Esau עשׂו
(555 words)

I. Name

Esau, twin brother of Jacob is known as the eponym of the bĕnê ʿēsāw (Gen. 25.19–34; Gen. 36.1–43) and the father of Edom (Gen. 36.9, Gen. 43; Akk. Udumu; Ug. udm (?); Eg. idm;Gk. Idoumaia). His name, sometimes connected to Ar. âṯa, ‘to be hairy’ (Gen. 25.25), is more likely explained as a hypocoristicon of ʿJsw or ʿJsy J. (HALAT 845; cf. epigraphic Hebr ʿśw; Nabataean ʿsw). Early critical scholarship surmised behind the saga of Jacob and Esau a mythological tale of twin rivalry (Goldziher 187…

Cite this page
M. Dijkstra, “Esau עשׂו”, in: Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online, Edited by: Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter W. van der Horst. Consulted online on 17 January 2019 <>

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