In Psalm 60, the Psalmist describes the totality of God’s victory over Israel’s foes, proclaiming “Moab is my wash basin; upon Edom I cast my sandal.”
This is only one of more than 100 mentions of Edom in the Old Testament. The Edomites were descendants from Esau, Jacob’s older brother. The Genesis account of the troubled twins describes Esau as red all over when he was born. Esau, you might remember, sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of red stew. Edom means “red” in Hebrew; thus, Esau’s descendants came to be known as Edomites.
Over the years, many scholars doubted the Edomites even existed, at least as described in those biblical accounts. Specifically, they regarded the depiction in the Pentateuch of the Edomite Kingdom to be largely mythical. The real Edomite Kingdom, they believed, emerged three or more centuries later, during the latter part of Israel’s divided monarchy, and was “read back” into the story of the Exodus.
Well, these scholars were mistaken. Recently, a team excavating in Israel’s Timna Valley found evidence of a “thriving and wealthy society” dating back to the 12th century before Christ. What kind of evidence? An extensive network of ancient copper-smelting facilities were found in the parts of Israel and Jordan that the Bible associates with Edom.
As team leader Ezra Ben-Yosef told the Jerusalem Post, “copper-smelting was essentially the hi-tech of ancient times.” Given how complex the process is, any society responsible for such facilities would likely be technologically sophisticated and politically well-organized.
According to Ben-Yosef, “(these) new findings contradict the view of many archaeologists that [the region associated with biblical Edom] was populated by a loose alliance of tribes.” Instead, “they’re consistent with the biblical story that there was an Edomite kingdom here.”
Hmmm… there it is again: “consistent with the biblical story.” That phrase seems to pop up a lot in the world of ancient archaeology these days. For example, the excavations at Ashkelon that confirm the biblical account of the Philistines; findings on Mount Zion confirming the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem—not just that it happened, but also when it happened; and on and on.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera