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Edomite language

Regionsouthwestern Jordan and southern Israel.
Eraearly 1st millennium BCE[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3xdm

Edomite was a Northwest Semitic Canaanite language, very similar to Biblical Hebrew, Ekronite, Ammonite, Phoenician, Amorite and Sutean, spoken by the Edomites in southwestern Jordan and parts of Israel in the 2nd and 1st millennium BCE. It is extinct and known only from an extremely small corpus,[2] attested in a scant number of impression seals, ostraca, and a single late 7th or early 6th century BCE letter, discovered in Horvat Uza.[2][3][4][5]

Like Moabite, but unlike Hebrew, it retained the feminine ending -t in the singular absolute state. In early times, it seems to have been written with a Phoenician alphabet. However, by the 6th century BCE, it adopted the Aramaic alphabet. Meanwhile, Aramaic or Arabic features such as whb ("gave") and tgr ("merchant") entered the language, with whb becoming especially common in proper names.[citation needed] Like many other Canaanite languages, Edomite features a prefixed definite article derived from the presentative particle (for example as in h-ʔkl ‘the food’). The diphthong /aw/ contracted to /o/ between the 7th and 5th century BCE, as foreign transcriptions of the divine name "Qos" indicate a transition in pronunciation from Qāws to Qôs.[6]


Edomite[7] Reconstructed transliteration (per Ahituv 2008) Translation
אמר למלך אמר לבלבל ʾōmēr lammeleḵ ʾĕmōr ləḆīlbēl (Thus) said to the king: Say to Bilbel,
השלם את והברכתך hăšālōm ʾattā wəhīḇraḵəttīḵā "Are you well?" and "I bless you
לקוס ועת תן את האכל ləQōs wəʿattā tēn ʾet hāʾoḵel by Qos." And now give the food
[ ] אשר עמד אחאמה ʾăšer ʿīmmaḏ ʾĂḥīʾīmmō [...] that Ahi'immoh [...]
והרם ש[א]ל על מז[בח קוס wəhērīm Šā[ʾu]l ʿal mīz[baḥ Qōs And may Sa[u]l lift [it] (up) upon (the) al[tar of Qos,
פן י]חמד האכל pen ye]ḥmad hāʾoḵel lest] the food become leavened


  1. ^ Edomite at MultiTree on the Linguist List
  2. ^ a b Lemaire, André (2013). "Edomite and Hebrew". In Khan, Geoffrey; Bolozky, Shmuel; Fassberg, Steven; Rendsburg, Gary A.; Rubin, Aaron D.; Schwarzwald, Ora R.; Zewi, Tamar (eds.). Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics. Leiden and Boston: Brill Publishers. doi:10.1163/2212-4241_ehll_EHLL_COM_00000499. ISBN 978-90-04-17642-3.
  3. ^ Wilson-Wright, Aren M. (2019). "The Canaanite Languages" (PDF). The Semitic Languages. London, Routledge: 509–532. doi:10.4324/9780429025563-20. ISBN 9780429025563. S2CID 189509857 – via
  4. ^ Vanderhooft, David S. (1995). "The Edomite Dialect and Script: A Review of Evidence". p. 142.
  5. ^ Young, I. (2011). Diversity in Pre-Exilic Hebrew. Forschungen zum Alten Testament. Eisenbrauns. p. 39. ISBN 978-3-16-151676-4. Retrieved 2023-06-03. While we were fortunate enough to have a major inscription, the Mesha Stone, for Moabite, we are much less fortunate as regards Edomite. Here we are reliant on a few short and fragmentary inscriptions and a number of seals.
  6. ^ W. Randall Garr (2004). Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestine, 1000-586 B.C.E. Eisenbrauns. p. 35. ISBN 978-1-57506-091-0. OCLC 1025228731.
  7. ^ Ahituv, Shmuel (2008). Echoes from the Past: Hebrew and Cognate Inscriptions from the Biblical Period. Carta. p. 351. ISBN 9789652207081.
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Edomite language
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