The Greek equivalent (in RV only in Mr 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 (De 23:7). They were governed by sheiks (English Version 'dukes,' a lit. tr of the Lat. dux), and by a non-hereditary monarchy whose records belonged to a period anterior to the time of Saul (Ge 36:31-39; 1Ch 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 Idum
IDUMAEA is properly the Greek name for the land of Edom, which lay to the south of Judea, and extended from the Dead Sea to the Elanitic Gulf of the Red Sea, where were the ports of Elath and Ezion-Gaber. But the Idumaea of the New Testament applies only to a small part adjoining Judea on the south, and including even a portion of that country; which was taken possession of by the Edomites, or Idumaeans, while the land lay unoccupied during the Babylonish captivity. The capital of this country was Hebron, which had formerly been the metropolis of the tribe of Judah. These Idumaeans were so reduced by the Maccabees, that, in order to retain their possessions, they consented to embrace Judaism: and their territory became incorporated with Judea; although, in the time of our Saviour, it still retained its former name of Idumaea, Mr 3:8. The proper Idumaeans, or those who remained in the ancient land of Edom, became in process of time mingled with the Ishmaelites; the two people thus blended, being, from Nabaioth, or Nabath, the son of Ishmael, termed Nabathaeans; under which names they are frequently mentioned in history. See EDOM.