Obadiah 1:11-21

11 When they were invaded, you stood aloof, refusing to help them. Foreign invaders carried off their wealth and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem, but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies.
12 “You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble.
13 You should not have plundered the land of Israel when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have gloated over their destruction when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have seized their wealth when they were suffering such calamity.
14 You should not have stood at the crossroads, killing those who tried to escape. You should not have captured the survivors and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble.
15 “The day is near when I, the LORD, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads.
16 Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history.
17 “But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance.
18 The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble. The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything. There will be no survivors in Edom. I, the LORD, have spoken!
19 “Then my people living in the Negev will occupy the mountains of Edom. Those living in the foothills of Judah will possess the Philistine plains and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria. And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead.
20 The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath. The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev.
21 Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom. And the LORD himself will be king!”

Obadiah 1:11-21 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO OBADIAH

The title of this Book, in the Hebrew copies, is usually "Sepher Obadiah", the Book of Obadiah: the Vulgate Latin version calls it the Prophecy of Obadiah; and so the Arabic version: and in the Syriac version it is, the Prophecy of the Prophet Obadiah. His name signifies a "servant" or "worshipper of the Lord". Who he was, what his parentage, and in what age he lived, are things uncertain. The Seder Olam Zuta {a} places him in the reign of Jehoshaphat: and he is thought by some to be that Obadiah that was one of the princes he sent to teach the people, 2Ch 17:7. The ancient Jewish Rabbins take him to be the same with him that lived in the times of Ahab, and in his court, who hid the prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them, 1Ki 18:3,4; to which Aben Ezra objects, because he is not called a prophet, only one that feared the Lord; whereas to be a prophet is something greater. They also say he was an Edomite by birth, but was proselyted to the Jewish religion, and so a fit person to be employed in prophesying against Edom; and it is a tradition with them that his widow is the woman whose cruse of oil Elisha multiplied, 2Ki 4:1. Some have been of opinion that he was the captain of the third fifty, whose life Elijah spared in the times of Ahaziah; and who upon that left the king's service, and followed the prophet, and became a disciple of his; so Pseudo-Epiphanius {b}, and Isidorus Hispalensis {c}, who say that he was of Sychem, a city of Samaria, and of the field of Bethachamar, or Bethaccaron. Others would have him to be one of the overseers of the workmen in the house of the Lord, in the times of Josiah, 2Ch 34:12; to which Mr. Lively {d} inclines; though others, going according to the order of the books in the canon of Scripture, which is not to be depended on, place him earlier, and make him contemporary with Hosea, Joel, and Amos, as Grotius {e}, Huetius {f}, and Lightfoot {g}: but he seems rather to be contemporary with Jeremiah and Ezekiel, with whose prophecies this agrees, as may be observed by comparing it with Jer 49:1-39, Eze 25:1-17; and to have lived and prophesied after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; in which the Edomites, against whom he prophesies, had a concern; see Ob 1:11-14, Ps 137:7; though Dr. Lightfoot thinks these prophecies refer either to the sacking of Jerusalem by Shishak king of Egypt, 1Ki 14:25; or by the Philistines and Arabians, 2Ch 21:16,17; or by Joash king of Israel, 2Ch 25:21; so that, upon the whole, it is not certain; and, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi own, it is not known in what age this prophet lived: Bishop Usher {h} places his prophecy in the twelfth year of Jeconiah's captivity. However, there is no doubt to be made of the authenticity of the prophecy; as may be concluded, not only from the title of it, and the solemn manner in which it begins; but from the matter of it, and the accomplishment of what is contained in it; as well as from the testimony borne to it in the New Testament, in which not only the book of the minor prophets, in which this stands, is quoted, Ac 7:42; but a passage in it, Ob 1:8; is referred to in 1Co 1:19; as is thought by some learned men. I have only to observe, that, according to Pseudo-Epiphanius {i}, he died in Bethachamar, where he is said to be born, and was buried in the sepulchre of his ancestors; but, according to Jerom {k} and Isidore {l}, his sepulchre is in Sebaste or Samaria; which remained to the times of Jerom, near those of the Prophet Elisha and John the Baptist. Monsieur Thevenot {m} says that John Baptist here lies buried between the Prophets Elisha and Abdias.

{a} P. 103. {b} De Prophet. Vid. c. 15. {c} De Vita & Mort. Sanct. c, 44. {d} In loc. {e} In loc. {f} Demonstrat. Evangel. Prop. 4. p. 290. {g} Works, vol. 1. p. 96. {h} Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3417 or 587 B.C. {i} Ut supra. (De Prophet. Vid. c. 15.) {k} Comment. in loc. & in Epitaph. Paulae, fol. 59. M. {l} Ut supra. (De Vita & Mort. Sanct. c, 44.) {m} Travels, par. 1. B. 1. ch. 56. p. 216.

\\INTRODUCTION TO OBADIAH 1\\

This prophecy of Obadiah is the least of the minor prophets, consisting but of one chapter; the subject of it is Edom, whose destruction is foretold, and is to be considered as a type of the enemies of Christ and his kingdom, and especially of the Roman antichrist. After the preface, the rumour of war, and preparation for it, which would issue in the ruin of Edom, are observed, Ob 1:1,2; because of their pride, confidence, and security, Ob 1:3,4; which should be complete and entire, Ob 1:5,6; notwithstanding their allies, who would deceive them; and the wisdom of their wise men, which should be destroyed; and the strength of their mighty men, who would be dismayed, Ob 1:7-9; and this should come upon them, chiefly because of their ill usage of the Jews at the time of Jerusalem's destruction, which is enlarged upon, Ob 1:10-14; and this would be when all the nations round about them would be destroyed, Ob 1:15,16; and then deliverance is promised to the Jews, who should not only enjoy their own possessions, but the land of the Edomites, wasted by them, Ob 1:17-20; and the book is concluded with a glorious prophecy of the kingdom of the Messiah, Ob 1:21.

Obadiah 1:11-21 In-Context

9 The mightiest warriors of Teman will be terrified, and everyone on the mountains of Edom will be cut down in the slaughter.
10 “Because of the violence you did to your close relatives in Israel, you will be filled with shame and destroyed forever.
11 When they were invaded, you stood aloof, refusing to help them. Foreign invaders carried off their wealth and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem, but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies.
12 “You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble.
13 You should not have plundered the land of Israel when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have gloated over their destruction when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have seized their wealth when they were suffering such calamity.
14 You should not have stood at the crossroads, killing those who tried to escape. You should not have captured the survivors and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble.
15 “The day is near when I, the LORD, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads.
16 Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history.
17 “But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance.
18 The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble. The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything. There will be no survivors in Edom. I, the LORD, have spoken!
19 “Then my people living in the Negev will occupy the mountains of Edom. Those living in the foothills of Judah will possess the Philistine plains and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria. And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead.
20 The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath. The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev.
21 Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom. And the LORD himself will be king!”

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Hebrew Mount Zion.
  • [b]. Hebrew house of Jacob; also in 18. See note on 10.
  • [c]. Hebrew the Shephelah.
  • [d]. Hebrew in Sepharad.
  • [e]. As in Greek and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads Rescuers.
  • [f]. Or from.
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