New English Translation
18 The descendants of Jacob will be a fire,
and the descendants of Joseph a flame.
The descendants of Esau will be like stubble.
They will burn them up and devour them.
There will not be a single survivor[a] of the descendants of Esau!”
Indeed, the Lord has spoken it.
19 The people of the Negev[b] will take possession[c] of Esau’s mountain,
and the people of the foothills[d] will take
possession[e] of the land of[f] the Philistines.
They will also take possession of the territory of Ephraim and the territory of Samaria,
and the people of Benjamin will take possession[g] of Gilead.[h]
20 The exiles of this fortress[i] of the people of Israel
will take possession[j] of what belongs to
the people of Canaan, as far as Zarephath,[k]
and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad[l]
will take possession of the towns of the Negev.
- Obadiah 1:18 tn Heb “will be no survivor”; cf. NAB “none shall survive.”
- Obadiah 1:19 tn Heb “the Negev”; cf. ASV “the South,” NCV, TEV “southern Judah.” The Hebrew text does not have the words “the people of,” but these words have been supplied in the translation for clarity. The place name “the Negev” functions as a synecdoche (container for contents) for the people living in the Negev. sn The Negev is a dry, hot, arid region in the southern portion of Judah.
- Obadiah 1:19 sn The verb יָרַשׁ (yarash, “to take possession of [something]”), which is repeated three times in vv. 19-20 for emphasis, often implies a violent means of acquisition, such as military conquest. Obadiah here pictures a dramatic reversal: Judah’s enemies, who conquered her then looted all her valuable possessions, will soon be conquered by the Judeans, who will in turn take possession of their valuables. The punishment will fit the crime.
- Obadiah 1:19 tn The Hebrew text does not have the words “the people of,” but they are supplied in the translation since “the foothills” functions as a synecdoche referring to residents of this region.sn The foothills (שְׁפֵלָה, shephelah) are the region between the Judean hill country and the Mediterranean coastal plain. In much of Old Testament times they served as a divide between the people of Judah and the Philistines, who lived in the coastal plain.
- Obadiah 1:19 tn The phrase “will take possession” does not appear in this clause but is implied from its previous use in this verse. It is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.
- Obadiah 1:19 tn The words “the land of” are not present in the Hebrew text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Obadiah 1:19 tn The phrase “will take possession” does not appear in this clause but is implied from its previous use in this verse. It is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Obadiah 1:19 sn Gilead is a mountainous region on the eastern side of the Jordan River in what is today the country of Jordan.
- Obadiah 1:20 tn Or “army” (TEV); cf. KJV, NAB, NASB “host,” NIV “company.” Some text critics suggest revocalizing MT הַחֵל (hakhel, “the fortress”) to the place- name הָלָה (halah, “Halah”; so NRSV), the location to which many of the Israelite exiles were sent in the 8th century (2 Kgs 7:6; 18:11; 1 Chr 5:26). The MT form is from הַיִל (hayil, “strength”), which is used elsewhere to refer to an army (Exod 14:17; 1 Sam 17:20; 2 Sam 8:9), a military fortress (2 Sam 20:15; 22:33), leaders (Exod 18:21) and even wealth or possessions (Obad 1:11, 13).
- Obadiah 1:20 tn The Hebrew text has no verb here. The words “will possess” have been supplied from the context.
- Obadiah 1:20 sn Zarephath was a Phoenician coastal city located some ten miles south of Sidon.
- Obadiah 1:20 sn The exact location of Sepharad is uncertain. Suggestions include a location in Spain, or perhaps Sparta in Greece, or perhaps Sardis in Asia Minor. For inscriptional evidence that bears on this question see E. LipinÃski, “Obadiah 20, ” VT 23 (1973): 368-70. The reason for mentioning this location in v. 20 seems to be that even though it was far removed from Jerusalem, the Lord will nonetheless enable the Jewish exiles there to return and participate in the restoration of Israel that Obadiah describes.