Ein Gedi is an oasis along the banks of the western side of the Dead Sea. The fresh water springs have supported continuous inhabitants of the area from the Chalcolithic era. The location of Ein Gedi and its general area was given to the tribe of Judah, and was well known in the time of Solomon (Josh 15:62). Today during your holy land tour of Israel you’ll find the En Gedi Kibbutz in this location.
The abundant sources of fresh water springs and climate favorable for planting, made Ein Gedi perfect for agriculture in the times of the First Temple and King Solomon. There are many springs around the Dead Sea area, however most have high levels of salt content, because of the large availability of land for agriculture, it was the best spring by which to settle. Ein Gedi was in fact famous in these times being mentioned in The Song of Songs (Songs 1:14) speaking of the "vineyards of En Gedi." The words of Ecclesiasticus 24:18, "I was exalted like a palm tree in Cades," may perhaps be understood of the palm trees of Ein Gedi.
The Jewish town of Ein Gedi was an important source of balsam for the Greco-Roman world until it was ravaged by Byzantine emperor Justinian as part of his persecution of the Jews. A synagogue mosaic remains from Ein Gedi's best days, including a Judeo-Aramaic inscription warning inhabitants against "revealing the town's secret," perhaps the methods for extraction and preparation of the much-prized balsam resin, not stated outright in the inscription found today during your holy land trip – to the outside world.
Approximately 1000 BC, Ein Gedi was the place where David fled and refuge from King Saul, “dwelt in strongholds at En Gedi” (1 Sam 23:29). En Gedi in Hebrew means literally "the spring of the goat." Another reference from the scriptures is when David was fleeing from King Saul, the pursuers searched the "Crags of the Ibex" near En Gedi. In one of its caves, David cut off the corner of Saul's robe (1 Sam 24).
Ein Gedi in the Judean Desert by the Dead Sea, is not too far from Jerusalem, and is one of Israel’s top hiking destinations, with its amazing natural beauty, different landscaping and botanical gardens making Ein Gedi Natural Reserve one of the most beautiful areas in Israel. It will be a pleasant stop during your Israel tour.