Obadiah 1:8
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?
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1:1-16 This prophecy is against Edom. Its destruction seems to have been typical, as their father Esau's rejection; and to refer to the destruction of the enemies of the gospel church. See the prediction of the success of that war; Edom shall be spoiled, and brought down. All the enemies of God's church shall be disappointed in the things they stay themselves on. God can easily lay those low who magnify and exalt themselves; and will do it. Carnal security ripens men for ruin, and makes the ruin worse when it comes. Treasures on earth cannot be so safely laid up but that thieves may break through and steal; it is therefore our wisdom to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Those that make flesh their trust, arm it against themselves. The God of our covenant will never deceive us: but if we trust men with whom we join ourselves, it may prove to us a wound and dishonour. God will justly deny those understanding to keep out of danger, who will not use their understandings to keep out of sin. All violence, all unrighteousness, is sin; but it makes the violence far worse, if it be done against any of God's people. Their barbarous conduct towards Judah and Jerusalem, is charged upon them. In reflecting on ourselves, it is good to consider what we should have done; to compare our practice with the Scripture rule. Sin, thus looked upon in the glass of the commandment, will appear exceedingly sinful. Those have a great deal to answer for, who are idle spectators of the troubles of their neighbours, when able to be active helpers. Those make themselves poor, who think to make themselves rich by the ruin of the people of God; and those deceive themselves, who call all that their own on which they can lay their hands in a day of calamity. Though judgment begins at the house of God, it shall not end there. Let sorrowful believers and insolent oppressors know, that the troubles of the righteous will soon end, but those of the wicked will be eternal.Shall I not in that day even destroy the wise out of Edom? - It was then no common, no recoverable, loss of wisdom, for God, the Author of wisdom, had destroyed it. The pagan had a proverb, "whom God willeth to destroy, he first dements." So Isaiah foretells of Judah Isaiah 29:14, "The wisdom of their wise shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid." Edom was celebrated of old for its wisdom. Eliphaz, the chief of Job's friends, the representative of human wisdom, was a Temanite Job 4:1. A vestige of the name of the Shuhites, from where came another of his friends, probably still lingers among the mountains of Edom. Edom is doubtless included among the "sons of the East" 1 Kings 4:30 whose wisdom is set as a counterpart to that of Egypt, the highest human wisdom of that period, by which that of Solomon would be measured. "Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the East country and all the wisdom of Egypt." In Baruch, they are still mentioned among the chief types of human wisdom (Bar. 3:22, 23). "It (wisdom) hath not been heard of in Chanaan, neither hath it been seen in Theman. The Agarenes that seek wisdom upon earth, the merchants of Meran and of Theman, the authors of fables and searchers-out of understanding, none of these have known, the way of wisdom, or remember her paths."

Whence, Jeremiah Jer 49:7, in using, these words of Obadiah, says: "Is wisdom no more in Teman? Is counsel perished from the prudent? Is their wisdom vanished?" He speaks, as though Edom were a known abode of human wisdom, so that it was strange that it was found there no more. He speaks of the Edomites "as prudent," discriminating , full of judgment, and wonders that counsel should have "perished" from them. They had it eminently then, before it perished. They thought themselves wise; they were thought so; but God took it away at their utmost need. So He says of Egypt Isaiah 19:3, Isaiah 19:11-12. "I will destroy the counsel thereof. The counsel of the wise counselors of Pharaoh is become brutish. How say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings? Where are they? Who are thy wise? And let them tell thee now, and let them know, what the Lord of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt." And of Judah Jeremiah 19:7. "I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place."

The people of the world think that they hold their wisdom and all God's natural gifts, independently of the Giver (God). God, by the events of His natural Providence, as here by His word, shows, through some sudden withdrawal of their wisdom, that it is His, not their's! People wonder at the sudden failure, the flaw in the well-arranged plan, the one over-confident act which ruins the whole scheme, the over-shrewdness which betrays itself, or the unaccountable oversight. They are amazed that one so shrewd should overlook this or that, and think not that He, in whose hands are our powers of thought, supplied not just that insight, Whereon the whole depended.

8. (Isa 49:7; compare Job 5:12, 13; Isa 19:3; Jer 19:7).

in that day … even destroy—Heretofore Edom, through its intercourse with Babylon and Egypt, and from its means of information through the many caravans passing to and fro between Europe and India, has been famed for knowledge; but in that day at last ("even") I will destroy its wise men.

mount of Esau—that is, Idumea, which was a mountainous region.

Shall I not? this interrogation is a strong assertion, I certainly will.

In that day, of war and desolation of Edom, when Nebuchadnezzar with his armies shall invade Idumea.

Destroy; either by war or sicknesses take the wise men out of Edom, they shall die; or deprive them of places of trust where they might help to save Edom; or else turn their wisdom into foolishness, as Ahithophel’s was.

The wise men; men of sound counsel and good conduct in the affairs of peace and war.

And understanding out of the mount of Esau; an elegant ingemination for illustrating and confirming the prediction. All Edom shall miserably perish, not a wise man left to foresee and prevent it.

Shall I not in that day, saith the Lord, even destroy the wise men out of Edom,.... When they shall be invaded by the enemy, and treacherously dealt with by their allies; so that there shall be no wise counsellors at court to give advice what proper methods should be taken at such a season; they should either be taken off by death, or their wisdom should be turned into folly, and they be rendered incapable of giving right counsel:

and understanding out of the mount of Esau? that is, men of understanding, as the Targum, should be destroyed out of Edom or Idumea, which was a mountainous country; such as were well versed in politics, or understood military affairs, and how to conduct at such a critical time; to form schemes, and concert measures, and wisely put them in execution; and to be deprived of all such must be a great loss at such a time, and add to their distress and calamity; see Jeremiah 49:7.

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?
8. destroy the wise men] i.e. so deprive them of their wisdom that they shall cease to be wise men. Comp. Jeremiah 49:7, “Concerning Edom, thus saith the Lord of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?” There is perhaps a reference to wisdom as a special characteristic of the Edomites. “Eliphaz, the chief of Job’s friends, the representative of human wisdom, was a Temanite.” (Pusey, see Job 2:11.) In the Book of Baruch the Edomites are referred to as types of wisdom. “It hath not been heard of in Chanaan, neither hath it been seen in Theman. The Agarenes that seek wisdom upon earth, the merchants of Meran and of Theman, the authors of fables, and searchers out of understanding; none of these have known the way of wisdom, or remember her paths.” Bar 3:22-23.

8, 9. Though thus shamefully betrayed and utterly spoiled, the Edomites might yet possibly have recovered themselves, if those inherent qualities in which the strength of nations as of individuals consists, had still been left to them. But the judgment of God would deprive them of these, and so render their case hopeless. Wisdom and courage, the two great resources of a nation in adversity, would alike fail them. Comp. Jeremiah 49:7; Jeremiah 49:22.

Verses 8, 9. - Their vaunted wisdom and their boasted courage shall fail, for God shall take them away. "Quem Deus vult perdere, prius dementat." Verse 8. - In that day; when Edom is abandoned by its friends. Destroy the wise men out of Edom. God shall take their wisdom from them, so that they shall be no more able to offer prudent counsel or suggest plans of safety (Isaiah 19:11-16; Isaiah 29:14; Isaiah 47:12, 13). The Edomites were celebrated for wisdom or practical philosophy (comp. 1 Kings 4:30; Jeremiah 49:7; Baruch 3:22, 23). Mount of Esau (vers. 9, 19, 21). Mount Seir - a designation of Edom from the nature of the country. Obadiah 1:8"Does it not come to pass in that day, is the saying of Jehovah, that I destroy the wise men out of Edom, and discernment from the mountains of Esau? Obadiah 1:9. And thy heroes despair, O Teman, that every one may be cut off by murder from the mountains of Esau." In order to give up the Edomites to destruction at that time, the Lord will take away discernment from their wise men, so that even they will not be able to help them. The destruction of the wise men is not to be understood as signifying that the wise men will all be slain, or slain before any others, but simply that they will be destroyed as wise men by the withdrawal or destruction of their wisdom. This meaning is sustained, not only by the fact that in the second clause tebhūnâh only is mentioned as that which is to be destroyed, but also by the parallel passages, Jeremiah 49:7; Isaiah 19:11; Isaiah 29:14. Jeremiah mentions here the wisdom of the Temanites in particular. That they were celebrated for their wisdom, is evident not only from this passage, but also from the fact that Eliphaz, the chief opponent of Job in argument, was a Temanite (Job 2:1, etc.). With this withdrawal of wisdom and discernment, even the brave warriors lose their courage. The heroes are dismayed (chattū), or fall into despair. Tēmân, which the Chaldee has rendered incorrectly as an appellative, viz., inhabitants of the south (dârōmâ'), is a proper name of the southern district of Idumaea (see at Amos 1:12), so called from Teman, a son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:11, Genesis 36:15). Gibbōrekhâ (thy heroes), with the masculine suffix, the people inhabiting the district being addressed under the name of the district itself. God inflicts this upon Edom with the intention (lema‛an, to this end) that all the Edomites should be cut off. Miqqâtel, from the murdering, by murder (compare Genesis 9:11, where min occurs after yikkârēth in this sense); not "without conflict," as Ewald renders it, for qetel signifies slaying, and not conflict. The thought of connecting miqqâtel with what follows cannot for a moment be entertained (vid., lxx, Syr., Vulg.). It is opposed not only by the authority of the Masoretic punctuation, but still more decisively by the fact, that the stronger and more special word (qetel) cannot precede the weaker and more general one (châmâs), and that the murder of certain fugitives is placed first in the list of crimes committed by Edom upon the Israelites (Obadiah 1:10-14).
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