(Ι᾿δουμαία), the Gr. form of the Heb. name Edom, as found in the Sept., the N. Test., and Josephus. According to Josephus (Ant. 2, 1, 1), however, it is only a more agreeable mode of pronouncing what would otherwise be Α᾿δῶμα (comp. Jerome on Eze 25:12). In the Sept. we sometimes meet with Ε᾿δώμ, but more generally with Ι᾿δουμαία (the people being called Ι᾿δουμῖοι), which is the uniform orthography in the Apocrypha (1 Macc. 4:15, 29, 61; 5, 3; 6:31; 2 Macc. 12:32), as well as in Mr 3:8, the only passage in the N.T. where it occurs. Our Auth Version has in three or four places (Isa 34:5-6; Eze 35:15; Eze 36:5) substituted for Edom "Idumea," which is the name employed by the writers of Greece and Rome, though it is to be noted that they, as well as Josephus, include under that name the south of Palestine, and sometimes Palestine itself, because a large portion of that country came into possession of the Edomites of later times.
The Heb. אֵֹּדם, Edom, as the name of the people, is masculine (Nu 22:20); as the name of the country, feminine (Jer 49:17). We often meet with the phrase אֶרֶוֹ אֵֹדם, Erets-Edom, "the Land of Edom," and once with the poetic form שׂדֵה אֵֹרם, Sedeh-Edom, "the Field of Edom" (Jg 5:4). The inhabitants are sometimes styled בּנֵי אֵֹרם, Beney-Edom, "the Children of Edom," and poetically בִּת אֵֹדם, Bath- Edom, "the Daughter of Edom" (La 4:21-22). A single person was called אֲרֹמַי, Adomi, "an Edomite" (De 23:8), of which the feminine אֲדֹמַית, Adomith, occurs in 1Ki 11:1.
1. Origin of the Name. — The name was derived from Isaac's son Edom, otherwise called Esau, the elder twin brother of Jacob. SEE ESAU. It signifies red, and seems first to have been suggested by his appearance at his birth, when "he came out all red," i.e. covered with red hair (Ge 25:25), and it was afterwards more formally and permanently imposed on him on account of his unworthy disposal of his birthright for a mess of red lentils (Ge 25:30): "And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, from the red, that red (הָאָדֹם הִזֶּה מַןאּהָאָדֹם), for I am faint; therefore was his name called Red" (Edom; אדֵוֹם). In the East it has always been usual for a chief either to give his name to the country which he conquers, or over which he rules, or to take a name from it. Esau, during the life of his father, seized the mountainous region occupied by the Horites. He had two names; but one of them was peculiarly applicable to the newly acquired territory. The mountains of Seir were remarkable for their reddish color; hence, doubtless, the name Edom, "red," was given to them. Esau is called "the father of Edom," giving to it his name and ruling over it (Ge 36:43); and the country, in a very few cases, is also called "the mount of Esau" (Ob 1:8-9,19).
The original name of the country was Mount Seir, and it was probably so called from Seir, the progenitor of the Horites (Ge 14:6; Ge 36:20-22), though the signification of this name, rugged, may have been the cause of its adoption, as the mountains are singularly rough and rugged. And so says Josephus (Ant. 1, 20, 3): "Esau named the country Roughness from his own hairy roughness." Part of the region is still called Esh-Sherah, in which some find a trace of Seir, but the two words have no etymological relation. The name Seir continued to be applied to Edom after its occupation by the descendants of Esau, and even down to the close of the O.T. history (see Jos 11:17; 2Ch 20:10: Eze 25:8, etc.). The aborigines were called Horites (Sept. Χοῤῥᾶιοι; Ge 14:6); that is, Troglodytes, or "cave-dwellers," from the nature of their habitations. SEE HORITE. The mountains of Edom, as all travelers know, are filled with caves and grottoes hewn in the soft sandstone strata.
2. Situation and Boundaries. — Edom proper, or Idumaaa, is situated on the south-eastern border of Palestine, extending from it to the northern extremity of the Elanitic Gulf. It was bounded on the west by the great valley of the Arabal, on the south by a line drawn due east from the modern fortress of Akabah, on the east by the desert of Arabia, and on the north by the ancient kingdom of Moab. Its length from north to south was about 100 miles, and its breadth averaged 20. These boundaries are nowhere directly defined, but we can ascertain them from various incidental references in Scripture. When the Israelites encamped at Kadeshbarnea they were close to the border of Edom (Numbers 20), and Mount Hor is said to be within its border (Nu 33:37). Hence, as Kadesh was situated in the valley of the Arabah, and as Mount Hor is only a few miles to the east of it, we conclude that the Arabah is the western boundary. The Israelites asked, but were refused, a passage through either Edom or Moab, so as to go direct from Kadesh to the east side of the Jordan (Nu 20:14-20; Jg 11:17-18). In consequence of this refusal, they were obliged to march south along the Arabah to Ezion-geber, and thence eastward by the wilderness round the territories of Edom and Moab (id. with Nu 21:4). Hence we conclude that Edom and Moab occupied the whole region along the east side of the valley of the Arabah, from the Dead Sea to the Elanitic Gulf. Edom was wholly a mountainous country, as may be inferred from the names given to it in the Bible and by ancient writers (De 1:2; De 2:5; Josephus, Ant. 2, 1, 2; Eusebius, Onomast. s.v. Idumesa). The foot of the mountain range, therefore, may be regarded as marking its eastern border. On the north it appears to have been separated from Moab by the "brook Zered" (De 2:13-14,18; Nu 21:12), which is probably identical with the modern wady el Ahsy. These views are corroborated by other and independent testimony. In the Samaritan Pentateuch the word Gabla is substituted for Seir in De 32:2; and Eusebius and Jerome state that Idumea was in their time called Gebalene, which is a Greek (Γεβαληνή) corruption of the Hebrew Gebal, "mountain" (Ononast. id. et s.v. Seir), and is retained to this day in the Arabic form
Jebal. The modern province of Jebal is bounded on the west by the Arabah, and on the north by wady el-Ahsy (Robinson, Bib. Res. ii, 151; Burckhardt, Trav. in Syria, p. 410). We may safely conclude from this that the ancient province had the same boundaries, as it had the same name. Thus Josephus writes (Ant. 5, 1, 22): "The lot of Simeon included that part of Idumrea which bordered upon Egypt and Arabia;" and, though this is true, it does not contradict the language of Scripture — "I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth, because I have given Mount Seir unto Esau for a possession" (De 2:5). Not a foot breadth of Edom Proper, or Mount Seir, was ever given by divine sanction to the Jews.
Josephus divides Idumaea into two provinces, Gobolitis and Amalekitis (Ant. 2, 1, 2). The former embraced Idumaea Proper, being identical, as the name would indicate, with "Mount Seir;" the other embraced a portion of Southern Palestine, with the desert plain south of it, which was originally occupied by the Amalekites (Nu 13:29), and subsequently, as we shall see, by the Edomites. Pliny places Idumaea to the south of Palestine, bordering upon Egypt (Hist. Nat. 5, 14). Strabo (16, 2, 36, p. 760) states that the Idumseans were originally Nabathaeans, but, being driven out thence, they joined themselves to the Jews. See Smith, Dict. of Class. Geog. s.v.
3. History. — The first mention of Mount Seir is in Ge 14:6, where the confederate kings are said to have smitten the "Horites in their Mount Seir." B.C. cir. 2080. These Horites appear to have been a tribe of the gigantic aborigines of Western Asia, so called from dwelling in caves (Ge 36:20-30). They were a pastoral people, divided into tribes like the modern Bedouin, having independent chiefs called Alltiph (אַלּוּŠ, ver. 29). Esau's marriage with the daughters of Canaan alienated him from his parents, and he then obtained a settlement among the Horites, where he acquired power and wealth as early as the time of Jacob's return from Padan-aram (Ge 27:46). Probably his close alliance with Ishmael tended to increase his influence in his adopted country (Ge 28:9; Ge 32:3 sq.). — Though then established in Edom, Esau had still some part of his flocks in Western Palestine, in connection with those of his father; but on the return of Jacob he removed all his property from Canaan and dwelt in Mount Seir (Ge 36:6-8). He gradually subdued and finally exterminated, or perhaps rather supplanted, the Horites (De 2:12,22), and a distinct tribe of his descendants, the Amalekites, leaving Edom, took possession of the desert plateaus south of Canaan (Ge 36:12; Ex 8:14 sq.). The earliest form of government among the Edomites was, like that of the Horites, by chiefs (in the A.V. rendered "dukes," but manifestly the same as the modern Arab sheiks), exercising independent authority over distinct tribes (Ge 36:15-19). It appears, however, that the various tribes were, at least in times of general war, united under one leader, to whom the title of king (מֶלֶך) was given. The names of eight of these kings (only one of whom is spoken of as related to any other, Anah, the son of Zibeon) are mentioned in Ge 36:31-39, who are said to have reigned in Edom "before there reigned any king over the children of Israel," that is, apparently before the time of Moses (see De 33:5; Ex 18:16-19). Most of the large nomad tribes of Arabia have now an acknowledged chief, who is styled ezir, and who takes the lead in any great emergency, while each division of the tribe enjoys independence under its own sheik on all ordinary occasions. Such would seem to have been the case with the Edomites, and this affords an easy solution of the apparent confusion in the account given by Moses, Ge 36:31-43; and again in Ex 15:15, where it is said "the dukes of Edom shall be amazed," and Jg 11:17, where Moses is represented as having sent "messengers from Kadesh into the king of Edom." The primitive and pastoral character of the people is incidentally brought out by the circumstance that this Anah, though a chieftain's son, was in the habit of tending his father's asses (Ge 36:24). It was when thus employed that he found in the wilderness הִיֵּמַם, ha-yenzim, rendered in the Eng. Vers. by "the mules," but meaning more probably "the hot springs." There is in the country to the south-east of the Dead Sea (which formed part of the Seirite possessions) a place, Callirhoe, celebrated among the Greeks and Romans for its warm baths, which has been visited by modern travelers (Josephus, War, i, 33, 5; Pliny, Hist. Nat. 5, 5, 17; Legh's Travels).
Though the Israelites and Edomites were closely related, and though the former were commanded "not to abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother" (De 23:7), yet the bitterest enmity appears to have existed between them at every period of their history, as a perpetuation of the unbrotherly feud between their progenitors. When the Israelites asked permission to pass through the territory of Edom on their way to Canaan, they were rudely refused. B. C. 1619. The road by which it was sought to penetrate the country was termed "the king's highway" (ver. 17), supposed by Dr. Robinson (Researches, 2, 556; but see a different explanation in De Saulcy's Narrative, 1, 392; comp. 273, 276) to be wady el-Ghuweir, for it is almost the only valley that affords direct and easy passage through those mountains. From a comparison of these incidents it may be inferred that the change the form of government took place during the wanderings of the Israelites in the Desert, unless we suppose, with Rosenmüller, that it was only this north-eastern part of Edom which was now subject to a monarch, the rest of the country remaining under the sway of its former chieftains. But whether the regal power at this period embraced the whole territory or not, perhaps it did not supplant the ancient constitution, but was rather grafted on it, like the authority of the Judges in Israel, and of Saul, the first king, which did not materially interfere with the government that previously existed. It further appears, from the list of Idumeman kings, that the monarchy was not hereditary, but elective (for no one is spoken of as the son or relative of his predecessor); or probably that chieftain was acknowledged as sovereign who was best able to vindicate his claim by force of arms. Every successive king appears to have selected his own seat of government: the places mentioned as having 'enjoyed that distinction are Dinhabah, Avith, Pagu or Pai. Even foreigners were not excluded from the throne, for the successor of Samlah of Masrekah was Saul, or Shaul, "of Rechoboth, on the river." The word Rechoboth means, literally, streets, and was a not uncommon name given to towns; but the emphatic addition of "the river" points evidently to the Euphrates, and between Rakkah and Anah, on that river, there are still the remains of a place called by the Arabs Rachabath Malik Ibn-Tauk. In the age of Solomon we read of one Hadad, who "was of the king's seed in Edom" (1Ki 11:14); from which some have conjectured that by that period there was a royal dynasty of one particular family; but all that the expression may imply is that he was a blood relation of the last king of the country. Hadad was the name of one of the early sovereigns "who smote Midian in the field of Moab" (Ge 36:35).
The country was attacked by Saul with partial success (1Sa 14:47). A few years later David overthrew the Edomites in the "valley of Salt," at the southern extremity of the Dead Sea (Robinson, Bib. Res. ii, 109), and put garrisons in their cities (2Sa 8:14; 1Ch 18:11-13; 1Ki 11:15. Comp. the inscription of Ps 60; Ps 5:8-9; Ps 118:9-10, where "the strong city" may denote Selah or Petra). Then were fulfilled the. prophecies in Ge 25:23; Ge 27:40, that the "elder should serve the younger;" and also the prediction of Balaam (Nu 24:18), that Edom and Seir should be for possessions to Israel. Solomon created a naval station at Ezion-geber, on the Elanitic Gulf, from whence his ships went to India and Eastern Africa (1Ki 9:26; 2Ch 8:18). Towards the close of his reign an attempt was made to restore the independence of the country by one Hadad, an Idumaean prince, who, when a child, had been carried into Egypt at the time of David's invasion, and had there married the sister of Tahpanhes the queen (1Ki 11:14-23). SEE HADAD. If Edom then succeeded in shaking off the yoke, it was only for a season, since in the days of Jehoshaphat, the fourth Jewish monarch from Solomon, it is said "there was no king in Edom; a deputy was king;" i.e. he acted as viceroy for the king of Judah. For that the latter was still master of the country is evident from the fact of his having fitted out, like Solomon, a fleet at Ezion-geber (1Ki 22:47-48; 2Ch 20:36-37). It was, no doubt, his deputy (called king) who joined the confederates of Judah and Israel in their attack upon Moab (2Ki 3:9,12,26). Yet there seems to have been a partial revolt of the Edomites, or at least of the mountaineers of Seir, even in the reign of Jehoshaphat (2Ch 20:22); and under his successor, Jehoram, they wholly rebelled, and "made a king over themselves" (2Ki 8:20,22; 2Ch 21:8,10). From its being added that, notwithstanding the temporary suppression of the rebellion, "Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day," it is probable that the Jewish dominion was never completely re- stored. Amaziah, indeed, invaded the country, and having taken the chief city, Selah or Petra, he, in memorial of the conquest, changed its name to Joktheel (q. d. subdued of God); and his successor, Uzziah, retained possession of Elath (2Ki 14:7; 2Ch 25:284; 26:3). But in the reign of Ahaz, hordes of Edomites made incursions into Judah, and carried away captives (2Ch 28:17). About the same period, Rezin, king of Syria, expelled the Jews from Elath, which was thenceforth occupied by the Edomites (2Ki 16:6, where for Syrians, ארומים, we ought to read Edomites, אדומים, De Rossi, Varice Lectiones, 2, 247). Now was fulfilled the other part of Isaac's prediction, viz., that in course of time Esau "should take his brother's yoke from off his neck" (Ge 27:40). It appears from various incidental expressions in the later prophets that the Edomites employed their recovered power in the enlargement of their territory in all directions. They spread as far south as Dedan in Arabia, and northward to Bozrah in the Hauran; though it is doubtful if the Bozrah of Scripture may not have been a place in Idumaea Proper (Isa 34:6; Isa 63:1; Jer 49:7-20; Eze 25:13; Am 1:12). During the decline of the Jewish power, and wars of Judah and Israel, the Edomites gradually enlarged their possessions. When Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, the Edomites joined him and took an active part in the plunder and slaughter which followed. Their cruelty at that time is specially referred to in Psalm 137, and was the chief cause of those dreadful prophetic curses which have since been executed upon their country (Jer 49:17; La 4:21; Eze 25:13-14; Ob 1:10-21). From the language of Malachi (Mal 1:2-3), and also from the accounts preserved by Josephus (Ant. 10, 9, 7), it would seem that the Edomites did not wholly escape the Chaldaean scourge; but instead of being carried captive, like the Jews, they not only retained possession of their own territory, but became masters of the south of Judah, as far as Hebron (1 Macc. 5:65, comp. with Eze 35:10; Eze 36:5). Probably as a reward for the assistance afforded by them to the Chaldeeans, the Edomites were permitted to settle in Southern Palestine, and in the country lying between it and the borders of Egypt. The name Idumea was now given to the whole country, from the valley of the Arabah to the Mediterranean (Joseph. Ant. 5, 1, 22; Strabo, 16:2), and from Eleutheropolis to Elath (Jerome, Comment. in Obad.). Hence arose the mistakes of Roman writers, who sometimes give the name Idumaea to all Palestine, and even call the Jews Idumaeans (Virgil, Georg. 3, 12; Juvenal, 8:160).
While the Edomites thus extended their conquests westward, they were driven out of their own country by the Nabatheeans (q.v.), who, leaving the nomad habits of their ancestors, settled down amid the mountains of Edom, engaged in commerce, and founded the little kingdom of Arabia Petraee. Some of their monarchs took the name Aretas (2 Macc. 5, 8; Joseph. Ant. 15, 1, 2), and some Obodas (Joseph. Ant. 13, 5, 1). One of them was that Aretas whose daughter Herod Antipas married (Mt 14:3-4); and it was the same king of Arabia who captured Damascus, and held it at the time of Paul's conversion (Ac 9:25; 2Co 11:32). Idumaea was taken by the Romans in A.D. 105, and under their paternal government the enterprising inhabitants increased greatly in wealth and power. A lucrative transport trade between India, Persia, and the Levant was in their hands. Roads were constructed across the desert of Arabia, through the defiles of Edom, and westward and northward to the Mediterranean and Palestine. Traces of them still remain, with ruinous military stations at intervals, and fallen milestones of the times of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius (Peutinger Tables; Laborde's Voyage; Burckhardt's Syria, p. 374, 419; Irby and Mangles's Travels, p. 371, 377, 1st ed.). The magnificent rock-temples, palaces, and tombs of Petra were then constructed, which still continue to be the wonder and admiration of Eastern travelers. They are not the works of the Edomites, but of the descendants of Nebaioth, Ishmael's oldest son and Esau's brother-in-law (Ge 25:13; Ge 36:3; Joseph. Ant. 1, 12, 4; Diod. Sic. 19.)
On the revival of Jewish power under the Asmonseans, that part of Southern Palestine to which the name Idumnea had been given by classic writers was seized, and about B.C. 125 they were finally subdued by John Hyrcanus, who compelled them to submit to circumcision and other Jewish rites, with a view to incorporate them with the nation (1 Macc. 5, 3, 65; 2 Macc. 10, 16; 12, 32; Joseph. Ant. 13, 9, 1; 15, 4). The amalgamation, however, of the two races seems never to have been perfected. The country was governed by Jewish prefects, and one of these, an Idumaean by birth, became procurator of Judaea, and his son was Herod the Great, "king of the Jews" (Joseph. Ant. 12, 8, 6; 13, 9, 2 14,1, 3 and 8; 15, 7, 9; 17, 11, 4). Not long before the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, 20,000 Idumseans were called in to the defense of the city by the Zealots, but both parties gave themselves up to rapine and murder (Joseph. War, 4, 4, 5; 5, 1; 7, 8, 1). This is the last mention made of the Edomites in history. The author of a work on Job, once ascribed to Origen, says that their name and language had perished, and that, like the Ammonites and Moabites, they had all become Arabs. In the second century Ptolemy limits the name Idumsea to the country west of the Jordan.
In the first centuries of the Christian sera Edom was included in the province of Palcestina Tertia, of which Petra was metropolis (S. Paulo, Geogr. Sac. p. 307; Reland, Palcest. p. 218). After the Mohammedan conquest its commercial importance declined, its flourishing port and inland cities fell to ruin. The Mohammedans were the instruments by which the fearful predictions of the Scripture were finally fulfilled. The Crusaders made several expeditions to Edom, penetrating it as far as to Petra, to which they gave the name "Valley of Moses" (Gesta Dei per François, p. 518, 555, etc.), a name still existing in the Arabic form Wady Maisa. On a commanding hill some twelve miles north of Petra they built a fortress, and called it Mons Regalis; its modern name is Shobek (ib. p. 611). The Crusaders occupied and fortified Kerak, the ancient Kir Moab, and raised it to the dignity of an Episcopal see, under the impression that it was Petra (ib. p. 812, 885, 1119). From the age of the Crusaders until the present century nothing was known of Idumaea. No traveler had passed through it, and as a country it had disappeared from history. Volney heard some vague reports of its wonders from Arabs. Seetzen also heard much of it in the year 1806, but he was unable to enter it. Burckhardt was the first to traverse the country. In 1812 he traveled from Kerak south by Shobek to Petra (Trav. in Syr. p. 377 sq.; Robinson, Bib. Res. 2, 165). In 1828, Laborde, proceeding northward from Akabah through the defiles of Edom, also visited Petra, and brought away a portfolio of splendid drawings, which proved that the descriptions of Burckhardt had not been exaggerated. Many have since followed the footsteps of the first explorers, and a trip to Petra now forms a necessary part of the Eastern traveler's grand tour.
4. Physical Geography. — Idumaea embraces a section of a broad mountain range, extending in breadth from the valley of the Arabah to the desert plateau of Arabia. "Along the base of the range on the side of the Arabah, are low calcareous hills. To these succeed lofty masses of igneous rock, chiefly porphyry; over which lies the red and variegated sandstone in irregular ridges and abrupt cliffs, broken by deep and wild ravines. The latter strata give the mountains their most striking features" (Porter, Handb. for S. and Pal. 1, 44). "The first thing that struck me," says Stanley, "in turning out of the Arabah up the defiles that lead to Petra was, that we had suddenly left the desert. Instead of the absolute nakedness of the Sinaitic valleys, we found ourselves walking on grass, sprinkled with flowers, and the level platforms on each side were filled with sprouting corn; and this continues through the whole descent to Petra, and in Petra itself. The next peculiarity was when, after having left the summit of the pass, or after descending from Mount Hor, we found ourselves insensibly encircled with rocks of deepening and deepening red. Red, indeed, even from a distance, the mountains of 'red' Edom appear, but not more so than the granite of Sinai; and it is not till one is actually in the midst of them that this red becomes crimson, and that the wonder of the Petra colors fully displays itself (Sin. and Pal. p. 88). The ravines which intersect these sandstone mountains are very remarkable. Take them as a whole, there is nothing like them in the world, especially those near Petra. "You descend from wide downs and before you opens a deep cleft between rocks of red sandstone rising perpendicularly to the height of one, two, or three hundred feet. This is the Sikl.... Follow me, then, down this magnificent gorge-the most magnificent, beyond all doubt, which I have ever beheld. The rocks are almost precipitous, or rather they would be if they did not, like their brethren in all this region, overlap, and crumble, and crack, as if they would crash over you" (ib. p. 90). Such are the ravines of Idumaea, and the dark openings of the numerous tombs and grottoes which dot their sides; and the sculptured façades here and there hewn out in their gorgeously colored cliffs add vastly to their picturesque grandeur. The average elevation of the sandstone range is about 2000 feet. Immediately on its eastern side, and indeed so close to it as to make up part of one great range, is a parallel ridge of limestone, attaining a somewhat higher elevation, and extending unbroken far to the north and south. The latter sinks with a gentle slope into the desert of Arabia. The deep valleys and the little terraces along the mountainsides, and the broad downs upon their summits, are covered with rich soil, in which trees, shrubs, and flowers grow luxuriantly. While Edom is thus wild, rugged, and almost inaccessible, the deep glens and flat terraces along the mountainsides are covered with rich soil, from which trees, shrubs, and flowers now spring up luxuriantly. No contrast could be greater than that between the bare, parched plains on the east and west, and the ruddy cliffs, and verdant, flower-spangled; glens and terraces of Edom. This illustrates Bible topography, and reconciles seemingly discordant statements in the sacred volume. While the posterity of Esau dwelt amid rocky fastnesses and on mountain heights, making their houses like the eyries of eagles, and living by their sword (Jer 49:16; Ge 27:40), yet Isaac, in his prophetic blessing, promised his disappointed son that his dwelling should be "of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above" (Ge 27:39). But many critics are of opinion (e.g. Vater, De Wette, Geddes,Von Bohlen) that מַשׁמִנֵּי should there be rendered from, i.e. "far away from, or destitute of," the fatness of the earth, etc.; and it is immediately added, "for thou shalt live by thy sword "and it does not appear that Idumaea was ever particularly noted for its fertility. Some other passages of Scripture are also illustrated by a glance at the towering precipices and peaks of Edom. The border of the Amorites was from "the ascent of scorpions (Akrabbim), from the rock" that is, from the rocky boundary of Edom (Jg 1:36). We read that Amaziah, after the conquest of Seir, took ten thousand of the captives to the "top of the cliff," and thence cast them down, dashing them all to pieces (2Ch 25:11-12).
5. Present State of the Country. — Idumaea, once so rich in its flocks, so strong in its fortresses and rock-hewn cities, so extensive in its commercial relations, so renowned for the architectural splendor of its temples and palaces-is now a deserted and desolate wilderness. Its whole population is contained in some three or four miserable villages; no merchant would now dare to enter its borders; its highways are untrodden, its cities are all in ruins. The predictions of God's Word have been fulfilled to the very letter (see Estlander, Vaticinia Jesaice in dumnceos. Aboae, 1825). "Thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof… When the whole earth rejoiceth I will make thee desolate.... Thou shalt be desolate, O Mount Seir, and all Idumaea, even all of it… Edom shall be a desolation; every one that goeth by it shall be astonished" (Isa 34:13; Eze 35:14; Jer 49:17). Idumaea is now divided into two districts, Jebal, including the northern section as far as wady el-Ghuweir, and Esh Shercah, embracing the southern part (Burckhardt, Trav. in Syria, p. 410; Robinson, Bib. Res. 2, 154). Burckhardt mentions a third district, Jebal Hesma; but Robinson says that though there is a sandy tract, el-Hismah, with mountains around it, on the east of Akabah, it does not constitute a separate division. The site of the ancient capital Bozrah is now marked by the small village of Busaireh, and Petra, the Nabathaean capital, is well known as wady Musa.
The whole of this region is at present occupied by various tribes of Bedouin Arabs. The chief tribe in the Jebal is the Hejaya, with a branch of the Kaabineh, while in esh-Sherah they are all of the numerous and powerful tribe of the Haweitat, with a few independent allies. The Bedouins in Idumaea have of late--years been partially subject to the pacha of Egypt, paying an annual tribute, which, in the case of the Beni Sukhr, is one camel for two tents. The fellahin, or peasants, are half Bedouin, inhabiting the few villages, but dwelling also in tents; they too pay tribute to the Egyptian government, and furnish supplies of grain.
6. The character of the Edomites was drawn by Isaac in his prophetic blessing to Esau — "By thy sword shalt thou live" (Ge 27:40). War and rapine were the only professions of the Edomites. By the sword they got Mount Seir-by the sword they exterminated the Horites-by the sword they long battled with their brethren of Israel, and finally broke off their yoke-by the sword they won Southern Palestine-and by the sword they performed the last act in their long historic drama, massacred the guards in the Temple, and pillaged the city of Jerusalem.
Little is known of their religion, but that little shows them to have been idolatrous. It is probable that Esau's marriage with the "daughters of Cancan," who "were a grief of mind" to his father and mother (Ge 26:34-35), induced him to embrace their religion; and when Esau and his followers took possession of Mount Seir, they seem to have followed the practice common among ancient nations of adopting the country's gods, for we read that Amaziah, king of Judah, after his conquest of the Edomites, "brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods" (2Ch 25:14-15,20). Josephus also refers both to the idols (one of which he named Koze) and priests of the Idumaens (Ant. 15, 17, 9).
7. Literature. — With respect to the striking fulfilment of the prophetic denunciations upon Edom, we need only refer the reader to the well- known work of Keith, who frequently errs, however, in straining the sense of prophecy beyond its legitimate import, as well as in seeking out too literally minute an accomplishment. On Idumaea generally, see C. B. Michaelis, Dis. De Antiquiss, Idumaea. Hist. in Pott and Ruperti's Sylloge Comment. Theologic. part 6, p. 121; J. D. Michaelis, Comment. de Troglodytis Seiritis, in the Syntagma Comment., part 1, p. 194. For the ancient geography, Reland's Palcestina; Forster's Geography of Arabia; Ritter's Palastina und Syrien. For the history and commerce, Nolde, Hist. Idumaea, Frank. 1726: Vincent's Commerce and Navigation of the Ancients, vol. 2. For modern geography, the travels of Burckhardt, Laborde, Wilson, Stanley, and Porter's Handb. for Syria and Pal.; but especially, Sketches of Idumaea and its present Inhabitants, by Dr. E. Robinson, in the Amer. Rib. Repository for April 1833, p. 247, and his Bib. Researches, 2, 551. SEE EDOMITE, etc.