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Who was Edom in the Bible (2024) 🙏📖

Who was Edom in the Bible 🙏📖

Who was Edom in the Bible – Today, we are delving deep into the biblical context to explore and understand Edom. Edom has been mentioned multiple times throughout the Bible, creating a sense of mystery and curiosity about its existence and role.

In this comprehensive guide, we will traverse through various biblical narratives, theological reflections, and historical accounts to unravel the essence of Edom in the Bible. Let’s start our journey with a brief look at the origins of Edom.

Who was Edom in the Bible

Edom, a significant name that surfaces numerous times in the Bible, holds a plethora of historical, geographical, and theological layers. Referred to as both a person and a place, Edom is intrinsically linked to Jacob’s brother, Esau, painting a portrait of sibling relationships within the overarching narrative of the Bible.

The geographical aspect of Edom, characterized by its rugged terrains and ancient landscapes, opens a window to explore its interactions and influences among neighboring nations. The historical existence of Edom extends beyond biblical narratives, intertwining with archaeological discoveries and scholarly interpretations, each contributing a unique piece to the puzzle.

Here’s a friendly and concise table outlining the lineage of Esau, which eventually developed into the Edomite nation.

NameRelation to EsauRole/DescriptionReference
EsauThe firstborn son of Isaac and Rebekah , brother to Jacob. Esau is also known as Edom and is the progenitor of the Edomites.Genesis 25:19-34
AdahWife of EsauOne of Esau’s wives, an Hittite woman, and the mother of Eliphaz.Genesis 36:2-4
EliphazSon of Esau & AdahThe firstborn of Esau. Eliphaz had a concubine named Timna, who bore Amalek.Genesis 36:4,12,15-16
AmalekGrandson of EsauSon of Eliphaz and his concubine Timna. Founder of the Amalekites.Genesis 36:12
BasemathWife of EsauAnother of Esau’s wives, the daughter of Elon the Hittite.Genesis 26:34
ReuelSon of Esau & BasemathReuel was the father of four sons who became chiefs of various clans.Genesis 36:4,10,13,17
OholibamahWife of EsauDaughter of Anah, she bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah to Esau.Genesis 36:2-5,14,18
JeushSon of Esau & OholibamahOne of the chiefs of the Edomites.Genesis 36:5,18
JalamSon of Esau & OholibamahAnother chief of the Edomites.Genesis 36:5,18
KorahSon of Esau & OholibamahAlso listed as a chief among the Edomites.Genesis 36:5,18

The lineage of Esau played significant roles in the Bible and illustrates the expansion and diversification of the descendants of Esau into the Edomite nation. The Edomites had a complex relationship with the Israelites, ranging from conflict to cooperation, shaping a significant part of their shared history.

Who was Edom in the Bible  🙏📖

Table of Religious History of Edom

Here is a concise table depicting the religious history of Edom, focusing on the descendants of Esau, in a friendly and informative manner:

Era/PeriodReligious PracticesDeities/Religious FiguresSignificance
Early EdomitesNature and Ancestor WorshipQaus (national god of Edom)The early religious practices of the Edomites were primarily focused on nature and ancestor worship, signifying their close connection to their environment and lineage.
Middle PeriodHigh Places and Open-Air AltarsQaus, Baal, AsherahDuring this period, the Edomites erected high places and open-air altars for worship, revealing the diversity and syncretism in their religious practices.
Late Edomite EraInfluence of Neighboring CulturesVarious local deitiesThe Edomites, interacting with neighboring cultures, were influenced by various local deities, highlighting the fluidity and adaptability of their religious beliefs.
Post-Exilic PeriodIntegration into Judean and Arab religious practicesYahweh, AllahThe integration of Edomites into surrounding cultures led to the absorption and adaptation of the religious beliefs of those regions, marking a shift in their religious identity.
Hellenistic EraIntroduction of Greek Gods and Influence of Hellenistic ReligionsGreek PantheonThe contact with Greek cultures introduced Edomites to Hellenistic religions, illustrating the ongoing evolution and amalgamation of their religious practices.
Roman PeriodIntegration of Roman Deities and Worship PracticesRoman DeitiesUnder Roman rule, Edomites encountered and possibly integrated Roman deities and practices into their religious expressions, signifying the constant intercultural exchanges.

This table provides a summary of the evolution of religious practices among the descendants of Esau, showcasing the diverse influences and adaptative nature of Edomite religious history. The religious practices of Edom were dynamic, reflecting the various cultural, political, and environmental contexts they were situated in over the centuries.

Theological reflections on Edom weave through symbolic representations and prophetic literature, inviting contemplation on divine messages and spiritual truths. As we peel back the layers of Edom, we find a rich tapestry of stories, insights, and teachings that continue to spark curiosity and deepen our understanding of the spiritual journey detailed in the sacred scriptures.

Who was Edom in the Bible  🙏📖

The Origins of Edom

Genesis Account

Edom is a figure of substantial importance in the Bible, beginning with the Genesis account. Here, Edom, also known as Esau, is portrayed as Jacob’s brother. The intricate narrative of their birth, early relationships, conflicts, and reconciliations provide profound insights into the broader context of biblical themes and teachings. The birth story of Jacob and Esau is enthralling and filled with symbolic meaning, reflecting deep spiritual truths.

Geographical Context

Edom is not just a character; it’s also a location with significant historical importance. The geographical context of Edom is fascinating, surrounded by rugged terrain and ancient neighbors. Understanding the geographical nuances of Edom brings us closer to comprehending its multifaceted role in the biblical timeline and its interactions with neighboring entities.

Here’s a friendly and informative table detailing the land that Esau’s descendants, the Edomites, occupied according to the Bible.

Region/AreaDescriptionHistorical Significance/NotesReference
Mount SeirThis is the primary region that the descendants of Esau occupied. It’s a mountainous area located to the southeast of the Dead Sea.Mount Seir is synonymous with Edom in the Bible. It was given to Esau and his descendants as their possession.Genesis 36:8-9
BozrahAn important city in Edom.Bozrah was a significant and possibly the capital city of Edom in antiquity. It is mentioned multiple times in relation to the Edomites.Isaiah 63:1; Jeremiah 49:13
TemanRegion or city in Edom, known for its wise men.Teman is notable in the Bible for its wise men, and it is possibly a major city in Edom.Jeremiah 49:7; Job 2:11
Sela (Petra)A major city in Edom, known for its rock-cut architecture.Also known as Petra, Sela is famous for its unique, impressive architecture and its significance as a center of trade in the ancient world.2 Kings 14:7; Isaiah 16:1
ZoarA small town near the southeastern border of Edom.Zoar is significant for being the city to which Lot fled during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.Genesis 19:20-23
PunonAn area in southern Edom.The Israelites passed by Punon during their wilderness journey, and it was known for its mines.Numbers 33:42-43
En-mishpatAnother name for Kadesh, a significant ancient city located to the west of Edom.This is where Abraham rescued Lot, and it’s a place of judgment in the Bible.Genesis 14:7

These areas reflect the diverse landscape and significant locations within Edom, the land occupied by Esau’s descendants, illustrating their integral presence in the biblical narrative.

Who was Edom in the Bible  🙏📖

Historical Context of Edom

Relations with Israel

The relationship between Edom and Israel is one that’s fraught with conflicts and interactions, defining a substantial portion of biblical history. The exploration of their encounters provides a clearer picture of the geopolitical and spiritual landscapes of the ancient biblical world , uncovering layers of understanding about God’s plan and human responses to it.

Here is a friendly and informative table detailing the relations, timelines, battles, and significant interactions between the Israelites and Edomites as depicted in the Bible.

TimelineEvent/BattleBiblical VersesContext/DescriptionTakeaways
1446 BCIsraelites’ ExodusNumbers 20:14-21The Israelites, during their Exodus from Egypt, requested passage through Edom but were denied access. The Edomites even came out against them with a large and powerful army.Teaches about brotherly conflict and the constant tension between the descendants of Jacob (Israel) and Esau (Edom).
1000 BCKing David’s Reign 2 Samuel 8:13- 14King David defeated the Edomites in the Valley of Salt, becoming the overlord of Edom.Illustrates the fluctuating power dynamics between Israel and Edom.
853 BCBattle of Qarqar1 Kings 22:47Edom revolts against Judah’s dominance during King Jehoshaphat’s reign.Highlights the persistent strive for independence of Edom from Judah’s control.
845 BCJoram’s Reign2 Kings 8:20-22Edom revolts against Joram. Joram went to Zair with his chariots but had to flee.Demonstrates Edom’s resilience and determination to gain autonomy.
715 BCAmaziah’s Victory2 Kings 14:7King Amaziah of Judah attacked and defeated 10,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt and captured Sela, renaming it Joktheel.Reveals Judah’s might and control over Edom during this period.
605-536 BCEdomites’ OpportunismObadiah 1:10-14Edomites took advantage of Judah’s vulnerability during the Babylonian exile and participated in the plunder and capture of Jerusalem.Stresses the consequences of betrayal and opportunism, and prophesies the eventual downfall of Edom.
586 BCFall of JerusalemPsalm 137:7; Lamentations 4:21-22Edomites are noted to have cheered the fall of Jerusalem and to have aided the Babylonians in destroying the city.Indicates the animosity between Israel and Edom and serves as a somber reflection on brotherly strife.
163 BCMaccabean Conquest1 Maccabees 5:3Judas Maccabeus subdues the Edomites.Marked a period of Jewish strength and control over the region, including Edom.

These events provide insights into the turbulent relationship between the Israelites and Edomites, illustrating the deep-rooted conflicts, power struggles, and eventual subjugation, reflecting the broader human condition and its spiritual implications.

Edom in Biblical Narratives

Old Testament References

Edom finds numerous mentions throughout the Old Testament, each portrayal contributing a different layer to our understanding. It’s essential to dissect these references meticulously to grasp the multifarious nature of Edom’s representation in the sacred texts, shedding light on the divine message intertwined within these narratives.

Absolutely, below is a table listing references to Edom in both the Old and New Testaments in a friendly and informative tone:

OldGenesis25:30, 36:1-43Describes Esau as the progenitor of the Edomites. Outlines the genealogy and the kings of Edom.
OldExodus15:15References to Edom trembling due to the Lord’s might.
OldNumbers20:14-21Details Israel’s request to pass through Edom and Edom’s refusal.
OldDeuteronomy2:4-8, 23:7God’s command for Israel to not provoke Edom. Israel’s peaceful passage beside Edom’s territory is depicted here.
Old1 Samuel14:47Describes King Saul’s war against Edom.
Old2 Kings3:4-27, 8:20-22Gives accounts of conflicts and interactions between Israel/Judah and Edom.
OldIsaiah11:14, 34:5-15Prophesies against Edom declaring its downfall and desolation.
OldJeremiah49:7-22Prophesies against Edom proclaiming its destruction and future desolation.
OldEzekiel25:12-14, 35:1-15Pronounces judgment against Edom for its hostility against Israel.
OldObadiahEntire BookFocuses on the doom of Edom due to its pride and hostility against his brother Jacob (Israel).
OldMalachi1:4Declaration of the Lord’s anger against Edom.
NewMatthew2:1-12The Wise Men from the east (possibly including Edom) visit Jesus.
NewMark3:8People from Idumea (Greek name for Edom) were among those who came to see Jesus.
NewHebrews12:16-17Esau/Edom is cited as an example of the consequences of immorality and godlessness.
NewRevelation6:4, 19:11-21Imagery possibly reflecting ancient enmity with Edom; the depiction of divine judgment, and the final battle.

This table consolidates the various references to Edom in both the Old and New Testaments, providing a broad overview of its biblical mentions and the different contexts in which it is discussed.

Prophetic Literature

The prophetic literature in the Bible offers a distinct representation of Edom, laden with metaphors and symbolic imagery. Interpreting these prophecies and exploring their fulfillment—or the lack of it—can lead to a profound understanding of divine intervention and providence in human history, giving us much to ponder and reflect upon.


The Bible is rich with prophecies, and several of them concern Edom, the nation descended from Esau. Here’s a friendly and informative list of some of the key prophecies regarding Edom:

  1. Destruction of Edom
    • Reference: Obadiah 1:1-18
    • Context: The prophecy predicts the complete destruction of Edom, largely due to their pride and violence against their brother Jacob (Israel).
    • Key Takeaway: The pride and violent acts of Edom would lead to their downfall, teaching the value of humility and the consequences of actions against one’s brethren.
  2. Edom’s Pride
    • Reference: Jeremiah 49:16
    • Context: This prophecy speaks about the pride of Edom and their dwelling in the clefts of the rocks, and how this pride would deceive them.
    • Key Takeaway: Pride deceives and leads to downfall, emphasizing humility as a virtue.
  3. Enmity Between Brothers
    • Reference: Genesis 27:41
    • Context: After Jacob receives the blessing from Isaac, Esau harbors great resentment and vows to kill Jacob, foretelling the continual strife between their descendants.
    • Key Takeaway: The initial conflict and enmity between Jacob and Esau were a precursor to the future tumultuous relationship between their respective descendants.
  4. Edom’s Role in Israel’s Punishment
    • Reference: Ezekiel 25:12-14
    • Context: God pronounces judgment against Edom for their vengeance against the house of Judah, foretelling that Edom would fall to the people of Israel.
    • Key Takeaway: This forewarns of repercussions for harboring vengeance and acting against God’s chosen people.
  5. Desolation of Edom
    • Reference: Isaiah 34:5-10
    • Context: The prophecy depicts Edom’s land being soaked with blood and turned into pitch, showing severe destruction.
    • Key Takeaway: It illustrates the divine retribution that awaited Edom, emphasizing God’s justice.
  6. Edom’s Betrayal
    • Reference: Psalm 137:7
    • Context: This recalls Edom’s role in the fall of Jerusalem, encouraging the Babylonians to raze it to the ground.
    • Key Takeaway: Betraying one’s kin leads to lasting enmity and divine judgment.
  7. Restoration of Israel and Judgement on Edom
    • Reference: Amos 9:11-12
    • Context: This prophecy reveals the Lord’s plans for the restoration of Israel and how the remnant of Edom and all the nations bearing God’s name will be possessed by Israel.
    • Key Takeaway: It promises hope and restoration for Israel and serves as a reminder of divine judgment and restoration.
  8. Edom’s Ruin and Israel’s Restoration
    • Reference: Malachi 1:2-5
    • Context: This passage contrasts the ruin of Edom with the love and favor shown to Israel by God.
    • Key Takeaway: God’s love and favor are contrasted with the fate of those who act against His will and His people.

These prophecies provide important insights into the dynamics between Edom and Israel and serve as lessons and warnings about pride, vengeance, betrayal, divine justice, and the promises of restoration and love.

Symbolism of Edom

Symbolic Representation

Isn’t it fascinating how symbols in the Bible convey profound meanings and truths? Edom is a striking symbol, often representing the ungodly nations and people who oppose God’s will. Understanding the symbolism of Edom aids in unfolding the rich tapestry of theological implications embedded within the biblical text, offering a unique lens to interpret and relate to the scriptures.

Archaeological Discoveries

The quest to understand Edom is not just a theological one; it’s also archaeological. Recent discoveries have unearthed exciting insights about Edom, shedding light on its culture, society, and interactions with neighboring civilizations. Each archaeological finding paints a more vivid picture of Edom, allowing us to touch the palpable reality of this mysterious entity.

Absolutely! Archaeological discoveries have provided substantial insights into the history and existence of Edom. Here’s a table that compiles some notable discoveries and their significance in a friendly and informative manner:

Edomite FortressesThe remains of fortresses in the hills of Edom, primarily in southern Jordan, support biblical accounts of the Edomite kingdom’s existence and strength. These fortresses are a testament to the organized socio-political structure and defensive capabilities of Edom.
Edomite PotteryNumerous pieces of distinctive Edomite pottery have been discovered, indicating a unique cultural identity. The pottery fragments depict the advanced craftsmanship of the Edomites and provide information about their daily life and trade.
Copper Mines in TimnaThe extensive copper mining operations found in Timna Valley, identified as part of ancient Edom, indicate a sophisticated level of metallurgy and economic stability. These mines are an indication of the wealth and technological advancements of the Edomite civilization.
Edomite InscriptionsVarious inscriptions in the Edomite language have been found, lending credence to the existence of a distinct Edomite culture and language. These inscriptions have provided valuable information on the social, political, and religious aspects of Edomite society.
Solomon’s Pillars, TimnaThe discovery of the sandstone formation known as Solomon’s Pillars in the Timna Valley has contributed to the understanding of trade and mining activities in the region. The site is associated with King Solomon’s reign and provides insights into the connections between Edom and Israel.
Biblical-Era FortressThe unearthing of a fortress dating back to the biblical era in southern Israel reveals the interactions and conflicts between the Israelites and Edomites. This discovery provides contextual information about the biblical references to the struggles between Edom and Israel.
Bozrah (Busayra)Discoveries in Bozrah, the ancient capital of Edom, include remains of buildings, fortifications, and inscriptions, shedding light on the architectural prowess and urban planning of the Edomites. It helps to reconstruct the historical landscape of Edom and its socio-political environment.

Each of these discoveries adds layers to our understanding of Edom, corroborating and expanding upon the biblical narratives, and offering glimpses into the lives, culture, economy, and advancements of the Edomites.

Edom and Neighboring Nations

Relations with Moab and Ammon

The story of Edom is deeply intertwined with its neighbors, Moab and Ammon. Understanding the relations, alliances, and conflicts between these nations offers a panoramic view of the ancient Near Eastern landscape. It uncovers the geopolitical intricacies and the human and divine interplay shaping the destinies of these nations.

Below is a friendly, well-structured, and informative table highlighting the relationships between Edom, Moab, and Ammon in the Bible.

EntitiesRelationshipScriptural ReferenceContext/Summary
Edom and MoabKindred NationsGenesis 19:30-38Both nations descended from Lot, Abraham’s nephew. Moabites were from Lot and his older daughter, and Edom (Esau) is the brother of Jacob (Israel).
Edom and AmmonNeighboring NationsJudges 11:17Edom and Ammon were neighbors, often having interactions and conflicts recorded in the Bible. The Israelites, in their journey to the Promised Land, had interactions with both.
Moab and AmmonSibling NationsGenesis 19:30-38Ammonites were descendants of Ben-Ammi, son of Lot through his younger daughter. They were therefore related to the Moabites, who were descendants of Moab, the son of Lot through his older daughter. Both were, thus, descendants of Lot.
All ThreeNeighbors & RelativesDeuteronomy 2:9, 19God instructed the Israelites not to harass Moab and Ammon during their journey to the Promised Land, highlighting a certain level of relational and geographical closeness between these nations and Israel (descendants of Jacob, brother to Esau – Edom).

I hope this table provides clear insights into the familial and geographical relationships between Edom, Moab, and Ammon according to the Scriptures.


  1. Who were the descendants of Edom, and where are they located today? Exploring this question takes us to the genealogical journey of Edom’s descendants and their impact on today’s world, tracing their historical footprints and cultural integration.
  2. Why is Edom often depicted negatively in the Bible? To answer this, we delve into the intricate narratives and theological underpinnings that shape Edom’s portrayal in the Bible, reflecting on the spiritual implications and lessons therein.
  3. Are there any significant archaeological findings related to Edom? Discussing this question leads us to the archaeological treasures unearthed related to Edom, each discovery adding a new dimension to our understanding of this biblical entity.
  4. How does the representation of Edom in the Bible compare to historical records? A comparative analysis between biblical representation and historical records reveals the convergence and divergence of narratives, enriching our perspective on Edom’s multifarious existence.
  5. What is the theological significance of Edom in Christian and Jewish traditions? Examining this question, we explore the varying theological interpretations and significance of Edom within Christian and Jewish thought, providing a holistic view of its spiritual relevance.

Final Reflections

In our exploration of Edom, we have traversed through ancient texts, unearthed archaeological findings, delved into theological reflections, and journeyed through historical landscapes. The multifaceted existence of Edom in the Bible serves as a mirror reflecting divine truths, human nature, and the eternal quest for understanding and connection with the Divine. The rich tapestry of narratives, symbolism, and teachings associated with Edom invites us to reflect, learn, and grow in our faith journey.


In wrapping up our extensive journey exploring Edom, we’ve uncovered the depth of its biblical, historical, and theological significance. The diverse perspectives and profound symbolism associated with Edom have enriched our understanding of its role in the biblical narrative and its enduring impact on our spiritual reflections. It’s been a fascinating exploration, unearthing ancient wisdom, divine revelations, and human experiences that resonate with us even today.

Thank you for joining us in this enlightening journey through the scriptures and history, discovering the multifaceted entity of Edom. Let’s continue to explore, reflect, and deepen our understanding of the rich and diverse tapestry of our spiritual heritage.

Best Old Testament Commentaries

Below is a table featuring some renowned Old Testament commentaries, their publishers, and websites where they can be found. As always, it’s best to confirm availability on multiple platforms or the publishers’ websites.

Commentary NamePublisherWebsite
The New International Commentary on the Old TestamentEerdmansEerdmans
Word Biblical CommentaryZondervanZondervan
Baker Commentary on the Old TestamentBaker AcademicBaker Academic
The Anchor Yale Bible CommentaryYale University PressYale University Press
Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesInterVarsity PressInterVarsity Press
Expositor’s Bible CommentaryZondervanZondervan
The Old Testament for EveryoneWestminster John Knox PressWestminster John Knox Press

Note: As with the New Testament table, this table provides generalized examples and does not list each volume within the commentary series. The commentaries can usually be found on the publishers’ websites or other online book retailers such as Amazon or Christianbook. It is always advisable to check for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding availability.



  • Greg Gaines

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