Proclamation Against Edom
11 The burden against Dumah.
He calls to me out of Seir,
“Watchman, what of the night?
Watchman, what of the night?”
12 The watchman said,
“The morning comes, and also the night.
If you will inquire, inquire;
Return! Come back!”
Proclamation Against Arabia
13 The burden against Arabia.
In the forest in Arabia you will lodge,
O you traveling companies of Dedanites.
14 O inhabitants of the land of Tema,
Bring water to him who is thirsty;
With their bread they met him who fled.
15 For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword,
From the bent bow, and from the distress of war.
16 For thus the LORD has said to me: “Within a year, according to the year of a hired man, all the glory of Kedar will fail;
17 and the remainder of the number of archers, the mighty men of the people of Kedar, will be diminished; for the LORD God of Israel has spoken it.”
As we recall from Genesis, Jacob had a twin brother named Esau. Jacob was chosen as the descendant of the promise to Abraham by God and Esau was not, though he was the first born. The descendants of Esau lived in Edom [or Seir] and were known as the Edomites. Amos was a prophet to Israel and lived about the same time as Isaiah. According to Amos, the Edomites had treated God's people with brutality [Amos 1:11-12] and are considered an enemy of the Jews. Isaiah tells of their coming discipline by evoking the image of terror where a watchman cries out for morning only to find further night. ["'Watchman, what of the night?' The watchman said, 'the morning comes, and also the night.'"] Isaiah also gives hope that they will find a way out of the darkness and into the light. ["If you will inquire, inquire; return! Come back!”] It is the same evangelistic hope that is given by Isaiah to the other pagan nations surrounding Judah.
Isaiah also turns his attention to Arabia or Kedar [modern day Saudi Arabia]. The Arabians consisted primarily of Abraham's descendants through Hagar and Keturah [not through Sarah], and were known for their prowess at trading goods. The Assyrians invaded Arabia in the same year that their invasion of Syria occurred [about 732 B.C.]. The discipline of Arabia is sure [". . . for the LORD God of Israel has spoken it”] and their bows of no use ["the glory of Kedar will fail; and the remainder of the number of archers, the mighty men of the people of Kedar, will be diminished"].