There have been many kingdoms mentioned in the Bible. Some of these kingdoms include Edom, Judah, Israel, Moab, Aram Damascus, Ammon, and many others. The Bible describes some of these civilizations through the books of the Old Testament. This gives insights in the political and religious struggle during the time. This helps shed light on some of the conflict that continues in parts of the world today.
Who is Edom in the Bible?
It isn’t so much as to, “Who is Edom?” It really is more of a question of, “What was Edom?” Then again, if you really wanted to ask the question of “Who is Edom?” I guess one could respond, “Esau.” According to the Hebrew Bible he was the progenitor of the Edomites. Edom was a nation south of the Kingdom of Judah which consisted of a Semitic people. The area was under control by the Edomites for approximately 1,200 years. According to the Bible, the nation was vast stretching from the Sinai peninsula to the Kadesh Barnea. It is thought by historians that the area was controlled by the Edomites from about 1400 – 200 BC where they were eventually conquered by the Seleucid Empire. Antiochus III the Great more than likely ordered this attack.
Edom also bordered the Kingdom of Moab and the tribes of the Nabatu and Arabu. After the descriptions of the kings of Edom in the Book of Genesis there isn’t much mention of the Edomites until the conquering of their nation by King Saul of Israel. After Edom was conquered by Saul the nation remained a vassal of the Kingdom of Israel. It remained a vassal until Israel split into two kingdoms – Kingdom of Judah and Kingdom of Israel. After the split it became a dependent of the Kingdom of Judah. The division of Israel resulted in two weakened powers and Judah eventually lost hold of Edom. During this time there were attempts to subdue the population again. There was success to a degree, but nothing like the days of it being a vassal state of Israel.
Years later, when Nebuchadnezzar II ruled Babylon, the Edomites helped the Babylonians loot Jerusalem while slaughtering the inhabitants. Due to the brutality of the Edomites the prophets resented Edom and spoke against the nation often. It has often been a bumpy road between the Israelites and the Edomites throughout history. Obadiah is one such prophet who foresees the destruction of the Edomites. God punishes them for not getting along with their brothers, the House of Jacob. Other prophets who speak of Edom’s destruction include Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Malachi.
Where is Edom Now?
Edom was mostly of what is now modern day Jordan. There were periods in history where the Edomites inhabited of what is part of modern day Israel as well. No one is really sure what happened to the Edomite bloodline. I’m not really sure if anyone would run to this claim due to the hatred and animosity towards the Edomite people. They have been sworn enemies of the Israelites for thousands and thousands of years. There are some who may claim that it is the Palestinians or some other enemy of Israel, but there is no real evidence that supports this position.
Therefore hear the counsel of the Lord, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them.