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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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IDUMÆA . The Greek equivalent (in RV [Note: Revised Version.] only in Mark 3:8 ) of the name Edom , originally the territory east of the Jordan-Arabah valley and south of the land of Moab. This country was inhabited, when we first catch a glimpse of it, by a primitive race known as Horites, of whom little but the name is known. The apparent meaning of the name (‘cave-dwellers’) and comparison with the remains of what seems to have been an analogous race discovered in the excavations at Gezer, shew that this race was at a low stage of civilization. They were partly destroyed, partly absorbed, by the Bedouin tribes who claimed descent through Esau from Abraham, and who were acknowledged by the Israelites as late as the date of the Deuteronomic codes as brethren ( Deuteronomy 23:7 ). They were governed by sheiks (EV [Note: English Version.] ‘dukes,’ a lit. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] of the Lat. dux ), and by a non-hereditary monarchy whose records belonged to a period anterior to the time of Saul ( Genesis 36:31-39 , 1 Chronicles 1:43-54 ). See Edom.

After the fall of Babylon the pressure of the desert Arabs forced the Edomites across the Jordan-Arabah valley, and the people and name were extended westward. In 1Ma 5:65 we find Hebron included in Idumæa. Josephus, with whom Jerome agrees, makes Idumæa extend from Beit Jihrin to Petra; Jerome assigns the great caves at the former place to the troglodyte Horites. The Herod family was by origin Idumæan in this extended sense. In the 2nd cent. a.d. the geographer Ptolemy restricts Idumæa to the cis-Jordanic area, and includes the original trans-Jordanic Edom in Arabia.

R. A. S. Macalister.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Idumaea'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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