(Kadesh means holy ; it is the same word as the Arabic name of Jerusalem, el-Khuds. Barnea means, desert of wandering.) This place, the scene of Miriam's death, was the farthest point which the Israelites reached in their direct road to Canaan; it was also that whence the spies were sent, and where, on their return, the people broke out into murmuring, upon which their strictly penal term of wandering began. (Numbers 13:3,26; 14:29-33; 20:1; 2:14) It is probable that the term "Kadesh," though applied to signify a "city," yet had also a wider application to a region in which Kadesh-meribah certainly, and Kadesh-barnea probably, indicates a precise spot. In (Genesis 14:7) Kadesh is identified with En-mishpat, the "fountain of judgment." It has been supposed, from (Numbers 13:21,26) and Numb 20:1... that there were two places of the name of Kadesh, one in the wilderness of Paran and the other in that of Zin; but it is more probable that only one place is meant, and that Zin is but a part of the great desert of Paran. (There has been much doubt as to the exact site of Kadesh; but Rev. H. Clay Trumbull of Philadelphia, visiting the spot in 1881, succeeded in rendering almost certain that the site of Kadesh is Ain Kadis (spelled also Gadis and Quadis); "the very same name, letter for letter in Arabic and Hebrew, with the scriptural fountain of Kadesh--the 'holy fountain,' as the name means-- which gushed forth when Moses smote the rock." It lies 40 miles south of Beersheba and 165 northeast of Horeb, immediately below the southern border of Palestine, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. It was discovered in 1842 by the Rev. J. Rowlands of Queen's College, Cambridge, England, whose discovery was endorsed by the great German geographer Ritter, by E.S. Palmer in his "Desert of the Exodus," and by the "Imperial Bible Dictionary." Dr. Trumbull thus describes it:--"It is an extensive oasis, a series of wells, the water of which flows out from under such an overhanging cliff as is mentioned in the Bible story; and it opens into a vast plain or wadi large enough to have furnished a camping-ground for the whole host of Israel. Extensive primitive ruins are on the hills near it. The plain or wadi, also called Quadis, is shut in by surrounding hills so as to make it a most desirable position for such a people as the Israelites on the borders of hostile territory--such a position as leaders like Moses and Joshua would have been likely to select." "It was carpeted with grass and flowers. Fig treed laden with fruit were against its limestone hillsides. Shrubs in richness and variety abounded. Standing out from the mountain range at the northward of the beautiful oasis amphitheater was the 'large single mass or small hill of solid rock' which Rowlands looked at as the cliff (sela) smitten by Moses to cause it to 'give forth its water' when its flowing had ceased. From beneath this cliff came the abundant stream. A well, walled up with timeworn limestone blocks, was the first receptacle of the water. Not far from this was a second well similarly walled, supplied from the same source. Around both these wells were ancient watering-troughs of limestone. Several pools, not walled up, where also supplied from the stream. The water was clear and sweet and abundant. Two of the pools were ample for bathing."--ED.)
* See also: Enmishpat.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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