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Obadiah 1:12-13

Context

1:12 You should not 1  have gloated 2  when your relatives 3  suffered calamity. 4 

You should not have rejoiced over the people of Judah when they were destroyed. 5 

You should not have boasted 6  when they suffered adversity. 7 

1:13 You should not have entered the city 8  of my people when they experienced distress. 9 

You should not have joined 10  in gloating over their misfortune when they suffered distress. 11 

You should not have looted 12  their wealth when they endured distress. 13 

1 tn In vv. 12-14 there are eight prohibitions which summarize the nature of the Lord’s complaint against Edom. Each prohibition alludes to something that Edom did to Judah that should not have been done by one “brother” to another. It is because of these violations that the Lord has initiated judgment against Edom. In the Hebrew text these prohibitions are expressed by אַל (’al, “not”) plus the jussive form of the verb, which is common in negative commands of immediate urgency. Such constructions would normally have the sense of prohibiting something either not yet begun (i.e., “do not start to …”) or something already in process at the time of speaking (i.e., “stop…”). Here, however, it seems more likely that the prohibitions refer to a situation in past rather than future time (i.e., “you should not have …”). If so, the verbs are being used in a rhetorical fashion, as though the prophet were vividly projecting himself back into the events that he is describing and urging the Edomites not to do what in fact they have already done.

2 tn The Hebrew expression “to look upon” often has the sense of “to feast the eyes upon” or “to gloat over” (cf. v. 13).

3 tn Heb “your brother” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV); NCV “your brother Israel.”

4 tn Heb “in the day of your brother, in the day of his calamity.” This expression is probably a hendiadys meaning, “in the day of your brother’s calamity.” The Hebrew word נָכְרוֹ (nokhro, “his calamity”)_is probably a word-play on נָכְרִים (nokherim, “foreigners”) in v. 11.

5 tn Heb “in the day of their destruction” (so KJV, NASB, NIV); NAB, NRSV “on the day of their ruin.”

6 tn Or “boasted with your mouth.” The Hebrew text includes the phrase “with your mouth,” which is redundant in English and has been left untranslated.

7 tn Heb “in the day of adversity”; NASB “in the day of their distress.”

8 tn Heb “the gate.” The term “gate” here functions as a synecdoche for the city as a whole, which the Edomites plundered.

9 tn Heb “in the day of their distress.” The phrase is used three times in this verse; the Hebrew word translated “distress” (אֵידָם, ’edam) is a wordplay on the name Edom. For stylistic reasons and to avoid monotony, in the present translation this phrase is rendered: “when they experienced distress,” “when they suffered distress,” and “when they endured distress.”

10 tn Heb “you, also you.”

11 tn Heb “in the day of his distress.” In this and the following phrase at the end of v. 13 the suffix is 3rd person masculine singular. As collective singulars both occurrences have been translated as plurals (“they suffered distress…endured distress” rather than “he suffered distress…endured distress”).

12 tc In the MT the verb is feminine plural, but the antecedent is unclear. The Hebrew phrase תִּשְׁלַחְנָה (tishlakhnah) here should probably be emended to read תִּשְׁלַח יָד (tishlakh yad), although yad (“hand”) is not absolutely essential to this idiom.

13 tn See the note on the phrase “suffered distress” in the previous line.



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