Obadiah 1:1
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Sovereign LORD says about Edom-- We have heard a message from the LORD: An envoy was sent to the nations to say, "Rise, let us go against her for battle"--

New Living Translation
This is the vision that the Sovereign LORD revealed to Obadiah concerning the land of Edom. We have heard a message from the LORD that an ambassador was sent to the nations to say, "Get ready, everyone! Let's assemble our armies and attack Edom!"

English Standard Version
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 her for battle!”

New American Standard Bible
The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom-- We have heard a report from the LORD, And an envoy has been sent among the nations saying, "Arise and let us go against her for battle "--

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Lord GOD has said about Edom: We have heard a message from the LORD; a messenger has been sent among the nations:" Rise up, and let us go to war against her."

International Standard Version
Obadiah's vision: This is what the Lord GOD has to say about Edom. We have heard a report from the LORD, and a messenger has been dispatched among the nations to say "Get up! Let us rise up against her to fight!"

NET Bible
The vision that Obadiah saw. The Lord GOD says this concerning Edom: Edom's Approaching Destruction We have heard a report from the LORD. An envoy was sent among the nations, saying, "Arise! Let us make war against Edom!"

New Heart English Bible
The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Lord GOD says about Edom. We have heard news from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, "Arise, and let's rise up against her in battle.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
This is the vision of Obadiah. This is what the Almighty LORD says about Edom: We have heard a message from the LORD. A messenger was sent among the nations to say, "Get ready! Let's go to war against Edom."

JPS Tanakh 1917
The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom: We have heard a message from the LORD, And an ambassador is sent among the nations: 'Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.'

New American Standard 1977
The vision of Obadiah.
            Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom—
            We have heard a report from the LORD,
            And an envoy has been sent among the nations saying,
            “Arise and let us go against her for battle”—

Jubilee Bible 2000
The vision of Obadiah. Thus hath the Lord GOD said concerning Edom: We have heard the message from the LORD, and a messenger is sent to the Gentiles, Arise, and let us rise up against her in battle.

King James 2000 Bible
The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a message from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, Arise you, and let us rise up against her in battle.

American King James Version
The vision of Obadiah. Thus said the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumor from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise you, and let us rise up against her in battle.

American Standard Version
The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah concerning Edom: We have heard tidings from Jehovah, and an ambassador is sent among the nations,'saying , Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The vision of Abdias. Thus saith the Lord God to Edom: We have heard a rumour from the Lord, and he hath sent an ambassador to the nations: Arise, and let us rise up to battle against him.

Darby Bible Translation
The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah concerning Edom: We have heard a report from Jehovah, and an ambassador is sent among the nations. Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.

English Revised Version
The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom: We have heard tidings from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.

Webster's Bible Translation
The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumor from the LORD, and an embassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.

World English Bible
The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Lord Yahweh says about Edom. We have heard news from Yahweh, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, "Arise, and let's rise up against her in battle.

Young's Literal Translation
Thus said the Lord Jehovah to Edom, A report we have heard from Jehovah, And an ambassador among nations was sent, 'Rise, yea, let us rise against her for battle.'
Study Bible
The Destruction of Edom
1The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom-- We have heard a report from the LORD, And an envoy has been sent among the nations saying, "Arise and let us go against her for battle"-- 2"Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You are greatly despised.…
Cross References
Psalm 137:7
Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, "Raze it, raze it To its very foundation."

Isaiah 18:2
Which sends envoys by the sea, Even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters. Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, To a people feared far and wide, A powerful and oppressive nation Whose land the rivers divide.

Isaiah 21:11
The oracle concerning Edom. One keeps calling to me from Seir, "Watchman, how far gone is the night? Watchman, how far gone is the night?"

Isaiah 21:12
The watchman says, "Morning comes but also night. If you would inquire, inquire; Come back again."

Isaiah 30:4
"For their princes are at Zoan And their ambassadors arrive at Hanes.

Isaiah 34:1
Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples! Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it.

Isaiah 34:5
For My sword is satiated in heaven, Behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom And upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction.

Isaiah 63:1
Who is this who comes from Edom, With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."

Jeremiah 6:4
"Prepare war against her; Arise, and let us attack at noon. Woe to us, for the day declines, For the shadows of the evening lengthen!

Jeremiah 6:5
"Arise, and let us attack by night And destroy her palaces!"
Treasury of Scripture

The vision of Obadiah. Thus said the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumor from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise you, and let us rise up against her in battle.


Psalm 137:7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who …

Isaiah 21:11 The burden of Dumah. He calls to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of …

Isaiah 34:1-17 Come near, you nations, to hear; and listen, you people: let the …

Isaiah 63:1-6 Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? …

Jeremiah 9:25,26 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will punish all them …

Jeremiah 25:17,21 Then took I the cup at the LORD's hand, and made all the nations …

Jeremiah 49:17-22 Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goes by it shall …

Lamentations 4:21,22 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwell in the land of …

Ezekiel 25:12-14 Thus said the Lord GOD; Because that Edom has dealt against the house …

Ezekiel 35:3-15 And say to it, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am …

Joel 3:19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, …

Amos 1:11,12 Thus said the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, …

Malachi 1:3,4 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for …


Jeremiah 49:14,15 I have heard a rumor from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent to …

Jeremiah 51:46 And lest your heart faint, and you fear for the rumor that shall …

Matthew 24:6 And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not …

Mark 13:7 And when you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be you not troubled: …

and an.

Isaiah 18:2,3 That sends ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes on …

Isaiah 30:4 For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes.


Jeremiah 6:4,5 Prepare you war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe …

Jeremiah 50:9-15 For, see, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly …

Jeremiah 51:27,28 Set you up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, …

Micah 2:13 The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have …


(1) The vision of Obadiah.--Properly, vision of Obadiah, without the article. There are three recognised headings to prophetical books--word, burden (i.e., oracle), and vision--and all are used without the article, and in a general way, for the contents of the books, without any intention to distinguish between different kinds or modes of prophecy. Thus Nahum combines burden and vision: "Burden of Nineveh. Book of vision of Nahum the Elkoshite." Amos speaks of the "words which he saw;" Isaiah (Isaiah 13:1) of the "burden which he did see;' and Obadiah, after the word vision, instantly proceeds, "Thus saith," &c. The word vision (Heb., chazn, from the same verb as "seer"), appears, from 1Samuel 3:1; 1Samuel 9:9, to have acquired this general sense at a very early time. It is not necessary from the use of the word to suppose that the future was unfolded to Obadiah "in the form of sights spread out before his mind, . . . a succession of pictures which he may have seen" (Pusey). Vision here = revelation, however supplied. The question of authorship is discussed in the Excursus.

Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom.--After these words we should expect the words of the message, not the statement that a message had come. Among the attempts at explanation, the two most plausible are: (1) The two-fold heading is due to a later hand than Obadiah, who only prefixed the first part, "vision," &c., to his work; (2) These words are merely a mode of stating generally that the seer of the vision was divinely inspired. The view taken of the authorship and composition must decide between these two. If an earlier oracle is incorporated in the book, it is more natural to conclude that the second part of the double title, which in a slightly different form occurs also in Jeremiah 49:7, was introduced in order to bring the prophecy into closer similarity to the circle of oracles against foreign nations which is contained in Jeremiah.

Arise ye . . .--Now at length we have the Divine message. Long ago, in the mysterious oracle of Dumah (Isaiah 21:11), the foreboding of a pending chastisement of Seir found a voice, and now, as in consequence of a signal from heaven, or as if brought by an angel, goes forth the summons to the nations to begin the movement against Edom. The cup of iniquity was full. There is a suggestiveness even in the vagueness of the summons. The nations, without distinction of good or bad, must become the instruments of the Divine chastisement of overweening pride. Edom becomes the type of wickedness that has reached a head, and against which all the sounder elements of the world unite with God. For the full picture, here suggested only in a word, see Isaiah 13:1-17, and comp. Joel 2:11; Jeremiah 51:11.

(2-9) Edom's pride and consequent humiliation. A general statement of the reason of the Divine wrath against Edom. Particular offences will be enumerated presently (Obadiah 1:10-14).

(2) Small among the heathen.--In comparison with the giant empires of Egypt and Assyria, a mere speck on the map. Edom proper is not to be confounded with the later kingdom of Iduma, which extended over the wilderness of Et Tih, and even to within the southern borders of Palestine. The original Mount Seir (Genesis 32:3), or, as our prophet calls it, Mount Esau, was a narrow tract of country on the east of Wady Arabah, extending from Elath to the brook Zered (probably the Wady-el-Ahsy; see Deuteronomy 2:8; Deuteronomy 2:13-14), about 100 miles in length, and nowhere more than twenty miles broad. One of the larger English counties would cover as much territory. In the corresponding passages (Jeremiah 49:15) our version has the future instead of the past, where also, instead of "greatly despised," is the reading, "despised among men." The past is better. The contrast between the size of the nation and its overbearing pride, created by the consciousness of the natural strength of its position, is lost if we give the verse a future sense.

(3) Clefts of the rock.--The word chagvm, clefts, is of doubtful derivation. It only occurs in the corresponding passage to this (Jeremiah 49:16) and in Song of Solomon 2:14, and always with selah--rock. But whether its etymological meaning be refuges or fissures does not matter, since the actual thing signified is still to be seen. The cliffs at Petra (Selah, or with the article, ha-Selah), the capital of Edom, and in its neighbourhood, are honeycombed with caves, natural or artificial, which from the earliest times to the present day have served as tombs for the dead, and temporary dwellings or shelters for the living. We read in Deuteronomy 2:12 that the "Horims"--i.e., troglodytes, or dwellers in caves--were the original inhabitants of the land. "The whole southern country of the Edomites," says St. Jerome, "from Eleutheropolis to Petra and Selah (which are the possessions of Esau), had minute dwellings (habitatiunculas) in caves; and on account of the oppressive heat of the sun, as being a southern province, had underground cottages." All more recent travellers confirm this. Robinson (ii. 529) speaks of "an innumerable multitude of excavations along the whole coast of perpendicular rocks adjacent to the main area, and in all the lateral valleys and chasms." But those at present existing are but a remnant of the vast number which must at one time have afforded shelter to the densely populated valleys. "What remains are the mere dbris of what the precipices once presented to view . . . The conduits, cisterns, flights of steps scattered over the rocks and among the precipices, indicate a larger number of rock-dwellings than remain now, very great as that number is" (Miss Martineau, Eastern Life, iii. 2). "Wherever your eyes turn along the excavated sides of the rocks, you see steps often leading to nothing, or something which has crumbled away, often with their first steps worn away, so that they are now inaccessible" (Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, p. 91). So Miss Martineau speaks of "short and odd staircases twisted hither and thither among the rocks." So, too, E. H. Palmer, Esq., in the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund, January, 1871: "There are many tombs and dwellings which are now inaccessible, but traces of staircases cut in the rock, and now broken away, may be seen everywhere." . . . "At the northern turn in the Wady, as you leave the western acclivities, are three large tombs, with perfect fronts. The first and largest of these . . . was at the time of our entry occupied by several families of the fellahin. Every tomb has its owner, who dwells there with his wives and family during the cold and wet weather." He goes on to speak of one tomb which was said to hold fifteen families.

Whose habitation is high . . .--Literally, loftiness of his habitation. The red sandstone rocks are described as rising "perpendicularly to the height of one, two, or three hundred feet" (Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, p. 89). The writer of the article "Selah" in Kitto's Biblical Cyclopaedia says of the caves, "Some of them are apparently not less than from two hundred to three or four hundred feet above the level of the valley." When we think of the power of the conception which could frame a range of mountain rocks into a city, with ravines for streets and caverns for houses, we can understand the prophet's words, "the pride of thine heart hath deceived thee." Nor was it wonderful that the children of Esau should deem themselves invincible in their mountain fastnesses.

Who shall bring me down to the ground?--Prom this eagle's-nest (Obadiah 1:4) Edom might well utter proud defiance against even the strongest foes. All travellers describe Petra as almost impregnable. It is not even visible from the heights in the neighbourhood. "The whole space, rocks and valleys, embedded in the mountains which girt it in, lay invisible even from the summit of Mount Hor." "Petra itself is entirely shut out by the intervening rocks. The great feature of the mountains of Edom is the mass of red bald-headed sandstone rocks, intersected not by valleys, but by deep seams. In the heart of these rocks, itself invisible, lies Petra." And it was as strongly guarded by nature as it was securely hidden. "Two known approaches only, from east and west, enter into it," and these are mere ravines. The most famous of them, the defile from the east, the one which "in ancient times was the chief--the only usual--approach to Petra," is named the Sk, or cleft. "The rocks are almost precipitous, or, rather, they would be if they did not, like their brethren in all this region, overlap, and crumble, and crack, as if they would crash over you. The gorge is about a mile and a half long, and the opening of the cliffs at the top is throughout almost as narrow as the narrowest part of the defile of Pfeffers, which in dimensions and form it more nearly resembles than any other of my acquaintance" (Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, p. 89). The other approach, though not so picturesque and striking to the traveller, would have been equally difficult for an attacking army. Miss Martineau describes it as leading amid "wild fantastic mountains," "rocks in towering masses," "over steep and slippery passes," or "winding in recesses below." She continues: "A little further on we stopped in a hollow of the hills; our path, our very narrow path, lay over these whitish hills: now up, now down, and then, and then again, we were slipping and jerking down slopes of gaudy rock. For nearly an hour longer we were descending the pass; down we went, and still down; at length we came upon the platform above the bed of the torrent, near which stands the only edifice in Petra" (quoted from Eastern Life, ii. 319, by Pusey). Such approaches might, it is obvious, be held by a very small force against a great superiority of numbers. The width of the sk "is not more than just sufficient for the passage of two horsemen abreast," and "a few hundred men might defend the entrance against a large army" (Burckhar It, Travels in Syria and the Holy Land, p. 432). Demetrius "the Besieger," at the head of 8,000 men (the 4,000 infantry selected for their swiftness of foot from the whole army), made repeated assaults on the place, but "those within had an easy victory, from its commanding height" (Pusey, from Diod. Sic. xix. 96). Little need of art to strengthen such natural defences, yet Mr. Palmer noticed "a fort at the top of the left-hand ravine, occupying a most commanding position, as it overlooks the entire valley, and defends the only part not protected by some difficult mountain pass" (Quarterly Statement, Palestine Exploration Fund, January, 1871). And Dr. Pusey finely remarks: "But even the entrance gained, what gain besides, unless the people and its wealth were betrayed by a surprise? Striking as the rock-girt Petra was, a gem in its mountain setting, far more marvellous was it when, as in the prophet's time, the rock itself was Petra. Inside the defile, an invader would be outside the city yet. He might himself become the besieged rather than the besieger. In which of these eyries along all these ravines were the eagles to be found? From which of these lairs might not Edom's lion-sons burst out upon them? Multitudes gave the invaders no advantage in scaling those mountains' sides, where, observed themselves by an unseen enemy, they would at last have to fight man to man. What a bivouac were it in that narrow spot, themselves encircled by an enemy everywhere, anywhere, and visibly nowhere, among those thousand caves, each larger cave, maybe, an ambuscade! In man's sight Edom's boast was well founded; but what before God?" With the Edomites' vaunt Pusey aptly compares that of the Bactrian, Oxyartes, who, trusting to the strength of another Petra, defied Alexander the Great, bidding him get wings for his soldiers before attacking his stronghold. (Arrian, Exped. Alex. iv. 18.)

(4) Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle.--"Had, then, the ancient builders of these rock-works wings like the eagles, with which they raised themselves to those perpendicular precipices?" "Who now, even with the feet of the chamois, could climb after them?" (v. Schubert, ii. 429; quoted by Pusey). (Comp. also Miss Martineau, Eastern Life, ii. 320, iii. 20.)

This is one of the passages which identifies the nesher, always translated "eagle" in the Authorised Version, with the griffon-vulture. "While the eagles and other birds are content with lower elevations, and sometimes even with trees, the griffon alone selects the stupendous gorges of Arabia Petra and of the defiles of Palestine, and there in great communities rears its young, where the most intrepid climber can only with ropes and other appliances reach its nest" (Tristram, Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 175; comp. Job 39:27-28).

And though thou set thy nest among the stars . . .--The image of the eagle nesting among the stars is among the most forcible even in Hebrew poetry. Shakespeare approaches it in "eagle-winged pride of sky - aspiring and ambitious thoughts" (Richard II., i. 3).

Thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord.--In the original, more striking," it is Jehovah's declaration." This sentence against pride, not only national, but individual too, is indeed the Divine declaration, uttered in warning voice from one end of Scripture to the other. The doom pronounced against Edom is but one special instance of the universal truth told so powerfully by Isaiah at the end of Isaiah 2 : "The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low." And it was the more than once repeated declaration of the Son of God: "He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

Verse 1. - The vision of Obadiah. This is the title of the book, declaring from whom and through whom the revelation comes (Isaiah 1:1). Under the word "vision" in prophetic language is included, not only what the seer saw, the mental picture presented to his inner senses, but also all that he is commissioned to disclose or enunciate. Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom. The prophet declares that God speaks through him. One might have expected that the actual words of Jehovah would follow here instead of tidings heard from him. And this difficulty has led some to suppose these introductory words spurious or the insertion of a later hand, others to include them and the rest of the verse in a parenthesis, so as to begin the "vision" with God's words in ver. 2. But these suggestions are unnecessary. The prophet, as the mouthpiece of God, calls his own words the message of the Lord - signifies that what had been revealed to his mind he was bound to communicate to others as a direct warning from God. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, and bound by ties of blood to the Israelites; but they had always been their most bitter enemies (Amos 1:11). They are regarded as a type of the powers of the world hostile to true religion, whose end is destruction. We have heard. "We" - I myself and other prophets; or the Judaeans, the prophet identifying himself with his countrymen. Septuagint, ἤκουσα, I heard, so Jeremiah 49:14; Arabic, "ye have heard." A rumour; a report (Isaiah 53:1); ἀκοὴν (Septuagint); auditum (Vulgate). It means here "tidings" (comp. Matthew 24:6, ἀκοαί πολέμων: and Romans 10:16, 17). An ambassador; a messenger; as though the prophet saw the minister of God's wrath going forth among the heathen to rouse them to war against Edom. Perowne thinks that there is an allusion to the composite character of Nebuchadnezzar's army with which he attacked the Edomites. The Septuagint renders, περιοχήν: so the Syriac, Chaldee, and Symmachus translate "message." This rendering is explained by the following clause. The heathen (goyim); the nations, as vers. 2, 15. Arise ye, and let us rise. This has been taken as if "arise ye" were the herald's message, and "let us rise" the response of the nations echoing his words; but it is more forcible to consider the whole clause as the message, the ambassador joining himself with the heathen as their leader and comrade in the war of vengeance. Vers. 1-9 are incorporated in Jeremiah 49:7-22. The vision of Obadiah,.... Or the prophecy, as the Targum; which was delivered unto him by the Lord in a vision; it was not what he fancied or dreamed of, but what he saw, what he had a clear discovery and revelation of made unto his mind; hence prophets are sometimes called "seers". This was a single prophecy; though sometimes a book, consisting of various prophecies, is called a vision; as the prophecies of Isaiah are called the vision of Isaiah, Isaiah 1:1;

thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom; by the mouth of this prophet, who was divinely inspired by him; for Obadiah said not what follows of himself but in the name of the Lord; and is a proof of the divine authority of this book; the subject matter of which is Edom or Idumea, as in the Septuagint version; a neighbouring country to the Jews, and very troublesome to them, being their implacable enemies, though their brethren; and were a type of the enemies of the Christian church, those false brethren, the antichristian states; and particularly the head of them, the Romish antichrist, whose picture is here drawn and whose destruction is prophesied of, under the name of Edom; for what has been literally fulfilled in Idumea will; be mystically accomplished in antichrist. The Jews generally understand, by Edom, Rome, and the Christians in general; which, if applied only to the antichristians, is not amiss;

we have heard a rumour from the Lord; or "a report" (n); a message from him, brought by the Spirit of God, as a spirit of prophecy; that is, I Obadiah, and Jeremiah, and other prophets, as Isaiah and Amos, who have had orders to prophesy against Edom; see Jeremiah 49:14; so the angels, or Gospel ministers, will have a rumour or message concerning the fall of antichrist Revelation 14:6;

and an ambassador is sent among the Heathen: either by the Lord, as Jeremiah the prophet, according to some; or an angel, as others; or an impulse upon the minds of the Chaldeans stirring them up to war against the Edomites: or else by Nebuchadnezzar to the nations in alliance with him, to join him in his expedition against them; or a herald sent by him to his own people, to summon them together to this war, and to encourage them in it:

arise ye, and let us rise up in battle against her; come up from all parts, join together, and invade the land of Idumea, and give battle to the inhabitants of it, and destroy them; so the kings of the earth will stir up one another to hate the whore of Rome, and make her desolate, Revelation 17:16.

(n) "auditum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus. THE BOOK OF OBADIAH Commentary by A. R. Faussett


This is the shortest book in the Old Testament. The name means "servant of Jehovah." Obadiah stands fourth among the minor prophets according to the Hebrew arrangement of the canon, the fifth according to the Greek. Some consider him to be the same as the Obadiah who superintended the restoration of the temple under Josiah, 627 B.C. (2Ch 34:12). But Ob 11-16, 20 imply that Jerusalem was by this time overthrown by the Chaldeans, and that he refers to the cruelty of Edom towards the Jews on that occasion, which is referred to also in La 4:21, 22; Eze 25:12-14; 35:1-15; Ps 137:7. From comparing Ob 5 with Jer 49:9, Ob 6 with Jer 49:10, Ob 8 with Jer 49:7, it appears that Jeremiah embodied in his prophecies part of Obadiah's, as he had done in the case of other prophets also (compare Isa 15:1-16:14 with Jer 48:1-47). The reason for the present position of Obadiah before other of the minor prophets anterior in date is: Amos at the close of his prophecies foretells the subjugation of Edom hereafter by the Jews; the arranger of the minor prophets in one volume, therefore, placed Obadiah next, as being a fuller statement, and, as it were, a commentary on the foregoing briefer prophecy of Amos as to Edom [Maurer]. (Compare Am 1:11). The date of Obadiah's prophecies was probably immediately after the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, 588 B.C. Five years afterwards (583 B.C.) Edom was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah must have incorporated part of Obadiah's prophecies with his own immediately after they were uttered, thus stamping his canonicity.

Jerome makes him contemporary with Hosea, Joel, and Amos. It is an argument in favor of this view that Jeremiah would be more likely to insert in his prophecies a portion from a preceding prophet than from a contemporary. If so, the allusion in Ob 11-14 will be to one of the former captures of Jerusalem: by the Egyptians under Rehoboam (1Ki 14:25, 26; 2Ch 12:2, etc.), or that by the Philistines and Arabians in the reign of Joram (2Ch 21:16, 17); or that by Joash, king of Israel, in the reign of Amaziah (2Ch 25:22, 23); or that in the reign of Jehoiakim (2Ki 24:1, etc.); or that in the reign of Jehoiachin (2Ki 24:8-16). On all occasions the Idumeans were hostile to the Jews; and the terms in which that enmity is characterized are not stronger in Obadiah than in Joe 3:19 (compare Ob 10); Am 1:11, 12. The probable capture of Jerusalem alluded to by Obadiah is that by Joash and the Israelites in the reign of Amaziah. For as, a little before, in the reign of the same Amaziah, the Jews had treated harshly the Edomites after conquering them in battle (2Ch 25:11-23), it is probable that the Edomites, in revenge, joined the Israelites in the attack on Jerusalem [Jaeger].

This book may be divided into two parts: (1) Ob 1-6 set forth Edom's violence toward his brother Israel in the day of the latter's distress, and his coming destruction with the rest of the foes of Judah; (2) Ob 17-21, the coming re-establishment of the Jews in their own possessions, to which shall be added those of the neighboring peoples, and especially those of Edom.


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," etc. Jer 49:14 quotes this.1:1-16 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.
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