|Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia|
e'-dum, e'-dum-its 'edhom, "red"; Edom:
The boundaries of Edom may be traced with some approach to accuracy. On the East of the `Arabah the northern border ran from the Dead Sea, and was marked by Wady el-Kurachi, or Wady el-Chasa. On the East it marched with the desert. The southern border ran by Elath and Ezion-geber (Deuteronomy 2:8). On the West of the `Arabah the north boundary of Edom is determined by the south border of Israel, as indicated in Numbers 34:3 f: a line running from the Salt Sea southward of the Ascent of Akrabbim to Zin and Kadesh-barnea. This last, we are told, lay in the "uttermost" of the border of Edom (Numbers 20:16). The line may be generally indicated by the course of Wady el-Fiqrah. How much of the uplands West of the `Arabah southward to the Gulf of `Aqaba was included in Edom it is impossible to say.
2. Character and Features:
The land thus indicated varies greatly in character and features. South of the Dead Sea in the bottom of the valley we have first the stretch of salt marsh land called es-Sebkha; then, beyond the line of white cliffs that crosses the valley diagonally from Northwest to Southeast, a broad depression strewn with stones and sandhills, the debris of an old sea bottom, rises gradually, and 60 miles to the South reaches a height of about 700 ft. above the level of the Red Sea, 2,000 ft. above that of the Dead Sea. From this point it sinks until it reaches the shore of the Gulf of `Aqaba, 45 miles farther South. The whole depression is known today as Wady el-`Arabah (compare Hebrew ha-`arabhah, Deuteronomy 2:8 the Revised Version (British and American), etc.). On either side the mountains rise steeply from the valley, their edges carved into many fantastic shapes by the deep wadys that break down from the interior (see ARABAH). The northern part of the plateau on the West forms the spacious grazing ground of the `Azdzimeh Arabs. The mountains rise to a height of from about 1,500 ft. to a little over 2,000 ft. This district was traversed by the ancient caravan road to South Palestine; and along the eastern side traces of the former civilization are still to be seen. The desert region to the South is higher, reaching to as much as 2,600 ft. The mountain range East of the `Arabah is generally higher in the South than in the North. Jebel Harun beside Petra, is 4,780 ft. above sea-level; while East of `Aqaba, Jebel el-Chisma may be as much as 5,900 ft. in height.
Limestone, porphyry and Nubian sandstone are the prevailing formation; but volcanic rocks are also found. The range consists mainly of rough rocky heights with many almost inaccessible peaks separated by deep gorges. But there are also breadths of fertile land where wheat, grapes, figs, pomegranates and olives are grown to advantage. The northern district is known today by the name el-Jebal, corresponding to the ancient Gebal. Seir is the name applied to the eastern range in Genesis 36:8 Deuteronomy 2:1, 5 2 Chronicles 20:23. It is also called Edom, and the Mount of Esau (Obadiah 1:8 f). Seir, however, is used for the western highlands in Deuteronomy 33:2. This seems to be its meaning also in Judges 5:4, where it appears as the equivalent of "the field of Edom." With this same phrase, however, in Genesis 32:3 it may more fitly apply to the eastern range.
See illustration under DESERT.
3. Origin of Name:
The name Edom, "red," may have been derived from the red sandstone cliffs characteristic of the country. It was applied to Esau because of the color of his skin (Genesis 25:25), or from the color of the pottage for which he sold his birthright (Genesis 25:30). In Genesis 36:8 Esau is equated with Edom as dwelling in Mt. Seir; and he is described as the father of Edom (36:9, Hebrew). The name however is probably much older. It may be traced in the records of the Twelfth Dynasty in Egypt. In the Tell el-Amarna Letters (Brit Mus No. 64) Udumu, or Edom, is named; and in Assyrian inscriptions the name Udumu occurs of a city and of a country. The latter may have been named from the former: this again may have been derived from a deity, Edom, who may be traced in such a name as Obed-edom (2 Samuel 6:10).
The children of Esau are said to have "destroyed" the Horites who dwelt in Seir before them (Genesis 14:6 Deuteronomy 2:22). This only means that the Horites were subdued. Esau married the daughter of Anah, a Horite (Genesis 36:20 -in verse 2 he is called a Hivite); and the lists in this chapter show that the races intermingled. The Horite government was in the hands of "dukes" (Genesis 36:29, the Revised Version (British and American) "chiefs"). They were succeeded by dukes of the house of Esau (Genesis 36:40). This form of government gave way to that of an elective monarchy (Genesis 36:31); and this had existed some time before Israel left the wilderness. The then reigning king would not permit Israel to pass through the land (Numbers 20:14; Numbers 21:4). Israel was forbidden to "abhor an Edomite," on the ground that he was a brother; and children of the third generation might enter the assembly of the Lord (Deuteronomy 23:7 f). War with Edom was out of the question.
Some thirty years after the Exodus, Ramses III "smote the people of Seir." The Israelites could not have been far off. We first hear of war between Israel and Edom under Saul (1 Samuel 14:47). David prosecuted the war with terrific energy, slaying 18,000 Edomites (so read instead of "Syrians") in the Valley of Salt (2 Samuel 8:13 f); Joab remaining for six months in the country, which was garrisoned by Israelites, "until he had cut off every male in Edom" (1 Kings 11:15 f). Hadad of the blood royal of Edom escaped to Egypt, and later became a source of trouble to Solomon (1 Kings 11:14, 25). The conquest of Edom opened to Israel the ports of the Red Sea, whence the expeditions of Solomon and Jehoshaphat set out. In Jehoshaphat's time the king is called a "deputy" (1 Kings 22:47). Its king acknowledged the supremacy of Judah (2 Kings 3:9, etc.). Under Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat, Edom revolted. Jehoram defeated them at Zair, but was unable to quell the rebellion (2 Kings 8:20). Amaziah invaded the country, slew 10,000 in the Valley of Salt, and took Sela which he named Joktheel (2 Kings 14:7). Uzziah restored the Edomite port of Elath (2 Kings 14:22). In the Syrian war Rezin regained Elath for Syria, and cast out the Jews. It was then permanently occupied by Syrians-here also probably we should read Edomites (2 Kings 16:6). From the cuneiform inscriptions we learn that when Tiglath-pileser subdued Rezin, among the kings from whom he received homage at Damascus was Qaus-malaka of Edom (736 B.C.). Later Malik-ram paid homage to Sennacherib. To Ezarhaddon also they were compelled to render service. They gave what help they could to Nebuchadnezzar, and exulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, stirring the bitterest indignation in the hearts of the Jews (Lamentations 4:21 Ezekiel 25:12; Ezekiel 35:3 Obadiah 1:10). The Edomites pressed into the now empty lands in the South of Judah. In 300 B.C. Mt. Seir with its capital Petra fell into the hands of the Nabateans.
5. Idumaea and the Idumeans:
West of the `Arabah the country they occupied came to be known by the Greek name Idumaea, and the people as Idumeans. Hebron, their chief city, was taken by Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. (1 Maccabees 4:29, 61; 5:65). In 126 B.C. the country was subdued by John Hyrcanus, who compelled the people to become Jews and to submit to circumcision. Antipater, governor of Idumaea, was made procurator of Judea, Samaria and Galilee by Julius Caesar. He paved the way to the throne for his son Herod the Great. With the fall of Judah under the Romans, Idumaea disappears from history.
The names of several Edomite deities are known: Hadad, Qaus, Koze, and, possibly, Edom; but of the religion of Edom we are without information. The language differed little from Hebrew.
Edomites (22 Occurrences)
Genesis 36:9 This is the history of the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir: (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS NAS NIV)
Genesis 36:43 chief Magdiel, and chief Iram. These are the chiefs of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession. This is Esau, the father of the Edomites. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS NAS NIV)
Judges 1:36 And the limit of the Edomites went from the slope of Akrabbim from Sela and up. (BBE)
2 Samuel 8:13 And David got great honour for himself, when he came back, by the destruction of Edom in the valley of Salt, to the number of eighteen thousand men. (See NIV)
2 Samuel 8:14 He put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all the Edomites became servants to David. Yahweh gave victory to David wherever he went. (WEB JPS ASV BBE NAS NIV)
1 Kings 11:1 Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS NIV)
1 Kings 11:17 that Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt, Hadad being yet a little child. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS)
2 Kings 8:21 Then Joram passed over to Zair, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and struck the Edomites who surrounded him, and the captains of the chariots; and the people fled to their tents. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS NAS NIV)
2 Kings 8:22 But the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time. (DBY)
2 Kings 14:7 He slew of Edom in the Valley of Salt ten thousand, and took Sela by war, and called the name of it Joktheel, unto this day. (See NIV)
2 Kings 16:6 At that time the king of Edom got Elath back for Edom, and sent the Jews out of Elath; and the Edomites came back to Elath where they are living to this day. (BBE JPS NIV)
1 Chronicles 18:11 Them also king David dedicated to Jehovah, with the silver and the gold that he had brought from all the nations: from the Edomites, and from the Moabites, and from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines, and from the Amalekites. (DBY)
1 Chronicles 18:12 Moreover Abishai the son of Zeruiah struck of the Edomites in the Valley of Salt eighteen thousand. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 18:13 He put garrisons in Edom; and all the Edomites became servants to David. Yahweh gave victory to David wherever he went. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 21:8 In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king. (KJV WBS)
2 Chronicles 21:9 Then Jehoram passed over with his captains, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and struck the Edomites who surrounded him, along with the captains of the chariots. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 21:10 So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers. (KJV DBY WBS)
2 Chronicles 25:14 Now it happened, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense to them. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 25:19 Thou sayest, Lo, thou hast smitten the Edomites; and thine heart lifteth thee up to boast: abide now at home; why shouldest thou meddle to thine hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee? (KJV WBS)
2 Chronicles 28:17 For again the Edomites had come and struck Judah, and carried away captives. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Psalms 60:1 <To the chief music-maker; put to Shushan-eduth. Michtam. Of David. For teaching. When he was fighting against Aram-naharaim and Aramzobah, when Joab came back, and put twelve thousand of the Edomites to death, in the Valley of Salt.> God, you have put us away from you, you have sent us in all directions, you have been angry; O be turned to us again. (BBE DBY NIV)
Psalms 137:7 Remember, O LORD, against the children of Edom the day of Jerusalem; who said: 'Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.' (See NIV)