INTRODUCTION OF EDOM
Edom, in Old Testament times, a country south of the Dead Sea, in present-day southern Israel and Jordan. According to the Bible, the Edomites were descended from Esau, the elder son of Isaac, while the Israelites were descended from Jacob, Isaac’s younger son. The two closely related peoples probably both occupied Palestine around the 13th century BC, and their subsequent relations were unfriendly. Biblical references to the Edomites are usually hostile, although according to some passages they were known for their wisdom. Edom may have had a king before the Israelites did, but between the 10th and 6th centuries BC it was frequently subject to the rule of Israel or Judah. First Kings tells of the Edomite prince Hadad, who was driven into exile by King David and later led a rebellion against Solomon. From the Edomite city of Ezion-geber, on the Gulf of Aqaba, Solomon’s fleet sailed on its voyage to the land of Ophir (see 1 Kings 9:26). Edom was important as a source of iron and copper and also because it lay along the King’s Highway, a strategic trade route between Arabia and the Mediterranean Sea. It is mentioned in Egyptian and Assyrian records and was known in New Testament times as Idumaea.