Obadiah

Verse 14. By the sin of Samaria] Baal, who was worshipped here.

Thy god, O Dan] The golden calf, or ox, the representative of

the Egyptian god Apis, or Osiris.

The manner of Beer-sheba] The worship, or object of worship.

Another of the golden calves which Jeroboam had set up there. The

word derech, way, is here taken for the object and mode

of worship; see Ac 19:9, where

way is taken for the creed and form of Divine worship as

practiced by the followers of Christ, and by which they were

distinguished from the Jews. See also Ac 9:2.

THE BOOK

OF THE

PROPHET OBADIAH

Chronological Notes relative to this book, upon the supposition

that it was written about five hundred and eighty-seven years

before the commencement of the Christian era

-Year from the Creation, according to Archbishop Usher, 3417.

-Year of the Jewish era of the world, 3174.

-Year since the Flood, 1761.

-Year from the vocation of Abram, 1335.

-Year from the foundation of Solomon's temple, 425.

-Year since the division of Solomon's monarchy into the kingdoms

of Israel and Judah, 389.

-Year of the era of Iphitus, 298.

-Second year of the forty-eighth Olympiad.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to the Varronian or

generally received computation, 167.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to the Fasti

Consulares, 166.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Polybius the

historian, 165.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Fabius Pictor, 161.

-Year since the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel by

Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, 135.

-Year since the destruction of the kingdom of Judah by

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, 2.

-Year of the Julian Period, 4127.

-Year of the era of Nabonassar, 161.

-Year before the birth of Christ, 583.

-Year before the vulgar era of Christ's nativity, 587.

-Cycle of the Sun, 11.

-Cycle of the Moon, 4.

-Thirtieth year of Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king of the

Romans.

-Thirty-ninth year of Cyaraxes or Cyaxares, the fourth king of

Media.

-Nineteenth year of Agasicles, king of Lacedaemon of the family

of the Proclidae.

-Twenty-first year of Leon, king of Lacedaemon, of the family of

the Eurysthenidae.

-Thirty-third year of Alyattes II., king of Lydia.

-Sixteenth year of AEropas, the seventh king of Macedon.

-Eighth year of Apries, king of Egypt; the same with the

celebrated Pharaoh-hophrah.

-Ninth year of Baal, king of the Tyrians.

-Twentieth year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

OBADIAH

God is here represented as summoning the nations against Edom,

and declaring that his strongholds should not save him, 14;

that not a remnant, not a gleaning, should be left of him, 5;

that the enemy would search out his people, and totally subdue

them; and that none of their allies should stand by them, 6-9.

He then enlarges on their particular offense, and threatens

them with a speedy recompense, 10-16.

The Babylonians accordingly subdued the Edomites, and expelled

them from Arabia Petraea, of which they never afterwards

recovered possession. The remaining verses contain a prophecy

of the restoration of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity,

and of their victory over all their enemies, 17-21.

Some commentators think that these last verses were fulfilled

by the conquests of the Maccabees over the Edomites.

See 1Macc 5:3-5, 65, &c.

Who was this prophet? where born? of what country? at what

time did he prophesy? who were his parents? when and where

did he die? are questions which have been asked from the remotest

antiquity; and which, to this day, have received no answer worthy

of recording. There is a multitude of opinions concerning these

points; and their multitude and discrepancy are the strongest

proofs of their uncertainty. All that seems probable is, that, as

he prophesied concerning the destruction of Edom, he flourished a

little before, or a little after, the taking of Jerusalem by

Nebuchadnezzar, which happened about five hundred and eighty-eight

years before Christ; and the destruction of Idumea by the same

monarch, which took place a short time after; probably between 588

B.C. and 575 B.C., in the interval of the thirteen years which

Nebuchadnezzar employed in the siege of Tyre, which he undertook

immediately after the capture of Jerusalem.

Obadiah foretells the subduction of the Idumeans by the

Chaldeans, and finally by the Jews, whom they had used most

cruelly when brought low by other enemies. These prophecies have

been literally fulfilled for the Idumeans, as a nation, are

totally extinct.

Whoever will be at the trouble to collate this short prophecy

with the forty-ninth chapter of Jeremiah, will find a remarkable

similarity, not only in the sentiments and words, but also in

whole verses. In the above chapter Jeremiah predicts the

destruction of the Idumeans. Whether he copied Obadiah, or Obadiah

copied him, cannot be determined; but it would be very strange if

two prophets, unacquainted with each other, should speak of the

same event precisely in the same terms. See the parallel texts in

the margin, and See Clarke on Jer 49:1, &c.

NOTES ON THE BOOK OF OBADIAH

Verse 1. We have heard a rumour] See Jer 49:14, where the same

expressions are found. The prophet shows that the enemies of

Idumea had confederated against it, and that Jehovah is now

summoning them to march directly against it.

Verse 2. I have made thee small among the heathen] God ever

attributes to himself the rise and fall of nations. If they be

great and prosperous, it is by God's providence; if they be low

and depressed, it is by his justice. Compared with the Assyrians,

Chaldeans, Egyptians, Syrians, Arabs, and other neighbouring

nations, the Idumeans were a small people.

Verse 3. The pride of thine heart] St. Jerome observes that all

the southern part of Palestine, from Eleutheropolis to Petra and

Aialath, was full of caverns hewn out of the rocks, and that the

people had subterranean dwellings similar to ovens. Here they are

said to dwell in the clefts of the rock, in reference to the

caverns above mentioned. In these they conceived themselves to be

safe, and thought that no power brought against them could

dislodge them from those fastnesses. Some think that by sela,

rock, Petra, the capital of Idumea, is intended.

Verse 4. Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle] Though like

this bird thou get into the highest cliff of the highest rock, it

will not avail thee. To defend thee, when Jehovah has determined

thy destruction, thy deepest caves and highest rocks will be

equally useless. See Jer 49:16.

Verse 5. If thieves came to thee] That is, if thieves entered

thy dwellings, they would not have taken every thing; they would

have laid hold on thy wealth; and carried off as much as they

could escape with conveniently; if grape-gatherers entered thy

vineyards, they would not have taken every bunch; some gleanings

would have been left. But the Chaldeans have stripped thee bare;

they have searched out all thy hidden things, Ob 1:6, they have

left thee nothing. Hour art thou cut off! Thou art totally and

irretrievably ruined! The prophet speaks of this desolation as if

it had already taken place.

Verse 7. All the men of thy confederacy] The Chaldeans are here

intended, to whom the Idumeans were attached, and whose agents

they became in exercising cruelties upon the Jews.

Have brought thee even to the border] Have hemmed thee in on

every side, and reduced thee to distress. Or, they have driven

thee to thy border; cast thee out of thy own land into the hands

of thine enemies.

The men that were at peace with thee] The men of thy covenant,

with whom thou hadst made a league.

That eat thy bread] That professed to be thy firmest friends,

have all joined together to destroy thee.

Have laid a wound] Placed a snare or trap under thee. See

Newcome.

There is none understanding in him.] Private counsels and public

plans are all in operation against thee; and yet thou art so

foolish and infatuated as not to discern thy own danger.

Verse 8. Shall I not-destroy the wise men] It appears, from

Jer 49:7, that the Edomites were remarkable for wisdom,

counsel, and prudence. See on the above place.

Verse 9. Thy mighty men, O Teman] This was one of the strongest

places in Idumea; and is put here, as in Am 1:12, and elsewhere,

for Idumea itself.

Mount of Esau] Mount Seir.

Verse 10. For thy violence against thy brother Jacob] By this

term the Israelites in general are understood; for the two

brothers,-Jacob, from whom sprang the Jews, and Esau, from whom

sprang the Idumeans or Edomites,-are here put for the whole people

or descendants of both. We need not look for particular cases of

the violence of the Edomites against the Jews. Esau, their

founder, was not more inimical to his brother Jacob, who deprived

him of his birthright, than the Edomites uniformly were to the

Jews. See 2Ch 28:17, 18. They had even stimulated the

Chaldeans, when they took Jerusalem, to destroy the temple, and

level it with the ground. See Ps 137:7.

Verse 11. Thou stoodest on the other side] Thou not only didst

not help thy brother when thou mightest, but thou didst assist his

foes against him.

And cast lots] When the Chaldeans cast lots on the spoils of

Jerusalem, thou didst come in for a share of the booty; "thou wast

as one of them."

Verse 12. Thou shouldest not have looked] It shows a malevolent

heart to rejoice in the miseries of those who have acted unkindly

or wickedly towards us. The Edomites triumphed when they saw the

judgments of God fall upon the Jews. This the Lord severely

reprehends in Ob 1:12-15. If a man have acted cruelly towards us,

and God punish him for this cruelty, and we rejoice in it, we make

his crime our own; and then, as we have done, so shall it be done

unto us; see Ob 1:15. All these verses point out the part the

Edomites took against the Jews when the Chaldeans besieged and

took Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and divided the spoils.

Verse 14. Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway]

They are represented here as having stood in the passes and

defiles to prevent the poor Jews from escaping from the

Chaldeans. By stopping these passes, they threw the poor fugitives

back into the teeth of their enemies. They had gone so far in this

systematic cruelty as to deliver up the few that had taken refuge

among them.

Verse 15. The day of the Lord is near] God will not associate

thee with him in the judgments which he inflicts. Thou also art

guilty, and shalt have thy punishment in due course with the

other sinful nations.

Verse 16. For as ye have drunk] This address is to the Jews. As

ye have been visited and punished upon my holy mountain in

Jerusalem, so shall other nations be punished in their respective

countries. See Jer 49:12.

Verse 17. But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance] Here is a

promise of the return from the Babylonish captivity. They shall

come to Zion, and there they shall find safety; and it is

remarkable that after their return they were greatly befriended by

the Persian kings, and by Alexander the Great and his successors;

so that, whilst they ravaged the neighbouring nations, the Jews

were unmolested. See Calmet.

And there shall be holiness] They shall return to God, separate

themselves from their idols, and become a better people than they

were when God permitted them to be carried into captivity.

The house of Jacob shall possess] They were restored to their

former possessions. But this may refer also to their future

restoration under the Gospel, when they shall be truly converted,

and become holiness to the Lord; for salvation and holiness shall

be the characteristics of Zion-the Christian Church, for ever.

Verse 18. The house of Jacob shall be a fire] After their return

from captivity, the Jews, called here the house of Jacob and the

house of Joseph, did break out as a flame upon the Idumeans;

they reduced them into slavery; and obliged them to receive

circumcision, and practise the rites of the Jewish religion. See

1Macc 5:3, &c.; 2Macc 10:15-23; and Joseph. Antiq., lib. xiii.

c. 17.

There shall not be any remaining] As a people and a nation

they shall be totally destroyed. This is the meaning; it does not

signify that every individual shall be destroyed.

Verse 19. They of the south] The Jews who possessed the southern

part of Palestine, should render themselves masters of the

mountains of Idumea which were contiguous to them.

They of the plain] From Eleutheropolis to the Mediterranean Sea.

In this and the following verse the prophet shows the different

districts which should be occupied by the Israelites after their

return from Babylon.

The fields of Samaria] Alexander the Great gave Samaria to the

Jews; and John Hyrcanus subdued the same country after his wars

with the Syrians. See Josephus, contra. App. lib, ii., and Antiq.

lib. xiii., c. 18.

Benjamin shall possess Gilead.] Edom lay to the south; the

Philistines to the west; Ephraim to the north; and Gilead to

the east. Those who returned from Babylon were to extend

themselves everywhere. See Newcome; and see, for the fulfilment,

1Macc 5:9, 35, 45; 9:35, 36.

Verse 20. Zarephath] Sarepta, a city of the Sidonians,

1Ki 17:9. That is, they should possess the whole city of

Phoenicia, called here that of the Canaanites.

Which is in Sepharad] This is a difficult word. Some think the

Bosphorus is meant; others, Spain; others, France; others, the

Euphrates; others, some district in Chaldea; for there was a

city called Siphora, in Mesopotamia, above the division of the

Euphrates. Dr. Lightfoot says it was a part of Edom. Those who

were captives among the Canaanites should possess the country of

the Canaanites; and those whom the Edomites had enslaved should

possess the cities of their masters. See Newcome and Lowth.

Verse 21. And saviours shall come up] Certain persons whom God

may choose to be deliverers of his people; such as Zerubbabel,

Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Maccabees.

Some think these saviours, moshiim, mean the apostles

of our Lord. Several MSS. have mushaim, the preserved;

those that are saved, i.e., they who were delivered from the

captivity; and those of Mount Zion shall judge, that is, shall

execute judgment on the Edomites. And as the Asmonean princes

joined the priesthood to the state, it might be what the prophet

means when he says, "the kingdom shall be the Lord's," the high

priest having both the civil and ecclesiastical power in his own

hands. And these actually were masters of Edom, and judged and

governed the mountain of Esau. And thus this prophecy appears to

have had a very literal fulfilment.

But if we take the whole as referring to the times of the

Gospel, which I believe is not its primary sense, it may signify

the conversion and restoration of the Jews, and that under JESUS

CHRIST the original theocracy shall be restored; and thus, once

more, in the promised land, it may be said,-

hammeluchah laihovah vehayethah.

"And the kingdom shall belong to Jehovah"

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