ISRAEL - Biblical Road from Judea to Edom

Arno Froese

What was the route of the ancient road connecting the Kingdom of Judea to the neighboring nation of Edom as described in the Bible? Recent research by a group of Israeli scholars has shed new light on the issue.

The research sparked an interest in other systems of roads, especially after Ben-Gurion University of the Negev archaeologist Dr. Eli Cohen-Sasson came across a site that was already known but never properly studied, Nahal Gorer.

Cohen-Sasson and his colleagues noted that pottery artifacts, which experts usually use to date remains, all belonged to the same period—ninth- or eighth-century BCE, during the Iron Age II (1200 BCE-586 BCE)—and started to examine what could have been the nature of the site.

“We read a lot about the road to Edom mentioned in the Bible,” Cohen-Sasson said.

“The king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel,” reads a passage. “So King Jehoram promptly set out from Samaria and mustered all Israel. At the same time, he sent this message to King Jehoshaphat of Judah: ‘The king of Moab has rebelled against me; will you come with me to make war on Moab?’ He replied, ‘I will go. I will do what you do: my troops shall be your troops, my horses shall be your horses.’ And he asked, ‘Which route shall we take?’ [Jehoram] replied, ‘The road through the wilderness of Edom.’”

“When we started our work, we realized that the site proved that there were two roads because Gorer stands exactly at the intersection between them,” Cohen-Sasson said.

Another important element to consider is that the site was located at a very strategic position that gave a unique opportunity to monitor the surroundings, Cohen-Sasson said, adding: “This shows us that ancient Judeans had a very good understanding of the topography of their territory.”, 27 July 2021

Arno's Commentary

Israel is the land of the Bible. From there, we have the history from the beginning up to the present, as well as the future. Israel gave us the law and the wonderful Gospel of grace. Wherever Israeli archaeologists dig, they find what was written long ago in their Scripture. 

Before Israel entered the Promised Land, the first major opposition came from Edom. Numbers 20:18-21 reports: “And Edom said unto him, Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword. And the children of Israel said unto him, We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it: I will only, without doing anything else, go through on my feet. And he said, Thou shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.”

It is of interest that the Lord granted the territory on the east side of the Jordan to the two and a half tribes. The border in the south was the river Arnon. Today’s capital city of Jordan is Amman. It’s not south of the Arnon, but located within the boundaries of the two and half tribes of Israel. Not surprisingly, Jordan is still a very unstable land. Some claim that its population is mostly Arab-Palestinian by origin. The dominant religion is Islam (97.1%), with Christians at 2.1%. Life expectancy is 75.7 years, with real GDP per capita at $10,100. 

But, as we mentioned, the southern part is not to be touched by Israel, according to Scripture.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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