v. 1. The vision of Obadiah: Thus saith the Lord God, the supreme Ruler and Sovereign of the universe, concerning Edom: We have heard a rumor from the Lord, tidings from Jehovah, the God of the covenant, the Protector of His people, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, with a powerful and comforting message, as far as the Lord's people are concerned, Arise ye and let us, the various nations of the world acting with, and in behalf of, Jehovah, rise up against her in battle, the struggle between the powers of light and of darkness thus being brought out.
v. 2. Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen, the humiliation of Idumea being represented as having already been accomplished; thou art greatly despised, humiliated exceedingly.
v. 3. The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, the Hebrew text making this very emphatic: "Betrayed hath thee the pride of thine heart," upon which Idumea depended, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, in the mountain fastnesses of its rugged country, whose habitation is high, for the territory of Edom was a rocky mountain mass, full of caverns, that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? The Edomites considered themselves so secure in their rock dwellings, which, in their opinion, were practically inaccessible, that they were filled with overweening pride. The Lord now shows the vanity of this confidence.
v. 4. Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, with his home placed on inaccessible crags, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, on the summit of the highest mountains, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord, for no one can escape His avenging justice.
v. 5. If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, this being said for the sake of comparison, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? They take whatever they find, what is lying there to be taken readily. If the grape-gatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes? the usual remnants left for gleaning. Ordinarily, if enemies come against a country, they will satisfy their immediate desire for vengeance; but in this case the ruin would be too complete to be ascribed to ordinary causes; it would clearly be God's pitiless punishment.
v. 6. How are the things of Esau searched out! the spoiling of the country being complete in every respect. How are his hidden things sought up! so that not one of its hiding-places would be unexplored by the foe.
v. 7. All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border, or, "To the border have they escorted thee, all thy confederates," that is, the allies, to whom Idumea sent for assistance, sent these ambassadors back, not wishing to be involved in the downfall of that nation; the men that were at peace with thee, the neighboring nations, who had formerly professed friendship, have deceived thee and prevailed against thee, by withdrawing their assistance at the critical moment; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee, literally, "Thy bread have they placed as a snare," or "wound," under thee, that is, they broke their pledge of alliance to hospitality, treacherously leaving them in the lurch when they needed help most. There is none understanding in him, for Edom, overcome by the misfortunes which struck it, lost its usual cleverness in finding a way of escape from his perilous position.
v. 8. Shall I not in that day, saith the Lord, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, who formerly had given such excellent counsel in every emergency, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? so that the people of Idumea would be hopeless in the face of the calamity which would strike them.
v. 9. And thy mighty men, O Teman, the inhabitants of the southern district of Idumea, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau, of their entire mountainous country, may be cut off by slaughter, for that was the object of the Lord in taking away from them their wisdom and the use of their former power. When God decides to punish a nation, then all the cleverness of its most learned men, all the strength of its mightiest men, will be of no avail.