edomites in the bible

Who are the Edomites in the Bible?

The Edomites in the Bible are the population settled in the territory to the S.E. of the Dead Sea in the sec. XIII a. C. Shortly before the Jewish conquest, the Edomites in the Bible formed a kingdom with economic importance, both for the control of the caravan routes that brought South Arabian incense and gold to Syria and for the exploitation of cop. The Edomites in the Bible were politically deposited.

They were politically subjected to Israel (later Judah ) in the sec. X-VIII, then to Assyria (VI, II-VII), in the sec. VI the Edomites moved to the area of ​​Hebron, which was called by them in the classical age Idumea. The prophet Obadiah refers to this period when he foretells the fall of Edom. Subdued by the Maccabees, they ended up merging with the Jewish population. The biblical tradition makes Esau (progenitor of the Edomites) and Jacob (progenitor of the Israelites). Two brothers and rivals gave mythical form to ancient ethnic-linguistic affinities and ancient contrasts between the two peoples.

Who are the Edomites?

Edom, which means “red,” appears initially in the Torah as the nickname of Isaac’s first son, Esàv (Esau). The skilled hunter despised the birthright twin of Jacob. (Genesis 25:30; 36: 1). A nation was born from Esav, which became a kingdom and inherited its appellation: “Red.” Just like the color of the rocks of the land of Seir, home of the Edomites.

The verse of Ezekiel, who terrified Nero is only one of the numerous biblical passages in which God’s judgment on Edom is foretold. Surprisingly, among the announcements of doom and divine retribution found in the books of the Prophets. Those directed against the nation of Edom outnumber even the prophecies about the fall of Babylon. This empire destroyed the First Temple in Jerusalem.

He refers to the Edomites as the descendants of Esau, and the Book of Genesis mentions “red” a good number of times to describe Esau and explain his alternate name of Edom. “The first [Esau] came out reddish [admoni in Hebrew], in the sense of” red and hairy like a fur coat.

What is the meaning of the name Edom?

The name Edom is of Hebrew origin. The meaning of Edom is “red.” Edom is generally used as a boy’s name. It consists of 4 letters and two syllables and is pronounced E-dom.

What is the significance of Edom in the Bible?

Name of Edom in the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew word Edom means “red,” derived from the name of its founder, Esau, the elder son of the Hebrew patriarch Isaac because he was born “red all over.” As a young adult, he sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for “red lentils.”

History of Edomites

Esau emigrated with his family to the hill country Seir because there was not enough land for both brothers. Even before the Israelites, the Edomites created a firmly organized state with a king at the head (Genesis 36:31-39). When the Israelites wanted to immigrate to the land of Canaan after the Exodus from Egypt and the time in the desert, the Edomites refused them passage through their land. Later, King Saul fought the Edomites (1 Samuel 14:47), and King David subjugated the Edomites in the Bible and installed Israelite governors in the territory of Edom (2 Samuel 8:13-14). 

Throughout history, Edom’s periods of independence have alternated with periods of dependency several times. Edom also came under the rule of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. The Edomite port city of Elat, which gave the owner access to the Red Sea in the Bible, was constantly fought over. The copper deposits in Edom were also in great demand.

What happened to the Land of Edom?

The historical name of Idumea (Hebrew: “land of Edom “; Septuagint: ‘Ιδουμαία) indicates the southern part of Palestine, south of Judea. It is the region of the Idumeans (Edomites), descendants of Edom or Esau (v.)

When the Babylonian army besieged Jerusalem to destroy it, the Edomites supported the invaders despite their ancient blood ties to the Israelites and plundered the city. And even captured the survivors to hand them over to the enemy. Furthermore, according to Ezekiel (36: 5), Edom also sought to seize the territory of Israel that was desolate after the war. Making claims on the lands of the Jews. According to the Prophets, these acts of cruelty would not go unpunished but would instead have unleashed divine vengeance.

Historians believe that the land of Edom was devastated by the first that had helped: the Babylonians (under the reign of Nevukadnetsar or his successor, Nabonidus)—prompting the survivors to emigrate to the Negev. Although little information exists on such events, it should be noted that Malakhì (Malachi). The last prophet of the Hebrew Scriptures mentions the destruction of Edom as an event that has already occurred and is widely known to the people.

The defeat of Edom

Even the defeat of Edom at the hands of the Jews, foretold by Ezekiel and Ovadyah, occurred historically. According to Ibn Ezra and Shadal, with the definitive subjugation of the Edomites in the Bible by John Hyrcanus. Which happened at the time of the Maccabees.

Therefore, from the literal and historical point of view, it is right to exclude hypothetical future and eschatological fulfilments. In that case, it is also true that Edom’s approach to the Roman Empire, accepted by the rabbinic tradition, does not appear wholly arbitrary. But is based on deep roots. And on a conceptual reflection.

In the words of Tito Livio, Rome aspired to be Caput Orbis Terrarum, “capital of the whole earth,” based on the concept of “chosen people.” Very different from the Torah, as it was founded on military supremacy and war conquest. It threatened the Jewish utopian idea of ​​Mount Zion as a center of universal worship. And Jerusalem is a city of peace to which peoples flock to learn the ways of justice (Isaiah 2: 3). The myth of the founding of Rome, moreover, was based on the quarrel between two twins, just like the biblical story of Jacob and Esau. Romulus, who believes himself to be favored by the gods and kills his brother, is a victorious version of Esau.


The Edomites in the Bible were a people neighboring Israel. They lived from around the 13th century BC. in the Seir mountain country, which lies east of the depression between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. The land west of the hollow is dry and barren and was later settled by the Edomites. However, the red sandstones that characterize this area probably gave Edom its name. Edom means “red.”

In the Bible, the Edomite people are traced back to Jacob’s brother Esau ( Genesis 36:1-19). It is said of him that his body had reddish hair (Genesis 25:25). The description contains Hebrew allusions to Edom (»red«) and Seir (»hairy«). Just as the relationship between the brothers Jacob and Esau was tense from the beginning. The twins seem to be fighting in the womb (Genesis 25:22-23). So is the relationship between the peoples of Israel and Edom determined?

After the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem in 587 B.C., the Edomites in the Bible took advantage of Judah’s weakness (Obadiah 1:10-14; Psalm 137:7) and invaded southern Judah. Around 300 BC, On the other hand, they lost their old homeland in the Seir to the Nabataeans coming from the desert. The southern Judean areas thus became the new settlement area of ​​the Edomites and were now called “Idumea” after them. The Maccabees John Hyrcanus I forced the Edomites, now called “Idumeans,” to perform Jewish circumcision and accept the Jewish laws. The Edomites in the Bible were incorporated into the state of Judah. With the fall of the state of Judah (destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70), the history of the Idumeans also ended.