What and who is…
Hebrew: אֱדֹם —transliteration: edom —meaning: red or red earth
This is the name of a biblical man and a land.
EDOM—the land of Esau
also known as: Iduma, Idumea and Idumaea—part of the same area
Isaiah 34:5-6; Ezekiel 35:15
“The land of Edom” (Genesis 32:3; 36:16) is mountainous (Obadiah 1:8-9; 1:19; 1:21). It was called the land, or “the mountain of Seir,” the rough hills on the east side of the Arabah. It extended from the head of the Gulf of Akabah, the Elanitic gulf, to the foot of the Dead Sea (1 Kings 9:26), and contained, among other cities, the rock-hewn Sela (2 Kings 14:7), generally known by the Greek name Petra.
It is a wild and rugged region, traversed by fruitful valleys.
Edom’s old capital was Bozrah (Isaiah 63:1).
The early inhabitants of the land were Horites. They were destroyed by the Edomites (Deuteronomy 2:12), between whom and the kings of Israel and Judah there was frequent war (2 Kings 8:20; 2 Chronicles 28:17).
But they regained again their independence, and in later years, during the decline of the Jewish kingdom (2 Kings 16:6; Revised King James Version marginal notes: “Edomites”), made war against Israel. They took part with the Chaldeans when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, and afterwards they invaded and held possession of the south of Israel as far as Hebron.
At length, however, Edom fell under the growing Chaldean power (Jeremiah 27:3; 27:6).
The present desolate condition of that land is a standing testimony to the inspiration of these prophecies. After an existence as a people for above seventeen hundred years, they have utterly disappeared, and their language even is forgotten for ever. In Petra, “where kings kept their court, and where nobles assembled, there no man dwells; it is given by lot to birds, and beasts, and reptiles.”
The Edomites were Semites, closely related in blood and in language to the Israelites. They dispossessed the Horites of Mount Seir; though it is clear, from Genesis 36, that they afterwards intermarried with the conquered population. Edomite tribes settled also in the south of Judah, like the Kenizzites (Genesis 36:11), to whom Caleb and Othniel belonged (Joshua 15:17).
The southern part of Edom was known as Teman.
When Christ and his disciples ministered in Judea, people came from Idumea to see and hear Jesus (Mark 3:7-8).
Other places in Edom
- Bela (a king of Edom)
- Hadad/Hadar and Mehetabel (the last king and queen of Edom)
- Jobab (a king of Edom)
- Saul/Shaul (a king of Edom)
- The king of Moab “burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime” (plaster dust) (Amos 2:1).
Inhabitants of Edom before the Edomites
Edom’s neigbors, included:
- Kingdom of Judah (northwest border)
- kingdom of Moab (northeast border)
- Arabia (south and east)
- Nabatu tribes (Nabataeans) to the east
- Dead Sea (north)
- The Land of Uz
- Idumaea (Idumea, Iduma)
- Colors in the Bible
- Book of Obadiah (partially concerns Edom and its impending doom)
- governor (Hebrew: aluph—literally one put over a thousand, i.e., a clan or a subdivision of a tribe. Used of the “dukes” of Edom (Genesis 36)
- Aaron—Due to his sin at Meribah (Numbers 20:8-13) during the Exodus, when the tribes of Israel arrived at Mount Hor, “in the edge of the land of Edom,” at the command of God Moses led Aaron and his son Eleazar to the top of that mountain, in the sight of all the people.
- Amaziah, king of Judah, undertook a great expedition against Edom.
- Jehoram—The Edomites revolted under the reign of King Jehoram of Judah.
- Joab (David’s captain of the host who fought Edom)
- Obed-Edom (a Gittite man entrusted with the ark of the covenant)