In biblical lore, Edom was the implacable adversary and menacing neighbor of the Israelites. The Edomites lived south of the Dead Sea and east of the desolate rift valley known as Wadi Arabah, and from time to time they had to be dealt with by force, notably by the likes of Kings David and Solomon.
Today, the Edomites are again in the thick of combat — of the scholarly kind. The conflict is heated and protracted, as is often the case with issues related to the reliability of the Bible as history.
Chronology is at the crux of the debate. Exactly when did the nomadic tribes of Edom become an organized society with the might to threaten Israel? Were David and Solomon really kings of a state with growing power in the 10th century B.C.? Had writers of the Bible magnified the stature of the two societies at such an early time in history?
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Biblical archaeology update In a Ruined Copper Works, Evidence That Bolsters a Doubted Biblical Tale