Kings of Edom as Empires and Chiefs as Presidents?
Here's an idea that crossed through my head. I don't know how accurate it is or if it's totally baseless, but you can be the judge.
Parshat Vayishlah concludes with the 8 kings and 11 chiefs of Edom:
Perhaps, these kings refer to world empires who ruled over the traditional "Land of Edom", which was to the south of Eretz Yisrael and not necessarily Edomite kings. These were basically the same empires that ruled over Eretz Yisrael, starting after the Hashmonaim.
The first (#1) is:
This refers to the Romans themselves. This is the only king for whom it is mentioned that he ruled "in Edom" as Rome is the headquarters of "Edom" (which is different than the "Land of Edom"). He is called Bela since Rome swallowed up all other nations.
For #2, we have יוֹבָב בֶּן-זֶרַח מִבָּצְרָה who represents Byzantium.
For #3, we have חֻשָׁם מֵאֶרֶץ הַתֵּימָנִי, representing the Persian Sassanids for the short period that they had control (חשם is a bit similar to Khosrau, who also fought in Yemen).
For #4, we have הֲדַד בֶּן-בְּדַד, representing successive Muslim caliphates; namely, the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, and Fatimid Caliphates.
For #5, we have שַׂמְלָה מִמַּשְׂרֵקָה, representing the Crusaders.
For #6, we have שָׁאוּל מֵרְחֹבוֹת הַנָּהָר, representing the Ayyubids, Mamluks and briefly, the Mongols.
For #7, we have בַּעַל חָנָן בֶּן-עַכְבּוֹר, representing the Ottoman Empire. (Note the death of the last Ottoman princess earlier this year.)
For #8, we have הֲדַר, representing the British Empire, whose current monarch is still living since that time, just as the Torah does not record the death of Hadar (unlike the other kings).
Regarding the chiefs mentioned immediately after the kings, we can possibly say that starting at the birth of the State of Israel, the great empires of the world are no longer, and the great powers of the world have shifted to nations that are ruled by presidents - not kings. First and foremost among them is the United States of America.
When the British Mandate left Eretz Yisrael in 1948, Harry Truman was President. However, since his presidency did not start in that year, we will begin the chiefs starting from his successor, as follows:
|Chief of Edom||Commander in Chief|
As I once mentioned long ago, the Midrash says that Iram will empty his treasuries to give treasures to the Mashiah.
And immediately following listing the chiefs, it says:
May that day come very soon.