“You Shall Not Abhor an Edomite, for He is Your Brother”: The Tradition of Esau and the Edomite Genealogies from an Anthropological Perspective
AbstractThis article studies the genealogical relationship between ancient Israel and Edom, as is expressed by the Hebrew Bible. It studies especially the sociopolitical and ideological framework that gave birth to the biblical tradition of the brotherhood of Jacob, the Israelite patriarch, and Esau, here the alleged eponym of the Edomites. Three pertinent questions are discussed: the Jacob-Esau saga in the biblical scholarship; the presence of Southern Jordanian “Edomite” material culture in the Negev; and the issue of kinship, segmentation and orality in ancient societies. It is argued that the brotherhood tradition should be understood in the terms of the sociopolitical, demographic, and ideological background in which it emerged: the Late Iron Age Negev.