Glimpses of Israel - The Valley of Kidron

by Joseph Hunting

The Old City of Jerusalem is bounded on its eastern and western sides by two valleys which unite south of the city then continue as a wadi to the Dead Sea. The western valley is known as Hinnom from which Gehenna gets its name. The valley on the east separating the Mount of Olives from Jerusalem is the Kidron Valley.

In ancient times it was known as the King's Dale and it was here that Abraham met Melchizedek, King of Salem or Jerusalem. Centuries later it became known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

In Bible times the Kidron Valley was the site for olive groves, the oil from which was used in Temple worship and for the supply of oil for the golden Menorah. Hence the title Gat Shemene or Gethsemane, meaning olive press.

It was from Mount Scopus, on the north eastern end of Kidron that the Roman general Titus viewed the Holy City and planned its destruction in 70 A.D.

Opposite the Golden Gate is a small remnant of the ancient olive grove now enclosed in a small garden maintained by the Church of All Nations. Here can be seen gnarled olive trees estimated to be over 1,000 years old. It was in this vicinity Messiah faced the choice of a premature death in the garden or going on to Calvary: "Not My will but Thine be done."