Monday, January 22Exploring The Black Presence In The Bible

Finding Edom: Who Are The Edomites Today? – Part 2

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." - Hosea 4:6

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In Part 1 we looked at the fact that Esau is described as reddish-brown (ruddy) and hairy. We also looked at the fact that he took wives from the line of Ishmael, which were a mix of Hebrew and Egyptian, and known to be dark skinned people. At least up to this point in scripture, we have to acknowledge that Edomites were black people. But the main issue is whether or not Edom became white and if some white people alive today are descendants of Edom. To further explore this journey, let’s look at the interactions between Hebrews and Edom according to scripture.

Post Exodus Hebrew-Edomite Relations

Immediately after Israel gained their freedom from Egypt, their brother Edom turned their back on them and refused to allow them to safely pass through their country. One of the most interesting aspects of the story is that both sides openly acknowledge their relationship, but Edom remains hostile to Israel anyway.

And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us… And Edom said unto him, Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword… Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.” – Numbers 20:12, 18, & 21

The event passes without incident, but we have a chance to see Edom’s hatred for Israel. The Edomites were willing to go to war rather than allow Israel to pass through peacefully through their territory. Part of the reason for this may have been generational resentment of Jacob receiving the birthright that should’ve went to Edom.

Balaam – The Overlooked Edomite

There is one piece of evidence that points to Balaam being an Edomite, which explains his willingness to defy God and curse Israel. Throughout scripture, he is referred to as “the son of Beor” (Numbers 22:5). It is in Genesis we see that Beor was the father of Bela:

And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom: and the name of his city was Dinhabah.” – Genesis 36:2

Now these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the children of Israel; Bela the son of Beor: and the name of his city was Dinhabah.” – 1 Chronicles 1:43

Because we aren’t given the name of any other Beor in scripture, it is relatively safe to assume that Balaam was of Edomite lineage and therefore willing to conspire against Israel. In fact, this entire scenario turns into a full on family feud:

  • Edomites – Descendants of Esau
  • Moabites – Descendants of Lot
  • Midianites – Descendants of Abraham

“And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me…” – Numbers 22:2-5

This conspiracy against Israel erupts into a war that results in the destruction of Midian and the death of Balaam. In order to stay on topic, we’re going to skip over most of the Balaam story and jump to the end.

And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.”  – Numbers 31:8

Israel emerges victorious and slays every grown man, every male child, and every woman that wasn’t a virgin, in order to prevent the birth of more Midianites. Some of the Midianites survived, but this was a huge blow to their population. This slaughter and the death of Balaam also leads to a brief moment of peace between Israel and Edom.

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A Sudden Change of Policy

Believe it or not, there was a very short period of trade between Israel and Edom. After the war with Midian, Israel camped in Mount Sier, which was Edomite territory. When it was finally time to leave, God gave them specific instructions regarding the Edomites:

“And the LORD spake unto me, saying, Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward. And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore: Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession. Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink.” – Deuteronomy 2:2-6

This brotherly economy didn’t last long at all, but for a brief moment, Israel and Edom were at peace with each other. At his point just after the Exodus, both Israel and Edom still acknowledged that they were brothers.

Inconsistency #7 – Edom Remained In Africa

We know that Israel use to be officially considered part of Africa, which means that the Edomites had remained in Africa all during the 400+ years of Israel’s enslavement to Egypt. Reason tells us that if Israel was dark after spending over 400 years in Egypt, then it would make sense the Edom would be dark too… at least up until this point.

Secondary Questions

  • If Edomites were living in Africa post Exodus, what are the odds that they would’ve been white?
  • If Edomites were white, why wasn’t it mentioned in scripture at all?
Inconsistency #8 – No Close Genetic Relation

The belief that Edom are today’s white people isn’t actually founded on genealogy or DNA, but the assumption that white people are Edom. There is no DNA study or historical evidence that black people and white people share a common ancestor dating back to Abraham.

Secondary Questions

  • If today’s white people are Edom, why don’t they share similar DNA markers with tribes like the Lemba?
  • Why didn’t Edom develop melanoma from living in Africa like European “Jews” do today, if they were white?

Edomites Under King David

During the reign of David there were many wars, but one specific battle resulted in him taking over Edom, installing garrisons, and Edom becoming subject to him:

“And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David’s servants. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went.” – 2 Samuel 8:14

We’re going to get into the slavery issue between Edom and Israel in the next part, but it is important to note that slavery seems to be the chosen form of punishment between the two nations. And just like all forms of slavery, eventually those enslaved attempt to fight back or flee.

Many of us have rightfully pointed out the the Hebrews often fled into Africa in order to escape Asian and European invasion. In order to remain consistent, we must also apply that to the following reference to Hadad and the Edomite servants of his father.

“And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom. For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom; (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:) That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child.” – 1 Kings 11:17

Inconsistency #9 – Edomites Fled Into Africa

According to these verses, David’s mighty man Joab began killing Edomite males, which led to Hadad and his father’s Edomite servant’s fleeing into Africa to escape. Its hard to even think of a reason any non black person would flee into Africa to hide. They’d easily stand out and anyone could point pursuers in the right direction if they came looking.

Secondary Questions

  • Why did Hadad and other Edomites flee into Africa if they didn’t look like Africans?
  • Why is it assumed that Hebrews hid in Africa because they were black, but not assumed that the same exact reason for flight into Africa would apply to their Edomite brothers.

The Breakdown

The Bible paints a clear picture of a dysfunctional family. The descendants of Lot (Moabites) are the cousins of Israel, Midian descended from Jacob’s uncle, and Edom was his brother. What’s interesting are the motivations behind each betrayal:

  • Midian: Resentment for being sent away from Abraham because he loved Isaac more.
  • Moab: Fear of Israel because of what they did to the Egyptians.
  • Edom: Hatred for Israel because Jacob manipulated Esau out of his birthright.

Even though they all have their reasons, it is Edom that takes any opportunity that they can to harm Israel… even into the 1600s through the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and possibly into the modern age. In Part 3 we’re going to get into the Edomite rebellion and the long term plot to get rid of Israel permanently. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss the next installment in this series.

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  • kimani

    I found this interesting 2 king 5:17-27.. White race.
    2 Kings 5 (KJV)
    27. The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

    • Black History In The Bible

      I’ve touched on that in some of my past studies posted on the site. It’s not really relevant to this though. Nor does it point to the origin of the white race. It’s moreso a curse of albinism.

    • Black History In The Bible

      That’s not new nor is it relevant. We already know that. How about you leave the writing to me since I’m speaking to a broad audience that’s consists of a lot of new people. Using a bunch of terms based on semantics that new comers are unfamiliar with defeats the purpose.

      The fact is there IS a “J” in English and since that’s what I speak I’ll say Judah, Jesus, and Jericho all I want. God isn’t bound by human language. That’s your hangup.

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