“Is wisdom no longer to be found in Teman? 3
Can Edom’s counselors not give her any good advice? 4
Has all of their wisdom turned bad? 5
49:20 So listen to what I, the Lord, have planned against Edom,
Their little ones will be dragged off.
I will completely destroy their land because of what they have done. 8
2 sn Edom was a kingdom to the south and east of Judah. Its borders varied over time but basically Edom lay in the hundred mile strip between the Gulf of Aqaba on the south and the Zered River on the north. It straddled the Arabah leading down from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba, having as its northern neighbors both Judah and Moab. A long history of hostility existed between Israel and Edom, making Edom one of the favorite objects of the prophets’ oracles of judgment (cf., e.g., Isa 21:11-12; 34:5-15; 63:1-6; Amos 1:11-12; Ezek 25:12-14; 35:1-15; Obad 1-16). Not much is known about Edom at this time other than the fact that they participated in the discussions regarding rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar in 594
3 sn Teman was the name of one of Esau’s descendants, the name of an Edomite clan and the name of the district where they lived (Gen 36:11, 15, 34). Like the name Bozrah, it is used poetically for all of Edom (Jer 49:20; Ezek 25:13).
4 tn Heb “Has counsel perished from men of understanding?”
5 tn The meaning of this last word is based on the definition given in KBL 668 s.v. II סָרַח Nif and HALOT 726 s.v. II סָרַח Nif, which give the nuance “to be [or become] corrupt” rather than that of BDB 710 s.v. סָרַח Niph who give the nuance “let loose (i.e., to be dismissed; to be gone)” from a verb that is elsewhere used of the overhanging of a curtains or a cliff.
6 tn Heb “Therefore listen to the plan of the
7 sn Teman here appears to be a poetic equivalent for Edom, a common figure of speech in Hebrew poetry where the part is put for the whole. “The people of Teman” is thus equivalent to all the people of Edom.
8 tn Heb “They will surely drag them off, namely the young ones of the flock. He will devastate their habitation [or their sheepfold] on account of them.” The figure of the lion among the flock of sheep appears to be carried on here where the people are referred to as a flock and their homeland is referred to as a sheepfold. It is hard, however, to carry the figure over here into the translation, so the figures have been interpreted instead. Both of these last two sentences are introduced by a formula that indicates a strong affirmative oath (i.e., they are introduced by אִם לֹא [’im lo’; cf. BDB 50 s.v. אִם 1.b(2)]). The subject of the verb “they will drag them off” is the indefinite third plural which may be taken as a passive in English (cf. GKC 460 §144.g). The subject of the last line is the