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1The vision of Obadiah.

Edom Will Be Humbled

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:
We have heard a report from the Lord,
and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”
2Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
you shall be utterly despised.11Or Behold, I have made you small among the nations; you are utterly despised
3The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rock,22Or Sela
in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
“Who will bring me down to the ground?”
4Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
though your nest is set among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,
declares the Lord.

5If thieves came to you,
if plunderers came by night—
how you have been destroyed!—
would they not steal only enough for themselves?
If grape gatherers came to you,
would they not leave gleanings?
6How Esau has been pillaged,
his treasures sought out!
7All your allies have driven you to your border;
those at peace with you have deceived you;
they have prevailed against you;
those who eat your bread33Hebrew lacks those who eat have set a trap beneath you—
you have44Hebrew he has no understanding.

8Will I not on that day, declares the Lord,
destroy the wise men out of Edom,
and understanding out of Mount Esau?
9And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,
so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.

Edom's Violence Against Jacob

10Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
shame shall cover you,
and you shall be cut off forever.
11On the day that you stood aloof,
on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you were like one of them.
12But do not gloat over the day of your brother
in the day of his misfortune;
do not rejoice over the people of Judah
in the day of their ruin;
do not boast55Hebrew do not enlarge your mouth
in the day of distress.
13Do not enter the gate of my people
in the day of their calamity;
do not gloat over his disaster
in the day of his calamity;
do not loot his wealth
in the day of his calamity.
14Do not stand at the crossroads
to cut off his fugitives;
do not hand over his survivors
in the day of distress.

The Day of the Lord Is Near

15For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
your deeds shall return on your own head.
16For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
so all the nations shall drink continually;
they shall drink and swallow,
and shall be as though they had never been.
17But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,
and it shall be holy,
and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.
18The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
and the house of Joseph a flame,
and the house of Esau stubble;
they shall burn them and consume them,
and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for the Lord has spoken.

The Kingdom of the Lord

19Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,
and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;
they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,
and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
20The exiles of this host of the people of Israel
shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,
and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
shall possess the cities of the Negeb.
21Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion
to rule Mount Esau,
and the kingdom shall be the Lord's.

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Ob 1-21. Doom of Edom for Cruelty to Judah, Edom's Brother; Restoration of the Jews.

1. Obadiah—that is, servant of Jehovah; same as Abdeel and Arabic Abd-allah.

We—I and my people.

heard—(Isa 21:10).

and an ambassador is sent—Yea, an ambassador is already sent, namely, an angel, to stir up the Assyrians (and afterwards the Chaldeans) against Edom. The result of the ambassador's message on the heathen is, they simultaneously exclaim, "Arise ye, and let us (with united strength) rise," &c. Jer 49:14 quotes this.

2. I have made thee small—Thy reduction to insignificance is as sure as if it were already accomplished; therefore the past tense is used [Maurer]. Edom then extended from Dedan of Arabia to Bozrah in the north (Jer 49:8, 13). Calvin explains it, "Whereas thou wast made by Me an insignificant people, why art thou so proud" (Ob 3)? But if so, why should the heathen peoples be needed to subdue one so insignificant? Jer 49:15, confirms Maurer's view.

3. clefts of … rock—(So 2:14; Jer 48:28). The cities of Edom, and among them Petra (Hebrew, sela, meaning "rock," 2Ki 14:7, Margin), the capital, in the Wady Musa, consisted of houses mostly cut in the rocks.

4. exalt thyself—or supply from the second clause, "thy nest" [Maurer] (Compare Job 20:6; Jer 49:16; Am 9:2).

set … nest among … stars—namely, on the loftiest hills which seem to reach the very stars. Edom is a type of Antichrist (Isa 14:13; Da 8:10; 11:37).

thence will I bring thee down—in spite of thy boast (Ob 3), "Who shall bring me down?"

5. The spoliation which thou shalt suffer shall not be such as that which thieves cause, bad as that is, for these when they have seized enough, or all they can get in a hurry, leave the rest—nor such as grape-gatherers cause in a vineyard, for they, when they have gathered most of the grapes, leave gleanings behind—but it shall be utter, so as to leave thee nothing. The exclamation, "How art thou cut off!" bursting in amidst the words of the image, marks strongly excited feeling. The contrast between Edom where no gleanings shall be left, and Israel where at the worst a gleaning is left (Isa 17:6; 24:13), is striking.

6. How are the things of Esau searched out!—by hostile soldiers seeking booty. Compare with Ob 5, 6 here, Jer 49:9, 10.

hidden things—or "places." Edom abounded in such hiding-places, as caves, clefts in the rock, &c. None of these would be left unexplored by the foe.

7. Men of thy confederacy—that is, thy confederates.

brought thee … to the border—that is, when Idumean ambassadors shall go to confederate states seeking aid, these latter shall conduct them with due ceremony to their border, giving them empty compliments, but not the aid required [Drusius]. This view agrees with the context, which speaks of false friends deceiving Edom: that is, failing to give help in need (compare Job 6:14, 15). Calvin translates, "have driven," that is, shall drive thee; shall help to drive thee to thy border on thy way into captivity in foreign lands.

the men that were at peace with thee—literally, "the men of thy peace." Compare Ps 41:9; Jer 38:22, Margin, where also the same formula occurs, "prevailed against thee."

they that eat thy bread—the poorer tribes of the desert who subsisted on the bounty of Edom. Compare again Ps 41:9, which seems to have been before Obadiah's mind, as his words were before Jeremiah's.

have laid a wound under thee—"laid" implies that their intimacy was used as a SNARE laid with a view to wound; also, these guest friends of Edom, instead of the cushions ordinarily laid under guests at table, laid snares to wound, that is, had a secret understanding with Edom's foe for that purpose. Maurer translates, "a snare." But English Version agrees with the Hebrew, which means, literally, "a bandage for a wound."

none understanding—none of the wisdom for which Edom was famed (see Ob 8) to extricate him from his perilous position.

in him—instead of "in thee." The change implies the alienation of God from Edom: Edom has so estranged himself from God, that He speaks now of him, not to him.

8. (Isa 49:7; compare Job 5:12, 13; Isa 19:3; Jer 19:7).

in that day … even destroy—Heretofore Edom, through its intercourse with Babylon and Egypt, and from its means of information through the many caravans passing to and fro between Europe and India, has been famed for knowledge; but in that day at last ("even") I will destroy its wise men.

mount of Esau—that is, Idumea, which was a mountainous region.

9. cut off by slaughterMaurer translates, "on account of the slaughter," namely, that inflicted on Judea by Edom (compare Ob 14). The Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate connect these words with Ob 10, "for the slaughter, for the violence (of which thou art guilty) against thy brother Jacob." English Version, "cut off by slaughter" (that is, an utter cutting off), answers well to "cut off for ever" (Ob 10). However, the arrangement of the Septuagint gives a better parallelism in Ob 10. "For the slaughter" (1) being balanced in just retribution by "thou shalt be cut off for ever" (4); as "For thy violence (not so bad as slaughter) against thy brother Jacob" (2) is balanced by "shame (not so bad as being cut off) shall cover thee" (3). Shame and extinction shall repay violence and slaughter (Mt 26:52; Re 13:10). Compare as to Edom's violence, Ps 137:7; Eze 25:12; Am 1:11.

10. against thy brother—This aggravates the sin of Esau, that it was against him who was his brother by birth and by circumcision. The posterity of Esau followed in the steps of their father's hatred to Jacob by violence against Jacob's seed (Ge 27:41).

Jacob—not merely his own brother, but his twin brother; hence the name Jacob, not Israel, is here put emphatically. Compare De 23:7 for the opposite feeling which Jacob's seed was commanded to entertain towards Edom's.

shame … cover thee—(Ps 35:26; 69:7).

for ever—(Isa 34:10; Eze 35:9; Mal 1:4). Idumea, as a nation, should be "cut off for ever," though the land should be again inhabited.

11. thou stoodest on the other side—in an attitude of hostility, rather than the sympathy which became a brother, feasting thine eyes (see Ob 12) with the misery of Jacob, and eagerly watching for his destruction. So Messiah, the antitype to Jerusalem, abandoned by His kinsmen (Ps 38:11).

strangers—the Philistines, Arabians in the reign of Jehoram, &c. (2Ch 21:16); the Syrians in the reign of Joash of Judah (2Ch 24:24); the Chaldeans (2Ch 36:1-23).

carried … captive his forces—his "host" (Ob 20): the multitude of Jerusalem's inhabitants.

cast lots upon Jerusalem—(Joe 3:3). So Messiah, Jerusalem's antitype, had lots cast for His only earthly possessions (Ps 22:18).

12. looked on—with malignant pleasure, and a brutal stare. So the antitypes, Messiah's foes (Ps 22:17). Maurer translates, as the Margin, "thou shouldest not look" any more. English Version agrees with the context better.

the day of thy brother—his day of calamity.

became a stranger—that is, was banished as an alien from his own land. God sends heavy calamities on those who rejoice in the calamities of their enemies (Pr 17:5; 24:17, 18). Contrast the opposite conduct of David and of the divine Son of David in a like case (Ps 35:13-15).

spoken proudly—literally, "made great the mouth"; proudly insulting the fallen (Eze 35:13, Margin; compare 1Sa 2:8; Re 13:6).

13. substance—translated "forces" in Ob 11.

14. stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his—Judah's.

that did escape—The Jews naturally fled by the crossways. (Maurer translates, "narrow mountain passes") well known to them, to escape to the desert, and through Edom to Egypt; but the Edomites stood ready to intercept the fugitives and either kill or "deliver them up" to the foe.

15. For—resumptive in connection with Ob 10, wherein Edom was threatened with cutting off for ever.

the day of the Lord—the day in which He will manifest Himself as the Righteous Punisher of the ungodly peoples (Joe 3:14). The "all" shows that the fulfilment is not exhausted in the punishment inflicted on the surrounding nations by the instrumentality of Nebuchadnezzar; but, as in Joe 3:14, and Zec 12:3, that the last judgment to come on the nations confederate against Jerusalem is referred to.

as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee—the righteous principle of retribution in kind (Le 24:17; Mt 7:2; compare Jud 1:6, 7; 8:19; Es 7:10).

thy reward—the reward of thy deed (compare Isa 3:9-11).

16. ye … upon my holy mountain—a periphrasis for, "ye Jews" [Maurer], whom Obadiah now by a sudden apostrophe addresses. The clause, "upon My holy mountain," expresses the reason of the vengeance to be taken on Judah's foes; namely, that Jerusalem is God's holy mountain, the seat of His temple, and Judah His covenant-people. Jer 49:12, which is copied from Obadiah, establishes this view (compare 1Pe 4:17).

as ye have drunk, &c.—namely, the cup of wrath, being dispossessed of your goods and places as a nation, by Edom and all the heathen; so shall all the heathen (Edom included) drink the same cup (Ps 60:3; Isa 51:17, 22; Jer 13:12, 13; 25:15-33; 49:12; 51:7; La 4:21, 22 Na 3:11; Hab 2:16).

continually—whereas Judah's calamity shall be temporary (Ob 17). The foes of Judah shall never regain their former position (Ob 18, 19).

swallow down—so as not to leave anything in the cup of calamity; not merely "drink" (Ps 75:8).

be as though they had not been—not a trace left of their national existence (Job 10:19; Ps 37:36; Eze 26:21).

17. upon … Zion … deliverance—both in the literal sense and spiritual sense (Joe 2:32; Isa 46:13; 59:20; Ro 11:26). Maurer as the Margin explains it, "there shall be a remnant that shall escape." Compare Isa 37:32; to the deliverance from Sennacherib there described Grotius thinks Obadiah here refers. "Jerusalem shall not be taken, and many of the neighboring peoples also shall find deliverance there." Unlike Judah's heathen foes of whom no remnant shall escape (Ob 9, 16), a remnant of Jews shall escape when the rest of the nation has perished, and shall regain their ancient "possessions."

there shall be holiness—that is, Zion shall be sacrosanct or inviolable: no more violated by foreign invaders (Isa 42:1; Joe 3:17).

18. fire—See the same figure, Nu 21:28; Isa 5:24; 10:17.

house of Jacob … Joseph—that is, the two kingdoms, Judah and Ephraim or Israel [Jerome]. The two shall form one kingdom, their former feuds being laid aside (Isa 11:12, 13; 37:22-28; Jer 3:18; Ho 1:11). The Jews returned with some of the Israelites from Babylon; and, under John Hyrcanus, so subdued and, compelling them to be circumcised, incorporated the Idumeans with themselves that they formed part of the nation [Josephus, Antiquities, 13.17; 12.11]. This was but an earnest of the future union of Israel and Judah in the possession of the enlarged land as one kingdom (Eze 37:16, &c.).

stubble—(Mal 4:1).

19. they of the south—The Jews who in the coming time are to occupy the south of Judea shall possess, in addition to their own territory, the adjoining mountainous region of Edom.

they of the plain—The Jews who shall occupy the low country along the Mediterranean, south and southwest of Palestine, shall possess, in addition to their own territory, the land of "the Philistines," which runs as a long strip between the hills and the sea.

and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim—that is, the rightful owners shall be restored, the Ephraimites to the fields of Ephraim.

Benjamin shall possess Gilead—that is, the region east of Jordan, occupied formerly by Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh. Benjamin shall possess besides its own territory the adjoining territory eastward, while the two and a half tribes shall in the redistribution occupy the adjoining territory of Moab and Ammon.

20. the captivity of this host—that is, the captives of this multitude of Israelites.

shall possess that of the CanaanitesMaurer translates, "the captives … whom the Canaanites (carried away captive into Phœnicia) even unto Zarephath, shall possess the south," namely, Idumea as well as the south (Ob 19). Henderson, similarly, "the captives that are among the Canaanites," &c. But the corresponding clauses of the parallelism are better balanced in English Version, "the ten tribes of Israel shall possess the territory of the Canaanites," namely, Western Palestine and Phœnicia (Jud 3:3). "And the captives of Jerusalem (and Judah) shall possess the southern cities," namely, Edom, &c. Each has the region respectively adjoining assigned to it; Israel has the western Canaanite region; Judah, the southern.

even unto Zarephath—near Zidon; called Sarepta in Lu 4:26. The name implies it was a place for smelting metals. From this quarter came the "woman of Canaan" (Mt 15:21, 22). Captives of the Jews had been carried into the coasts of Palestine or Canaan, about Tyre and Zidon (Joe 3:3, 4; Am 1:9). The Jews when restored shall possess the territory of their ancient oppressors.

in Sepharad—that is, the Bosphorus [Jerome, from his Hebrew Instructor]. Sephar, according to others (Ge 10:30). Palæography confirms Jerome. In the cuneiform inscription containing a list of the tribes of Persia [Niebuhr, Tab. 31.1], before Ionia and Greece, and after Cappadocia, comes the name CPaRaD. It was therefore a district of Western Asia Minor, about Lydia, and near the Bosphorus. It is made an appellative by Maurer. "The Jerusalem captives of the dispersion" (compare Jas 1:1), wherever they be dispersed, shall return and possess the southern cities. Sepharad, though literally the district near the Bosphorus, represents the Jews' far and wide dispersion. Jerome says the name in Assyrian means a boundary, that is, "the Jews scattered in all boundaries and regions."

21. saviours—There will be in the kingdom yet to come no king, but a prince; the sabbatic period of the judges will return (compare the phrase so frequent in Judges, only once found in the times of the kings, 2Ch 14:1, "the land had rest"), when there was no visible king, but God reigned in the theocracy. Israelites, not strangers, shall dispense justice to a God-fearing people (Isa 1:26; Eze 45:1-25). The judges were not such a burden to the people as the kings proved afterwards (1Sa 8:11-20). In their time the people more readily repented than under the kings (compare 2Ch 15:17), [Roos]. Judges were from time to time raised up as saviours or deliverers of Israel from the enemy. These, and the similar deliverers in the long subsequent age of Antiochus, the Maccabees, who conquered the Idumeans (as here foretold, compare 2 Maccabees 10:15,23), were types of the peaceful period yet to come to Israel.

to judge … Esauto punish (so "judge," 1Sa 3:13) … Edom (compare Ob 1-9, 15-19). Edom is the type of Israel's and God's last foes (Isa 63:1-4).

kingdom shall be the Lord's—under Messiah (Da 2:44; 7:14, 27; Zec 14:9; Lu 1:33; Re 11:15; 19:6).