The Brook Kidron – The Place of Betrayal

The Brook Kidron

“And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness”
2 Samuel 15:23

There are places referred to in the scriptures that represent to us experiences with which we can identify in our own walk. Ziklag, Peniel, Mount Moriah and many other locations speak to us of deep and heart felt experiences through which we must pass. Those places our fore fathers walked through by faith will be ours if we too walk in same path of faith. What was true then must also be true now.

David and the Brook Kidron

It was a very dark night and one filled with great distress for King David and his loyal friends. Absalom, through treachery and political intrigue, had risen to power and was now seeking David’s life. David had been warned of the betrayal and had to run for his life into the wilderness. Friends, associates and family had betrayed him and were now conspiring to take his life. At this juncture David weeping crosses over the brook Kidron. Kidron* in the Hebrew means darkness, turbulence, great agitation and great evil. It was a brook that flowed into the Dead Sea. It is a brook which must be crossed over, where the deep lessons of God’s faithfulness, His steadfastness and His mercy become the very core of our hope. It is here we are weaned from dependence upon others and God Himself becomes our friend and salvation.

Kidron represents the shattering of our self-reliance and strength, our allegiance to other things. It is the doorway into a new wilderness experience which is quite different from the others in which we have walked. New testings and new sorrows must bring us into new places of faith and reliance upon God. The processing of our God is thorough and effectual. What others mean for evil God makes for our good. The trial known here is more painful and heart-rending as it is not one which comes to us from foes without but from friends within the family of God. Later on in the Psalms David speaks of these deep and agonizing experiences:

“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company”
Psalm 55:12-14

Jesus and the Brook Kidron

Over a thousand years later we see Jesus crossing this same dark brook as He also was being betrayed: by Judas.

“When Jesus had spoken these words,
he went forth with his disciples
over the brook Cedron (Kidron)…”
John 18:1

The final drama of Jesus life was unfolding. Judas had gone to the religious leaders of that day and obtained a “band of men” to come and take Jesus by force unto the Chief priests.

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons”
John 18:1-3

It is important to note that not only did Jesus cross over this dark and turbulent brook but so did His disciples. Think it not strange that the servant is to follow in the same path as the Master. It is in following Him that we become molded and shaped by the experiences of life to overcome as He overcame; to find the healing and sweetness of His life rising in our own. It is the bitter experiences that free us from our own bitterness.

The Brook Kidron is one of the most important crucibles we will face in our lives. The enemy of our soul has orchestrated it for our destruction; God allows it for our good.

The great danger with any bitter experience is that we allow it to linger and to fester. This incapacitates us from living and blossoming in the goodness of God. The three Hebrew men thrown into the fire emerged from it with no trace of smoke upon their garments. God’s design is for us to walk through this excruciating experience with no hint of the bitterness remaining.

God’s determination for the painful lessons of the Brook Kidron is for us to become sweet. Do not fear when these waters arise and would drive you into the wilderness, for God, even thy God shall prove thee and work in thee the wonder and the sweetness of Jesus Himself…

“Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
with all powders of the merchant?”
Song of Songs 3:6


The good news is we will never cross this brook alone.

“…he (Jesus) went forth with his disciples
over the brook Cedron”

* Note: Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names translates Kidron: Very Black, Full of Darkness.

The brook Kidron is mentioned as the extent of Shimei’s confinement, the one who cursed David in this dark place of betrayal. How fitting was his judgement that when he crosses the Kidron, Solomon has him executed (1 Kings 2:36-46).

Brian Troxel

6 thoughts on “The Brook Kidron – The Place of Betrayal”

  1. What can’t kill you will only make you stronger.

    This post reminds me of the works of John of the Cross (John Yepes, 1542-1591): The Dark Night of the Senses, The Dark Night of the Soul and The Dark Night of the Spirit.

    Here is an excerpt from The Dark Night of the Soul:

    BOOK ONE [A treatise on the night of the senses]

    One dark night,
    fired with love’s urgent longings
    — ah, the sheer grace! —
    I went out unseen,
    my house being now all stilled.


    E.1. In this first stanza, the soul speaks of the way it followed in its
    departure from love of both self and all things. Through a method of true
    mortification, it died to all these things and to itself. It did this so as
    to reach the sweet and delightful life of love with God. And it declares
    that this departure was a dark night. As we will explain later,1 this dark
    night signifies here purgative contemplation, which passively causes in the
    soul this negation of self and of all things.

    E.2. The soul states that it was able to make this escape because of the
    strength and warmth gained from loving its Bridegroom in this obscure
    contemplation. It emphasizes its good fortune in having journeyed to God
    through this dark night. So great was the soul’s success that none of the
    three enemies (the world, the devil, and the flesh, which are always in
    opposition to the journey along this road) could impede it, for that night
    of purifying contemplation lulled to sleep and deadened all the inordinate
    movements of the passions and appetites in the house of sense. The verse
    then states:

    One dark night,

    1. This is quite an article… I am enjoying it. I will have to sit down with some undisturbed time in order to read it carefully.

      Thank you

    2. I just bought a copy of that in paperback a couple weeks ago. His work on the common imperfections of young christians is dead on: much of that material has been my own experience in myself, and I have more recently begun to see it outside as well. Very convicting & confirming.

      1. We have much to learn from our fore-fathers.

        “thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations” Isaiah 58:12


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