Origins: The Family of Abraham: The Edomites – Descendants of Esau

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.

The Edomites managed to make alliances which elevated them among the ruling elite throughout the Mediterranean region. They intermarried with many different peoples in the region including the Ishmaelites, the Children of Seir 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 miltary state and empire. The Romim eventually made Zepho their first king.  Haman, who sought to exterminate the Judeans exiled in Persia, was a descendant of Amalek, Esau‘s grandson.

One event that is often overlooked in ancient history is the conquest of the Edomites in Idumea by the Hasmonean (Maccabean) dynasty. 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. During the height of 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 IdumeaEdomite converts to Judaism migrated throughout the Roman Empire and established various proselyte Jewish communities throughout the Mediterranean region in Southern Europe, the Levant and North Africa, intermarrying with the local peoples in these places. These proselyte communities later became known as the Sephardim (Sephardic Jews). Today, the Sephardim make up about 20% of Jews worldwide.

Today, the descendants of the Edomites may be found primarily among the Arabs and Sephardic Jews. Some Edomites migrated into Africa; their descendants may be found among the Edo and Idoma peoples of Nigeria.

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:

  • Six sons Teman, Omar, ZephoGalam, Kenaz, and Amalek, the eternal enemy of the B’nei YsraelAmalek was born to Eliphaz‘s concubine, Timnah daughter of Lothan, son of Seir.
 Reuel Reuel was the second son of Esau and the first for his third wife Mahalath (renamed Basemath) daughter of Ishmael. Reuel had issue:

  • Four sons Nachath, Zerach, Shamah and Mizzah.
 Jeush Jeush was the third son of Esau and his fourth wife Oholibamah. He had issue:

  • Three children Timnah, Alvah and Jeuth.
 Jaalam Jaalam was the fourth son of Esau and his fourth wife Oholibamah. He had issue:

  • Four sons Alah, Phinor and Kenaz.
 Korah Korah was the fifth son of Abraham and his fourth wife Oholibamah.

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