Red, a name of Esau, Isaac's eldest son, appropriate on account of his natural complexion, but given, it would seem, from the current name of food for which he sold his birthright-"that same red," Ge 25:25,30. See ESAU and IDUMEA.
(1.) The name of Esau (q.v.), Ge 25:30, "Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage [Heb haadom, haadom, i.e., 'the red pottage, the red pottage'] ...Therefore was his name called Edom", i.e., Red.
(2.) Idumea (Isa 34:5-6; Eze 35:15). "The field of Edom" (Ge 32:3), "the land of Edom" (Ge 36:16), was mountainous (Ob 1:8-9,19,21). It was called the land, or "the mountain of Seir," the rough hills on the east side of the Arabah. It extended from the head of the Gulf of Akabah, the Elanitic gulf, to the foot of the Dead Sea (1Ki 9:26), and contained, among other cities, the rock-hewn Sela (q.v.), generally known by the Greek name Petra (2Ki 14:7). It is a wild and rugged region, traversed by fruitful valleys. Its old capital was Bozrah (Isa 63:1). The early inhabitants of the land were Horites. They were destroyed by the Edomites (De 2:12), between whom and the kings of Israel and Judah there was frequent war (2Ki 8:20; 2Ch 28:17).
At the time of the Exodus they churlishly refused permission to the Israelites to pass through their land (Nu 20:14-21), and ever afterwards maintained an attitude of hostility toward them. They were conquered by David (2Sa 8:14; comp. 1Ki 9:26), and afterwards by Amaziah (2Ch 25:11-12). But they regained again their independence, and in later years, during the decline of the Jewish kingdom (2Ki 16:6; R.V. marg., "Edomites"), made war against Israel. They took part with the Chaldeans when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, and afterwards they invaded and held possession of the south of Palestine as far as Hebron. At length, however, Edom fell under the growing Chaldean power (Jer 27:3,6).
There are many prophecies concerning Edom (Isa 34:5-6; Jer 49:7-18; Eze 25:13; 35; Joe 3:19; Am 1:11; Obadiah; Mal 1:3-4) which have been remarkably fulfilled. The present desolate condition of that land is a standing testimony to the inspiration of these prophecies. After an existence as a people for above seventeen hundred years, they have utterly disappeared, and their language even is forgotten for ever. In Petra, "where kings kept their court, and where nobles assembled, there no man dwells; it is given by lot to birds, and beasts, and reptiles."
The Edomites were Semites, closely related in blood and in language to the Israelites. They dispossessed the Horites of Mount Seir; though it is clear, from Ge 36, that they afterwards intermarried with the conquered population. Edomite tribes settled also in the south of Judah, like the Kenizzites (Ge 36:11), to whom Caleb and Othniel belonged (Jos 15:17). The southern part of Edom was known as Teman.
Idumea. ("red".) Esau's surname, the firstborn of Isaac; Jacob's twin brother, who sold his birthright for the red pottage (of yellow brown lentils, dashim; the cooking of which is still seen in Egyptian representations), from whence came his surname (Ge 25:29-34). The name was appropriate to Edom's possession, "mount Seir," the mountainous territory having a reddish hue. Seir means rugged, applicable alike to Seir the hirsute (like Esau) progenitor of the Horites, Edom's predecessors, and to their rugged forest covered territory (Ge 14:6; 32:3; 36:1-8,20-22). It extended from the Dead Sea S. to the Elanitic gulf of the Red Sea. Esau, with his 400 armed men (Ge 32:6), commenced driving out the Horites, and permanently settled in mount Seir after his father's death, yielding Canaan to Jacob, in accordance with his father's blessing.
It is objected to Ge 36:31 that the language supposes kings had already reigned over Israel. But in Ge 35:11 "God Almighty" ('Eel Shaday) had promised Jacob "kings shall come out of thy loins." Moses, too, foretold of the Israelites having a king over them. Naturally then he notices that eight kings had reigned of Esau's family up to his own time, "before the reigning of any king to the children of Israel." The prosperity of the worldly is often immediate and brilliant, but it is transitory; that of God's people is slower in coming, that they may believingly and patiently wait for it, but when it does come it will abide for ever. Of the kingdom of the Messiah, Israel's king, there shall be no end (Lu 1:33). The dukes did not precede the line of Edomite kings, and afterward succeed again (Genesis 36); but a single king (emir) reigned in all Edom contemporaneous with several dukes (skeikhs) or princes of local tribes. The king is mentioned (Jg 11:17), and the dukes a short while before (Ex 15:15).
Moreover, the monarchy was not hereditary, but the kings apparently were elected by the dukes. The Edomites became "dwellers in the clefts of the rocks" (Jer 49:16; compare 2Ch 25:11-12), like their Horite predecessors who were troglodytes or "dwellers in caves" (Ob 1:3-4) Petra (Sela, Hebrew, rock), their chief city, was cut in the rocks. S. Idumea abounds in cave dwellings. Red baldheaded sandstone rocks are intersected by deep seams rather than valleys. In the heart of these, itself invisible, lies Petra (Stanley), Edom' s stronghold in Amaziah's days (2Ki 14:7). Bozrah, now Buseireh, was its ancient capital, near the N. border. (See BOZRAH.) Elath and Ezion Geber were Edom's seaports; afterward taken by David and made by Solomon his ports for equipping his merchant fleet (2Sa 8:14; 1Ki 9:26).
Edom (100 miles long, 20 broad) stretched Edom of the Arabah valley, southward as far as Elath. Eastward of Elath lay the desert. Israel, when refused a passage through Moab N. of Edom, as also through Edom, went from Kadesh by the S. extremity of Edom past. Elath into the desert E. of Edom (De 2:8,13-14,18; Jg 11:17-18; 2Ki 3:6-9). The Brook Zered (wady el Ahsy) was the boundary between Moab (Kerak) and Edom (now Jebal, Hebrew Gebal, mountainous, the N. district, along with Esh. Sherah, the S. district), Edom subsequently took also the territory once occupied by Amalek, S. of Palestine, the desert of Et Tih ("wandering") (Nu 13:29; 1Sa 15:1-7; 27:8). Low calcareous hills are on the W. base of the mountain range of igneous porphyry rock, surmounted by red sandstone.
On the E. is a limestone ridge, descending with an easy incline to the Arabian desert. The promised (Ge 27:40) "fatness of the earth" is in the glens and terraces of Edom (Ge 27:39), while from their rocky aeries they sallied forth "living by the sword." When navigation was difficult merchants' caravans took Edom as their route from the Persian gulf to Egypt, which became a source of wealth to Edom. At Kadesh Edom came out against Israel, on the latter marching eastward across the Arabah to reach the Jordan River through Edom, and offering to pay for provisions and water; for the rocky country there enabled them to oppose Israel. The wady Ghuweir (where probably was "the king's highway") would be the defile by which Israel tried to pass through Edom being the only practicable defile for an army, with pasture and springs (Nu 20:14-21).
But Edom dared not resist Israel's passage along their eastern border, which is more defenseless than their frontier toward the Arabah. Edom then at last made a virtue of necessity and let Israel purchase provisions (De 2:2-8,28-29). In both accounts Israel offered to pay for provisions, and did so at last on Edom's eastern side, whereas they and Moab ought to have "met (Israel as their brother) with bread and water" (De 23:4). Edom was among the enemies on the frontier from whom Saul at the beginning of his reign delivered Israel (1Sa 14:47). Hadad the Edomite, who escaped from David's slaughter to Egypt, returned thence from Pharaoh Shishak to excite Edom to revolt against Solomon (1Ki 11:14). Jehoshaphat of Judah reduced the Edomites 897 B.C., dethroning their king for a deputy from Jerusalem, and trying by a fleet at Ezion Geber to regain the trade; but his vessels were broken by the Edomites or the Egyptians.
Amaziah of Judah killed many thousands in the Valley of Salt near the Dead Sea, and took Selah, afterward Joktheel, the first mention of this extraordinary city (2Ki 14:7), and adopted their gods of mount Seir. Uzziah built Elath on the opposite side of the bay from Ezion Geber, the Roman (Etana, now Akabah; but in Ahaz' reign the Edomites (as 2Ki 16:6 should be read for "Syrians") recovered it (2Ki 14:22). When Israel and Judah declined Edom "broke off Israel's yoke," as Isaac had foretold, in Jehoram's reign (2Ki 8:20-22), re-conquered their lost cities and invaded southern Judah (2Ch 28:17). Edom also joined the Chaldaeans against the Jews (Ps 137:7). Hence, the denunciations against Edom in Ob 1:1, etc.; Jer 49:7, etc.; Eze 25:12, etc.; Eze 35:3, etc. At the Babylonian captivity they seized on the Amalekite territory, and even Hebron in southern Judaea, so that Idumaea came to mean the region between the Arabah and the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile mount Stir or Edom proper, was occupied by the Nabathaeans (descended from Nebaioth, Ishmael's oldest son and Esau's brother in law), a powerful people of S. Arabia; they founded the kingdom of Arabia Petraea in ancient Edom, and their monarchs took the name Aretas. Aretas, the father-in-law of Herod Antipas (Matthew 14), took Damascus at the time of Paul's conversion (Ac 9:25; 2Co 11:32). Rome subdued this kingdom of Arabia A.D. 105. Idumea S. of Palestine was joined to Judaea under Judas Maccabaeus and John Hyrcanus. Antipater, one of the Jewish prefects, an Idumean by birth, by the Roman senate's decree (37 B.C.) became procurator of all Judaea. His son was Herod the Great. Just before the siege under Titus 20,000 Idumeans were admitted into Jerusalem and filled it bloodshed and rapine. Muslim misrule finally destroyed Edom's prosperity in fulfillment of prophecy (Eze 35:3-14).
Psalm 44 was written by the sons of Korah in the midst of Edom's invasion of Israel, taking advantage of David's absence at the Euphrates. David was striving with Aram of the two rivers (Naharaim) and Aram-Zobah when Joab returned and smote of Edom in the Valley of Salt (the scene also of Amaziah's victory over Edom, the plain S. of the Dead Sea, where the Ghor or the Jordan Valley ends; the mount of rock salt, Khasm Usdum, is in its N.W. grainer) 12,000 men (8/13'>2Sa 8:13; 10:6,8,10-19; 1Ch 18:12; 1Ki 11:15-16). Israel's slain lay unburied until Joab returned from smiting Edom along with Abishai. The scattering of Israel among the pagan (Ps 44:11) was but partial, enough to gratify Edom's desire to falsify the prophecy, "the elder shall serve the younger." Edom's spite is marked (Joe 3:19; Am 1:6,9,11).
Israel pleads faithfulness to the covenant, which suits David's time; also they had no "armies" in Babylon (Ps 44:9), which precludes the time of the captivity there. David wrote Psalm 60 when victory was in part gained, and he was sending forth the expedition against Edom. Translated in the title, "when David had beaten down Ar
Name given to Esau because he craved the red pottage of Jacob, Edom signifying red, Ge 25:30; 36:1,8,19; but the name is more usually given to his tribe and the territory they possessed. This extended from the land of Moab, southward to the Gulf of Akaba, in length about 100 miles, from about 29 30' to 31 N, and about 35 30' E. It is a remarkably mountainous district with lofty peaks and deep glens, but also with very productive plains. It had been called mount Seir. Ge 36:8. Some of the rocks were so precipitous that Amaziah killed 10,000 of the children of Seir (Edomites) by casting them down from the rocks, whereby they were dashed to pieces. 2Ch 25:11. Bozrah and Sela, or Selah, were its chief cities.
When Israel was approaching the land of Palestine, Moses appealed to Edom to let them pass through their country, but they refused. The Israelites therefore returned south by way of the Red Sea (Gulf of Akaba) in order to compass the land of Edom, and then kept to the east of Edom until they reached the land of Moab. Nu 21:4.
Edom is constantly referred to in the prophets as having had relations with Israel, and is judged because of its perpetual hatred against them. Eze 35:5. God at one time stirred up the king of Edom to punish Israel (1Ki 11:14), and then again strengthened Israel to punish Edom. 2Ch 25:10-11. Some of the prophecies however extend to the future. Edom took pleasure in the punishment of Judah when judgement was falling upon it. Of Jerusalem they said, "Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof," Ps 137:7, evincing, as also do other passages, the hatred and jealousy of the descendants of Esau.
Many prophecies speak of its punishment. When the king of the north in a future day invades Palestine and overthrows countries as far as Egypt, "Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon" will escape, being reserved to be subdued by Israel. Da 11:41; Isa 11:13-14; Ob 1:18-19. It is from 'Edom' that the Lord Jesus is represented as coming 'with dyed garments' because of His having executed judgements. Isa 63:1. Its destruction will be complete. Ob 1:10.
During the captivity the Edomites extended their dominion in the West and possessed Hebron; and some 300 years B.C. the Nabatheans took Petra (which is supposed to be the same as Sela, q.v.), and established themselves in the district. They settled down and engaged in commerce, and formed the kingdom called by Roman writers Arabia Petraea. Under the Maccabees the Edomites in the west were conquered, and Hebron was recovered. After possession by the Romans, under the withering influence of Islamic rule the district came to ruin.
EDOM, a province of Arabia, which derives its name from Edom, or Esau, who there settled in the mountains of Seir, in the land of the Horites, south-east of the Dead Sea. His descendants afterward extended themselves throughout Arabia Petrea, and south of Palestine, between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. During the Babylonish captivity, and when Judea was almost deserted, they seized the south of Judah, and advanced to Hebron. Hence that tract of Judea, which they inhabited, retained the name of Idumea in the time of our Saviour, Mr 3:8. Under Moses and Joshua, and even under the kings of Judah, the Idumeans were confined to the east and south of the Dead Sea, in the land of Seir; but afterward they extended their territories more to the south of Judah. The capital of east Edom was Bozrah; and that of south Edom, Petra, or Jectael. The Edomites, or Idumeans, the posterity of Esau, had kings long before the Jews. They were first governed by dukes or princes, and afterward by kings, Ge 36:31. They continued independent till the time of David, who subdued them, in completion of Isaac's prophecy, that Jacob should rule Esau, Ge 27:29-30. The Idumeans bore this subjection with great impatience; and at the end of Solomon's reign, Hadad, the Edomite, who had been carried into Egypt during his childhood, returned into his own country, where he procured himself to be acknowledged king, 1Ki 11:22. It is probable, however, that he reigned only in east Edom; for Edom south of Judea continued subject to the kings of Judah, till the reign of Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, against whom it rebelled, 2Ch 21:8. Jehoram attacked Edom, but did not subdue it. Amaziah king of Judah, took Petra, killed a thousand men, and compelled ten thousand more to leap from the rock, upon which stood the city of Petra, 2Ch 25:11-12. But these conquests were not permanent. Uzziah took Elath on the Red Sea, 2Ki 14:22; but Rezin, king of Syria, retook it. Some think that Esar-haddon, king of Syria, ravaged this country, Isa 21:11-17; 34:6. Holofernes subdued it, as well as other nations around Judea, Judith 3:14. When Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, the Idumeans joined him, and encouraged him to rase the very foundations of that city. This cruelty did not long continue unpunished. Five years after the taking of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar humbled all the states around Judea, and in particular Idumea. John Hyrcanus entirely conquered the Idumeans, whom he obliged to receive circumcision and the law. They continued subject to the later kings of Judea till the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. They even came to assist that city when besieged, and entered it in order to defend it. However, they did not continue there till it was taken, but returned into Idumea loaded with booty. The prophecies respecting Edom are numerous and striking; and the present state of the country as described by modern travellers has given so remarkable an attestation to the accuracy of their fulfilment, that a few extracts from Mr. Keith's work, in which this is pointed out, may be fitly introduced: