Inhabitants of land at the SE end of the Dead Sea. The Edomites lived adjacent to the Israelites, with whom there were frequent conflicts, though their close relationship was indicated by the legend of their ancestors going back to Esau, the brother of Jacob (Gen. 25: 19–26; 36: 1, 8). They finally defeated Judah in the time of Ahaz (742–725bce, 2 Chron. 28: 17) but were themselves conquered both by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. The Edomites had the capacity to survive and even to flourish in commercial enterprise. Some, from whom Herod the Great was descended, emigrated westwards to Idumaea. The Jews could not forget the hostile actions of Edom after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 bce (Obad. 8–14).
Subjects: Biblical Studies.