Handbook for Bible Students


“K” Entries

Kadesh-Barnea, Location of.—The very earliest mention of this place is in a connection which would seem to put it in the heart of the Azâzimeh mountain tract, at some point eastward of Jebel Muwaylih and of Wady Aboo Retemât, near which all the great highways of the desert come together in a common trunk; and every subsequent mention of the place either points directly to the same locality, or is conformable to it.—“Kadesh-Barnea,” H. Clay Trumbull, D. D., p. 155. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1884. HBS 315.5

In view of all the facts before us, there are certain conclusions which must be admitted as fair, if not recognized as inevitable: HBS 315.6

1. The site of Kadesh-Barnea seems identified at ‘Ayn Qadees. Every requirement of the Bible narrative, and every condition insisted on by the critics as essential to the identification, are met in this place. Every objection, also, that has been raised against this identification, is found to have no force in the light of close examination. HBS 316.1

2. This identification, with its linkings, necessitates the reshaping of much of the geography of the southern border of Palestine and the neighboring regions, as indicated in the maps, cyclopedias, commentaries, and guidebooks, now in common use. For example, as the westernmost limit of Edom is not indicated in the Bible except by its relation to Kadesh-Barnea, that limit now passes from an unknown to a known quantity, by the fixing of a site which is described as just beyond it. So, also, the traditional Mount Hor must be recognized as an impossible Mount Hor; and the central and northern ‘Arabah must no longer be counted a main camping-ground of the Israelites in their wanderings. HBS 316.2

3. It is clearer than ever that many of the supposed confusions of geographical data in the Pentateuch, are the results of later error concerning the region in question. And there is even stronger reason than before for believing that Moses and Hobab were more familiar with the desert of Sinai and the Negeb border of Canaan, than the wisest of the destructive critics of today.—“Kadesh-Barnea,” H. Clay Trumbull, D. D., p. 320. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1884. HBS 316.3

Kadesh-Barnea, Identification of.—This place, the scene of Miriam’s death, was the farthest point which the Israelites reached in their direct road to Canaan; it was also that whence the spies were sent, and where, on their return, the people broke out into murmuring, upon which their strictly penal term of wandering began. Numbers 13:3, 26; 14:29-33; 20:1; Deuteronomy 2:14. It is probable that the term “Kadesh,” though applied to signify a “city,” yet had also a wider application to a region in which Kadesh-meribah certainly, and Kadesh-Barnea probably, indicates a precise spot. In Genesis 14:7, Kadesh is identified with En-mishpat, the “fountain of judgment.” It has been supposed, from Numbers 13:21, 26, and Numbers 20, that there were two places of the name of Kadesh, one in the wilderness of Paran and the other in that of Zin; but it is more probable that only one place is meant, and that Zin is but a part of the great desert of Paran.—“A Dictionary of the Bible,” William Smith, LL. D., p. 332. Teacher’s edition. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates, copyright 1884. HBS 316.4

Kadesh-Barnea, Importance of.—This place comes into view as a strategic stronghold in the earliest military campaign of history; at the beginning-in the time of the Father of the faithful-of the yet progressing struggle of the world powers with the kingdom of God on earth. It looms up as the objective point of the Israelites in their movement from Sinai to the Promised Land. It is the place of their testing, of their failure, of their judging, and of their dispersion. It is their rallying center for the forty years of their wandering, and the place of their reassembling for their final move into the land of their longings. It is the scene of repeated and varied displays of God’s power and of his people’s faithlessness. And finally it is the hinge and pivot of the southern boundary of the Holy Land in history, and of the Holy Land in prophecy. [p. 15] ... HBS 316.5

In the history of the Israelitish wanderings, Kadesh-Barnea stands over against Sinai in interest and importance. Even Sinai takes a minor place when the element of time is considered; for the Israelites were at the latter point less than a year, while Kadesh-Barnea seems to have been their headquarters, or chief rallying place, during a space of more than thirty-seven years. HBS 316.6

When the unorganized throng of Israelites, which had been hurried out from the bondage of Egypt into the lawless freedom of the desert, had become a compact nation, with its divinely given government and rulers, and its experiences of discipline, the divine command was given for the departure of the mighty host of that nation, from the forming-school of Sinai, across the desert to the sacred rendezvous of Kadesh, the divinely chosen camping ground and sanctuary, on the borders of the Promised Land. “The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb,” says Moses, “saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites.... And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the Way of the Mountain of the Amorites, as the Lord our God commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-Barnea.” HBS 317.1

Kadesh-Barnea once reached, and history was there made rapidly, by the people who were yet unready for their inheritance. [pp. 16, 17]—“Kadesh-Barnea,” H. Clay Trumbull, D. D., pp. 15-17. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1884. HBS 317.2

Kingdom of God, Relation of the Captivity to.—The exile forms a great turning-point in the development of the kingdom of God which he had founded in Israel. With that event the form of the theocracy established at Sinai comes to an end, and then begins the period of the transition to a new form, which was to be established by Christ, and has been actually established by him. The form according to which the people of God constituted an earthly kingdom, taking its place beside the other kingdoms of the nations, was not again restored after the termination of the seventy years of the desolations of Jerusalem and Judah, which had been prophesied by Jeremiah, because the Old Testament theocracy had served its end. God the Lord had, during its continuance, showed daily not only that he was Israel’s God, a merciful and gracious God, who was faithful to his covenant toward those who feared him and walked in his commandments and laws, and who could make his people great and glorious, and had power to protect them against all their enemies; but also that he was a mighty and a jealous God, who visits the blasphemers of his holy name according to their iniquity, and is able to fulfil his threatenings no less than his promises. It was necessary that the people of Israel should know by experience that a transgressing of the covenant and a turning away from the service of God does not lead to safety, but hastens onward to ruin; that deliverance from sin, and salvation, life, and happiness can be found only with the Lord, who is rich in grace and in faithfulness, and can only be reached by a humble walking according to his commandments. HBS 317.3

The restoration of the Jewish state after the exile was not a reestablishment of the Old Testament kingdom of God. When Cyrus granted liberty to the Jews to return to their own land, and commanded them to rebuild the temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem, only a very small band of captives returned; the greater part remained scattered among the heathen. Even those who went home from Babylon to Canaan were not set free from subjection to the heathen world power, but remained, in the land which the Lord had given to their fathers, servants to it. Though now again the ruined walls of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah were restored, and the temple also was rebuilt, and the offering up of sacrifice renewed, yet the glory of the Lord did not again enter into the new temple, which was also without the ark of the covenant and the mercy-seat, so as to hallow it as the place of his glorious presence among his people. The temple worship among the Jews after the captivity was without its soul, the real presence of the Lord in the sanctuary; the high priest could no longer go before God’s throne of grace in the holy of holies to sprinkle the atoning blood of the sacrifice toward the ark of the covenant, and to accomplish the reconciliation of the congregation with their God, and could no longer find out, by means of the Urim and Thummim, the will of the Lord. [pp. 7-9] ... HBS 317.4

The space of 500 years, from the end of the Babylonish captivity to the appearance of Christ, can be considered as the last period of the old covenant only in so far as in point of time it precedes the foundation of the new covenant; but it was in reality, for that portion of the Jewish people who had returned to Judea, no deliverance from subjection to the power of the heathen, no reintroduction into the kingdom of God, but only a period of transition from the old to the new covenant, during which Israel were prepared for the reception of the Deliverer coming out of Zion. In this respect this period may be compared with the forty, or more accurately, the thirty-eight years of the wanderings of Israel in the Arabian desert. As God did not withdraw all the tokens of his gracious covenant from the race that was doomed to die in the wilderness, but guided them by his pillar of cloud and fire, and gave them manna to eat, so he gave grace to those who had returned from Babylon to Jerusalem to build again the temple and to restore the sacrificial service, whereby they prepared themselves for the appearance of him who should build the true temple, and make an everlasting atonement by the offering up of his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. HBS 318.1

If the prophets before the captivity, therefore, connect the deliverance of Israel from Babylon and their return to Canaan immediately with the setting up of the kingdom of God in its glory, without giving any indication that between the end of the Babylonish exile and the appearance of the Messiah a long period would intervene, this uniting together of the two events is not to be explained only from the perspective and apotelesmatic character of the prophecy, but has its foundation in the very nature of the thing itself. The prophetic perspective, by virtue of which the inward eye of the seer beholds only the elevated summits of historical events as they unfold themselves, and not the valleys of the common incidents of history which lie between these heights, is indeed peculiar to prophecy in general, and accounts for the circumstance that the prophecies as a rule give no fixed dates, and apotelesmatically bind together the points of history which open the way to the end, with the end itself. HBS 318.2

But this formal peculiarity of prophetic contemplation we must not extend to the prejudice of the actual truth of the prophecies. The fact of the uniting together of the future glory of the kingdom of God under the Messiah with the deliverance of Israel from exile, has perfect historical veracity. The banishment of the covenant people from the land of the Lord and their subjection to the heathen, was not only the last of those judgments which God had threatened against his degenerate people, but it also continues till the perverse rebels are exterminated, and the penitents are turned with sincere hearts to God the Lord and are saved through Christ. Consequently the exile was for Israel the last space for repentance which God in his faithfulness to his covenant granted to them. Whoever is not brought by this severe chastisement to repentance and reformation, but continues opposed to the gracious will of God, on him falls the judgment of death; and only they who turn themselves to the Lord, their God and Saviour, will be saved, gathered from among the heathen, brought in within the bonds of the covenant of grace through Christ, and become partakers of the promised riches of grace in his kingdom. [pp. 9, 10]-“The Book of the Prophet Daniel,” C. F. Keil, translated from the German by Rev. M. G. Easton, A. M., Introduction, pp. 7-10. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1872. HBS 318.3