8:20 During his reign Edom freed themselves from Judah’s control and set up their own king. 1 8:21 Joram 2 crossed over to Zair with all his chariots. The Edomites, who had surrounded him, attacked at night and defeated him and his chariot officers. 3 The Israelite army retreated to their homeland. 4 8:22 So Edom has remained free from Judah’s control to this very day. 5 At that same time Libnah also rebelled.
1 tn Heb “in his days Edom rebelled from under the hand of Judah and enthroned a king over them.”
2 sn Joram is a short form of the name Jehoram.
3 tn Heb “and he arose at night and defeated Edom, who had surrounded him, and the chariot officers.” The Hebrew text as it stands gives the impression that Joram was surrounded and launched a victorious night counterattack. It would then be quite natural to understand the last statement in the verse to refer to an Edomite retreat. Yet v. 22 goes on to state that the Edomite revolt was successful. Therefore, if the MT is retained, it may be better to understand the final statement in v. 21 as a reference to an Israelite retreat (made in spite of the success described in the preceding sentence). The translation above assumes an emendation of the Hebrew text. Adding a third masculine singular pronominal suffix to the accusative sign before Edom (reading אֶתוֹ [’eto], “him,” instead of just אֶת [’et]) and taking Edom as the subject of verbs allows one to translate the verse in a way that is more consistent with the context, which depicts an Israelite defeat, not victory. There is, however, no evidence for this emendation.
4 tn Heb “and the people fled to their tents.”
5 tn Heb “and Edom rebelled from under the hand of Judah until this day.”