|Adullam - |
A city in the shephelah, or low country between the hill country of Judah and the sea; very ancient (Genesis 38:1; Genesis 38:12; Genesis 38:20); the seat of one of the 31 petty king smitten by Joshua (Joshua 12:15). Fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:7) Called for its beauty "the glory of Israel" (Micah 1:15). Reoccupied on the return from Bahyhm (Nehemiah 11:30). The limestone cliffs of the shephelah are pierced with caves, one of which was that of Adullam, David' s resort (1 Samuel 22:1; 2 Samuel 23:13; 1 Chronicles 11:15). Tradition fixes on Khureitun as the site, S. of the wady Urtas, between Bethlehem and the Dead Sea. This cave on the borders of the Dead Sea six miles S.E. of Bethlehem (his parents' residence) would be more likely as the place whence David took his parents to Moab close by, than the region of the city Adullam in the far West. Names of western places are sometimes repeated in the East. David's usual haunts were in this eastern region.
The cave's mouth can only be approached on foot across the cliff's edge; it runs in by a long winding narrow passage, with cavities on either side; a large chamber within, with very high arches, has numerous passages to all directions, joined by others at right angles, and forming a perplexing labyrinth. The air within is dry and pure. David's familiarity with it, as a Bethlehemite, would naturally lead him to it. Lieut. Conder (Palest. Explor.) at first fixed on the cave Mogharet Umm el Tumaymiyeh, five miles N. of Ayd el Mieh; agreeing with the position assigned by Eusebius 10 miles E. of Eleutheropolis; but the cave with its damp hot atmosphere is unfit for human habitation. In a later report Conder, after surveying the ground, fixes on Ayd el Mieh (feast of the hundred) as the site of the cave and city of Adullam, eight miles N.E. of Beit Jebrin (Libnah), 10 miles S.W. of Tell es Safyeh (Gath), and half way between Socoh and Keilah: 500 feet above wady Sumt (valley of Elah); barring the Philistines' progress up this valley to Judah's grain lands.
Tombs, wells, terraces, and rock fortifications are to be traced. It is connected by roads with adjoining places, Maresha (El Marash), Jarmuth (Yarmuk), and Socoh (Suweikeh), and has a system of caves close to its wells still inhabited, or used as stables, and large enough for all David's band. On the top of the city hill are two or three caves which together could accommodate 250 men. The darkness, scorpions, bats, and flies are against Khureitun and Deir Dubban caverns as a residence. From Gibeah (Jeba) David fled to Nob, thence down the valley to Gath (Tell es Safyeh); from Gath he returned to Judah. On the edge of the country between Philistia and Judah, he collected his band into Adullam (Ayd el Mieh); thence, by the prophet's direction, to the hills, a four miles' march to Hareth, still within reach of his own Bethlehem. To the present day the cave dwelling peasantry avoid large caves such as Khureitun and Umm el Tuweimin, and prefer the drier, smaller caves, lighted by the sun, such as Ayd el Mieh, meaning in Arabic "feast of the hundred." The expedition of David's three mighty men from Ayd el Mieh to Bethlehem would be then 12 leagues, not too far for what is described as an exploit (2 Samuel 23:13-17; 1 Chronicles 11:15-19).