Teman, Dedan, and Edom

An analysis of Biblical Teman and Dedan is in order:

Teman means “south“. Mentioned in the 8th century BC Kuntillet ‘Ajrud texts is “YHWH of Teman“. Since a YHWH of Samaria is also mentioned. According to Amos 1:12, the fire God will send on Teman will destroy the palaces of Bozrah. Now Bozrah is the capital of Edom, and is located at 30°44’41″N, 35°36’14″E. This at least suggests that Bozrah is located in Teman, but is not in any way conclusive. Habakkuk 3 mentions YHWH as coming from Teman and Mount Paran. Since the following passages are strongly linked with the Numbers-Joshua Conquest narratives (eg. YHWH passing through Edom/Cushan and Midian), it seems YHWH is here heading eastward. This march eastward toward Midian only seems to have happened when YHWH marched along with the Tabernacle up through the way of Punon in Numbers 21:4 (also, see AJaL, Section 2). Jeremiah 49:7 mentions Temanites as being wise men filled with prudence. Obadiah v. 9 mentions Teman as having warriors. Jeremiah 49:20 outlines Teman’s importance as an Edomite settlement/district. A close relationship is also mentioned between Edom and Dedan in Jerem 49:8 and Ezekiel 25:13. This is easily explainable by the archaeological evidence as a strong cultural and trade relationship between the Kingdom of Dedan, which probably included Midian, and Edom. Ezekiel 25:13 is, perhaps, the most important verse here, for it uses a merism to describe the destruction of Edom as being from Teman to Dedan. This verse clearly shows Teman was considered to have been in northern, not, as seemingly implied by the name, southern Edom.

The above information, then, clearly shows that Teman was the district (surrounding area) of the 20-acre (as large as Solomonic Jerusalem) city of Bozrah, the intellectual and military center and capital of Edom.


Author: pithom

A Catholic Christian with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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