Bible Meaning: Red
Edom is another name for Esau, the red-skinned and hairy twin brother of Jacob. It also represents the name of the region settled by Esau and his descendants.
Edom is generally located southeast, south and southwest of the Dead Sea. The capital of the nation was Bozrah, one of several cities along the King's Highway that ran from Damascus to the Gulf of Aqaba.
During much of their history, the descendants of Esau and Jacob (Israel) had a troubled relationship. For example, Moses asked Edom's permission for the Israelites to use the King's Highway on their journey to Canaan. Not only was His request refused, he was threatened with war if the people attempted to traverse their land (Numbers 20:14 - 21).
Both Kings Saul and David waged wars against Edom (1Samuel 14, 2Samuel 8). Years later, after Israel split into two nations, Judah's King Amaziah killed 10,000 Edomites and allowed another 10,000 to die by being pushed off a cliff (2Chronicles 25)!
When the Kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians, many of those fleeing Jerusalem were caught by the Edomites and turned over to the enemy. They rejoiced in witnessing Judah's downfall and aided in the plunder of Jerusalem (Psalm 137:7, Obadiah 1:8 - 14). God promised and carried out a severe punishment on the nation for its nasty treatment (Malachi 1:2 - 4).
The term Idumea (Isaiah 34:5 - 6, Ezekiel 35:15, 36:5) and Idumaea (Idumea in most translations, Mark 3:8) refers to land controlled by the descendants of Esau.
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.
And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom.
Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed: the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them: all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
Numbers 20:14, 18
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.
And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies: and Israel shall do valiantly.
So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed them.
2Kings 8:20, 22
In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves . . . Yet Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time.
He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand, and took Selah by war, and called the name of it Joktheel unto this day.
Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.
Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.
Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau?
Mark 3:7 - 8
But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.