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Obadiah: Obadiah 8-God Will Destroy Edom’s Wise Men

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Obadiah 8 “In that day,” declares the Lord, “will I not destroy the wise men of Edom, those of understanding in the mountains of Esau?” (NIV)
Obadiah 8 “During this particular period of time,” declares the Lord, “will I not absolutely cause the wise men from Edom, specifically the advisers to be killed from Esau’s mountain?” (My translation)
On that day” refers to the period of time in which the Lord will use pagan Gentile nations in the Mediterranean and Mesopotamian regions of the world in the sixth century B.C. to destroy the nation of Edom.
It is referring to the period of time in which God will judge Edom since it is pointing back to the content of verses 1-7 which not only assert that God will judge Edom but also how He will do this.
Will I not on that day destroy the wise men out of Edom and understanding out of Mount Esau?” is a rhetorical question which demands an emphatic affirmation and emphatically asserts that the God of Israel will cause the wise men from Edom who were advisers to be destroyed, annihilated, exterminated.
The NET Bible writes “This undoubtedly refers to members of the royal court who offered political and military advice to the Edomite kings. In the ancient Near East, such men of wisdom were often associated with divination and occultic practices (cf. Isa 3:3, 47:10, 13). The Edomites were also renown in the ancient Near East as a center of traditional sagacity and wisdom; perhaps that is referred to here (cf. Jer 49:7).”[1]
Mount Esau” refers to the mountainous region in which the nation of Edom resided in the sixth century B.C. and speaks of the mountain God gave Esau and his descendants to inhabit (cf. Deut. 2:5).
Declares the Lord” emphasizes that the Lord is the author of this declaration in Obadiah 8 which predicts that He will certainly cause the wise men from Edom, and specifically their political and military advisers to be killed.
Obadiah 8 contains another prophetic declaration pertaining to the God of Israel’s intention to destroy the nation of Edom.
This prophetic declaration is implied from a rhetorical question.
The Lord asks, “will I not absolutely cause the wise men from Edom, specifically the advisers to be killed from Esau’s mountain?”
This rhetorical question demands an emphatic positive response and functions as an emphatic affirmation which can be translated “I will certainly cause the wise men from Edom, specifically the advisers to be killed from Esau’s mountain!”
These “wise men” who were “advisers” refer to the members of the royal court who offered political and military advice to the Edomite kings.
Jeremiah 49:7 mentions them.
D.W. Baker writs “The ‘wise men’ are important figures in the court and society (Jer. 18:18; cf. Deut. 1:13–15; Prov. 24:3–7; Isa. 29:14), providing sage intellectual insight or good sense (e.g., 2 Sam. 13:3; 1 Kings 5:7) as well as practical skill (e.g., Isa. 3:3; 40:20).”[2]
Charles Feinberg writes that “because of its communication with Babylon and Egypt and because of the information gleaned through the caravans going to and from Europe and India, Edom had gained an enviable reputation for wisdom.”[3]
Interestingly, Job’s friend Eliphaz was a Temanite (cf. Job 4:1), which means he lived in Edom.
Wiersbe writes “The people of the east were known for their wisdom (1 Kings 4:30), and this included the Edomites. Located as they were on the great trade routes, the leaders of Edom could get news and views from many nations. Job’s friend Eliphaz was from Teman in Edom (Job 2:11; see Jer. 49:7). Without wisdom, the leaders of Edom couldn’t make the right decisions, and the result would be confusion.”[4]
The wisdom of the Edomite wise men who were military and political advisers for the nation was inferior to God’s wisdom since the latter is based upon His omniscience and is His unique ability to devise a perfect plan to accomplish His goal to glorify Himself.
God’s wisdom speaks of His ability to perfectly execute His plan of salvation and as a result glorify Himself.
The wisdom of God is expressed through the gospel of Jesus Christ, which presents God’s provision of eternal salvation for the entire human race through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, the apostle Paul condemns the wisdom of the cosmic system, teaching that the wisdom of God as revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ is superior and has made foolish the wisdom of the cosmic system.
In 1 Corinthians 1:17-31, Paul attacks the self-confidence of the Greeks, who boast of their human wisdom, which is cosmic viewpoint (1 Co. 1:29; cf. 1 Co. 3:21).
He rejects human wisdom and boasts in the wisdom he received from the Lord through the Spirit.
In Colossians 2:3, Paul teaches that God’s wisdom resides in the mind and thinking of Christ, which appears in the written Word of God.
In Colossians 3:16, he teaches that the believer acquires the wisdom of God by letting the Word of Christ richly dwell in his soul, which gives him the capacity to glorify God in whatever circumstance or relationship in life.
James 3:17 describes wisdom as being pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
In Ephesians 3:1-12, the apostle Paul teaches that the multi-faceted wisdom of God is being made known through the church to the “rulers” and “authorities.”
In Ephesians 1:16-17, Paul informs the Ephesian believers that he prays that they would receive spiritual wisdom and revelation from the Holy Spirit regarding their union and identification with Christ, which is by means of an experiential knowledge of the Father.
[1] Biblical Studies Press. (2005). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press. [2] Baker, D. W. (2006). Joel, Obadiah, Malachi (p. 175). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. [3] Feinberg, Charles L. The Minor Prophets; page 126; Moody Press; Chicago; copyright 1948, 1951 and 1952. [4] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be concerned (p. 79). Colorado Springs, CO: Chariot Victor.
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