1The vision of Obadiah.
Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:
We have heard a message from the Lord,
and a herald has been sent among the nations:
“Rise up, so we may go to war against it!”#Jer 49:14–16.
2Now I make you least among the nations;
you are utterly contemptible.
3The pride of your heart has deceived you—
you who dwell in mountain crevices,
in your lofty home,#3] Edom occupied the mountains southeast of Israel and the Dead Sea.
Who say in your heart,
“Who will bring me down to earth?”
4Though you soar like the eagle,
and your nest is set among the stars,
From there I will bring you down—
oracle of the Lord.
5If thieves came to you, robbers by night
—how you have been destroyed!—
would they not steal merely till they had enough?
If grape pickers came to you,
would they not leave some gleanings?#5] Something of value may escape the thief, and the grape picker always leaves something for the gleaners, but God’s devastation of Edom will be complete. #Jer 49:9.
6#6] With the past tense in vv. 5–7, the prophet presents a future event as if it had already happened. How Esau has been searched out,
his treasures hunted down!
7To the border they have driven you—
all your allies;
Your partners have deceived you,
they have overpowered you;
Those who eat your bread#7] Those who eat your bread: alliances were often established by covenant meals (cf. Gn 31:44–46). When Edom is destroyed, foreigners will replace the Edomites, who were known for wisdom (cf. v. 8; Jer 49:7; Jb 2:11).
will replace you with foreigners,
who have no understanding.
Edom’s Betrayal of Judah
8On that day—oracle of the Lord—will I not
make the wise disappear from Edom,
and understanding from Mount Esau?#Is 29:14; 1 Cor 1:19.
9Teman,#9] Teman: a synonym for Edom; perhaps the name of a region or a city, the part representing the whole. Mount Esau: whatever its geographic reference, the phrase is an effective representation of Edom’s arrogance. your warriors will be terror-stricken,
so that everyone on Mount Esau will be cut down.
10Because of violence to your brother#10] Your brother: used with a double meaning referring to the common lineage of Israel and Edom, in which their ancestors were brothers, Jacob and Esau (Gn 25:19–26), and referring also to their political alliance, in which allies were called brothers (cf. Am 1:9, 11). Jacob,
disgrace will cover you,
you will be done away with forever!#Gn 27:41–45; Ez 25:12–14.
11On the day you stood by,
the day strangers carried off his possessions,
And foreigners entered his gates
and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you too were like one of them.#11] In 587 B.C., Edomites joined the invading Babylonian forces (v. 13) and captured escaping Judahites. The destruction of Jerusalem strengthened and expanded Edom’s hold on Judah’s southern territory. #Ps 137:7.
12#12–14] The commands in vv. 12–14 are not to be understood as future prohibitions but as descriptions of crimes Edom in fact already committed on the day of Jerusalem’s fall described in v. 11. Do not gloat over the day of your brother,
the day of his disaster;
Do not exult over the people of Judah
on the day of their ruin;
Do not speak haughtily
on the day of distress!
13Do not enter the gate of my people
on the day of their calamity;
Do not gloat—especially you—over his misfortune
on the day of his calamity;
Do not lay hands upon his possessions
on the day of his calamity!
14Do not stand at the crossroads
to cut down his survivors;
Do not hand over his fugitives
on the day of distress!
Edom’s Fall and Judah’s Restoration
15Near is the day of the Lord#Jl 4:11–12, 14.
against all the nations!
As you have done, so will it be done to you,
your conduct will come back upon your own head;
16As you drank#16] As you drank: i.e., Judah has suffered the punishment of divine wrath in 587 B.C. The oracle promises a similar fate for the nations, especially Edom (v. 18). The metaphor “drinking the cup of God’s wrath” occurs often in the Bible; cf. Jb 21:20; Is 51:17–23; Jer 25:15–16; Rev 14:10. upon my holy mountain,
so will all the nations drink continually.
Yes, they will drink and swallow,
and will become as though they had not been.
17But on Mount Zion there will be some who escape;#17–19] The Israelites will be restored and will occupy the lands of those who oppressed them. The survivors of Judah will be rejoined by the returned exiles from northern Israel.
the mountain will be holy,
And the house of Jacob will take possession
of those who dispossessed them.#Jer 49:2.
18The house of Jacob will be a fire,
the house of Joseph a flame,
and the house of Esau stubble.
They will set it ablaze and devour it;
none will survive of the house of Esau,
for the Lord has spoken.
19They will take possession of the Negeb,#19] Negeb: the area south of Judah and west of Edom. Gilead: east of the Jordan River. Mount Esau, the Shephelah, and Philistia, possess the countryside of Ephraim, the countryside of Samaria, Benjamin, and Gilead.#Jer 50:19. 20The exiles of this Israelite army will possess the Canaanite land as far as Zarephath,#20] Zarephath: a town in Phoenicia, north of Tyre; cf. 1 Kgs 17:10. Sepharad: perhaps Sardis in western Asia Minor. The later rabbis thought it was Spain. and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad will possess the cities of the Negeb. 21And deliverers#21] Deliverers: the victorious Israelites who will rule over their enemies, as the ancient judges did; cf. Jgs 3:9, 15, 31; 10:1. will ascend Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and the kingship shall be the Lord’s.