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Obadiah 3-5 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Your presumptuous heart[a] has deceived you—
you who reside in the safety of the rocky cliffs,[b]
whose home is high in the mountains.[c]
You think to yourself,[d]
‘No one can[e] bring me down to the ground!’[f]
Even if you were to soar high like an eagle,[g]
even if you[h] were to make your nest among the stars,
I can bring you down even from there!” says the Lord.
“If thieves came to rob you[i] during the night,[j]

they would steal only as much as they wanted.[k]
If grape pickers came to harvest your vineyards,[l]
they would leave some behind for the poor.[m]
But you will be totally destroyed![n]


  1. Obadiah 1:3 tn Heb “the presumption of your heart”; cf. NAB, NIV “the pride of your heart,” NASB “arrogance of your heart.”
  2. Obadiah 1:3 tn Heb “in the concealed places of the rock”; cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “in the clefts of the rock”; NCV “the hollow places of the cliff”; CEV “a mountain fortress.” sn The word rock in Hebrew (סֶלַע, selaʿ) is a wordplay on Sela, the name of a prominent Edomite city. Its impregnability was a cause for arrogance on the part of its ancient inhabitants.
  3. Obadiah 1:3 tn Heb “on high (is) his dwelling”; cf. NASB “in the loftiness of your dwelling place,” NRSV “whose dwelling (NAB “abode”) is in the heights.”
  4. Obadiah 1:3 tn Heb “the one who says in his heart.”
  5. Obadiah 1:3 tn The Hebrew imperfect verb used here is best understood in a modal sense (“Who can bring me down?”) rather than in the sense of a simple future (“Who will bring me down?”). So also in v. 4 (“I can bring you down”). The question is not so much whether this will happen at some time in the future, but whether it even lies in the realm of possible events. In their hubris the Edomites were boasting that no one had the capability of breaching their impregnable defenses. However, their pride caused them to fail to consider the vast capabilities of Yahweh as warrior.
  6. Obadiah 1:3 tn Heb “Who can bring me down?” This rhetorical question implies a negative answer: “No one!”
  7. Obadiah 1:4 sn The eagle was often used in the ancient Near East as a symbol of strength and swiftness.
  8. Obadiah 1:4 tc The present translation follows the reading תָּשִׂים (tasim; active) rather than שִׁים (sim; passive) of the MT (cf. NAB “and your nest be set among the stars”). Cf. LXX, Syriac, and Vg.
  9. Obadiah 1:5 sn Obadiah uses two illustrations to show the totality of Edom’s approaching destruction. Both robbers and harvesters would have left at least something behind. Such will not be the case, however, with the calamity that is about to befall Edom. A virtually identical saying appears in Jer 49:9-10.
  10. Obadiah 1:5 tn Heb “If thieves came to you, or if plunderers of the night” (NRSV similar). The repetition here adds rhetorical emphasis.
  11. Obadiah 1:5 tn Heb “Would they not have stolen only their sufficiency?” The rhetorical question is used to make an emphatic assertion, which is perhaps best represented by the indicative form in the translation.
  12. Obadiah 1:5 tn Heb “If grape pickers came to you.” The phrase “to harvest your vineyards” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation to clarify the point of the entire simile that is assumed.
  13. Obadiah 1:5 tn Heb “Would they not have left some gleanings?” The rhetorical question makes an emphatic assertion, which for the sake of clarity is represented by the indicative form in the translation. The implied answer to these rhetorical questions is “yes.” The fact that something would have remained after the imagined acts of theft or harvest stands in stark contrast to the totality of Edom’s destruction as predicted by Obadiah. Edom will be so decimated as a result of God’s judgment that nothing at all will be leftsn According to the Mosaic law, harvesters were required to leave some grain behind in the fields for the poor (Lev 19:9; 23:22; see also Ruth 2); there was a similar practice with grapes and olives (Lev 19:10; Deut 24:21). Regarding gleanings left behind from grapes, see Judg 8:2; Jer 6:9; 49:9; Mic 7:1.
  14. Obadiah 1:5 tn Heb “O how you will be cut off.” This emotional interjection functions rhetorically as the prophet’s announcement of judgment on Edom. In Hebrew this statement actually appears between the first and second metaphors, that is, in the middle of this verse. As the point of the comparison, one would expect it to follow both of the two metaphors; however, Obadiah interrupts his own sentence to interject his emphatic exclamation that cannot wait until the end of the sentence. This emphatic sentence structure is eloquent in Hebrew but awkward in English. Since this emphatic assertion is the point of his comparison, it appears at the end of the sentence in this translation, where one normally expects to find the concluding point of a metaphorical comparison.
New English Translation (NET)

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