Obadiah 1–9 (NKJV)
1:1 The vision of Obadiah.
Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom
(We have heard a report from the Lord,
And a messenger has been sent among the nations, saying,
“Arise, and let us rise up against her for battle”):
2 “Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
You shall be greatly despised.
3 The pride of your heart has deceived you,
You who dwell in the clefts of the rock,
Whose habitation is high;
You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’
4 Though you ascend as high as the eagle,
And though you set your nest among the stars,
From there I will bring you down,” says the Lord.
The prophecy of Obadiah opens with a pronouncement of judgment against Edom. Edom was a sister nation to Israel, descended from Esau, the brother of Jacob (Israel). Edom was not a strong military nation, but they had a pride, a false sense of security, built upon their alliances with other strong nations. The Lord here helps them understand their plight, in light of factors that will be revealed later. He reminds them that they cannot escape from His wrath.
5 “If thieves had come to you,
If robbers by night—
Oh, how you will be cut off!—
Would they not have stolen till they had enough?
If grape-gatherers had come to you,
Would they not have left some gleanings?
6 “Oh, how Esau shall be searched out!
How his hidden treasures shall be sought after!
7 All the men in your confederacy
Shall force you to the border;
The men at peace with you
Shall deceive you and prevail against you.
Those who eat your bread shall lay a trap for you.
No one is aware of it.
8 “Will I not in that day,” says the Lord,
“Even destroy the wise men from Edom,
And understanding from the mountains of Esau?
9 Then your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed,
To the end that everyone from the mountains of Esau
May be cut off by slaughter.
The Lord goes further, explaining how utterly destroyed their nation will be. He says that theives only take what they can carry, and reapers cannot take all the grapes, but the destruction of Edom will be complete. God will destroy the wise men, so that there is no leadership. The mighty men, the soldiers of Teman, possibly the capital of Edom, will be in confusion and everyone will be slaughtered by the sword. What an utter destruction! This is the result of sin and wrong alliances, coupled with pride. Another factor is revealed in the next passage.