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Edom

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Edom (/ˈiːdəm/;[1][2] Edomite: 𐤀𐤃𐤌 ’Edām; Hebrew: אֱדוֹם‎ ʼÉḏōm, lit.: "red"; 𒌑𒁺𒈪 Udumi and 𒌑𒁺𒈬 Udumu;[3] Ancient Egyptian jdwmj[4]) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west and the Arabian Desert to the south and east.[5] Most of its former territory is now divided between southern Israel and Jordan. Edom appears in written sources relating to the late Bronze Age and to the Iron Age in the Levant.

Edomites are related in several ancient sources including the Tanakh, a list of the Egyptian pharaoh Seti I from c. 1215 BC as well as in the chronicle of a campaign by Ramesses III (r. 1186–1155 BC).[5] Archaeological investigation showed that the nation flourished between the 13th and the 8th century BC and was destroyed after a period of decline in the 6th century BC by the Babylonians.[5] After the loss of the kingdom, the Edomites were pushed westward towards southern Judah by nomadic tribes coming from the east; among them were the Nabataeans, who first appeared in the historical annals of the 4th century BC and already established their own kingdom in what used to be Edom, by the first half of the 2nd century BC.[5] More recent excavations show that the process of Edomite settlement in the southern parts of the Kingdom of Judah and parts of the Negev down to Timna had started already before the destruction of the kingdom by Nebuchadnezzar II in 587/86 BC, both by peaceful penetration and by military means and taking advantage of the already-weakened state of Judah.[6][7]

Once pushed out of their territory, the Edomites settled during the Persian period in an area comprising the southern hills of Judea down to the area north of Be'er Sheva. [8] The people appear under a Greek form of their old name, as Idumeans or Idumaeans, and their new territory was called Idumea or Idumaea (Greek: Ἰδουμαία, Idoumaía; Latin: Idūmaea), a term that was used in New Testament times.[9][10]

Edom and Idumea are two related but distinct terms which are both related to a historically-contiguous population but two separate, if adjacent, territories which were occupied by the Edomites/Idumeans in different periods of their history. The Edomites first established a kingdom ("Edom") in the southern area of modern-day Jordan and later migrated into the southern parts of the Kingdom of Judah ("Idumea", or modern-day southern Israel/Negev) when Judah was first weakened and then destroyed by the Babylonians, in the 6th century BC.[11]

The Hebrew word Edom means "red", and the Hebrew Bible relates it to the name of its founder, Esau, the elder son of the Hebrew patriarch Isaac, because he was born "red all over".[12] As a young adult, he sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for "red pottage".[13] The Tanakh describes the Edomites as descendants of Esau.[14]

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