From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Pine-covered hill of Adullam, seen from northwest

Adullam (Hebrew: עֲדֻלָּם) is an ancient ruin, built upon a hilltop overlooking the Elah Valley, south of Bet Shemesh in Israel. In the late 19th century, the town was still in ruins, and called by its Arabic corruption, `Eîd el Mieh.[1] The hilltop ruin is also known by the name Khurbet esh-Sheikh Madkour, named after Madkour, one of the sons of the Sultan Beder, for whom is built a shrine (wely) and formerly called by its inhabitants Wely Madkour.[2] The hilltop is mostly flat, with cisterns carved into the rock. The remains of stone structures which once stood there can still be seen. Sedimentary layers of ruins from the old Canaanite and Israelite eras, mostly potsherds, are noticeable everywhere, although olive groves now grow atop of this hill, enclosed within stone hedges. The villages of Aderet, Neve Michael/Roglit, and Aviezer are located nearby. Access to the site may be obtained by passing through the cooperative small holder's agricultural villages (Moshavim) of Aderet or Neve Michael (known also as Roglit). The ruin lies at a distance of ca. 2 kilometers south of Moshav Neve Michael.


Adullam was one of the royal cities of the Canaanites (Joshua 12:15 and Joshua 15:35) referred to in the Hebrew Bible. Although listed in Joshua as being a city in the plain, it is actually partly in the hill country, partly in the plain. It stood near the highway which later became the Roman road in the Valley of Elah, the scene of David's victory over Goliath (1 Samuel 17:2). It was here that Judah, the son of Jacob (Israel), came when he left his father and brothers in Migdal Eder, where he befriended a certain Hirah, an Adullamite, (Genesis 38:1) and where he met his first wife (unnamed in Genesis), the daughter of Shua. It was one of the towns which Rehoboam fortified against Egypt (2 Chronicles 11:7). Micah calls it "the glory of Israel" (Micah 1:15).

Ruin of Adullam

King David sought refuge in Adullam after being expelled from the city of Gath by King Achish. I Samuel refers to the Cave of Adullam where he found protection while living as a renegade from King Saul. It was there that "every one that was in distress gathered together, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented" (1 Samuel 22:2). Certain caves, grottos and sepulchres are still to be seen on the hilltop, as well as on its northern and eastern slopes.

It was in Adullam that Judas Maccabaeus retired with his fighting men, after returning from war against the Idumaeans.[3]

In the late 19th century, the hilltop ruin and its adjacent ruins were explored by French explorer, Victor Guérin, who wrote:

[Upon leaving the hilltop ruin, Khirbet el-Sheikh Madkour], at 11:20 [AM], we descend to the east in the valley. At 11:25 [AM], I examine other ruins, called Khirbet A'id el-Miah. Sixty toppled houses in the wadi formed a village that still existed in the Muslim period, as [proven by] the remains of a mosque there observed. In antiquity, the ruins that cover the plateau of the hill of Sheikh Madkour and which extend in the valley were probably one and the same city, divided into two parts, the upper part and the lower part.[4]

In the 1950s there were plans to set up Adullam as a formal political/economic region, on the model of Lachish, but the plans were not carried out. Plans from the 1960s called for a Moshav called Adullam to be established, contiguous with Moshav Aderet, but this plan too did not materialize, and the preliminary legal framework for Moshav Adullam was dismantled a few years ago.

Nature reserve and park[edit]

Old stone structure at Adullam
Photo of underground cavern and cistern at ancient ruin, Eid el-Mieh (the Arabic corruption for Adullam), near the Elah valley in Israel.

The Adullam Grove Nature Reserve is a nature reserve managed by the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority. It was established in 1994.[5]

The Adullam Caves park is a JNF park of 50,000 dunams (12,355 acres (50.00 km2)) of mostly pine forests, which were planted by Jewish immigrants who settled in the Lachish region in the early years of the state. The park was prepared for public use by the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Jewish National Fund.[6]

Today the park sits in an area that is threatened by shale oil extraction through the CCR ground-heating process, with the Green Zionist Alliance and the grassroots group Save Adullam, among others, working to stop shale oil extraction in the region.[7][8][9]


Cave entrance in Adullam
  • Archaeological sites;
    • Hurvat Adullam - thought to be the site of biblical Adullam, with nearby caves.
    • Hurvat Itri - remains of a Jewish village from the 1st-2nd centuries CE, containing Mikvehs, a synagogue, a columbarium, and burial caves.
    • Hurvat Borgyn - remains of a 2nd-century CE settlement, including fortifications, wells, burial caves, a wine press, and other agriculture oriented finds. Nearby is the former Arab village of Umm Burj.
    • Tel Sokho
  • Two marked trails for bicycle riders:
    • "Sokho" track – a 13 km track heading towards Tel Sokho and then heads back.
    • Track "Borgyn" – a 22 km track which passes through the ancient ruins of Itri and Borgyn, and then heads back.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Conder & Kitchener, The Survey of Western Palestine, vol. III, London 1883, p. 311; On Palestine Exploration Fund Map: Hebron (Sheet XXI), the ruin of Khurbet 'Aid el Ma (sic) appears directly to the north of Khurbet esh-Sheikh Madhkur, in the valley below. The ancient ruin is distinguished by its many razed structures lying in a field the size of a football field, interspersed with terebinths, directly alongside a small paved road that runs parallel to the main Roglit - Aderet road: see Survey of Western Palestine, 1878 Map, Map 21: IAA, Wikimedia commons, as surveyed and drawn under the direction of Lieut. C.R. Conder and H.H. Kitchener, May 1878. Victor Guerin believed that there was once an Upper Adullam and a Lower Adullam.
  2. ^ Conder & Kitchener, Survey of Western Palestine, vol. III (Judæa), London 1883, pp. 361–367.
  3. ^ 2 Maccabees, chapter 12
  4. ^ Guérin, Victor. "Description de la Palestine (Description of Palestine)". L'imprimerie Impériale: Paris 1869, pp. 338–339. 
  5. ^ "List of National Parks and Nature Reserves" (PDF) (in Hebrew). Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  6. ^ פארק עדולם [Adullam Park] (in Hebrew). JNF website. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Krantz, David (1 May 2011). "Israel: The New Saudi Arabia?". Jewcology. 
  8. ^ Cheslow, Daniella (18 Dec 2011). "Shale oil project raises hackles in Israel". AFP. 
  9. ^ Laylin, Tafline (5 March 2013). "Saudi Turns to Solar, Israel Stuck on Shale". Green Prophet.