It is uncertain who Obadiah was or exactly when he brought this
single prophecy but some suggest it was after Jerusalem had been
sacked by Nebuchadnezzar in 597BC. [It could be earlier destructions.]
The prophet declares that not only had Edom looked on from a distance
but they had relished Jerusalem's destruction and gone in later
to ‘clean up', and for this they would pay in the form of their
own destruction. The prophecy is a simple denunciation of their
heartless derision over Israel's fall. Because the text flows
steadily on it is almost impossible to subdivide it and thus we
have simply given a brief synopsis of each verse to clarify the
meaning of the whole.]
A call to the nations to act against Edom
vision of Obadiah. This is what the Sovereign LORD says about
Edom — We have heard a message from the LORD: An envoy
was sent to the nations to say, “Rise, let us go against her for
God's intent is that Edom will be diminished
I will make you small among the nations; you will be utterly despised.
Your pride think you will be secure and safe in the mountains
pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts
of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say
to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?'
In your mind you may fly high but I will bring you down
you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from
there I will bring you down,” declares the LORD.
Normally thieves would only take a limited amount….
thieves came to you, if robbers in the night— oh, what a disaster
awaits you!— would they not steal only as much as they wanted?
If grape pickers came to you, would they not leave a few grapes?
…but this nation descended from Esau will be utterly ransacked
how Esau will be ransacked, his hidden treasures pillaged!
Those close to you will become against you
your allies will force you to the border; your friends will deceive
and overpower you; those who eat your bread will set a trap for
you, but you will not detect it.
Your wise men will be brought to naught
that day,” declares the LORD, “will I not destroy the wise men
of Edom, those of understanding in the mountains of Esau?
Even your strongest fortification will fail your warriors
warriors, Teman, will be terrified, and everyone in Esau's mountains
will be cut down in the slaughter.
Because you were against Israel I will bring you down
of the violence against your brother Jacob, you will be covered
with shame; you will be destroyed forever.
When they suffered you joined in the attacks
day you stood aloof while strangers carried off his wealth and
foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you
were like one of them.
It is not right to rejoice over the fall of the one who was once
should not gloat over your brother in the day of his misfortune,
nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction,
nor boast so much in the day of their trouble.
You shouldn't have joined in
should not march through the gates of my people in the day of
their disaster, nor gloat over them in their calamity in the day
of their disaster, nor seize their wealth in the day of their
You shouldn't have picked off those fleeing
should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives,
nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble.
In God's judgment day, you will be repaid for what you have done
day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it
will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.
As you celebrated at Jerusalem so you will drink my wrath
as you drank on my holy hill, so all the nations will drink continually;
they will drink and drink and be as if they had never been.
But Jerusalem will be saved, my holy people; that is their inheritance
on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and Jacob
will possess his inheritance.
The family of Israel will burn up the family of Esau; God has
will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble, and they
will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors
from Esau.” The LORD has spoken.
People from the south will take your lands as these reversals
from the Negev will occupy the mountains of Esau, and people from
the foothills will possess the land of the Philistines. They will
occupy the fields of Ephraim and Samaria, and Benjamin will possess
The exiles of Israel will return to take their lands
company of Israelite exiles who are in Canaan will possess the
land as far as Zarephath; the exiles from Jerusalem who are in
Sepharad will possess the towns of the Negev.
Rulers from Jerusalem will extend their rule to your mountains
will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau.
And the kingdom will be the LORD's.