landscape, the falls must seem like a refreshing paradise.

    Interestingly, the NRSV uses “coneys” instead of rock badgers (in Psalm 104). So the rocks where the places to hid the hot dogs! 🙂

  2. lukechandler says:

    If the coneys are with Cincinnati chili and cheese, they are truly blessed.

  3. afrankangle says:

    Oh what a great line …. and I just had one Sunday night.

  4. Marshal Ray says:

    Not a bad place to hide out. Especially where that waterfall is. 🙂

  5. Happy says:

    Wow, what a splendous sight . Oh God is so good .
    Indeed He is Jehovah Jireh.

  6. Grace Broadwell Alexander says:

    Spent an afternoon at En Gedi enjoying the waterfall and the fragrance of clean animals. What a beautiful area.

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