Rashi frequently explained 4 and 5 letter roots by breaking them
up in two 2-letter roots. For example the Hebrew root Mamzer, Mem-Mem-Zayin-Resh
which means illegitimate reflects the etymology of
Moom Zare, Mem-Mem Zayin-Resh which means blemished by a stranger. Todays
example also illustrates this principle.
One of Esauv's descendents
which when broken up into a two and three letter root would have the meaning of
the choicest of the gods.
This is [like] Rome [with its pantheon of Gods].
Advanced Rashi: This paragraph has evoked alot of resistance
from the Bible critics who defensively attack any Biblical paragraph with
fulfilled prophecy content. However Rashi did not view this paragraph as primarily
historical. Rather Rashi interpreted the paragraph as follows: One of Esauv's
descendants was Magdeeayl who specialized in gathering people who specialized
in idolatrous gods with great power. By leading a collection of such people Magdeeayl
had enormous power. This is the simple meaning of the text. However Rashi then
shows the relevance of the Biblical text to modern times in Rashi's era:
Rome, which specialized in a pantheon of gods, each with its own method of rulership
and power, is an example of the Magdeeayl's influence.
In other words Rashi was not identifying Magdeeayl with Rome but
rather identifying Magdeeayl with a world approach of which Rome was a recent
current example in Rashi's time.