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Region. Idumea was a Greek word meaning "pertaining to Edom". This term was given by the Greeks and Romans for the country of Edom on the S borders of Judea inhabited by Idumeans (Edomites) (Mark 3:8; Is 34:5-6; Ezek 35:15; 36:5). After the fall of Jerusalem (587 B.C.) the Edomites began to advance northward (Ezek 36:5). By 312 B.C. the Nabataeans, who established themselves in Edom, drove them from Petra. The Edomites were gradually forced into the S half of Judea, including the region around Hebron, an area that the Greeks later called Idumea.
Judas Maccabaeus warred against them and a half century later John Hyrcanus completely subdued them, imposed the rite of circumcision, and invoked the old Jewish law of assembly (Deut 23:7-8). Julius Caesar in 47 B.C. appointed an Idumean, Antipater, procurator of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Herod, son of Antipater, was crowned king of the Jews in 37 B.C. When Titus besieged Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the Idumeans joined the Jews in rebellion against Rome. Josephus says that 20,000 Idumeans "defended" the Holy City. Once they actually entered the city, they proceeded to rob and kill, but these traitors received the same fate as the few surviving Jews when Rome took over Jerusalem. Idumea, or Edom, ceased to exist.
Non-Biblical - 1 Macc. 4:61; 5:3;
Biblical - Mark 3:8. (In Isa. 34:5, Ezek. 35:15; 36:5, KJV, 'Idumea' stands for Edom).
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