Edom

Synonyms:
Edom, e-DOM, אֱדוֹם
Edom (Wikipedia)
"Edomite" redirects here. For the language, see Edomite language.
For the pottery, see Edomite pottery. For other uses, see Edom (disambiguation).
Kingdom of Edom
Monarchy
c. 13th century BC–c. 125 BC
The region around 830 BC, with Edom in yellow.
Capital Not specified
Political structure Monarchy
History
 •  Established c. 13th century BC
 •  Conquered by the Hasmonean dynasty c. 125 BC
Map showing kingdom of Edom (in red) at its largest extent, c. 600 BC. Areas in dark red show the approximate boundary of classical-age Idumaea.

Edom (/ˈdəm/ or /ˈ.dʌm/;Hebrew: אֱדוֹם, Modern Edom, Tiberian ʼĔḏôm; , lit.: "red"; Assyrian: Udumi; Syriac: ܐܕܘܡ) is the name of a country and a people located initially in Transjordan, between Ammon to the north, the Dead Sea and the Arabah to the west, and the Arabian desert to the south and east.

Edom and Idumea are two related but distinct terms relating to a historically contiguous population, but two separate, if adjacent, territories occupied at different periods of their history by the Edomites/Idumeans. The Edomites first established a kingdom ("Edom") in the southern area of modern Jordan, and later migrated into southern parts of the Kingdom of Judah ("Idumea", or modern southern Israel/Negev) when Judah was first weakened, then destroyed by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC.

Edom is a term used in written sources relating to the late Bronze Age and to the entire Iron Age in the Levant, such as the Hebrew Bible and Egyptian and Mesopotamian records. In classical antiquity the cognate name Idumea was used to refer to a smaller area in the same general region.

Edom is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, but also in a list of the Egyptian pharaoh Seti I from c. 1215 BC, and in the chronicle of a campaign by Ramses III (r. 1186–1155 BC). The Edomites, who have been identified archaeologically, were a Semitic people who probably arrived in the region around the 14th century BC. Archaeological investigation showed that the country flourished between the 13th and 8th centuries BC, and was destroyed after a period of decline in the 6th century BC by the Babylonians. After the loss of the kingdom, the Edomites were pushed westward towards southern Judah by nomadic tribes coming from the east; among these were the Nabateans, who first appear in the historical annals of the 4th century BC and already establish their own kingdom in what used to be Edom by the first half of the 2nd century BC. More recent excavations show that the process of Edomite settlement in the southern parts of the Kingdom of Judah and parts of the Negev desert down to Timna had started already before the destruction of the kingdom by Nebuchadnezzar II in 587/86, both by peaceful penetration and by military means, taking advantage of the already weakened state of Judah.

Once pushed out of their territory, the Edomites settled during the Persian period in an area comprising the southern hills of Judea down to the area north of Be'er Sheva. Here the people appear under the graecized form of their old name, as Idumeans or Idumaeans, and their new territory is called Idumea or Idumaea (Greek: Ἰδουμαία, Idoumaía; Latin: Idūmaea), a term used in New Testament times.

« Back to Glossary Index
Skip to toolbar