What does Obadiah 1:15 mean?
ESV: For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.
NIV: The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.
NASB: 'For the day of the Lord is near for all the nations. Just as you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.
CSB: For the day of the Lord is near, against all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; what you deserve will return on your own head.
NLT: 'The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads.
KJV: For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.
NKJV: “For the day of the Lord upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.
Verse Commentary:
Obadiah is a particularly useful book of prophecy, since it summarizes the basic outline of most Old Testament prophets. In this case, as in other Scriptures, Edom is just one example of God's wrath on nations who rebel against God (Isaiah 34:2).

A common thread in God's judgment is the idea that what one sows, one reaps (Proverbs 22:8; Galatians 6:7). In particular, nations who act maliciously towards God's people can expect to see those crimes reflected back on themselves. Edom looted (Obadiah 1:13), so they will be looted (Obadiah 1:6). Edom was violent and took Jews from their homeland (Obadiah 1:14), so they will experience violence (Obadiah 1:8) and be driven from their homes (Obadiah 1:7). Edom laughed while Israel was destroyed (Obadiah 1:12), so they will be shattered and put to shame (Obadiah 1:10).

After centuries of abuse (Numbers 20:20–21), Edom helped Babylon raid and pillage Israel, mocking the Jews as it happened. Not long after, Edom was humiliated in an ambush by their own allies, driven from their lands, and stripped of all wealth. Between that defeat and their eventual annihilation by Rome, the Edomites were a despised, mocked people.

Some biblical references to "the Lord's Day" mean the events of the great tribulation or the establishment of the millennial kingdom. In other cases, it is simply a reference to whatever time God finally brings judgment against a nation for their sins. And, at times, there are shades of both at once. In this case, Edom's judgment is very near. At the same time, ultimate judgment is in store for all nations which reject God, and that will not be completed until the end times.
Verse Context:
Obadiah 1:15–18 makes a subtle shift in audience. Obadiah is one of the few Old Testament books specifically addressed to a nation other than Israel. Starting with verse 15, the warning of judgment shifts from Edom to ''all the nations'' who reject God and His commandments. In particular, nations are threatened to be paid back in the same way they have harmed others. Israel, and other faithful nations, however, will be saved.
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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