What does Obadiah 1:11 mean?
ESV: On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.
NIV: On the 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.
NASB: On the day that you stood aloof, On the day that strangers carried off his wealth, And foreigners entered his gate And cast lots for Jerusalem— You too were as one of them.
CSB: On the day you stood aloof, on the day strangers captured his wealth, while foreigners entered his city gate and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were just like one of them.
NLT: When they were invaded, you stood aloof, refusing to help them. Foreign invaders carried off their wealth and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem, but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies.
KJV: In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.
NKJV: In the day that you stood on the other side— In the day that strangers carried captive his forces, When foreigners entered his gates And cast lots for Jerusalem— Even you were as one of them.
Verse Commentary:
In 587 BC, the Babylonian Empire, led by Nebuchadnezzar, invaded and sacked Jerusalem for a third time. Israelites who escaped tried to flee to the southeast. The Edomites, who did nothing to counter the invasion, helped Babylon to capture fugitive Jews. In reward, Edom was allowed to participate in looting Jerusalem. Instead of acting as a brother, Edom acted with violence and spite towards Israel. As verse 5 stated, even thieves only steal what they want, leaving the rest. It takes a vindictive spirit to strip the victim of everything.

Typical of Old Testament judgment, Edom would suffer the same disaster they had inflicted on Israel. Shortly after Obadiah's prophecy, Edom was reduced to a wasteland after an attack by their so-called allies. Just as Edom had watched while foreign nations robbed Israel, they would be ruined and driven from their homes by invaders. Verse 10 puts the blame for this, in some sense, on Edom's recent crimes against Israel. However, this judgment had been a long time coming. No other Old Testament nation is mentioned in the context of judgment more often than Edom.
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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