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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.

Here the Prophet promises deliverance to the Jews; for other consolations would have been of no great moment, had they, who then were perishing, no hope of being some time restored to safety. The Jews might indeed have objected, and said, “What is it to us, though the Lord may avenge our wrongs? Should the Idumeans be destroyed for our sake, what profit will that be to us? We are in the meantime destroyed and have no hope of deliverance.” The Prophet here meets this objection, and says, In mount Zion shall be escape Though then the Idumeans had attempted to intercept all outlets, as it has been before mentioned, yet God promises here that there would be an escape in mount Zion: he says not, from mount Zion, but in the very mountain. What does this mean? even that God would restore those who might seem then to be lost. Then Obadiah clearly promises that there would be a restoration of the Church.

But we are taught in this place, that the punishment, by which the Lord chastises his people for their sins, is ever for a time. Whenever then God inflicts wounds on his Church, prepared at the same time is the remedy; for God designs not, nor does he suffer, that his own people should be wholly lost. This we may learn from the Prophet’s words, when he says, that there would be escape in Zion. And it was no ordinary comfort for the Jews to know, that even in their extreme decay, there remained for them some hope of deliverance, and that the people, who might appear at the time to be extinct, would yet be saved, and preserved alive, as though they arose from the dead.

He says that mount Zion would be holiness or holy, by which he means that God would be mindful of his covenant. As then he had chosen mount Zion where he would be worshipped, the Prophet intimates that God’s name was not there involved presumptuously or in vain. Inasmuch as God had chosen this mount for himself, it was holy; for God is said to have profaned the land and the temple, when he forsook them and delivered them up into the hands of enemies. So also now when the Prophet says, that mount Zion would be holy, it is the same as though he had said, that God would have a care for this mountain, because he had once consecrated it to himself, and designed it to be his own habitation. The cause then is put here for its effect. He had said, that the Jews would survive, how much soever like the lost and the dead they might for a time be, — How could such a thing be? The reason is this, — mount Zion shall be holy: it was a dreadful profanation of mount Zion when the temple was destroyed, when the holy vessels were taken away by the Babylonians, when, in short, the enemies showed there every kind of insolence. But when the Lord restored his people, when the altar was built again, and sacrifices were offered, then mount Zion recovered its holiness, that is, God manifested that the grace of his election had not been abolished, for he had again sanctified mount Zion, and thus designed it to be preserved safe. Holy then shall be mount Zion Were any one disposed to refine more on the Prophet’s words, he might say, that it is evidently the manner of our salvation that is intended, when God is said to sanctify or govern us by his Spirit: but the Prophet, I have no doubt, has regard here simply to the election of God.

And the house of Jacob shall again possess his own possessions, that is whatever God has given as an heritage to the children of Abraham, he will restore to them when they return from exile. If any one prefers to take possessions to be those of Edom, I do not object. But yet I think that the real meaning of the Prophet is, that when the children of Israel should return from exile, God would restore to them their ancient country, that they might possess whatever had been promised to their father Abraham. He means then, by their possessions, the whole land, which came by lot into the possession of the chosen people, as it had been promised to Abraham. It follows —

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