Where is Edom Today?

January 17, 2024

Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of red lentils, and the biblical descendants of Edom live in modern-day Jordan. Although the ancient kingdom of Edom no longer exists, the descendants have integrated into other populations over time. The current inhabitants of the region believe that the land is their inheritance and they want to share it with the world.

The ancient kingdom of Edom was a hill country located in what is now southern Jordan and northern Israel. The region was famous for its copper-producing activity in the 10th century BCE, and there is an archaeological site at Khirbat An-Nahas (also known as Faynan) that was once a thriving center of industry.

During the biblical period, Edom was ruled by kings who were part of the larger kingdom of Judah. The Book of Obadiah shows that the Edomites were proud and violent, and they took delight in Israel’s fall during the Babylonian Captivity in 586 BCE. As a result, the Lord punished Edom and promised to turn it into a desert (Obadiah 1:10-14).

Two highways ran north to south through the territory of Edom and Moab: the King’s Highway and the Way of the Wilderness. When the Israelites wanted to pass through Edom, they asked permission of the king. The king refused, so Moses and the Israelites had to detour around the area using the Way of the Wilderness instead (Num 20:17-18; Deut 2:18).


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