Ein Gedi (Hebrew: עֵין גֶּדִי) is an oasis in Israel, located west of the Dead
Sea, near Masada and the caves of Qumran. The name Ein Gedi is composed of two Hebrew
words: ein means spring and gdi means goat-kid. En Gedi thus means "Kid spring."
In the 2 Chronicles 20:2it is identified with Hazazon-tamar, where the Moabites
and Ammonites gathered in order to fight Josaphat. In Genesis 14:7Hazazon-tamar
is mentioned as being a Amorite city, smitten by Chedorlaomer in his war against
the cities of the plain.
In Joshua 15:62, Ein Gedi is enumerated among the cities of the Tribe of Judah in
the desert Betharaba, but Ezekiel 47:10 shows that it was also a fisherman's town.
Later, King David hides in the desert of Ein Gedi (1 Samuel 24:1-2)and King Saul
seeks him "even upon the most craggy rocks, which are accessible only to wild goats"
(1 Samuel 24:3).
The Song of Songs (Songs 1:14)speaks of the "vineyards of En Gedi." The words of
Ecclesiastes 24:18, "I was exalted like a palm tree in Cades" (’en aígialoîs), may
perhaps be understood of the palm trees of Ein Gedi.
The indigenous Jewish town of Ein Gedi was an important source of balsam for the
Greco-Roman world until its destruction by Byzantine emperor Justinian as part of
his persecution of the Jews in his realm. A synagogue mosaic remains from Ein Gedi's
heyday, including a Judeo-Aramaic inscription warning inhabitants against "revealing
the town's secret" – possibly the methods for extraction and preparation of the much-prized
balsam resin, though not stated outright in the inscription – to the outside world.