What does Obadiah 1:14 mean?
ESV: Do not stand at the crossroads to cut off his fugitives; do not hand over his survivors in the day of distress.
NIV: You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble.
NASB: Do not stand at the crossroads To eliminate their survivors; And do not hand over their refugees On the day of their distress.
CSB: Do not stand at the crossroads to cut off their fugitives, and do not hand over their survivors in the day of distress.
NLT: You should not have stood at the crossroads, killing those who tried to escape. You should not have captured the survivors and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble.
KJV: Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.
NKJV: You should not have stood at the crossroads To cut off those among them who escaped; Nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained In the day of distress.
Verse Commentary:
Edom not only laughed and looted when Israel was attacked by Babylon, they even captured refugees and turned them over to the invaders. More specifically, as verse 14 shows, they waited along the road, knowing the fugitives would have to pass by. Obadiah 1:5 refers to the spite required to take everything someone has, when even a thief will only take what he wants. Obadiah 1:10 implies that violence against a brother is even worse than that against a stranger. How much more evil, spiteful, and hateful is it to capture those running from an invasion and hand them to their attackers? For as long as Edom had been harassing Israel (Numbers 20:20–21), this was a new low.

Verses 12 through 14 use a common technique of ancient literature. Even though the prophet tells Edom, "do not," these are crimes which Edom has already committed. The prophet calls out a warning, as if looking back in time, to tell the people to stop.
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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