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KEDEMOTH (Heb. קְדֵמוֹת ,קְדֵמֹת), city and desert E. of the Jordan. It was from the wilderness of Kedemoth that Moses sent messengers to Sihon, the Amorite king of Heshbon, asking for peaceful passage through his lands, and was refused. The city of Kedemoth is mentioned among the cities of the tribe of Reuben together with Jahaz and Mephaath (Josh. 13:18); "Kedemoth with the open land about it" was a levitical city of the tribe (I Chron. 6:64).

The identification proposed for the wilderness of Kedemoth is the desert east of the settled area of Moab where the Arnon River begins. The city of Kedemoth has been identified with one of the tells in the adjoining cultivated area, either Qaṣr al-Zaʾfarān or Khirbat al-Rumayl. Both mounds have upper Nabatean levels followed by Early Iron Age strata; Khirbat al-Rumayl also contains the remains of a large Moabite fortress.


Glueck, in: BASOR, 65 (1937), 27; Press, Ereẓ, S.V.; Aharoni, Land, index.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.