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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
EDOM, EDOMITES . The Edomites were a tribe or group of tribes residing in early Biblical times in Mount Seir ( Genesis 32:3 , Judges 5:4 ), but covering territory on both sides of it. At times their territory seems to have included the region to the Red Sea and Sinai ( 1 Kings 9:26 , Judges 5:4 ). Edom or Esau was their reputed ancestor. The Israelites were conscious that the Edomites were their near kinsmen, hence the tradition that Esau and Jacob were twin brothers ( Genesis 25:24 ). That the Edomites were an older nation they showed by making Esau the firstborn twin. The tradition that Jacob tricked Esau out of his birthright ( Genesis 27:1-46 ), and that enmity arose between the brothers, is an actual reflexion of the hostile relations of the Edomites and Israelites for which the Israelites were to a considerable degree responsible.
Before the conquest of Canaan, Edom is said to have refused to let Israel pass through his territory (Numbers 20:18; Numbers 20:21 ). Probably during the period of the Judges, Edomites invaded southern Judah (cf. Paton, Syria and Palestine , 161 ff.). Possibly Edomites settled here and were incorporated in Judah, for Kenaz is said in Genesis 36:11 to be a son of Esau, while in Judges 3:9 he is counted a Judahite.
During the monarchy Saul is said to have fought the Edomites (1 Samuel 14:47 ); David conquered Edom and put garrisons in the country ( 2 Samuel 8:13-14 ); Edom regained its independence under Solomon ( 1 Kings 11:14-22 ); Jehoshaphat a century later reconquered Edom (cf. 1 Kings 22:47-48 ), and Edomites helped him in his war with Moab ( 2 Kings 3:1-27 ); in the reign of Joram, his successor, the Edomites regained their independence after a bloody revolution ( 2 Kings 8:20-21 ); at the beginning of the next century Amaziah reconquered them for a short time, capturing Sela, and slaughtering a large number of them ( 2 Kings 14:7 ). A little later Amos ( Amos 1:11 ff.) accuses Edom of pursuing his brother with the sword. During the next century Edom was independent of Israel, but paid tribute to Tiglath-pileser III., Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Ashurbanipal, kings of Assyria (cf. KIB [Note: IB Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek.] ii. 21, 91, 149, 239).
In connexion with the wars of Nebuchadnezzar, which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem in 586, many Jews migrated to Edom; but the Edomites rejoiced in the overthrow of the Jews. This deepened the old-time enmity, and called forth bitter denunciations and predictions of vengeance from Israel’s prophets (cf. Ezekiel 25:12-14 , Obadiah 1:1 ff., Isaiah 63:1-7 ). A little later great suffering was inflicted on the Edomites by the NabatÃ¦ans , who overran the country and crowded the Edomites up into southern Judah. This invasion of NabatÃ¦ans is probably referred to in Malachi 1:4 ff., for by 312 they were in this region, and Antigonus and Demetrius came in, contact with them (cf. Diodorus Siculus, x. 95, 96, 100).
The Edomites, because of this, occupied the territory of Judah as far as the town of Beth-zur, to the north of Hebron, which became the IdumÃ¦a (wh. see) of the NT period. Here Judas MaccabÃ¦us fought with the Edomites ( 1Ma 5:3; 1Ma 5:65 ), and John Hyrcanus shortly before the end of the 2nd cent. b.c. conquered them, and compelled them to be circumcised and to accept the Jewish religion (cf. Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIII. ix. 1, XIV. i. 3, and XV. vii. 9). This was the end of the Edomites as a nation, but they obtained a kind of revenge on the Jews by furnishing the Herodian dynasty to them.
George A. Barton.
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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Edom, Edomites'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/e/edom-edomites.html. 1909.