The Kidron Valley lies between the Temple Mount and the Mt. of Olives. From Jerusalem, it runs southeast, descending 4,000 feet (1,200 m.) to the Dead Sea. Its northern section is, and always has been, a place of travel and monuments due to its strategic location. It divides the Old City of Jerusalem and the largest Jewish cemetery.
Don’t miss a view of the Kidron Valley while visiting Jerusalem! Biblical figures from David to Yeshua crossed this valley, and you can do the same on the white stone path leading down into the valley from Jerusalem.
Kidron Valley in the Bible
In 2 Samuel 15:23, King David and his followers flee Jerusalem by crossing over the brook of Kidron; they do this in response to Absalom’s conspiracy and overtaking of the throne.
2 Samuel 18:18 records that Absalom “set up for himself a pillar … in the King’s Valley” and named it after himself, because he didn’t have a son to preserve his name. King’s Valley is another name for the Kidron Valley; a monument called Pillar of Absalom stands here today. However, it is not the pillar Absalom built.
The Kidron Valley is also known as a place where waist is eliminated; it was so in Bible times and is in our current day. For example, in 2 Chronicles 29:16, King Hezekiah cleanses the Temple. The priests remove and carry all unclean items to the Kidron Valley.
John 18:1 says that Yeshua “left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley.” This is immediately prior to Judas’s betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane, which is in the Kidron Valley. John 18:2 says that Yeshua often met His disciples in that garden—in other words, He often crossed the Kidron Valley.
Monuments Facing the Temple Mount
There are three noteworthy monuments on the eastern side of the Kidron Valley. These monuments face the Temple Mount, and are named after biblical characters. They are tombs of significant Jerusalem residents who lived during the Second Temple Period.
The Pillar of Absalom is the tallest monument of the three. It is a unique structure that was carved out of the surrounding limestone slope. Behind it is what is known as the Tomb of Jehoshaphat. It is not the Judean King’s tomb, but rather a 1st-century burial cave.
About 160 feet (50 m.) south of the Pillar of Absalom is the Tomb of the Sons of Hezir (on the left in the photo below). This tomb is carved into the rock with two pillars at its entrance. These pillars support an inscription that recognizes this tomb as the burial location for the Hezirs, a priestly family.
Directly south of the Tomb of the Sons of Hezir is the Tomb of Zechariah (on the right in the photo below). It is a cubed structure with a pyramid top that was hewn from the surrounding bedrock.
These monuments are examples of whitewashed tombs. Perhaps they are what inspired Yeshua’s warning in Matthew 23:27 stating, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”