A footnote on page 966 of the Artscroll chumash (this week's reading) has a map that includes the dead sea. The map shows a river flowing from the southern tip of the sea. According to a Duke U site:

The Dead Sea has no outflows ...

Is there any reason to think that such a river existed? Or, perhaps, Artscroll took a map from the web which showed the border between Israel and Jordan, and that erroneously turned into a river. Or perhaps there is another explanation. I am seeking plausible explanations.

  • If anything it would be flowing into the southern end of the Dead Sea. Water flows downhill. Nothing can flow out of the lowest place on earth.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 20:32
  • @DoubleAA ... unless, when the river existed, it flowed to somewhere that was then lower than the Dead Sea. sp.yimg.com/ib/th?id=JN.KOdRAFkoZFH/0AwKd1NknQ
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 20:38
  • @DoubleAA mentions an important point. A river flowing from the south into the Dead Sea wouldn't surprise me. When I first visited Israel around 1975, the entire Dead Sea was filled with water. On my next visit about 3 years later, the southern section was dried up. Between heavy irrigation and evaporation as well as (dare I say it??) "climate change" it wouldn't surprise me that any river that may have been there dried up a while ago.
    – DanF
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 20:42

3 Answers 3


The map on page 923 showing the borders of Eretz Yisrael does not show that line. It appears to be an artifact of the cut and paste method used to create the map or of the boundary line between the east and the west in order to show the three cities of refuge on each side.


In addition to @SabbaHillel's answer, this site appears to show streams flowing into the Dead Sea from all directions:

Dead Sea

  • 1
    It appears that the other sources (other than the Yarden) are wadis rather than rivers. Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 1:38
  • @sabbahillel Ah yes, Nachal Zin is a wadi. But, a YouTube video earlier this winter after a major rain / snow storm around mid Jan. showed a raging flood in Nachal Zin, which I believe flows into Avdat, IIRC? So, this is definitely a stream or river, at times. Who says that a river must be a continuously flowing source of water? Is that its strict definition according to the Torah?
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 3:18
  • @DanF I just meant that the undetailed map in the Art Scroll just showed the major river (Yarden) and that is what people tend to think of as the river flowing into the Yam Hamelech. Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 13:19
  • This site, too, shows a wadi at the southern tip of the Dead Sea: www.ce.utexas.edu/prof/mckinney/ce397/Topics/Jordan/Jordan(2003).ppt (I had to enlarge the map on page one considerably to see the wadi.) But, the AS map shows a southern waterway that seems to be as large as the Jordan river.
    – Yehuda W
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 21:55

The Gemara (Bechoros 55a) says that the Jordan River flows to the "Sea of Sodom" and then "goes and falls into the great sea." I once saw a suggestion, then, that in ancient times (maybe before the destruction of Sodom and Amorah) there was indeed such a river flowing out of the Dead Sea.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .