Obadiah 1:11
In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots on Jerusalem, even you were as one of them.
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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.In the day that thou stoodest on the other side - The time when they so stood, is not defined in itself, as a past or future. It is literally; "In the day of thy standing over against," i. e., to gaze on the calamities of God's people; "in the day of strangers carrying away his strength," i. e., "the strength of thy brother Jacob," of whom he had just spoken, "and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots on Jerusalem, thou too as one of them. One of them" they were not. Edom was no stranger, no alien, no part of the invading army; he whose strength they carried away, was, he had just said, his "brother Jacob." Edom burst the bonds of nature, to become what he was not, "as one of them." He purposely does not say, "thou too wast (הית hayı̂tha) as of them;" as he would have said, had he wished to express what was past. Obadiah seeing, in prophetic vision, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the share which the Edomites took there at, describes it as it is before his eyes, as past.

We see before us, the enemy carrying off all in which the human strength of Judah lay, his forces and his substance, and casting lots on Jerusalem its people and its possessions. He describes it as past, yet, not more so, than the visitation itself which was to follow, some centuries afterward. Of both, he speaks alike as past; of both, as future. He speaks of them as past, as being so beheld in "His" mind in whose name he speaks. God's certain knowledge does not interfere with our free agency. "God compelleth no one to sin; yet, foreseeth all who shall sin of their own will. How then should He not justly avenge what, foreknowing, He does not compel them to do? For as no one, by his memory, compelleth to be done things which pass, so God, by His foreknowledge, doth not compel to be done things which will be. And as man remembereth some things which he hath done, and yet, hath not done all which he remembereth; so God foreknoweth all things whereof He is Himself the Author, and yet, is not Himself the Author of all which He foreknoweth. Of those things then, of which He is no evil Author, He is the just Avenger.

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).

In the day; during the war which the Babylonians made upon Judea, or in the day of battle when Jews fought with Chaldeans.

That thou stoodest on the other side; tookest up thy stand over-right them, observing with delight how they were worsted, slaughtered. and routed; or didst set thyself in battle-array against thy brother Jacob. The strangers; the Babylonians. and the mixed nations which joined with them.

Carried away captive; first mastered the Jews, and then made them captives. and sent them away out of their own land, a sight which should have moved compassions in thee.

His forces; his strength, his troops, or multitudes that survived and were taken, and their wealth and riches too.

Foreigners entered into his gates; that invaded, slew the inhabitants, and forced the besieged places to open their gates; or took the fortresses by assault.

Cast lots; so robbers divided their prey, and conquerors, Proverbs 1:14 Joel 3:3, which see.

Upon Jerusalem; upon the citizens and their goods, which were found in Jerusalem when it was taken by the Chaldeans.

Even thou, a neighbour, who wast not molested by Israel when they marched through other nations from Egypt to Canaan, who wast a brother by descent, Obadiah 1:10,

wast as one of them, as merciless and insolent as any of those barbarous foreigners. In the day thou stoodest on the other side,.... Aloof off, as a spectator of the ruin of Jerusalem, and that with delight and pleasure; when they should, as brethren and neighbours, have assisted against the common enemy; but instead of this they stood at a distance; or they went over to the other side, and joined the enemy, and stood in opposition to their brethren the Jews:

in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces; that is, at the time that the Chaldeans took Jerusalem, and carried captive as many of the forces of the Jews as fell into their hands; or when

"the people spoiled his substance,''

as the Targum; plundered the city of all its wealth and riches:

and foreigners entered into his gates; the gates of their cities, particularly Jerusalem; even such who came from a far country, the Babylonians, who were aliens and strangers from the commonwealth of Israel; whereas the Edomites were their near neighbours, and allied to them by blood, though not of the same religion; and by whom they helped against a foreign enemy, instead of being used by them as they were:

and cast lots upon Jerusalem; either to know when they should make their attack upon it; or else, having taken it, the generals of the Chaldean army cast lots upon the captives, to divide them among them, so Kimchi; see Joel 3:3; or rather, the soldiers cast lots for the division of the plunder of the city, as was usual at such times:

even thou wast as one of them; the Edomites joined the Chaldeans, entered into the city with them, showed as much wrath, spite, and malice, as they did, and were as busy in dividing the spoil. So Aben Ezra interprets these and the following verses of the destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar; but Kimchi expounds them of the destruction of them by the Romans, at which he supposes many Edomites to be present, and rejoiced at it: could this be supported, the connection would be more clear and close between these words and those that follow, which respect the Gospel dispensation, beginning at Obadiah 1:17; but the Edomites were not in being then; and that there were many of them in the Roman army, and that Titus himself was one, is all fabulous.

In the day that thou stoodest {h} 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.

(h) When Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem, you joined with him, and had part of the spoil, and so rejoiced when my people (that is, your brother), were afflicted, whereas you should have pitied and helped your brother.

11. In the day that thou stoodest] lit. in the day of thy standing. Nothing can certainly be decided from the language of this and the following verses, as to whether the conduct here ascribed to the Edomites was a thing of the past when Obadiah wrote, or was still future. The phrase “in the day of thy standing” obviously determines nothing as to time; nor does the phrase at the end of this verse, “thou, as one of them,” in itself considered. In Obadiah 1:12 the only grammatical rendering is, “do not look,” instead of “thou shouldest not have looked,” and the same is true of all the similar expressions in Obadiah 1:12-14. In this 11th verse two past tenses do indeed occur: “foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem.” And the use of these might be held to favour what is the most natural and obvious impression conveyed by the whole passage, viz. that the prophet is describing a past event. But inasmuch as his description may relate to a prophetic vision which had been vouchsafed to him, and not to an actual scene which he had witnessed, the time indicated remains uncertain, and the question of date must be decided on other grounds. (See Introd. § II.)

on the other side] comp. Psalm 38:11 [Hebrews 12]. “My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore,” where the Hebrew expression is the same. It may however be a charge of direct opposition rather than of culpable neutrality. The same expression occurs in this sense in 2 Samuel 18:13, “Thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against me.” Comp. Daniel 10:13, “withstood me,” lit. “stood over against me,” where the Hebrew phrase is similar.

strangers, foreigners] This therefore cannot refer to the defeat of Amaziah by Jehoash. (See Introd. § II.)

his forces] If this rendering be adopted it will mean, not so much the army which fled with the king and was overtaken and scattered (2 Kings 25:4-5), as the bulk of the people, who formed the strength of the nation and who were carried captive, leaving only the “poor of the land” behind. (2 Kings 25:11-12; Jeremiah 39:9-10.) In this sense the same Hebrew word is rendered “host” in Obadiah 1:20 below. The rendering of the margin, and of R.V., “carried away his substance,” is supported by Obadiah 1:13, where the word evidently means substance or wealth.

cast lots upon Jerusalem] i. e. divided its spoil and captives by lot. Comp. Joel 3:3 [Hebrews 4:3]; Nahum 3:10.

thou, as one of them] “thou,” the brother, and that too in dark contrast to Samaria the alien. “In the remains of the population of the Samaritan kingdom it is affecting to see that all sense of ancient rivalry was lost in the grief of the common calamity. Pilgrims from the ancient capitals of Ephraim, Samaria, Shechem, and Shiloh came flocking with shorn beards, gashed faces, torn clothes, and loud wailings, to offer incense on the ruined Temple, which was not their own.” Stanley. (Jeremiah 41:5).Verse 11. - The injuries complained of were committed lately, and the prophet could speak of them as well known (see note on ver. 10). In the day that thou stoodest; literally, in the day of thy standing, without note of time, but implying a past event here. On the other side. The words may denote either malicious unconcern, as Psalm 38:11 (12), or hostile opposition, as 2 Samuel 18:13. Besides the direct application to recent events, the clause intimates the usual attitude of the Edomites toward Israel. In the day that the strangers - Philistines and Arabians (2 Chronicles 21:16) - carried away captive his forces; rather, carried array his substance, as ver. 13; Genesis 34:29; Deuteronomy 8:17; Isaiah 8:4. Foreigners. The same as "strangers." Both words are usually applied to heathen enemies. Cast lots upon Jerusalem. Divided the captives and spoil of Jerusalem by lot (2 Chronicles 21:17; comp. Joel 3:3; Nab. 3:10). Nothing is said of the total destruction of Jerusalem or the wholesale deportation of the inhabitants to Babylon, So that Obadiah cannot be referring to the Chaldean conquest. Thou wast as one of them; literally, thou, too, as one of them. In this expression the past is set before the mind as present. Philistia. - Amos 1:6. "Thus saith Jehovah, For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I shall not reverse it, because they carried away captives in full number to deliver them up to Edom, Amos 1:7. I send fire into the wall of Gaza, and it will eat their palaces; Amos 1:8. And I exterminate the inhabitant from Ashdod, and the sceptre-holder from Askelon, and turn my hand against Ekron, and the remnant of the Philistines will perish, saith the Lord Jehovah." Instead of the Philistines generally, the prophet mentions Gaza in Amos 1:6. This is still a considerable town, bearing the old name Guzzeh (see the comm. on Joshua 13:3), and was the one of the five capitals of the Philistines which had taken the most active part as a great commercial town in handing over the Israelitish prisoners to the Edomites. For it is evident that Gaza is simply regarded as a representative of Philistia, from the fact that in the announcement of the punishment, the other capitals of Philistia are also mentioned. Gâlūth shelēmâh is correctly explained by Jerome thus: "a captivity so perfect and complete, that not a single captive remained who was not delivered to the Idumaeans." The reference is to captive Israelites, who were carried off by the Philistines, and disposed of by them to the Edomites, the arch-enemies of Israel. Amos no doubt had in his mind the invasion of Judah by the Philistines and tribes of Arabia Petraea in the time of Joram, which is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 21:16, and to which Joel had already alluded in Joel 3:3., where the Phoenicians and Philistines are threatened with divine retribution for having plundered the land, and sold the captive Judaeans to the Javanites (Ionians). But it by no means follows from this, that the "sons of Javan" mentioned in Joel 3:6 are not Greeks, but the inhabitants of the Arabian Javan noticed in Ezekiel 27:19. The fact was simply this: the Philistines sold one portion of the many prisoners, taken at that time, to the Edomites, and the rest to the Phoenicians, who disposed of them again to the Greeks. Joel simply mentions the latter circumstance, because, in accordance with the object of his prophecy, his design was to show the wide dispersion of the Jews, and their future gathering out of all the lands of their banishment. Amos, on the other hand, simply condemns the delivering of the captives to Edom, the arch-foe of Israel, to indicate the greatness of the sin involved in this treatment of the covenant nation, or the hatred which the Philistines had displayed thereby. As a punishment for this, the cities of Philistia would be burned by their enemies, the inhabitants would be exterminated, and the remnant perish. Here again, as in Amos 1:4, Amos 1:5, the threat is rhetorically individualized, so that in the case of one city the burning of the city itself is predicted, and in that of another the destruction of its inhabitants. (On Ashdod, Askelon, and Ekron, see the comm. on Joshua 13:3.) השׁיב יד, to return the hand, i.e., to turn or stretch it out again (see comm. on 2 Samuel 8:3). The use of this expression may be explained on the ground, that the destruction of the inhabitants of Ashdod and Askelon has already been thought of as a stretching out of the hand. The fifth of the Philistian capitals, Gath, is not mentioned, though not for the reason assigned by Kimchi, viz., that it belonged to the kings of Judah, or had been conquered by Uzziah, for Uzziah had not only conquered Gath and Jabneh, but had taken Ashdod as well, and thrown down the walls (2 Chronicles 26:6), and yet Amos mentions Ashdod; nor because Gath had been taken by the Syrians (2 Kings 12:18), for this Syrian conquest was not a lasting one, and in the prophet's time (cf. Amos 6:2), and even later (cf. Micah 1:10), it still maintained its independence, and was a very distinguished city; but for the simple reason that the individualizing description given by the prophet did not require the complete enumeration of all the capitals, and the idea of been named, but all that was still in existence, and had escaped destruction" (Amos 9:12 and Jeremiah 6:9), it nevertheless includes not merely the four states just named, but every part of Philistia that had hitherto escaped destruction, so that Gath must be included.
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