Ancient country of modern southwestern Jordan and southern Israel, from about 13th century BCE until 4th century BCE. Their lands stretched from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.
Landscapes of Edom. From Wadi Dana, Jordan.
Landscapes of Edom. The descent from the Jordanese plateau to the lowlands of the Gulf of Aqaba.
Landscapes of Edom. The hills over Eilat, Israel.
Landscapes of Edom. This is of Wadi Murjib, Jordan.
The land was populated by the Edomites, who spoke the Edomite language. They were most probably of Semitic origin, and Jewish sources often list them as a Hebrew people. At the same time, they are presented as enemies of the Hebrews, yet as wise people. Although the Bible presents them as descendants of Esau, son of Isaac, an historical reconstruction would more likely consider them a people apart from the Israelis, but which over time would assimilate and come to form the Jewish people. They most likely also represent part of the ancestry of modern Palestinians.
The main reason for modern interest in Edom is the link to the development of Judaism, and hence Christianity, but they are also mentioned in other source, for example, in Egyptian and Assyrian records.
Edom became rich by being located on the trade route between Arabia and the Mediterranean regions, Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Edomites controlled copper mines, and smaller iron mines.
13th century BCE: The emergence of the Edomites in the lands south of the Dead Sea. Either they immigrated to the area, or they were the original people forming societies sufficiently advanced to be noted and identified by their neighbours. The people of the same region before were known as Horites, who might have been replaced by the Edomites, who may have formed Edom.
Late 2nd millennium: Most likely, the Edomites form kingdoms with central administrations.
10th-6th centuries: Edom falls under Judah. Edom would liberate itself at times, but would remain subject to Judah over most of the following 400 years. Edom was through most of this period administered by rulers who were vassals under Judah.
6th-4th centuries: Edom is independent of Judah, but appears not to form any strong kingdoms. During this period Edom is taken by the Nabateans. The Edomites move into the lands of southern Israel.
40: Herod, who was of Edomite origin, becomes king of the Roman province of Judea.
1st century CE: The lands of the Edomites are known as Idumaea.