What does Obadiah 1:8 mean?
ESV: Will I not on that day, declares the LORD, destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of Mount Esau?
NIV: In that day,' declares the LORD, 'will I not destroy the wise men of Edom, those of understanding in the mountains of Esau?
NASB: Will I not on that day,' declares the Lord, 'Eliminate wise men from Edom, And understanding from the mountain of Esau?
CSB: In that day -- this is the Lord's declaration -- will I not eliminate the wise ones of Edom and those who understand from the hill country of Esau?
NLT: At that time not a single wise person will be left in the whole land of Edom,' says the Lord. 'For on the mountains of Edom I will destroy everyone who has understanding.
KJV: Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau?
NKJV: “Will I not in that day,” says the Lord, “Even destroy the wise men from Edom, And understanding from the mountains of Esau?
Verse Commentary:
Esau was the brother of Jacob. Esau's descendants became Edom, while Jacob's descendants became Israel. The Edomites settled in the mountains of Seir. So, references to "Mount Esau," or "Mount Seir," point towards the Edomite nation. References to mountains are important here, since that was a major cause of Edom's arrogance. Edom's cities were in caves and on cliffs. This made them extremely easy to defend.

Since Edom was secure, full of resources, and along a major trade route, the Edomites became overconfident. Over time, they came to believe that they could not be defeated (Obadiah 1:3). They saw themselves as wise, since they were successful. As it turns out, Edom foolishly fell for a trap. The Nabateans, supposed allies from Arabia, sprang a surprise attack during a mutual feast, catching Edom off guard and driving them out of their homes. So much for the "wisdom" and "understanding" of Edom's leaders.

This fulfillment of prophecy happened not long after Obadiah wrote these words. Malachi 1:3–4 describes Edom as desolate and uninhabited.
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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