shall be a desolation
49:17 shall be a desolation. Edom, south of the Dead Sea, is indeed now desolate. However, it was once a prosperous nation, descended from Esau, brother of Jacob, and thus closely related to Israel. Almost perpetual enemies of the Israelites, the Edomites even aided Nebuchadnezzar in his invasion of the Israelite land (note Psalm 137:1,7). Nebuchadnezzar then permitted them to occupy the southern portion of Israel—the region thence becoming known as Idumaea—about the same time the Nabateans were driving them out of their own land. Both the original Edomites and the Nabateans have disappeared from history, and their regions are now largely desert, with the descendants presumably amalgamated with the Arabs, Jordanians and Palestinians.