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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - OBADIAH 1
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    CHAPTER 1

    Ob 1-21. DOOM OF EDOM FOR CRUELTY TO JUDAH, EDOM'S BROTHER; RESTORATION OF THE JEWS.

    1. Obadiah--that is, servant of Jehovah; same as Abdeel and Arabic Abd-allah.
    - We--I and my people.
    - heard-- (Isa 21:10).
    - and an ambassador is sent--Yea, an ambassador is already sent, namely, an angel, to stir up the Assyrians (and afterwards the Chaldeans) against Edom. The result of the ambassador's message on the heathen is, they simultaneously exclaim, "Arise ye, and let us (with united strength) rise," &c. Jer 49:14 quotes this.

    2. I have made thee small--Thy reduction to insignificance is as sure as if it were already accomplished; therefore the past tense is used [MAURER]. Edom then extended from Dedan of Arabia to Bozrah in the north (Jer 49:8, 13). CALVIN explains it, "Whereas thou wast made by Me an insignificant people, why art thou so proud" (Ob 3)? But if so, why should the heathen peoples be needed to subdue one so insignificant? Jer 49:15, confirms MAURER'S view.

    3. clefts of . . . rock-- (So 2:14; Jer 48:28). The cities of Edom, and among them Petra (Hebrew, sela, meaning "rock," 2Ki 14:7, Margin), the capital, in the Wady Musa, consisted of houses mostly cut in the rocks.

    4. exalt thyself--or supply from the second clause, "thy nest" [MAURER] (Compare Job 20:6; Jer 49:16; Am 9:2).
    - set . . . nest among . . . stars--namely, on the loftiest hills which seem to reach the very stars. Edom is a type of Antichrist (Isa 14:13; Da 8:10; 11:37).
    - thence will I bring thee down--in spite of thy boast (Ob 3), "Who shall bring me down?"

    5. The spoliation which thou shalt suffer shall not be such as that which thieves cause, bad as that is, for these when they have seized enough, or all they can get in a hurry, leave the rest--nor such as grape-gatherers cause in a vineyard, for they, when they have gathered most of the grapes, leave gleanings behind--but it shall be utter, so as to leave thee nothing. The exclamation, "How art thou cut off!" bursting in amidst the words of the image, marks strongly excited feeling. The contrast between Edom where no gleanings shall be left, and Israel where at the worst a gleaning is left (Isa 17:6; 24:13), is striking.

    6. How are the things of Esau searched out!--by hostile soldiers seeking booty. Compare with Ob 5, 6 here, Jer 49:9, 10.
    - hidden things--or "places." Edom abounded in such hiding-places, as caves, clefts in the rock, &c. None of these would be left unexplored by the foe.

    7. Men of thy confederacy--that is, thy confederates.
    - brought thee . . . to the border--that is, when Idumean ambassadors shall go to confederate states seeking aid, these latter shall conduct them with due ceremony to their border, giving them empty compliments, but not the aid required [DRUSIUS]. This view agrees with the context, which speaks of false friends deceiving Edom: that is, failing to give help in need (compare Job 6:14, 15). CALVIN translates, "have driven," that is, shall drive thee; shall help to drive thee to thy border on thy way into captivity in foreign lands.
    - the men that were at peace with thee--literally, "the men of thy peace." Compare Ps 41:9; Jer 38:22, Margin, where also the same formula occurs, "prevailed against thee."
    - they that eat thy bread--the poorer tribes of the desert who subsisted on the bounty of Edom. Compare again Ps 41:9, which seems to have been before Obadiah's mind, as his words were before Jeremiah's.
    - have laid a wound under thee--"laid" implies that their intimacy was used as a SNARE laid with a view to wound; also, these guest friends of Edom, instead of the cushions ordinarily laid under guests at table, laid snares to wound, that is, had a secret understanding with Edom's foe for that purpose. MAURER translates, "a snare." But English Version agrees with the Hebrew, which means, literally, "a bandage for a wound."
    - none understanding--none of the wisdom for which Edom was famed (see Ob 8) to extricate him from his perilous position.
    - in him--instead of "in thee." The change implies the alienation of God from Edom: Edom has so estranged himself from God, that He speaks now of him, not to him.

    8. (Isa 49:7; compare Job 5:12, 13; Isa 19:3; Jer 19:7).
    - in that day . . . even destroy--Heretofore Edom, through its intercourse with Babylon and Egypt, and from its means of information through the many caravans passing to and fro between Europe and India, has been famed for knowledge; but in that day at last ("even") I will destroy its wise men.
    - mount of Esau--that is, Idumea, which was a mountainous region.

    9. cut off by slaughter--MAURER translates, "on account of the slaughter," namely, that inflicted on Judea by Edom (compare Ob 14). The Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate connect these words with Ob 10, "for the slaughter, for the violence (of which thou art guilty) against thy brother Jacob." English Version, "cut off by slaughter" (that is, an utter cutting off), answers well to "cut off for ever" (Ob 10). However, the arrangement of the Septuagint gives a better parallelism in Ob 10. "For the slaughter" (1) being balanced in just retribution by "thou shalt be cut off for ever" (4); as "For thy violence (not so bad as slaughter) against thy brother Jacob" (2) is balanced by "shame (not so bad as being cut off) shall cover thee" (3). Shame and extinction shall repay violence and slaughter (Mt 26:52; Re 13:10). Compare as to Edom's violence, Ps 137:7; Eze 25:12; Am 1:11.

    10. against thy brother--This aggravates the sin of Esau, that it was against him who was his brother by birth and by circumcision. The posterity of Esau followed in the steps of their father's hatred to Jacob by violence against Jacob's seed (Ge 27:41).
    - Jacob--not merely his own brother, but his twin brother; hence the name Jacob, not Israel, is here put emphatically. Compare De 23:7 for the opposite feeling which Jacob's seed was commanded to entertain towards Edom's.
    - shame . . . cover thee-- (Ps 35:26; 69:7).
    - for ever-- (Isa 34:10; Eze 35:9; Mal 1:4). Idumea, as a nation, should be "cut off for ever," though the land should be again inhabited.

    11. thou stoodest on the other side--in an attitude of hostility, rather than the sympathy which became a brother, feasting thine eyes (see Ob 12) with the misery of Jacob, and eagerly watching for his destruction. So Messiah, the antitype to Jerusalem, abandoned by His kinsmen (Ps 38:11).
    - strangers--the Philistines, Arabians in the reign of Jehoram, &c. (2Ch 21:16); the Syrians in the reign of Joash of Judah (2Ch 24:24); the Chaldeans (2Ch 36:1-23).
    - carried . . . captive his forces--his "host" (Ob 20): the multitude of Jerusalem's inhabitants.
    - cast lots upon Jerusalem-- (Joe 3:3). So Messiah, Jerusalem's antitype, had lots cast for His only earthly possessions (Ps 22:18).

    12. looked on--with malignant pleasure, and a brutal stare. So the antitypes, Messiah's foes (Ps 22:17). MAURER translates, as the Margin, "thou shouldest not look" any more. English Version agrees with the context better.
    - the day of thy brother--his day of calamity.
    - became a stranger--that is, was banished as an alien from his own land. God sends heavy calamities on those who rejoice in the calamities of their enemies (Pr 17:5; 24:17, 18). Contrast the opposite conduct of David and of the divine Son of David in a like case (Ps 35:13-15).
    - spoken proudly--literally, "made great the mouth"; proudly insulting the fallen (Eze 35:13, Margin; compare 1Sa 2:8; Re 13:6).

    13. substance--translated "forces" in Ob 11.

    14. stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his--Judah's.
    - that did escape--The Jews naturally fled by the crossways. (MAURER translates, "narrow mountain passes") well known to them, to escape to the desert, and through Edom to Egypt; but the Edomites stood ready to intercept the fugitives and either kill or "deliver them up" to the foe.

    15. For--resumptive in connection with Ob 10, wherein Edom was threatened with cutting off for ever.
    - the day of the Lord--the day in which He will manifest Himself as the Righteous Punisher of the ungodly peoples (Joe 3:14). The "all" shows that the fulfilment is not exhausted in the punishment inflicted on the surrounding nations by the instrumentality of Nebuchadnezzar; but, as in Joe 3:14, and Zec 12:3, that the last judgment to come on the nations confederate against Jerusalem is referred to.
    - as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee--the righteous principle of retribution in kind (Le 24:17; Mt 7:2; compare Jud 1:6, 7; 8:19; Es 7:10).
    - thy reward--the reward of thy deed (compare Isa 3:9-11).

    16. ye . . . upon my holy mountain--a periphrasis for, "ye Jews" [MAURER], whom Obadiah now by a sudden apostrophe addresses. The clause, "upon My holy mountain," expresses the reason of the vengeance to be taken on Judah's foes; namely, that Jerusalem is God's holy mountain, the seat of His temple, and Judah His covenant-people. Jer 49:12, which is copied from Obadiah, establishes this view (compare 1Pe 4:17).
    - as ye have drunk, &c.--namely, the cup of wrath, being dispossessed of your goods and places as a nation, by Edom and all the heathen; so shall all the heathen (Edom included) drink the same cup (Ps 60:3; Isa 51:17, 22; Jer 13:12, 13; 25:15-33; 49:12; 51:7; La 4:21, 22 Na 3:11; Hab 2:16).
    - continually--whereas Judah's calamity shall be temporary (Ob 17). The foes of Judah shall never regain their former position (Ob 18, 19).
    - swallow down--so as not to leave anything in the cup of calamity; not merely "drink" (Ps 75:8).
    - be as though they had not been--not a trace left of their national existence (Job 10:19; Ps 37:36; Eze 26:21).

    17. upon . . . Zion . . . deliverance--both in the literal sense and spiritual sense (Joe 2:32; Isa 46:13; 59:20; Ro 11:26). MAURER as the Margin explains it, "there shall be a remnant that shall escape." Compare Isa 37:32; to the deliverance from Sennacherib there described GROTIUS thinks Obadiah here refers. "Jerusalem shall not be taken, and many of the neighboring peoples also shall find deliverance there." Unlike Judah's heathen foes of whom no remnant shall escape (Ob 9, 16), a remnant of Jews shall escape when the rest of the nation has perished, and shall regain their ancient "possessions."
    - there shall be holiness--that is, Zion shall be sacrosanct or inviolable: no more violated by foreign invaders (Isa 42:1; Joe 3:17).

    18. fire--See the same figure, Nu 21:28; Isa 5:24; 10:17.
    - house of Jacob . . . Joseph--that is, the two kingdoms, Judah and Ephraim or Israel [JEROME]. The two shall form one kingdom, their former feuds being laid aside (Isa 11:12, 13; 37:22-28; Jer 3:18; Ho 1:11). The Jews returned with some of the Israelites from Babylon; and, under John Hyrcanus, so subdued and, compelling them to be circumcised, incorporated the Idumeans with themselves that they formed part of the nation [J

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