One of the enemies of Israel that David subdued during his wars were the Edomites. This event is found on the Biblical Timeline Chart around 1040 BC King David is considered the greatest king in all of Israel. His life was very dynamic and compelling. He killed a giant as a boy, eluded a mad monarch as a young man and by the time he was 30 he was king of God’s chosen people. David’s life was filled with many blessings and with curses. In 2 Samuel 7 David wanted to build a permanent home for the Ark of the Covenant and God said that he could gather resources for the project, but he wasn’t allowed to build the temple.
Chapter 7 of Samuel also states that God made a covenant with David so that his lineage would forever remain on the throne of Israel. Shortly after the events of chapter 7, David began to go forth and conquer many enemies in chapter 8. Israel was surrounded by hostile nations on all sides and David’s forces defeated them all. The Edomites were descendants of Esau who was the brother of Jacob. Esau was the firstborn son of Isaac and then Jacob. In Genesis 25:23 God revealed to Rebekah that there were two nations in her womb and that the older would serve this younger. This wasn’t just a personal rivalry between the two brothers, but also affected their two lineages.
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Jacob represents Israel and Esau the Edomites. The promises that God made to Israel was going to come through Jacob and not Esau. When the Israelites had left out of Egypt and headed toward Canaan they wanted to pass through the Edomites land to arrive at their destination. The Edomites refused them entry and many of the Israelis became discouraged and upset. God told them to honor their request and not to make war against them because the Edomites are their brothers. This is in reference to Esau and Jacob.
Even though the Edomites were considered brothers the Edomites were not a godly people. At various different times throughout their history with Israel, they attacked and harassed them. They also sided with the enemies of Israel at different points in time in their history. When King David went out and subdued Isreal’s enemies, God directed his forces toward the Edomites. In the book of 2 Samuel, verses 8:14 King David defeated them and then set up garrisons at strategic points within the land of Edom. He also made the Edomites the servants to Israel.
Once again this coincides with the prophecy that God made about Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25:23. God said that the older brother (Esau) would be the servant of the younger brother Jacob. This is one time that this prophecy was fulfilled. The Israelites held control over the Edomites for many years following their defeat under the dominance of King David. In time, the Edomites eventually regained their freedom but they still were subject to Israel at various other points in history. King David’s defeat of the Edomites was just one way that God was fulfilling his plan for his people to reclaim all of the lands that he promised them.
Biblical References to David and the Edomites
- Genesis 25:23 God judges Esau and Jacob before they were born. He declares that they will have descendants that will be rivals and that the older brother would be a servant to the younger brother.
- Numbers 20:21 explains how the Edomites refused to allow the Israelites to go through their territory.
- 2 Samuel 8:6 God was with David as he conquered his enemies including the Edomites.
- 2 Samuel 8:14 David set up garrisons at strategic points in the land of Edom. The Edomites now have to serve the Israelites.