03.02.13 580s and 570s B.C. Edomite Invasions into Jerusalem
Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, those who remained in the Holy City and surrounding villages were poor, defenseless, and had lost hope of ever regaining their God and nation. They did not have access to the words of restoration given by the prophets, so they were greatly discouraged. Many intermarried with the Edomites and Moabites. They also became the victims of Edomite invasions. The smoke from the burning temple had hardly cleared when the Edomites took advantage of the Babylonian destruction. They not only raided and stole what few possessions the poor Jews had left, but they also moved into southern Judah below the city of Hebron. It was because of these murderous invasions that the prophet Obadiah had given his prophetic warning of destruction to his distant cousins. In the course of time, their name was changed to “Idumeans.” They were hated by the first century Jews as much as the Samaritans for several reasons.
- The Jews hated the Idumeans because for centuries the Idumeans had plundered their farms and raped their women.
- The Jews had no great love for Herod the Great who was an Idumean, one of their hated distant cousins. To add insult to injury, Herod was given the Roman title of “King of the Jews,” even though he was obviously not in the promised lineage to be called a “son of David.”
With most of the people gone, the land returned to wild semi-arid desert. Weeds and thistles grew everywhere, terraced hills were destroyed by winter rains, and wandering Bedouins enjoyed the deserted countryside. Neighboring powers soon dominated the former Jewish communities and the local Jewish residents became assimilated into the pagan cultures of the Moabites and Edomites.
. Not only did Obadiah predict God’s judgment upon the Isumeans but he also said (verse 20) that at a time in the future, Spanish speaking Jews (known as Sephardi Jews) would return and live in the Negev Desert. The history of these Jewish people began with King Nebuchadnezzar, and there has been a slow but steady return of Sephardi Jews to the Negev Desert since the early 1990s.