Obadiah 1

1 The vision of Obadiah. 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 it for battle!"
2 I will surely make you least among the nations; you shall be utterly despised.
3 Your proud heart has deceived you, you that live in the clefts of the rock, [a] whose dwelling is in the heights. You say in your heart, "Who will bring me down to the ground?"
4 Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, says the Lord.
5 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?
6 How Esau has been pillaged, his treasures searched out!
7 All your allies have deceived you, they have driven you to the border; your confederates have prevailed against you; those who ate [b] your bread have set a trap for you— there is no understanding of it.
8 On that day, says the Lord, I will destroy the wise out of Edom, and understanding out of Mount Esau.
9 Your warriors shall be shattered, O Teman, so that everyone from Mount Esau will be cut off.
10 For the slaughter and violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.
11 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.
12 But you should not have gloated [c] over [d] 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.
13 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 [e] disaster on the day of his calamity; you should not have looted his goods on the day of his calamity.
14 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.
15 For the day of the Lord is near against all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.
16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, all the nations around you shall drink; they shall drink and gulp down, [f] and shall be as though they had never been.
17 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.
18 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 Lord has spoken.
19 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.
20 The exiles of the Israelites who are in Halah [g] shall possess [h] Phoenicia as far as Zarephath; and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the towns of the Negeb.
21 Those who have been saved [i] shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's.

Obadiah 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

The first part denounces the destruction of Edom, dwelling upon the injuries they inflicted upon the Jews. The second foretells the restoration of the Jews, and the latter glories of the church.

Destruction to come upon Edom. Their offences against Jacob. (1-16) The restoration of the Jews, and their flourishing state in the latter times. (17-21)

Verses 1-16 This prophecy is against Edom. Its destruction seems to have been typical, as their father Esau's rejection; and to refer to the destruction of the enemies of the gospel church. See the prediction of the success of that war; Edom shall be spoiled, and brought down. All the enemies of God's church shall be disappointed in the things they stay themselves on. God can easily lay those low who magnify and exalt themselves; and will do it. Carnal security ripens men for ruin, and makes the ruin worse when it comes. Treasures on earth cannot be so safely laid up but that thieves may break through and steal; it is therefore our wisdom to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Those that make flesh their trust, arm it against themselves. The God of our covenant will never deceive us: but if we trust men with whom we join ourselves, it may prove to us a wound and dishonour. God will justly deny those understanding to keep out of danger, who will not use their understandings to keep out of sin. All violence, all unrighteousness, is sin; but it makes the violence far worse, if it be done against any of God's people. Their barbarous conduct towards Judah and Jerusalem, is charged upon them. In reflecting on ourselves, it is good to consider what we should have done; to compare our practice with the Scripture rule. Sin, thus looked upon in the glass of the commandment, will appear exceedingly sinful. Those have a great deal to answer for, who are idle spectators of the troubles of their neighbours, when able to be active helpers. Those make themselves poor, who think to make themselves rich by the ruin of the people of God; and those deceive themselves, who call all that their own on which they can lay their hands in a day of calamity. Though judgment begins at the house of God, it shall not end there. Let sorrowful believers and insolent oppressors know, that the troubles of the righteous will soon end, but those of the wicked will be eternal.

Verses 17-21 There should be deliverance and holiness at Jerusalem, and the house of Jacob would again occupy their possessions. Much of this prophecy was fulfilled when the Jews returned to their own land. But the salvation and holiness of the gospel, its spread, and the conversion of the Gentiles, seem also to be intended, especially the restoration of Israel, the destruction of antichrist, and the prosperous state of the church, to which all the prophets bear witness. When Christ is come, and not till then, shall the kingdom be the Lord's in the full sense of the term. As none that exalt themselves against the Lord shall prosper, and all shall be brought down; so none that wait upon the Lord, and put their trust in him, shall ever be dismayed. Blessed be the Divine Saviour and Judge on Mount Zion! His word shall be a savour of life unto life unto numbers, while it judges and condemns obstinate unbelievers.

Footnotes 9

  • [a]. Or [clefts of Sela]
  • [b]. Cn: Heb lacks [those who ate]
  • [c]. Heb [But do not gloat] (and similarly through verse 14)
  • [d]. Heb [on the day of]
  • [e]. Heb [his]
  • [f]. Meaning of Heb uncertain
  • [g]. Cn: Heb [in this army]
  • [h]. Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  • [i]. Or [Saviors]

Chapter Summary

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 Commentaries