The small nations of Ammon, Moab, and Edom lay east of the Jordan River, and the people of these nations were distantly related to the Israelites. The Ammonites and Moabites were descended from Abraham’s nephew Lot, and the Edomites were descended from Jacob’s twin brother Esau. The Israelites had passed by these nations on the way to the Promised Land and battled against them at various times throughout history. David eventually subjugated the Moabites and the Edomites, but many years later they regained their independence. While much animosity often existed between Israel and these nations, the Bible also recounts how Naomi and her husband moved to Moab to seek relief from a famine, and Naomi’s descendant David placed his parents in the care of the king of Moab while he was on the run from King Saul. The people of Edom eventually migrated to the area just south of Judea (Israel) around the time that many Judeans were exiled to Babylon. Herod the Great, who was king of Judea hundreds of years later at the time of Jesus’ birth, was actually an Edomite (Idumean). The Maccabean rulers had forcibly converted the Edomites to Judaism over a hundred years earlier.