Wars And Rumors Of Wars: Evidence Of Ancient Edomite/Israelite War Strengthened By New Finds -- By: Stephen Caesar
BSP 10:4 (Autumn 1997) p. 77
Wars And Rumors Of Wars:
Evidence Of Ancient Edomite/Israelite War
Strengthened By New Finds
Stephen Caesar is founder and president of Bible Proof Ministries. See his website at http://www.churchsurf.com/host/ma/bibleproof.html
According to the Old Testament, the Israelites and Edomites were in a constant state of hostility. In the time of the Divided Kingdom, this hostility erupted into open warfare. Signs of this conflicthave been found all over the Arabah, the area between southern Israel (the Negev) and the ancient land of Edom in southwest Jordan.
One of the first major clashes between Edom and Judah occurred during the reign of King Ahaz in the late 8th century BC, when the Edomites invaded and conquered the important Judahite port of Elath, formerly known as Ezion-geber. 2 Kings 16:6 mentions that Rezin king of Aram (“Syria” in KJV) used his own troops to take Elath, while 2 Chronicles 28:17 adds that Edom sent troops also, thus indicating that a combined force wrenched the city from Judahite hands. Excavations at Elath by Nelson Glueck in the mid-20th century unearthed jar handles bearing an unmistakably Edomite name on them, while in the layer below was found a signet ring with the seal of one of Judah’s kings. Glueck wrote:
The turnabout ownership of Ezion-geber/Elath is illustrated by two names, one Edomite and the other Hebrew, which we came across in the excavations of the city of Elath. Built by the Judaeans on the ruins of Ezion-geber, it had been captured from them by the Edomites (2 Kgs 16:6), with whom it exited from history. The Edomite name occurred in seal impressions on the handles of a whole store-room full of fine pottery jars. On the handle of every one of them was stamped the following inscription: “Belonging to Qausanal, the Servant of the King.” We
BSP 10:4 (Autumn 1997) p. 78
know that Qausanal is a typical Edomite name (Glueck 1968: 165–6).
In the layer below, Glueck found a Hebrew signet ring incised with the words “Belonging to Jotham.” This was King Jotham, father of Ahaz, who reigned when the Edomites invaded Elath. This demonstrated that Elath before the Edomite takeover was indeed part of the Kingdom of Judah, as Glueck (1968: 167–8) observed:
It was...quite appropriate that the Qausanal impression should have been found in the Edomite stratum of Elath and the Jotham ring in the preceding Judaean one.