What does Obadiah 1:10 mean?
ESV: Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.
NIV: Because of the violence against your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame; you will be destroyed forever.
NASB: 'Because of violence to your brother Jacob, Shame will cover you, And you will be eliminated forever.
CSB: You will be covered with shame and destroyed forever because of violence done to your brother Jacob.
NLT: 'Because of the violence you did to your close relatives in Israel, you will be filled with shame and destroyed forever.
KJV: For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.
NKJV: “For violence against your brother Jacob, Shame shall cover you, And you shall be cut off forever.
Verse Commentary:
The first recorded murder in the Bible is that of Abel, killed by his brother Cain (Genesis 4:8–16). Violence is immoral; violence against one's family is even worse. The nations of Edom and Israel were descended from two brothers. Esau's descendants became the Edomites, Jacob's became the Israelites. Over the centuries, Edom continued to torment Israel. Instead of acting as a "brother" nation, they acted as their enemies. Even when Israel was fleeing Egypt, Edom persecuted them (Numbers 20:20–21).

The worst example of this occurred just before the writing of Obadiah's prophecy. When Israel was attacked by Babylon in 587 BC, Edom did not step in to help. At first, they simply sat by and watched. Then, they helped to capture fleeing refugees and participated in the looting of Jerusalem.

This verse prophesies both shame and ruin for Edom. The ruin would eventually come when Edom was routed and driven from their homes. What was left of Esau's nation was eventually obliterated by the Roman Empire. The shame came in how that destruction occurred: overconfident Edom was ambushed by their own allies. The "wisdom" of Edom failed to protect them from attack.
Verse Context:
Obadiah 1:10–14 describes why God is about to bring judgment on Edom. The Edomites were children of Esau, the brother of Jacob, who was the father of the nation of Israel. Rather than acting as a ''brother'' nation, Edom constantly harassed and provoked Israel. Eventually, when Israel was attacked by a foreign nation, Edom joined in the looting. They even mocked the Jewish people in their pain, and helped the invaders capture refugees. These crimes are described from a unique perspective, as if the prophet is watching the events happen, and warning Edom not to continue.
Chapter Summary:
The nation of Edom grew from Esau, the brother of Jacob. Jacob would later be re-named ''Israel.'' Despite being so closely related, Israel had few long-term enemies as spiteful as the Edomites. In the short prophecy given by Obadiah, Edom is warned of God's judgment. Edom is particularly condemned for aiding Israel's enemies in a time of war. This warning is extended to all nations that reject God: judgment for your sin is coming, but God will be merciful to those who obey Him.
Chapter Context:
Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament, with only one chapter of 21 verses. In just a few words, it delivers a warning of judgment on Edom, one of Israel's oldest enemies. This passage also warns every nation that defies God that there will be a reckoning. The end of Obadiah's prophecy involves the division of land during the end times.
Book Summary:
Obadiah is an excellent introduction to Old Testament prophecy. In just 21 verses, it covers all of the typical contents found in the prophets. Themes of wrongdoing, imminent judgment, God's mercy, and His restoration are all found in this short book. Reading Obadiah is somewhat like reading the dust jacket of a much larger novel. Obadiah is also interesting in that it is not addressed to Israel, but to the nation of Edom.
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