🔼The name En-gedi: Summary
- Fountain Of A Kid
- From (1) the noun עין ('ayin), which means both eye and fountain, and (2) the noun גדי (gedi), kid (young animal).
🔼The name En-gedi in the Bible
The name En-gedi (or Engedi as the NAS curiously insists) belongs to a city that came to be in the wilderness of Judah (known as Negev or Arabah; Joshua 15:62). This region was so notoriously dry and barren that Ezekiel could exclaim his consolatory prophecy that someday fishermen would fish from En-gedi to En-eglaim. But there was most likely also an oasis because according to the Chronicler, En-gedi was either also known as Hazazon-tamar (tamar means palm-tree), or else it was very close to it (2 Chronicles 20:2), and the bride of the Song of Solomon even mentions henna blossoms in the vineyards of En-gedi (Song of Solomon 1:14).
Any enemy that would come swooping in from the south would cross the Negev, which is probably why the government of Israel (and later Judah) maintained a military presence there. When David fled from Saul, he curiously hid among the fords at En-gedi, which suggests that at that point Saul's army was becoming loyal, or at least rather lenient, to David (1 Samuel 23:29, 24:1).
🔼Etymology of the name En-gedi
The name En-gedi consists of two elements. The first part is the common noun עין (ayin), meaning eye, or spring of water:
The noun עין ('ayin) means both eye and fountain, well or spring. This might be explained by noting that the eye produces water in the form of tears, but perhaps more so in that water and light were considered deeply akin (see our article on the verb נהר, nahar, both meaning to shine and to flow). In that sense, the eye was considered a fountain that watered the outward face with water and the internal mind with light. Verb עין ('in) means to eye or regard. Noun מעין (ma'yan) describes a place with a spring.
The second part of our name probably comes from the noun גדי (gedi), meaning kid (young animal), from the verb גדה (gdh):
The verb גדד (gadad) describes making an invasive cut, mostly in order to expose something valuable. Noun גדוד (gedud) may describe an invasive band of raiders, or more general: a cutting, a furrow. Noun גדודה (geduda) means a furrow or cutting. Noun גד (gad) appears to describe the exposed treasure and may be used to describe a physical fortune, plain luck or a state of felicity.
Verb גדה (gada) also means to cut. Noun גדה (gadda) refers to a river bank. Noun גדי (gedi) describes a young animal, but mostly one that was either just slaughtered or soon will be.
For a meaning of the name En-gedi, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Fountain Of A Kid and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has the similar Fountain Of The Kid. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an explanation of this name.