Be’erotayim

Two Wells, Ezuz – A desert Oasis named after Moses and Aaron. Remains from the Bronze and Iron Age periods, Nabatean period, and Ottoman railway. An oasis south of Nitzana, where its two wells (named after Moses and Aaron) gave the name of the place as “two wells”. Map.

Be'erotayim (Be'erota'im)
Be’erotayim (Be’erota’im)

Remains around the site include traces of prehistoric structures, Iron age and Persian period fortresses, Nabatean desert farming and water systems, and an Ottoman railway. The site is located 10km south of Nitzana, 17km north-north-east of Kadesh-Barnea, 62km southwest of BeerSheba.

Be'erotayim (Be'erota'im)
Be’erotayim (Be’erota’im)

The community of Ezuz (“strong”) is located on the hill east of the oasis, at a height of 234m. The oasis, with a year round water supply, attracted settlers from early times. Flintstone tools are scattered in the area around the site, evidence of a prehistoric settlement dated to the Middle and Upper Paleolithic periods (80,000 BC through 16,000 BC).

Be'erotayim (Be'erota'im)
Be’erotayim (Be’erota’im)

The site was was also settled during the Early and middle Bronze periods (31500-1550 BC). According to the archaeological survey, remains of structures were identified on the eastern and western hills. Kadesh Barnea, a large oasis located 17km to the south of Be’erotayim, was the southern border of the land of Canaan. Kadesh, blessed with many wells, was one of the major stations on the way from Canaan to Egypt.

Be'erotayim (Be'erota'im)
Be’erotayim (Be’erota’im)

It was a site where Abraham dwelt (Genesis 20, 1): “And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and swelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar”. Moses, Aaron and the Israelites passed through Kadesh and stayed there for a long time after escaping the Egyptian exile.

Be'erotayim (Be'erota'im)
Be’erotayim (Be’erota’im)

According to the Bible (Deuteronomy 1 46): “So ye abode in Kadesh many days, according unto the days that ye abode there”. In Kadesh, Moses sent forth the 12 spies to prepare their entry back to Canaan (Numbers 13 17): “And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan”. The return of the spies is illustrated here on the right. The spies probably passed through Be’erotayim.

Be'erotayim (Be'erota'im)
Be’erotayim (Be’erota’im)

Following the path of the spies, the Israelites attempted to conquer Canaan from Kadesh, but this first attempt failed after the Canaanites blocked their way (Numbers 21 1): “And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners”.

Be'erotayim (Be'erota'im)
Be’erotayim (Be’erota’im)

As a result of this Canaanite resistance, the conquest plan changed, and the next attempt was conducted years later through Edom on the east. In 1956 a Kibbutz was established here on the border with Egypt, but abandoned in 1965. In 1985 a communal settlement was reestablished here.

Be'erotayim (Be'erota'im)
Be’erotayim (Be’erota’im)

An archaeological survey of the area of Be’erotayim was conducted in 1996-1999 by Dr Tali Erickson-Gini. The park of Be’erotayim is open free to the public, and come here for a short visit or overnight camping.

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