Edom (אֱדוֹם, Standard Hebrew Edom, Tiberian Hebrew ʾĔḏôm) sounds like the Biblical Hebrew word for "red" and is a vividly apposite designation for the red sandstones of Edom.

'Edom' is also an alternative name for Esau according to the Hebrew Bible. The Book of Genesis mentions "red" a number of times when describing Esau and connecting that color to him:

The person

  • "The first one [Esau] came out reddish (admoni in Hebrew) as hairy as a fur coat. They named him Esau." [1] (http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?ACTION=displaypage&BOOK=1&CHAPTER=25) (Genesis 25:25).
  • "Jacob was once simmering a stew, when Esau came home exhausted from the field. Esau said to Jacob, 'Give me a swallow of that reddish red (ha-adom, ha-adom [i.e. using the word ha-adom twice]) I am exhausted.' He was therefore given the name Edom ('Red' or 'Ruddy')." [2] (http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?ACTION=displaypage&BOOK=1&CHAPTER=25) (Genesis 25:29-30)

See also Genesis 36:

  • "These are the chronicles of Esau, also known as Edom...These are the chronicles of Esau, the ancestor of Edom, in the hill country of Seir...These are the sons of Esau, and these are their tribal chiefs. This is what constitutes Edom...These are the tribes of Esau, each with its own settlements in its hereditary lands. This is how Esau was the ancestor of the Edomites." [3] (http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?ACTION=displaypage&BOOK=1&CHAPTER=36) (Genesis 36).

Thus how Esau gained the name Edom is explained in the Book of Genesis commencing with his reddish hairy body at birth, the strange symbolic hurried eating of Jacob's red stew (for which he sold his birthright of being the first-born) which the narrative attaches to his name, and the descriptions of him and his descendants connecting Esau with Edom inextricably and calling them Edomites. Later they were called Idumeans in Roman times.

The place

The land of Edom is also called the land of Seir in which the descendants of Esau settled, displacing the Horites, and the Edomites are the people of the nation they formed there.

The land of Edom is generally believed to be the hill country immediately to the east of Wadi Arabah, which is today part of the Kingdom of Jordan as well as northern Saudi Arabia.

Later in Jewish history, it was the Roman Empire that came to be identified with Esau and "Edom" because of their reliance on the symbolism of red in their banners and standards and with their ruthless "bloody" reign in Judea as experienced by the people of Judea.

The land of Edom was known as Idumea in Roman times. See Antipater the Idumaean

See also

The Edomite languagede:Edom es:Edom fi:Edom he:אדום (עם) sv:Edom


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