Adullam

Adul'lam (Heb. Adullam', עֲדֻלָּם, prob. justice of the people; Sept. Ο᾿δολλάμ, Odollam; and so in the Apocrypha, 2 Maccabees 12:38, and Josephus, Ant. 8:10, 1; but Adullami, Α᾿δουλλάμη in Ant. 6, 12, 3), an old city (Ge 38:1,12,20) in the plain country of the tribe of Judah (Jos 15:35), and one of the royal cities of the Canaanites (Jos 12:15). It was one of the towns which Rehoboam fortified (2Ch 11:7; Mic 1:15), and is mentioned after the captivity (Ne 11:30; Ne 2 Maccabees 12:38). Eusebius and Jerome (Onomast. s.v.) state that it existed in their time as a large village, ten miles to the east of Eleutheropolis, by which (unless, as Reland thinks, Paloest. p.547, they confound it with Eglon) they probably mean north-east (Keil, Comment. in loc. Josh.; Schwarz, Palest. p. 87), possibly at el-Keishum, near Timnath (comp. Ge 38:12); or perhaps (see Tobler, Drit. Wanderung, p. 150) at the present village Beit Ula (Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 282). It is evident that Adullam was one of the cities of "the valley" or plain between the hill country of Judah and the sea; and from its place in the lists of names (especially 2Ch 11:8), it appears to have been not very far from the Philistine city of Gath.

This circumstance would suggest that the CAVE OF ADULLAM (2Sa 23:13; 1Ch 11:15), to which David withdrew immediately from Gath (1Sa 22:1), was near the city of that name (see Stanley, Palestine, p. 254, note). But there is no passage of Scripture which connects the city and the cave, and it is certainly not in a plain that one would look for a cave capable of affording a secure retreat to 400 men; nor has any such cave been found in that quarter. It is therefore far from improbable that the cave of Adullam was in the mountainous wilderness in the east of Judah toward the Dead Sea, where such caves occur, and where the western names (as Carmel) are sometimes repeated. Accordingly, we actually find in this very region the name Dhullam, belonging to a tribe of Arabs who encamp here for pasturage, but properly belong to a more western district around Beersheba (Robinson's Researches, 2, 473), and whose predatory character well befits the ancient notoriety of the spot (De Saulcy's Narrative, 1, 434, 435). May not this same nomadic habit have transferred the name of the city to the cave in former times likewise? This view is favored by the fact that the usual haunts of David were in this quarter (1Ch 11:15); whence he moved into the land of Moab, which was quite contiguous, whereas he must have crossed the whole breadth of the land, if the cave of Adullam had been near the city of that name. Tradition (William of Tyre, De Bello Sacro, 15, 6) fixes the cave on the borders of the Dead Sea, about six miles south-east of Bethlehem, in the side of a deep ravine (Wady Khureitun) which passes below the Frank mountain on the south (Robinson's Researches, 2, 175). It is an immense natural cavern, the mouth of which can be approached only on foot alone the side of the cliff. Irby and Mangles, who visited it without being aware that it was the reputed cave of Adullam, state that it "runs in by a long, winding, narrow passage, with small chambers or cavities on either side. We soon came to a large chamber with natural arches of great height; from this last there were numerous passages, leading in all directions, occasionally joined by others at right angles, and forming a perfect labyrinth, which our guides assured us had never been perfectly explored, the people being afraid of losing themselves. The passages are generally four feet high by three feet wide, and were all on a level with each other. There were a few petrifactions where we were; nevertheless the grotto was perfectly clean, and the air pure and good" (Travels, p. 340, 341). It seems probable that David, as a native of Bethlehem, must have been well acquainted with this remarkable spot, and had probably often availed himself of its shelter when out with his father's flocks. Dr. Thomson, who explored it to some extent, thinks that it corresponds to the Biblical account of David's fastness (Land and Book, 2, 427). Others (as Stanley, Palestine, p. 254) think the cave in question was one of the numerous excavations found in the soft lime-stone hills along the eastern edge of the "plain" of Judah, particularly those at Deir Dubban (Van de Velde, Narrative, 2, 156, 157); but these are evidently artificial, being apparently enlargements of naturally small crevices for the purpose of magazines of grain (Robinson, Researches, 2, 352-354, 395, 396). SEE CAVE (of Adullam); ODOLLAM SEE ODOLLAM .

Bible concordance for ADULLAM.

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