What does Obadiah 1:2 mean?
ESV: Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised.
NIV: See, I will make you small among the nations; you will be utterly despised.
NASB: 'Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You are greatly despised.
CSB: Look, I will make you insignificant among the nations; you will be deeply despised.
NLT: The Lord says to Edom, 'I will cut you down to size among the nations; you will be greatly despised.
KJV: Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised.
NKJV: “Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You shall be greatly despised.
Verse Commentary:
Part of Edom's strength was its strategic location. High mountains, cliffs, and rocky terrain made it easy to defend and difficult to attack. The nation was also located on a major travel route. This made it a common hub for trade. In addition, the land was rich in minerals and natural resources. This combination of defense, commerce, and industry meant Edom was a "big player" in the region. Success was a source of pride for the Edomites; verse 2 warns this will not last.

Historically speaking, Edom was ruined because of a surprise attack by her own allies. The Nabateans, polytheists from Arabia, lulled the Edomites into a false sense of security. When the attack was sprung, Edom was driven from its home and stripped of its wealth. Not only did this make the nation "smaller," geographically, and in terms of population, it also was humiliating. The book of Malachi, written just after those events, notes that Edom's cities were ghost towns (Malachi 1:3–4). The Edomite survivors fled to southern Judea, where they were ill-treated by the Jews. And, in AD 70, they were all but wiped out by Rome.
Verse Context:
Obadiah 1:1–9 predicts the total destruction of Edom, a long-standing enemy of Israel. Despite Edom's strategic location, pride, and wealth, this prophecy warns that they will be completely ruined. The people of Edom committed heinous crimes against Israel, even helping Israel's enemies capture Jewish refugees. This passage specifically mentions how the coming wrath will undo all of Edom's proudest achievements.
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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