From Edom to Idumea Septuagint References to Edom and Idumea

Main Article Content

Michal Marciak



This paper compares Hebrew (MT) and Greek (LXX) Biblical references to the Edomites and their homeland. The key terms that have been taken into account in the present paper are Edom (????), Edomites (??????), Seir (????), and Esau (???). The purpose of the comparison of the Hebrew and Greek references is to check whether the LXX passages contain any textual differences that may reflect historical events that occurred between the time of the composition of the Hebrew Bible and the time of the creation of the Septuagint, especially the formation of the province of Idumea directly south of Judea and increased cultural activity between the Judeans and Idumeans.

In the most general terms, the LXX renderings of the Hebrew terms Edom (????) Edomites (??????), Seir (????), and Esau (???) do not contain any changes that would be important in terms of the historical geography of southern Palestine or the emotional attitude of Biblical writers towards the Edomites/Idumeans. The term ???? is rendered as either ?????? (mostly) or ??????????, and in most cases the two Greek names are used as synonyms. In turn, the Greek equivalents of ????? and , ????, ??? are ?????, ??????, and ???????????.

Only in some cases may we speak about important differences. First, the LXX Job appendix (Job 42:17a and 42:17b-e) reflects the very specific historical context of when the Idumeans settled directly south of Judea and became more closely connected with the Judeans, either through actual conversion or increased cultural exchange. Second, although in most cases the Greek names ?????????? or ?????? are used interchangeably, one may notice a certain preference for the term ?????????? in some parts of the LXX, which may not always be a coincidence. For instance, the term ?????????? is used only for the genealogy of Eliphas (Gen. 36). Given the fact that Eliphas also plays an important role in the genealogy of Job in the LXX Appendix and this is also the only Idumean genealogy that was known to Josephus (in Ant. 2.4-6), it may be suggested that the names of the Eliphas chieftains were particularly well known in Hellenistic and Early Roman times, and the Judeans saw them as being connected with the contemporary Idumeans. Furthermore, the LXX Samuel tends to connect David with (the conquest of) ?????????? (2 Sam. 8:12-14; while Saul’s conquests are attributed to ??????). Given the tendency of 1-2 Macc. to refer to David as a model of the Hasmoneans (1 Macc. 2:57, 4:30; 2 Macc. 2:13), this tendency may not be coincidental.


Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 342 | PDF Downloads 11