New Advent
 Home   Encyclopedia   Summa   Fathers   Bible   Library 
 A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 
New Advent
Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > C > Cades


Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more — all for only $19.99...

The name, according to the Vulgate and the Septuagint, of three, or probably four cities mentioned in Scripture.

(1) Cades, or Cadesbarne [Hebrew Qadesh "Holy", and Q. Barnea; the meaning of Barnea is uncertain], a city on the extreme southern border of Palestine (Numbers 20:16; 34:4; Joshua 15:3). In Psalms xxviii (xxix), 8 the name is extended to the surrounding desert. That Cades and Cadesbarne are one place is seen by comparing Numbers 13:27, with Numbers 32:8, Deuteronomy 1:19, etc. In Genesis 14:7, it is called En Mishpat (Vulgate, fontem Misphat), "fountain of decision", or "judgment", which probably was its earlier name. The two names seem to indicated that a sanctuary with an oracle existed at the place in pre-Israelitic times. Cades, after Sinai, holds the most important place in the history of the forty years' wandering of the Israelites in the desert. They came from Horeb (Sinai) through the desert of Pharan, after eleven days' journey (Deuteronomy 1:2, 19), with the intention of invading Chanaan from the south (Ib., i, 20 sq.). From here spies were sent to explore the country, and here, on their return, forty days after, the discouraging reports of all but Caleb and Josue provoked a mutiny which changed the course of events. In punishment the people were condemned to wander thirty-eight years more, and all who had reached manhood, except Caleb and Josue, were to die in the desert. To escape this fate the mass of the people, instead of obeying the command to return towards the Red Sea, left Moses at Cades and pushed northward with the purpose of penetrating into the Promised Land, but met with disastrous defeat near Horma (Numbers 13:2-14:45; Deuteronomy 1:22-44). During the stay at Cades occured the death of Mary, the sister of Moses, and the second miraculous flow of water, on which latter occasion Moses and Aaron were excluded from the Land of Promise for their want of trust in God (Numbers 20:1-13). Cades was probably also the scene of the rebellion of Core, Dathan, and Abiron (Numbers 16). Lastly, it was from Cades that Moses, when about to begin the march to the table-land of Moab and the Jordan, sent to the King of Edom to obtain permission to pass this territory. The permission being refused, the Israelites were forced to turn aside from Edom, passing probably through Wady el-Ithm, at the southern end of the valley of the Arabah (Numbers 20:14 sqq.; Deuteronomy 2:1 sqq.).

Opinions differ about the length of the stay at Cades. Many hold that the command to retrace their steps towards the Red Sea was carried out after the defeat of the Israelites near Horma, and that they came to Cades a second time at the beginning of the fortieth year of wandering. The second stay is said to be indicated by Numbers 20:1 sqq. In this opinion the stations (seats of headquarters and of the tabernacle) in Numbers 33:19-35, i.e. from Remmomphares to Asiongaber, belong to the years of wandering between the first and the second visit to Cades. It is more probable, however, that the headquarters and the tabernacle remained at Cades all these years, while the people roamed about in accordance with Deuteronomy 1:40, 2:1 sqq. In this case the stations up to Hesmona (Numbers 33:29) would belong to the journey from Sinai to Cades; those following Hesmona, to the march towards Moab. The insertion of verses 36-40 after verse 29 would then seem necessary, but the change would clear up this part of the itinerary.

A good deal of controversy has existed concerning the site of Cades, no less than eighteen places having been proposed. This may now be considered as settled in favour of 'Ain Qadis or Gadis, discovered by J. Rowlands in 1842, fifty miles south of Bersabee. Its only serious rival, 'Ain el-Weibeh, on the western edge of the Arabah, forty-five miles farther east, which was advocated by Robinson and others, is now generally abandoned. 'Ain Qadis ("Holy Well") preserves the name Cades both in meaning and etymology, and best satisfies the scriptural data. These place Cades to the south of, and close to, the Negeb, the "south" (Numbers 13:30), or "south country" (Genesis 20:1) of our English version (Cf. Genesis 20:1; Numbers 13:23, 30; 14:43 sq.; Deuteronomy 1:19-20), in the Desert of Sin, which was north-east of the desert of Pharan (Cf. Numbers 20:1; 27:14; 33:36; Deuteronomy 32:51), near the middle of the southern frontier of the land assigned to Israel (Numbers 34:4; Joshua 15:3). It must therefore be sought in the north of the barren plateau Badiet et-Tih, "the desert of wandering", about midway between the Arabah and the Mediterranean, that is in the region in which 'Ain Qadis is situated. Moreover, the position of 'Ain Qadis, at a short distance from the junction of the main roads leading north, and its abundant supply of good water, a rare thing in the desert, are advantages which must have made it an important point, and which would be most likely to attract the Israelites. Numbers 20:2 sqq., is no objection to the identification. Cades, wherever situated, must have been near a supply of water. The miracle in all likelihood occurred at a distance from the town. Still, it is quite possible that the springs (there are several) may for some reason have temporarily run dry, and the cliff from underneath which issue the waters of 'Ain Qadis may well be the rock struck by Moses' rod. In the Vulgate text of Sirach 24, mention is made of the palms of Cades. But the readings, en Eggadois, en Gaddi, en Gaddois, found in some manuscripts, seem to show that Engaddi, where palms were abundant, was referred to the sacred writer. The Sixtine ed. of the Septuagint has en aiggialois, "on the seashore".

(2) CADES [Hebrew Qédésh "sanctuary"], a city of the Negeb or "south country" (Joshua 15:23). It is sometimes identified with Cadesbarne, but is more probably distinct from it.

(3) CADES (or CEDES) OF THE HETHITES (HITITES), a city which critical conjecture substitutes for Hodsi 2 Samuel 24:6. It is identified with Qodshu of Egyptian monuments, and is generally placed on the Lake of Homs (Emesa), Syria, at the point where the Orontes issues from it. (See also the article CEDES.)


(1)PALMER, the desert of the Exodus (New York, 1872), 236, 282, sq., 420 sq.; TRUMBULL, Kadesh Barnea (New York, 1884); HULL, Mt. Seir (London, 1889), 188; HOLLAND in Pal. Expl. Fund., Qu. St. (1879), 60; (1884) 9; ROBINSON in Biblic. World, XVII, 327 sq.; LAGRANGE in Rev. Bib. (1896), 440 sq.; (1899), 373; (1900), 273 sq.; GUTHE in Zeitschr. d. D. Pal. Ver. (1885), 182-232; LEGENDRE in Dict. de la Bible, II, 16-20.
(3) SAYCE, The Hitites (London, 1888), 100; TOMPKINS in Pal. Expl. Fund Qu. St. (1882), 47; CONDEN, ibid. (1881), 163-173; TOMPKINS in Transact. Bibl. Archoeol. (1882), 395, 401; LIPSIUS, Denkmaler, III, 158, 159, 164; VIGOUROUX in Dict. de la Bib., II, 367; ID., Melanges bibl. (2nd ed.), 340 sq., 351 sq.; HUMMELAUER, Com. in Lib. Sam., 448.

About this page

APA citation. Bechtel, F. (1908). Cades. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Bechtel, Florentine. "Cades." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Matthew Reak. Dedicated to Fr. Walter Mazrimas.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

Copyright © 2023 by New Advent LLC. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.