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Ein Gedi

Ein Gedi Rock Hyrax

5_EinGedi_RockHyrax The rock hyrax, or rock badger, is a gopher-sized mammal found in mountainous regions of Israel, such as Ein Gedi and Arbel.  Known in the Mosaic laws as being unclean (as they chew the cud, but do not have cloven hoofs), Proverbs praises the small, social creatures as being one of four things which are little on the earth, but exceedingly wise: they are not a mighty people, but they make their home among the rocks.

View From Ein Gedi, Next to the Dead Sea, South Toward Masada

1_EinGedi_4_SouthtoMasada_2 From the top of Wadi David at Ein Gedi, you can see the coast of the Dead Sea as far as Masada in the center of the faint ridge in the distance (a wadi is a deep ravine, usually with seasonal flash floods).  This view is one not often seen, as it is a 45-minute hike up from the waterfalls of Ein Gedi, at the site of the Chalcolithic era temple at Ein Gedi.  I Samuel 23:14 states that David had strong holds in the wilderness, and this wadi at Ein Gedi could have sustained many men while also providing an excellent defensive position.

The photo below was shot with a telephoto lens from the same perspective as the above photo, but zoomed in on Masada.  If you are familiar with Masada, you will recognize this as it's north face.  You can see the Roman siege ramp on the right side.  While Masada is best known from Herod the Great's period, sites like it and Ein Gedi could have also served as strongholds for fugitives like David or for his watchmen who needed to maintain a line of sight with other encampments.