(Id·u·meʹa) [from Greek, meaning “[Land] of the Edomites”].
In Maccabean and Roman times the geographic boundaries of Idumea did not include the heartland of ancient Edom, E of the Arabah, but embraced parts of what had formerly been Simeonite and Judean territory. As indicated by the Apocryphal book of First Maccabees (4:29, 61; 5:65, JB), Idumea included the region around Hebron as far N as Beth-zur, about 26 km (16 mi) SSW of Jerusalem. It is reported that the Idumeans suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Judas Maccabaeus. (1 Maccabees 5:3) Later, according to Josephus, John Hyrcanus I subdued all the Idumeans, allowing them to remain in the land on condition that they submit to circumcision and adhere to Jewish law. Rather than leave the country, the Idumeans complied with this condition. (Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 257, 258 [ix, 1]) Inhabitants of Idumea were among those who personally came to Jesus upon hearing of the “many things he was doing.”—Mr 3:8; see EDOM, EDOMITES.