[many En'-gedi, some En-ged'i] (Hebrews Eyn Gedi,', עֵין גּדַי, fountain of the kid; Sept. in Joshua Ηνγαδδί v.r. Α᾿γκαδής, in Sam. Ε᾿νγαδδί, in Chron. and Cant. Ε᾿νγαδδεί v.r. Ι᾿γγαδδί and έν Γαδδί, in Ezekiel Ε᾿νγαδδείν v.r. Ι᾿νγαδείν, Apocr. ENGADDI; Josephus Ε᾿γγαδδί;
Ptolemy Ε᾿γγαδαί, 5:16, 8; Stephanus Byz. Ε᾿γγαδά, page 333; Eusebius ᾿Ηγγαδδί, Onomast. s.v.; Pliny, Engadd, Hist. Nat. 5:17), a town in the wilderness of Judah (Jos 15:62), on the western shore of the Dead Sea (Eze 47:10), which gave its name to a part of the desert whither David withdrew for fear of Saul (Jos 15:62; 1Sa 24:1-4). Its more ancient name was HAZEZON-TAMAR SEE HAZEZON-TAMAR (q.v.), and by that name it is mentioned before the destruction of Sodom, as being inhabited by the Amorites, and near the cities of the plain (Ge 14:7); a title ("the pruning of the palm") doubtless derived from the palm-groves that surrounded it (Ecclus. 24:14). It was immediately after an assault upon the "Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon- tamar," that the five Mesopotamian kings were attacked by the rulers of the plain of Sodom (Ge 14:7; comp. 2Ch 20:2). Saul was told that David was in the "wilderness of En-gedi;" and he took "3000 men, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats" (1Sa 24:1-4). These animals still frequent the cliffs above and around the fountain; the Arabs call them Beden. At a later period En- gedi was the gathering-place of the Moabites and Ammonites who went up against Jerusalem, and fell in the valley of Berachah (2Ch 20:2). It is remarkable that this is the usual route taken in the present day by such predatory bands from Moab as make incursions into Southern Palestine. They pass round the southern end of the Dead Sea, then up the road along its western shore to the pass at Ain-Jidy ("the ascent by the cliff Ziz," 2Ch 20:16), and thence toward Hebron, Tekoa, or Jerusalem, as the prospects of plunder seem most inviting. The vineyards of Engedi were celebrated by Solomon (Song 1:14); its balsam by Josephus (Ant. 9:1, 2). Stephanus of Byzantium places it near Sodom; Jerome at the south end of the Dead Sea (Comm. in Ezekiel 47); but Josephus more correctly upon the Lake Asphaltites, at the distance of 300 stadia from Jerusalem (Ant. 9:1, 2; comp. 16:13, 4; War, 3:3, 5). In the time of Eusebius and Jerome, En-gedi was still a large village on the shore of the Dead Sea, but it must have been abandoned very soon afterwards, for there is no subsequent reference to it in history, nor are there any traces of recent habitation (Porter's Handbook, page 242). There is a curious reference to it in Mandeville (Early Trav. page 179), who says that the district between Jericho and the Dead Sea is "the land of Dengadda" (Fr. d'Engadda), and that the balm-trees were "still called vines of Gady." En- gedi has always, until recently, been sought at the north end of the Dead Sea (Reland, Palaest. page 449); but in 1805 Seetzen recognised the ancient name in the Ain-Jidy of the Arabs, and lays it down in his map at a point of the western shore nearly equidistant from both extremities of the lake. This spot was visited by Dr. Robinson, and he confirms the identification (Researches, 2:209-216). The site lies among the mountains, a considerable way down the descent to the shore. Here is a rich plain, half a mile square, sloping very gently from the base of the mountains to the water, and shut in on the north by a lofty promontory. About a mile up the western acclivity, and at an elevation of some 400 feet above the plain, is the fountain of Ain-Jidy, bursting forth at once in a fine stream upon a sort of narrow terrace or shelf of the mountain, having an abrupt margin towards the lake. The water is sweet, but warm, and strongly impregnated with lime. The stream rushes down the steep descent of the mountain below, and its course is hidden by a luxuriant thicket of trees and shrubs belonging to a more southern clime. Near this fountain are the remains of several buildings, apparently ancient, although the main site of the town seems to have been farther below. The whole of the descent below seems to have been once terraced for tillage and gardens, and near the foot are the ruins of a town, exhibiting nothing of particular interest, and built mostly of unhewn stones. This we may conclude was the town which took its name from the fountain. On reaching the plain, the brook crosses it in nearly a straight line to the sea. During a great part of the year it is absorbed in the thirsty soil. Its banks are now cultivated by a few families of Arabs, who generally pitch their tents near this spot. The soil is exceedingly fertile, and in such a climate it might be made to produce the rarest fruits of tropical climes; but vineyards no longer clothe the mountainside, and neither palm-tree nor balsam is seen on the plain.
THE WILDERNESS OF EN-GEDI is doubtless the immediately neighboring part of the wild region west of the Dead Sea, which must be traversed to reach its shores. It was here that David and his men lived among the "rocks of the wild goats," and where the former cut off the skirts of Saul's robe in a cave (1Sa 21:1-4). "On all sides," says Dr. Robinson, "the country is full of caverns, which might then serve as lurking-places for David and his men as they do for outlaws at the present day." He adds that, as he came in sight of the ravine of the Ghor; a mountain-goat started up and bounded along the face of the rocks on the opposite side (Researches, 2:203). M. de Saulcy imagines that he has identified the particular cave in question with one in that vicinity now called Bir el-Makukieh (Narrative, 1:162).