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Edom, Kings of

Esau is considered the father of the people of Edom. In the Bible, Esau is mentioned as Jacob’s brother. After departing from Jacob, Esau settled into the land south of Judea. This area became known as Edom.  The reference to the Kings of Edom is found on the Bible Timeline Chart about 1290 BC. When the people of Israel left Egypt they thought they could head through the land of Edom into the Promise Land which was Canaan. The Edomite rulers didn’t want the Israelites to pass through their territory and they made preperations to go to war with them if they didn’t listen to their demand. The Israelites became very discouraged. God told the Israelites not to fight against Edom. God called the people of Edom brothers to the Israelites. He then told them to go around their territory to reach the land of Canaan. When the Israelites were refused entrance into the land of Edom this decree was given by their king. The Bible doesn’t go into detial about who this king was but it does list the kings of Edom on two separate accounts. Genesis 36 lists the kings of Edom and 1 Chronicles 1:43-54 mirrors this particular passage. According to 1 Chronicles 1:43-54 the Edomites had kings long before Israel. This fact also probably played a role with the Israelites wanting a king after Samuel completed his term as the last Judge of Israel. The first king of Edom was Belen the son of Beor. The Bible doesn’t go into detail about how long the kings of Edom reigned. The next king on the list was Jobab and then there was Husham, Hadad, Samlah, Shaul and Baal-Hanan. After Baal-Hanan died another ruler by the name of Hadad became king.

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Most of the kings of Edom had names and characters that seemed to reflect the ungoldy nature of the people. God said that he “hated” Esau before he was born. Apparently God saw how Esau was going to be long before he was born out of Rebecca‘s womb. The Edomites worshipped the many different gods in the region where they dwelt. Baal-Hanan was a king whose name was directly linked to the pagan deity Baal. There were also clans mentioned in 1 Chronicles 1: 43-55 and these clans represented ungodly characters as well. The clan of Alvah meant “wicked” and there was the clan of Iram whose name meant “mountain goat”.

Even though many of the Edomites had later converted to Judiasm they seemed to be still considered a wicked people according to scripture. Herod the Great was an Edomite and during his reign he played a role trying to kill Jesus as a child and with his persecution by Rome. Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel condemned Edom in prophecies. Israel ruled over Edom at various times in its history and they also placed appointed kings to power over the land when they did. Edom had constantly resisted and attacked Israel all throughout its history. The prophet Obadiah also condemns Edom for being too proud and not relying on God. In Genesis 25:23 God tells Rebekah that her sons (Jacob and Esau) will be rivals from the time they’re born. He also said that the older brother will serve the younger one. Ultimately the strife between Israel and Edom is the result of God’s judgment on the land before Esau was born. The kings of Edom were just fulfilling the judgment that God placed on Esau and his descendants.

Biblical References to Kings Of Edom

  • Genesis 25:23 God judges Esau and Jacob before they were born. He states that they will have descendants that will be rivals.
  •  Genesis 36: 1-5, 6-8 Esau is called Edom. Jacob and Esau have to split apart because of their great wealth. The first list of kings form Edom is also mentioned in this chapter of the Bible.
  •  Numbers 20:21 The Edomites refuse to allow Israel to pass through their land.