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There are many prophecies in the OT regarding the Edomites (The decendants of Esau). Isaiah 34:5-6

My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed. The sword of the Lord is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat— the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams. For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.

Isaiah 63:1-4

Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save.” Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. It was for me the day of vengeance; the year for me to redeem had come.

Also the book of Obadiah is dedicated to the destruction of Edom. Were these prophecies fulfilled? If no, who are the Edomites today, and why God is so furious about them?

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  • Just to confuse things, know that Herod the Great was an Edomite whose ancestors had converted to Judaism. Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 1:08
  • Yes I know that.
    – Kapandaria
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 4:04

3 Answers 3

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The prophecies regarding the physical descendants of Esau are definitely fulfilled. The ones dealing with spiritual Edom, not so much.

Esau/Edom is a symbol of a carnal, unsaved human. Like his ancestor Adam, he sold his authority for something of no value. Adam in the OT often times pictures the whole humanity (men, sons of Adam). In the same way the nation of Edom is a symbol of the unsaved non-believers.

Edom (אדום) and Adam (אדם) are written almost the same way in Hebrew.

In Obadiah, the author pronounces the judgement over Edom to verse 14 and from 15 on switches to the prosecuting Israel peoples/nations as if both were synonyms.

That interpretation must be ancient since Amos 9:12 in the Greek Septuagint reads: "that the remnant of men, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, may earnestly seek [me], saith the Lord who does all these things". The same verse in Hebrew says: "That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this".

Amos 9:11-12 is quoted by Jacob in Acts 15:16-17 as words that were coming to pass.

The quoted verses from Isaiah 63 are still to be fulfilled. They are used eschatologically by John to describe God's judgement of unbelieving peoples/nations in the Book of Revelation 14 and 19.

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  • When you said "interpretation must be ancient", what did you mean? What interpretation? And how do you prove it from discrepencies between the hebrew and the translation?
    – Kapandaria
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 12:43
  • That eschatologically Edom often can be interpreted as adam (men/humanity). Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 12:56
  • Oh, I do not think so. Edom is Edom, Adam is Adam. I see the discrepency between the Hebrew and the Septuagint as an error, and nothing more. I found that the Septuagint is the most unreliable version of the bible, But not for now to discuss it.
    – Kapandaria
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 13:00
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For what it is worth, here is an extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edom

Edom (/ˈiːdəm/;[1][2] Edomite: 𐤀𐤃𐤌 ’Edām; Hebrew: אֱדוֹם ʼÉḏōm, lit.: "red"; Akkadian: 𒌑𒁺𒈪 Udumi, 𒌑𒁺𒈬 Udumu;[3] Ancient Egyptian: jdwmꜥ)[4] was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west, and the Arabian Desert to the south and east.[5] Most of its former territory is now divided between present-day southern Israel and Jordan. Edom appears in written sources relating to the late Bronze Age and to the Iron Age in the Levant. ...

Once pushed out of their territory, the Edomites settled during the Persian period in an area comprising the southern hills of Judea down to the area north of Be'er Sheva.[8] The people appear under a Greek form of their old name, as Idumeans or Idumaeans, and their new territory was called Idumea or Idumaea (Greek: Ἰδουμαία, Idoumaía; Latin: Idūmaea), a term that was used in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, also mentioned in the New Testament. During the 2nd century BC, the Edomites were forcibly converted to Judaism by the Hasmoneans, and were incorporated into the Jewish nation.

For more details about the Bible history of the Edomites, see https://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?s=references&q=edomites

Thus, the prophecies appear to have been fulfilled - Edom is no longer a people and the Edomite kingdom has been lost to history.

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The sovereignty of Edom/Idumea was destroyed, but its people remained and mostly converted to Judaism. The prophecy of Edom's destruction may have been fulfilled when Judean forces conquered Idumaea, or these prophecies may have been suspended when the Idumeans accepted Judaism (see excerpts from Jeremiah 12 and 18 below).

After the conquest of Judah by the Babylon, Edomites were settled in the region south of Hebron. They reportedly prospered there, and were given the the name "Idumaean" by the Greeks and Romans. The prophecies in the OP may have been fulfilled during the revolt of the Maccabees against the Seleucid kingdom. The Jewish patriot Judas Maccabeus conquered their territory for a time around 163 B.C.E. Idumea was again subdued by the independent Jewish ruler John Hyrcanus (c. 125 B.C.E.). It is not known how bloody these wars were, but Edom was not physically destroyed in the process. Instead, the Idumeans were forcibly converted to Judaism.

“Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, and of the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befell them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.” (Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews - Book XIII chap. 9)

Although generally looked down on by Jews, several Idumeans rose to great prominence, including Herod the Great and his son Antipas. - Source: New World Encyclopedia: Edom

The willingness of the Jews to assimilate the Edomites instead of destroying them according to prophecy may be understood in light of the following commandment:

Deuteronomy 23:7 - You shall not abhor any of the Edomites, for they are your kin.

See also Jeremiah 12:

Thus says the Lord concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage that I have given my people Israel to inherit: I am about to pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again to their heritage and to their land, every one of them. And then, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people... then they shall be built up in the midst of my people.

This may be the prophecy that was fulfilled in the case of Edom. On the basis of Jer. 18:8 ("If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them") God's forgiveness in such cases superseded the need for prophecy to be fulfilled. (See also, the Book of Jonah.)

The Edomites have disappeared as a distinct people but many of them were known to have become Jews, and their descendants are likely still alive today.

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  • Btw what OP refers to?
    – Kapandaria
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 4:11

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