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Proud Edom Will Be Brought Low

1 The vision of Obadiah.


Thus says the Lord G od concerning Edom:

We have heard a report from the L ord,

and a messenger has been sent among the nations:

“Rise up! Let us rise against it for battle!”


I will surely make you least among the nations;

you shall be utterly despised.


Your proud heart has deceived you,

you that live in the clefts of the rock,

whose dwelling is in the heights.

You say in your heart,

“Who will bring me down to the ground?”


Though you soar aloft like the eagle,

though your nest is set among the stars,

from there I will bring you down,

says the L ord.


Pillage and Slaughter Will Repay Edom’s Cruelty


If thieves came to you,

if plunderers by night

—how you have been destroyed!—

would they not steal only what they wanted?

If grape-gatherers came to you,

would they not leave gleanings?


How Esau has been pillaged,

his treasures searched out!


All your allies have deceived you,

they have driven you to the border;

your confederates have prevailed against you;

those who ate your bread have set a trap for you—

there is no understanding of it.


On that day, says the L ord,

I will destroy the wise out of Edom,

and understanding out of Mount Esau.


Your warriors shall be shattered, O Teman,

so that everyone from Mount Esau will be cut off.

Edom Mistreated His Brother


For the slaughter and violence done to your brother Jacob,

shame shall cover you,

and you shall be cut off forever.


On the day that you stood aside,

on the day that strangers carried off his wealth,

and foreigners entered his gates

and cast lots for Jerusalem,

you too were like one of them.


But you should not have gloated over your brother

on the day of his misfortune;

you should not have rejoiced over the people of Judah

on the day of their ruin;

you should not have boasted

on the day of distress.


You should not have entered the gate of my people

on the day of their calamity;

you should not have joined in the gloating over Judah’s disaster

on the day of his calamity;

you should not have looted his goods

on the day of his calamity.


You should not have stood at the crossings

to cut off his fugitives;

you should not have handed over his survivors

on the day of distress.



For the day of the L ord is near against all the nations.

As you have done, it shall be done to you;

your deeds shall return on your own head.


For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,

all the nations around you shall drink;

they shall drink and gulp down,

and shall be as though they had never been.

Israel’s Final Triumph


But on Mount Zion there shall be those that escape,

and it shall be holy;

and the house of Jacob shall take possession of those who dispossessed them.


The house of Jacob shall be a fire,

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 of the house of Esau;

for the L ord has spoken.


Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,

and those of the Shephelah the land of the Philistines;

they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,

and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.


The exiles of the Israelites who are in Halah

shall possess Phoenicia as far as Zarephath;

and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad

shall possess the towns of the Negeb.


Those who have been saved shall go up to Mount Zion

to rule Mount Esau;

and the kingdom shall be the L ord’s.

Commentaries on

the Prophet Obadiah

Obadiah 1:1

1. The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom; 6969     The Septuagint renders the words, “to Edom” — Ταδε λεγει κυριος ὁ Θεὸς τη Ιδουμαία —”Thus saith the Lord God to Idumea;” which is an exact rendering of the original, for it is, לאדום—”to Edom.” It was a message from God to that people. May we not hence conclude that this prophecy was sent to them by Obadiah? They are often personally addressed: and this seems to favor such a supposition. It is indeed true that ל prefixed to a word after the verb, to say or to speak, is often rendered, of, or, concerning; but it is also rendered by, to, meaning that the address is made to the person. — Ed. We have heard a rumour from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.

1. Visio Obadiae. Sic Dominus Jehova contra Edom, Rumorem audivimus a Jehova, et legatus ad gentes missus est, Surgite et surgamus contra eam ad proelium.


Obadiah’s preface is, that he brought nothing human, but only declared the vision presented to him from above. We indeed know that it was God alone that was ever to be heard in the Church, as even now he demands to be heard: but yet he sent his prophets, as afterwards the apostles; yea, as he sent his only begotten Son, whom he has set over us to be our only and sovereign Teacher. Obadiah then by saying that it was a vision, said the same, as though he declared, that he did not presumptuously bring forward his own dreams, or what he conjectured, or discovered by human reason, but that he adduced only a celestial oracle: for חזון, chezun, as we have observed in other places, was a vision, by which God revealed himself to his Prophets.

He then adds, Thus saith Jehovah. Here is a fuller expression of the same declaration. We thus see that the Prophet, in order that the doctrine he brought forward might not be suspected, made God the author; for what faith can be put in men, whom we know to be vain and false, except as far as they are ruled by the Spirit of God and sent by Him? Seeing then that the Prophet so carefully teaches us, that what he declared was delivered to him by God, we may hence learn what I have lately referred to, — that the Prophets formerly so spoke, that God alone might be heard among the people.

He says afterwards, A rumor have we heard. Some render it, a word, or a doctrine. שמועה, shimuoe, is properly a hearing, and is derived from the verb the Prophet subjoins. A hearing then have we heard; so it is translated literally. But some think that what was taught is pointed out, as though he said, “The Lord has revealed this to me and to other Prophets;” according to what Isaiah says, Isaiah 53:1, ‘Who has believed our hearing?’ It is the same word, and he speaks of God’s word or doctrine. But it is probable that he refers here to those tumultuous rumors, which commonly precede wars and calamities. We have then heard a rumor The verb in Jeremiah is not in the plural number, שמענו shimonu, but שמועה שמעתו shimoti shimunoe, ‘I have heard,’ says Jeremiah, ‘a hearing.’ But our Prophet uses the plural number, ‘We have heard a hearing.’ The sense however is the same; for Jeremiah says that he had heard rumors; and the Prophet here adds others to himself, as though he said, “This rumor is spread abroad, but it is from the Lord: it is certain that this rumor has been heard even by the profane and the despisers of God.” But the Prophet shows that wars are not stirred up at random, but by the secret influence of God; as though he said, “When a tumult arises, let us not think that its beginning is from the earth, but God himself is the mover.” We now then apprehend the design of the Prophet: though he speaks of the rumor of wars, he yet shows that chance or accident does not rule in such commotions, but the hidden influence of God.

We have heard, he says from Jehovah, and a messenger, or, an ambassador, to the nations has been sent 7070     Or the two lines may thus be rendered,—
   A rumor have we heard from Jehovah,
And a messenger to the nations hath he sent.

   The verb, to send, is here active; and so it is rendered in the Septuagint. It is indeed passive in the corresponding passage in Jeremiah; but there are several other instances of variety in the expressions used by the two Prophets, though there be in sense a material agreement. — Ed.
, Arise ye, and we will arise against her to battle. In Jeremiah, it is, ‘Assemble ye, come and arise against her to battle.’ The Prophet here shows, I have no doubt, whence the rumor came, which he had just mentioned; for they were now indeed stirring up one another to destroy that land. If any one had formed a judgment according to human wisdom, he would have said that the Assyrians were the cause why war was brought on the Idumeans, because they had found them either inconstant or even perfidious, or because they had feigned a pretense when there was no just reason for making war. But the Prophet here raises his mind upwards and acknowledges God to be the mover of this war, because he intended to punish the cruelty of that people, which they had exercised toward their own kindred, the Israelites; and at the same time he encourages others also, that they might understand that it was altogether directed by the hidden counsel of God, that the Assyrians, from being friends, became of a sudden enemies, that a war was all in a flame against the Idumeans at a time when they were at ease, without any fear, without any apprehension of danger. It follows —

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