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The Kidron Valley.

Kidron, the Brook (See also wiki article Kidron_Valley.)

Photo gallery: View across the Kidron Valley (246kb) to the Mount of Olives.


KIDRON, THE BROOK - The name of a valley (nahal, 'torrent valley,' 'wady,' 2 S.15.23, 1 K.2.37, 2 Ch.30.14, Neh.2.15 etc.; Greek cheimarrous, Jn.18.1, where AV has Cedron), nearly 3 miles in length, which bounds the plateau of Jerusalem on the E. It is always dry except during and immediately after heavy rain; it is the same valley that is referred to as the Valley of Jehoshaphat (q.v.). It commences about 1¼ miles N. of the NW. corner of the city walls, as a wide, open, shallow valley. At first it runs SE., receiving tributaries from the W. and N., but where it is now crossed by the modern carriage road to the Mt. of Olives, it turns S. Near this spot (as well as higher up) there are a number of ancient tombs; among them on the W. side of the valley are the so-called 'Tombs of the Kings,' and on the E. the reputed tomb of 'Simon the Just,' much venerated by the Jews. The whole of this first open section of the valley is to-day known as Wadi el-Jawz ('Valley of the Nuts'); it is full of fertile soil, and in a great part of its extent is sown with corn or planted with olives or almonds. As the valley approaches the E. wall of the city it rapidly deepens, and rocky scarps appear on each side ; it now receives the name Wadi Sitti Maryam, i.e. 'Valley of the Lady Mary.' Opposite the Temple area the bottom of the valley, now 40 feet below the present surface, is about 400 feet below the Temple platform. S. of this it continues to narrow and deepen, running between the village of Silwan (see SILOAM) on the E. and the hill Ophel on the W. Here lies the 'Virgin's Fount,' ancient Gihon (q.v.), whose waters to-day rise deep under the surface, though once they ran down the valley itself. A little farther on the valley again expands into a considerable open area, where vegetables are now cultivated, and which perhaps was once the 'King's Garden' (q.v.). The Tyropoeon Valley, known now as el-Wad, joins the Kidron Valley from the N., and farther on the Wadi er-Rababi, traditionally Hinnom (q.v.), runs in from the W. The area again narrows at Bir Ayyub, the ancient En-rogel (q.v.), and the valley continues a long winding course under the name of Wadi en-Nar ('Valley of Fire') till it reaches the Dead Sea.

There is no doubt whatever that this is the Kidron of the OT and NT. It is interesting that the custom of burying Israelites there, which continued to modern times (see JEHOSHAPHAT [VALLEY OF]), is referred to in 2 K.23.4, 6, 12 and 2 Ch.34.5. It is probable that the place of the 'graves of the common people' (Jer.26.23) was also here, and it has been suggested, from a comparison with Jer.31.40, with less plausibility, that this may have been the scene of Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones (Ezk.37). The 'fields of Kidron' (2 K.23.4), though generally identified with the open part of the valley when it is joined by the Tyropoeon Valley, are more likely to have been the upper reaches of the valley referred to above as Wadi el-Jawz, which were on the way to Bethel.

The Valley of the Kidron is mentioned first and last in the Bible at two momentous historical crises - when David crossed it (2 S.15.23) amid the lamentations of his people as he fled before Absalom, and when Jesus 'went forth with His disciples over the brook Kidron' (Jn.18.1) for His great and terrible agony before His crucifixion. [Article: Dictionary of the Bible, J.Hastings, 2nd Ed., T&T.Clark, 1963 - E.W.G.M. - P.W.-M.]