Sa'lim (Σαλείμ v.r. Σαλλειμ; Vulg. Salim), a place named (Joh 3:23) to denote the situation of Aenon, the scene of John's last baptisms — Salim being the well known town or spot, and Aenon a place of fountains, or other water, near it. Christ was in Judaea (ver. 22), and the whole scope of the passage certainly conveys the impression that John was near him, and consequently Salim was either in Judaea or close to its borders. The only direct testimony we possess is that of Eusebius and Jerome, who both affirm unhesitatingly (Onom. "Aenon") that it existed in their day near the Jordan, eight Roman miles south of Scythopolis. Jerome adds (under "Salem") that its name was then Salumias. Elsewhere (Ep. ad Evangelum, § 7, 8) he states that it was identical with the Salem of Melchizedek. A tradition is mentioned by Reland (Paloestina, p. 978) that Salim was the native place of Simon Zelotes. This in itself seems to imply that its position was, at the date of the tradition, believed to be nearer to Galilee than to Judsea. Various attempts have been more recently made to determine the locality of this interesting spot, but the question can hardly yet be regarded as definitely settled.
1. Some (as Alford, Greek Test. ad loc.) propose Shilhim and Ain, in the arid country far in the south of Judaea, entirely out of the circle of associations of John or our Lord. Others identify it with the Shalim of 1Sa 9:4; but this latter place is itself unknown, and the name in Hebrew contains ָע, to correspond with which the name in John should be Σεγαλείμ or Σααλείμ.
2. Dr. Robinson (Bibl. Researches, 3, 333) suggests the modern village of Salim, three miles east of Nablufs; but this is no less out of the circle of John's ministrations, and is too near the Samaritans; and although there is some reason to believe that the village contains "two sources of living water" (ibid. p. 298), yet this is hardly sufficient for the abundance of deep water implied in the narrative. A writer in the Colonial Ch. Chronicles No. 126, 464, who concurs in this opinion of Dr. Robinson, was told of a village an hour east (?) of Salim "named Ain-un, with a copious stream of water." Lieut. Conder says (Tent Work in Palestine, 1, 92) that Wady Farah, in the locality in question, contains a succession of little but perennial springs, from which the water gushes out in a fine stream over a stony bed, and that the village of Ain-un lies five miles north of the stream.
3. Dr. Barclay (City of the Great King, p. 564) is filled with an "assured conviction" that Salim is to be found in Wady Seleim, and Aenon in the copious springs of Ain Farah (ibid. p. 559), among the deep and intricate ravines some five miles northeast of Jerusalem. This certainly has the name in its favor, and, if the glowing description and pictorial wood-cut of Dr. Barclay may be trusted, has water enough (ὕδατα πολλά) and of sufficient depth for the purpose. But the proximity to Jerusalem is a decided objection. SEE ENON.
4. There is said to be a village called Salim in the plain of Mukhna, east of Nablis, which is probably the Shalem of Ge 33:18 (Porter, Handbook, p. 340; Robinson, Bibl. Researches, 2, 279); but it is too far north to suit the Gospel narrative; and, besides, it cannot be said of it "there is much water there." SEE SHALEM.
5. The name of Salim has been lately discovered by Van de Velde (Syr. and Pal. 2, 345) in a position exactly in accordance with the notice of Eusebius, viz. six English miles south of Beisan and two miles west of the Jordan. On the northern base of Tell Redghah is a site of ruins, and near it a Mussulman tomb, which is called by the Arabs Sheik Salim (see also
Memoir, p. 345). Dr. Robinson (Bibl. Researches, 3, 333) complains that the name is attached only to a Mussulman sanctuary, and also that no ruins of any extent are to be found on the spot; but with regard to the first objection, even Dr. Robinson does not dispute that the name is there, and that the locality is in the closest agreement with the notice of Eusebius. As to the second, it is only necessary to point to Kefr-Saba, where a town (Antipatris), which so late as the time of the destruction of Jerusalem was of great size and extensively fortified, has absolutely disappeared. The career of the Baptist has been examined in a former part of this work, and it has been shown with great probability that his progress was from south to north, and that the scene of his last baptisms was not far distant from the spot indicated by Eusebius, and now recovered by Van de Velde. SEE JOHN; SEE JORDAN. Salim fulfils also the conditions implied in the name of Aenon (springs), and the direct statement of the text that the place contained abundance of water. "The brook of Wady Chusneh runs close to it, a splendid fountain gushes out beside the Wely, and rivulets wind about in all directions.... Of few places in Palestine could it so truly be said, 'Here is much water'" (Syr. and Pal. 2, 346). Drake, however, avers that "inquiries of the Arabs and fellahin of the district resulted in not a man of them even having heard of either of these places," i.e. Bir Salim and Sheik Salim (Quar. Report of the Pal. Explor. Fund, Jan. 1875, p. 82). SEE SALEM.