Obadiah 1:3-4

1:3 Your presumptuous heart has deceived you –

you who reside in the safety of the rocky cliffs,

whose home is high in the mountains.

You think to yourself,

‘No one can bring me down to the ground!’

1:4 Even if you were to soar high like an eagle,

even if you were to make your nest among the stars,

I can bring you down even from there!” says the Lord.

tn Heb “the presumption of your heart”; NAB, NIV “the pride of your heart”; NASB “arrogance of your heart.”

tn Heb “in the concealed places of the rock”; 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, sela’) 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.

tn Heb “on high (is) his dwelling”; NASB “in the loftiness of your dwelling place”; NRSV “whose dwelling (abode NAB) is in the heights.”

tn Heb “the one who says in his heart.”

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.

tn Heb “Who can bring me down?” This rhetorical question implies a negative answer: “No one!”

sn The eagle was often used in the ancient Near East as a symbol of strength and swiftness.

tc The present translation follows the reading תָּשִׂים (tasim; active) rather than שִׁים (sim; passive) of the MT (“and your nest be set among the stars,” NAB). Cf. LXX, Syriac, Vg.