The Kidron Valley is situated on the eastern side of the Old City, between the Mt of Olives and the City of David. It actually starts beyond the bridge on Jericho Road near the Church of All Nations in Gethsemane. Years ago the valley was much deeper than at the present moment. It runs south past the City of David and the Gihon Spring with the Arab village of Silwan on its left. It is joined by the Hinnom Valley at the bottom of Mt Zion and then continues to flow through the Judean dessert to the Dead Sea. Before it was diverted by Hezekiah’s tunnel the water of the Gihon Spring flowed down the Kidron Valley.
The Valley is also known in the Bible as the Valley of Jehosaphat – the valley where God will judge. There is a Jewish belief that after the return of Elijah, followed by the coming of the Messiah, God will judge and bring down the enemies of Israel here.
According to the Old Testament David fled through the Kidron Valley during the rebellion of Absalom. Idols and pagan shrines were destroyed in the Valley by Israelite kings.
Jesus often passed through the Valley between the Temple within the city and places like the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane and Bethany on the eastern side.
Many olive trees have recently been brought here to restore the ancient landscape. Pilgrims can cross the Valley using a path that starts out across the road (Jericho Rd) from the Church of All Nations at Gethsemane. The path takes you past several interesting tombs in the Valley:
The Pillar of Absalom. According to the Bible this rebellious son of David was killed by his father’s men.
Tomb of Absalom
Absalom was cast into “a very great pit in the wood” and buried under “a very great heap of stones”. It is said that later a monument was built here so he would be remembered. Jerusalemites of old would bring their sons to pelt the tomb with stones and recall the fate of the rebellious offspring.
Behind the Tomb of Absalom is the Tomb of Jehoshaphat, one of the kings of Juda.
The next tomb is the Tomb of the Sons of Hezir, a Second Temple-era priestly family.
Zechariah’s Tomb has a pointed roof. It might be the tomb of the first temple priest, Zechariah the son of Jehojada.
Further down the Valley, on the right hand side, is the Spring of Gihon. It is the entrance to the Tunnel of Hezekiah.