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No. 131: The Seven Edomite Kings

BIBLICAL Horizons, No. 131
Copyright (c) 2000 Biblical Horizons
July, 2000

The fact that there is a "week" of seven kings over Edom, before we come to an eighth, hints that perhaps these have some link with the days of Genesis 1, especially as we find this list in the book of Genesis. Clearly the list of seven speaks of the creation of the kingdom of Edom, but can we link each king with each day? The purpose of this essay is to try and tease out some possibilities along these lines.

Bela` son of Be`or of Dinhavah was the first. His name means "Master, son of Burning Fire, from (Unknown)." Given that light was made on the first day, his name might link with that event.

Yovav son of Zerahh (hard H) from Botsrah was the second. His name means "(Unknown), son of Dawn, from Fortress." That the bright firmament is associated with the fortress-wall between heaven and earth can provide a link to the second day – and perhaps another indication that Job, as the mediator of his people (Job 1:5; 42:8), is indeed this Jobab, for the firmament is the mediating boundary between heaven and earth, and ultimately signifies Jesus Christ.

Hhusham from the land of the Teimani is the third king. His name means, it seems, "Pleasant, from the Southland." If food is pleasant, then we have a link with the third day. Compare Ecclesiastes 2:25, the only occurance of the verbal form of this name: "Who can eat and not feel pleasure?"

The fourth king is named Hadad son of B-dad from `Awith. His name means "Shouter, son of Idle Talker, from (Unknown)." Since the sun, moon, and stars are set up as rulers and teachers of time on the fourth day, the notion of a king as teacher, however stupid he may have been, is not out of accord with the fourth-day theme.

Samlah from Masreqah comes fifth. His name evidently means "Mantle (Outer Garment), from the City of Vines." No possible association with the fifth day seems apparent if this is the meaning of his name.

Sha`ul from R-hhovoth on the River (Euphrates) comes sixth. His name means "The Requested One, from the Large City on the Euphrates." Rehoboth was one of the cities founded by Nimrod (Genesis 10:11). As Saul was a new Adam for Israel, this Nimrod-Saul might be seen as linked with the sixth day. (On Saul, see my paper. King Saul: A Study in Humanity and the Fall.)

Finally, seventh comes Ba`al-Hhanan son of `Akhbor. His name means "The Lord is Gracious, son of Mouse." Achbor’s name may seem ridiculous to us, but was not to ancient people. A name that seems to celebrate God or a god is a fitting association with the seventh day.

Convinced? Probably not. But someday the Church will understand accurately all the names in this text, and perhaps at that time we shall find that the hypothesis advanced here has merit.