(ehn' geh dih) Place name meaning, “place of the young goat.” A major oasis along the western side of the Dead Sea about 35 miles southeast of Jerusalem. The springs of Engedi are full, and the vegetation is semitropical. Both biblical and extra-biblical sources describe Engedi as a source of fine dates, aromatic plants used in perfumes, and medicinal plants (Song of Solomon 1:14). It was a chief source of balsam, an important plant used for perfumes, and a major source of income for the area. Engedi apparently lay on a caravan route that led from the east shore of the Dead Sea around to its south, then up the west side to Engedi. From there the road went up to Tekoa and then to Jerusalem.
Engedi, also called Hazazon-tamar (2 Chronicles 20:2), was inhabited by Amorites in the time of Abraham and was subjugated by Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:7). In the tribal allotments, it was given to Judah and was in the district of Judah known as the wilderness district (Joshua 15:62). When David was fleeing from Saul, he hid in the area of Engedi (1 Samuel 23:29). Saul was in a cave near Engedi when David cut off a piece of his robe but spared his life (1 Samuel 24:1). During the reign of Jehoshaphat, Moabites, Ammonites, and others gathered at Engedi to attack Judah (2 Chronicles 20:1-2).
Recent excavations at Engedi have uncovered a fortress belonging to the period of the monarchy, a workshop used in producing perfumes, and a sanctuary belonging to the Chalcolithic or Early Bronze Age.
Joel F. Drinkard, Jr.