KADESH or KADESH-BARNEA ( [= "sanctuary"]; ):

A place on the western frontier of Edom, in the "wilderness of Paran," "eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir" (Num. xiii. 26, xx. 16; Deut. i. 2). In whole or in part, the same region was apparently known also as the "wilderness of Zin" (Num. xiii. 21, xx. 1), as the "wilderness of Kadesh" (Ps. xxix. 8), and as the "country of the Amalekites" (Gen. xiv. 7). The term "city" (, Num. xx. 16) may possibly refer to an Amalekite encampment. The name "En-mishpat" = "well of judgment" (Gen. xiv. 7) seems to point to the existence of an ancient sanctuary which, as the seat of an oracle, was a place of judgment (comp. Ex. xxi. 6; xxii. 8, 9, where, also, the Hebrew sanctuary is the place of judgment). Just to the south, according to Num. xxxiv. 4 (P), ran the boundary-line of Judah (see also Josh. x. 40-42, xv. 3; Ezek. xlvii. 19, xlviii. 28). Hither the Israelites came in the second year of the Exodus (Num. xii. 16, xiii. 26; Deut. i. 19; but comp. Num. xx. 1, where the date given is, apparently, the first month of the fortieth year). From this place the spies were sent to "spy out the land of Canaan." Here occurred the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Here, too, Miriam died and was buried. At one time the springs failed, and Moses, at the command of Yhwh, "smote the rock twice; and the water came out abundantly." Owing to the rebellious conduct of the people on this occasion the name "water of Meribah" (= "strife") was given to the springs (Num. xx. 2-13; comp. Deut. xxxii. 51 and xxxiii. 2, where Wellhausen reads "Meribat Ḳadesh"). Moses and Aaron on account of the angry spirit they exhibited were forbidden by Yhwh to lead Israel into the land of promise (Num. xx. 12; Ps. cvi. 32-33).

The site of Kadesh was discovered in 1842 by John Rowland, and has since been visited and described by Trumbull. It lies midway between Al-'Arish and Mount Hor in a great treeless limestone plateau. The spring of clear water, which rises at the foot of a limestone cliff, is still called "'Ain-Ḳadis"= "spring of Kadesh."

  • Trumbull, Kadesh Barnea, New York, 1884;
  • Pal. Explor. Fund Quarterly Statement, 1881, p. 210;
  • Palmer, Desert of the Exodus;
  • Gray, Commentary on Numbers.
E. G. H. J. F. M.
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