ISRAEL - Kingdom of Edom Identified

Arno Froese

The biblical kingdom of Edom has always been a significant puzzle for biblical archaeology. Although evidence is supplied in the Bible, the archaeological record has always had trouble interpreting the text, which said that it existed as a kingdom long before the kings of Israel.

“Using technological evolution as a proxy for social processes, we were able to identify and characterize the emergence of the biblical kingdom of Edom,” explained Tel Aviv University’s Prof. Ezra Ben-Yosef, who led the study with Prof. Tom Levy of the University of California, San Diego. “Our results prove it happened earlier than previously thought and in accordance with the biblical description.”

According to the study, which was published on the site of the scientific journal PLOS ONE, the kingdom’s wealth appears to have been built on a “hi-tech network” of copper, the most valuable resource in the region at the time. Copper was used in ancient times to craft weapons and tools, and the production process for copper is incredibly complex.

“Copper smelting was essentially the hi-tech of ancient times,” Ben-Yosef told The Jerusalem Post.

Using a methodology called the punctuated equilibrium model, the research team analyzed findings from ancient copper mines in Jordan and Israel to create a timeline of the evolution of copper production from 1300-800 BCE. The investigation found a significant decrease of copper in the slag—the waste of copper extraction by smelting—at the Arava site, implying that the process became more efficient and streamlined.

While archaeology had never doubted the existence of the Edomite kingdom, it was widely assumed to have emerged around the late eighth century BCE in the Edomite Plateau, located in Jordan near Petra and southeast of the Dead Sea.

“Before they built their capital in the plateau, the Edomites were a complex and organized kingdom, but they were still nomadic,” said Ben-Yosef. “They dwelled in tents. They didn’t have villages or cities, but they had cemeteries and smelting sites.”

The Edomites eventually did settle in cities on the plateau and built settlements along the trade routes, but these findings prove that they possessed a centralized system of organization long before they settled there., 19 September 2019

Arno's commentary

Discovering Biblical sites, names, cities, and artifacts always seems to be sensational, but in reality should not be. Why? We have the best documentation of the existence of the Edomites in Holy Scripture. For the first time we read the name “Edom” in Genesis 25:30: “And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.” The last time it is mentioned is in Malachi 1:4: “Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever.” Edom no longer exists; just tiny items are being discovered by archaeologists, documenting their past existence.

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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