Obadiah 1 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Obadiah 1)

Verse 1

[1] The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.

Obadiah — His name speaks a servant or a worshipper of the Lord, but who he was we know not.

We — The prophets, have heard.

A rumour — Not an uncertain report, but it comes from God.

Is sent — By the Lord first, and next by Nebuchadnezzar who executed on Edom what is here foretold.

The nations — Those that were with, or subject to Nebuchadnezzar.

Verse 2

[2] Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised.

Small — Thou art a small people. In comparison with other nations.

Despised — What ever these Edomites had been, now they were despised.

Verse 3

[3] The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?

The pride — The Edomites were, as most mountaineers are, a rough hardy, and daring people. And proud above measure.

Deceived thee — Magnifying thy strength above what really it is.

Verse 4

[4] Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.

Bring thee down — God who is in the heavens would throw thee down. When men could not marshal armies against thee, stars should fight in their courses against thee. Nothing can stand which God will cast down, Jeremiah 49:16,17.

Verse 5

[5] If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes?

If thieves — If thieves by day had spoiled thee, they would not have thus stripped thee.

Robbers — If robbers in the night had been with thee, they would have left somewhat behind them.

'Till they had enough — But here is nothing left.

Some grapes — But here have been those that have cut up the vine.

Verse 6

[6] How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!

Esau — The father of this people, put for his posterity.

Sought up — All that the Edomites had laid up in the most secret places, are seized and brought forth by soldiers.

Verse 7

[7] All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him.

Thy confederacy — Thy confederates have marched with thee until thou wert come to the borders of thy country.

Deceived thee — Proved treacherous.

Prevailed — Treacherously.

A wound — A snare armed with sharp points.

No understanding — Thou wast not aware of it.

Verse 9

[9] And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.

Teman — A principal city of Idumea.

Verse 11

[11] In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.

In the day — During the war which the Babylonians made upon Judea.

Stoodest — Didst set thyself in battle array against thy brother.

Jerusalem — Upon the citizens and their goods.

As one of them — As merciless and insolent as any of them.

Verse 12

[12] But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress.

Looked — With joy on the affliction.

A stranger — As a stranger, one who had no more right to any thing in the land.

Proudly — Vaunting over the Jews, when Jerusalem was taken.

Verse 13

[13] Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;

Entered — As an enemy.

Verse 14

[14] Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.

The breaches — Of the walls, by which when the city was taken, some might have made their escape.

Delivered — To the Chaldeans.

Remain — Survived the taking of the city.

Verse 15

[15] For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

The day — The time which the Lord hath appointed for the punishing of this, and other nations.

As thou hast done — Perfidiously, cruelly, and ravenously, against Jacob.

Verse 16

[16] For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.

As ye — As ye, my own people, have drunk deep of the cup of affliction, so shall other nations much more, yea, they shall drink of it, 'till they utterly perish.

Verse 17

[17] But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

Zion — Literally this refers to the Jews: typically to the gospel-church.

Deliverance — A remnant that shall be delivered by Cyrus, a type of Israel's redemption by Christ.

Holiness — The temple, the city, the people returned from captivity shall be holy to the Lord.

Their possessions — Their own ancient possessions.

Verse 18

[18] And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.

Shall kindle — This was fulfilled in part by Hyrcanus and the Maccabees, 1Ma 5:3, but will be more fully accomplished, when the Lord shall make his church as a fire to all its enemies.

Verse 19

[19] And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

They — The Jews who live in the south parts of Canaan, next Idumea, shall after their return and victories over Edom, possess his country.

Of the plain — The Jews who dwell in the plain country, shall enlarge their borders, possess the Philistines country, together with their ancient inheritance. The former was fully accomplished by Hyrcanus. And if this were the time of fulfilling the one, doubtless it was the time of fulfilling the other also. And all the land which the ten tribes possessed, shall again be possessed by the Jews.

Gilead — Here is promised a larger possession than ever they had before the captivity; and it does, no doubt, point out the enlargement of the church of Christ in the times of the gospel.

Verse 20

[20] And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.

The captivity — Those of the ten tribes that were carried away captive by Salmanesar.

Of the Canaanites — All the country they anciently possessed with this addition, that what the Canaanites held by force, and the Israelites could not take from them, shall now be possessed by these returned captives.

Zarephath — Near Sidon.

Of Jerusalem — The two tribes carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar.

Sepharad — Probably a region of Chaldea.

The cities — All the cities which were once their own.

Verse 21

[21] And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD's.

Saviours — Deliverers, literally the leaders of those captive troops, who shall come up from Babylon, such as Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Mystically, Christ and his apostles, and other preachers of the gospel.

To judge — To avenge Israel upon Edom.

The Lord's — The God of Israel, Jehovah, shall be honoured, obeyed, and worshipped by all.