Wadi/Sil Hasa / al Ahsy; Arabic, Brook/Nahal Zered, Biblical Num 21:12; Deut 2:13,14 the way of Luhith, the road to Horonaim Isa 15:5; 2 Sam 13:34; Jer 48:5 dry stream bed  2 Kings 3:16 brook of the willows Isa 15:7.

The brook Zered was a marking point for three distinct reasons in scripture:

  1. It was the final road for escape for Lot, following a brief respite at Zoar, arriving at Horonaim from the Dead sea basin Isa 15:5;  Jer 48:5 It demonstrated the end of not seeing with faith, and association with Abraham Heb 11:13; Gen 22:4   Lot (heb veiled see 1 Cor 3:14) could not see afar off, and thus represents a national picture of Israel who were blinded not obtaining what they sought for Rom 11:7 but this “blindness in part” is about to be changed with the recognition of their Messiah Zech 12:10.
  2. After crossing Wadi Hasa, all of the children of Israel that were of the generation that left Egypt and were responsible for the revolt at the report of the spies had died. Movement from this point comprised a complete young generation, with very few exceptions: Caleb and Joshua, and possibly some of the Levites/Priests. Deut 2:13,14. This was the end of the law-keepers being described as the way of Luhith [heb tablets the root wood is used for the tablets on which the law was inscribed Ex 24:12; 278; 31:18; 32:15,16; 34:1,4,28; Deut 5:22; 9:9,10,11,15). The new generation were instructed to “arise” Deut 2:13 and to “rise ye up” Deut 2:14 the language of a figuratively resurrected people. It was to be a time when Yahweh would begin to put the fear and dread of them on the nations Deut 2:25 again a figurative picture of the Israel becoming the head of the nations and not the tail Jer 31:7; Zech 1:21.
  3. It was the point at which the lands of the Moabites and the Edomites were divided. The northern margins of Edom were considered the governorate or state of Gebal or the country of the Gebalene. (4) Ps 83:7 and it was possibly part of this wadi involved in the conquest by Jerhoram 2 Kings 3:16.

The wadi runs for around 28km, and a tremendous walk can be done covering the western 15km. It is the only perennial watercourse between central Jordanian plateau and the Dead sea. The wadi starts like most in Jordan almost imperceptibly near the potash mines at the mountain road, or the biblical kings highway, and from there an increase in fall leads to some rugged country westwards. In its eastern reaches, the wadi has a Nabatean temple at Khirbet Tannur, adjacent to the modern Tanur dam. The finds from this temple, (one of very few to be excavated) are in the archeology museum in Amman. At the western end of Zered, the entry point into Edom was used for any significant battle or engagement with Edom. The land west of the wadi in the Arabah is called the valley of salt.

Enormous changes are continuing within the wadi. The wadi was formed by the effects of tectonic changes, deposition and varied degrees of erosion:  20 metres of erosion were estimated at Bab edh-Dra and over 50 m at Numeira only 15km away and a similar amount at Safi at the mouth of the wadi, but it is evident from the archeological findings that the majority of the wadi was geologically in situ before settlement. (3)

Both late bronze age and iron age I finds have been located south the wadi. (1) with particular evidence of dramatic increase in the settlement south of the wadi in the c8,7BC, confirming the rise of Edomite power, that coincides with both old testament and Assyrian records, but with little transition into the land between Edom and Moab. (2) A time when the Assyrian inscriptions indicate Edom was a tributary of Adad-nirari ca796BC and Tiglath Pilisser III (2b) The demise of the Edomites may be suggested in the time of Nabonidus, with an insight gained in the inscription at Sela with possibly the standing image of the king of Babylon (2b).

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  1. Khairieh ‘Amr: The archeology of the Wadi Hasa, west central Jordan. vol 2
  2. P. M. Michèle Daviau: The world of the Arameans vol 2 pg 256ff 265 (2b) 266
  3. Burton MacDonald: The Wadi el Ḥasā Archaeological Survey, 1979-1983, west-central Jordan pg 33
  4. Robinson: Physical geography of the holy land pg 167