Shalom, everyone! The following is a diagram of the family of Abraham, the Edomites, descendants of Esau son of Isaac, son of Abraham, based upon the accounts of the Book of Genesis (Bereshith) in the Tanakh, the Book of Jasher, and the Book of Jubilees. Please click twice on the diagram to expand to full size:
The Family of Abraham: The Edomites – Descendants of Esau
The Edomites are a Hebrew people descended from Abraham and his first wife, Sarah through their son Isaac and grandson Esau. Esau married four wives, three were Canaanites and one Ishmaelite as follows:
- Firstly, Judith daughter of Beeri, son of Epher, son of Heth, son of Canaan, and had issue:
- Two daughters Marzith and Puith;
- Secondly, Basemath (renamed Adah) daughter of Elon, descendant of Heth, son of Canaan, and had issue:
- One son Eliphaz;
- Thirdly, Mahalath (renamed Basemath) daughter of Ishmael, and had issue:
- One son Reuel;
- Fourthly, Oholibamah daughter of Zibeon, son of Seir, son of Hur, son of Hivi, son of Canaan, and had issue:
- Three sons Jeush, Jaalam and Korah.
Esau initially lived in the Land of Canaan with his parents, Isaac and Rebecca, and married his first three wives while there. After his younger twin brother Jacob received the blessing of the firstborn son, Esau abandoned his parents and moved to Mount Seir, mountainous region between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, settling with the Children of Seir, the family of his fourth wife, Oholibamah. The Edomites intermarried with the Children of Seir and conquered them. The region was renamed Edom, and later Idumea during the Second Temple era. The descendants of Esau became kings/chiefs in the Land of Edom, were fruitful and multiplied, and developed a viable system of leadership, succession, and governance even before Israel became a nation.
Due to regional and international trade, Edomites migrated to Arabia, Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and Syria), Persia, India, Anatolia (Turkey) and throughout the Mediterranean region (present-day Southern Europe, the Levant, and North Africa). The Edomites managed to make alliances which elevated them among the ruling elite in the regions to which they migrated. They intermarried with many different peoples in these regions including the Ishmaelites, the Children of Seir (Canaanites) and, according to the Book of Jasher, with the children of Kittim (descendants of Japheth) from whom came the Romans (Romim). The Edomites were instrumental in the establishment of the Roman Empire. A grandson of Esau, Zepho, migrated to Italy and organized the Romim tribes into a well-organized and governed military state and empire. The Romim eventually made Zepho their first king. In Persia, Haman, a descendant of Esau‘s grandson Amalek, rose to the position of the grand vizier under the Emperor Achaverosh, and sought to exterminate the Judeans exiled throughout the Persian Empire. In Anatolia, the Edomites carved out their own kingdom in the south-central part of the country called “Isauria,” south of Galatia. This kingdom was later conquered by the Romans in 25 BCE to become part of the Roman province of Galatia. The Isaurians were said to be a fiercely independent mountain people who wreaked havoc on the Romans and the Macedonians.
One event that is often overlooked in ancient history is the conquest of the Edomites in Idumea by the Hasmonean (Maccabean) dynasty during the Second Temple era. In 125 BCE, Idumea was conquered by the Hasmoneans lead by John Hyrcanus, and the Edomites were forcibly converted to Judaism, the religion of the Second Temple era. This forced conversion allowed the Edomites to integrate and intermarry with the Judeans. The Edomites migrated north into Judea and ceased to be a separate and independent people from the Judeans after their absorption by the Hasmoneans. During the height of the Roman Empire, Edomites were elevated to positions of power, for example, the members of the Herodian dynasty (Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, Herod Agrippa etc.), who were descended from converts to Judaism, were appointed rulers over Judea, Samaria, Syria and Idumea. Edomite converts to Judaism migrated throughout the Roman Empire (Southern Europe, North Africa and the Levant, including Greece, the Balkans, Cyprus, Anatolia, Syria, and Lebanon), Arabia, Mesopotamia, Persia and India, and established various diaspora proselyte Jewish communities in these regions, intermarrying with the local peoples there. These proselyte communities later became known as the Sephardim (Sephardi Jews), Maghrebim (Maghrebi Jews) and Mizrahim (Mizrahi Jews). The Sephardim originated from the Edomite diaspora communities of Southern Europe and the Levant; the Maghrebim originated from the Edomite diaspora communities of North Africa; and the Mizrahim originated from the Edomite diaspora communities of Arabia, Mesopotamia, Persia, and India.
It should be noted that the modern-day descendants of the Edomites, due to their intermingling with the Ishmaelites, are mostly the Arabs today. Contrary to the erroneous teaching of some rabbis and “camp-Israelite” doctrine, most Europeans are not Edomites. The vast majority of Europeans are descendants of Noah‘s eldest son Japheth. While some Edomites migrated to Southern Europe and the Levant, and intermarried with the local peoples there, only a small minority of modern-day Europeans have Edomite ancestry. These European descendants of the Edomites are the Sephardim today, who are a mix of Shemitic and Japhetic peoples.
To summarize, the modern-day descendants of the Edomites may be found primarily among the Arabs, Sephardi Jews, Maghrebi Jews and Mizrahi Jews. Some Edomites migrated into sub-Saharan Africa; their descendants may be found among the Edo and Idoma peoples of Nigeria. As descendants of Abraham, the Edomites are still subject to the terms and conditions of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 12, Genesis 15, and Genesis 17). The Torah also teaches us how we are to treat Edomites who wish to join the Congregation of Yisra’el. Please take heed and remember that YAH expects always a higher standard of behavior from us regardless of how the other nations behave. We have the right to defend ourselves against our enemies, however, when our Edomite kinsmen wish to join the Congregation of Yisra’el sincerely, according to Torah, we must welcome them and treat them well:
“You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your kinsman. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, for you were a stranger in his land. Children born to them may be admitted into the congregation of the LORD in the third generation.” ~ Deuteronomy 23:8-9
|Child of Esau||Descendants|
|Marzith||Marzith was the first daughter of Esau and his first wife Judith daughter of Beeri, a Hittite-Canaanite woman. Marzith married Anah son of Zibeon, son of Seir, a Canaanite.|
|Puith||Puith was the second daughter of Esau and his first wife Judith daughter of Beeri, a Hittite-Canaanite woman. Puith married Anah son of Zibeon, son of Seir.|
|Eliphaz||Eliphaz was the first son of Esau and his second wife Basemath (Adah) daughter of Elon, a Hittite-Canaanite woman. Basemath was renamed “Adah” by Esau. Eliphaz had issue:
|Reuel||Reuel was the second son of Esau and the first for his third wife Mahalath (renamed Basemath) daughter of Ishmael. Reuel had issue:
|Jeush||Jeush was the third son of Esau and his fourth wife Oholibamah. He had issue:
|Jaalam||Jaalam was the fourth son of Esau and his fourth wife Oholibamah. He had issue:
|Korah||Korah was the fifth son of Abraham and his fourth wife Oholibamah.|