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Answering The Atheist
September 24, 2006 / Volume 6, Issue 39

How should the Edomites be treated? Some texts say Israel was to be nice to them (Deuteronomy 23:7), but others say to kill them (2 Kings 14:3,7; Ezekiel 25:13; Obadiah 1, 6-9). Is there a contradiction?

A question very similar to this was addressed in our January 22, 2006 article. In Deuteronomy 23:7, the Israelite is commanded, "You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother..." This, of course, in reference to the fact that the Edomites were the descendants of Esau, who was the brother of Jacob.

These other texts came hundreds of years after the words given through Moses in Deuteronomy. The Edomites had revolted prior to the reign of Amaziah (2 Kings 8:20), and he went to war to bring them back to their former subjection. Their subjection to Judah and eventual raising up a king for themselves was foretold even in the days of Isaac (Genesis 25:23; 27:29, 37, 40).

Of the other texts (Ezekiel 25:13; Obadiah 1, 6-9), these are just a few of the text which speak of God's judgment upon Edom for their wickedness. It is not simply an arbitrary lashing out on the Lord's part, but because "...of what Edom did against the house of Judah by taking vengeance..." (Ezekiel 25:12). The Edomites had rose up against Judah, along with the Chaldeans (Psalm 137:7; Lamentations 4:22; Obadiah 21; Amos 1:11).

God supplied different instructions to His people in regard to Edom, when the circumstances and time of their relationship changed.

There is no contradiction here.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible