Obadiah 1:16
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.
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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.For as ye have drunk - Revelry always followed pagan victory; often, desecration. The Romans bore in triumph the vessels of the second temple, Nebuchadnezzar carried away the sacred vessels of the first. Edom, in its hatred of God's people, doubtless regarded the destruction of Jerusalem, as a victory of polytheism (the gods of the Babylonians, and their own god Coze), over God, as Hyrcanus, in his turn, required them, when conquered, to be circumcised. God's "holy mountain is the hill of Zion," including mount Moriah on which the temple stood. This they desecrated by idolatrous revelry, as, in contrast, it is said that, when the pagan enemy had been destroyed, "mount Zion" should "be holiness" Obadiah 1:17. Brutal, unfeeling, excess had been one of the sins on which Joel had declared God's sentence Joel 3:3, "they cast lots on My people; they sold a girl for wine, that they might drink."

Pagan tempers remain the same; under like circumstances, they repeat the same circle of sins, ambition, jealousy, cruelty, bloodshed, and, when their work is done, excess, ribaldry, profaneness. The completion of sin is the commencement of punishment. "As ye," he says, pagan yourselves and "as one of" the pagan "have drunk" in profane revelry, on the day of your brother's calamity, "upon My holy mountain," defiling it, "so shall all the pagan drink" continually. But what draught? a draught which shall never cease, "continually; yea, they shall drink on, and shall swallow down," a full, large, maddening draught, whereby they shall reel and perish, "and they shall be as though they had never been" . "For whoso cleaveth not to Him Who saith, I AM, is not." The two cups of excess and of God's wrath are not altogether distinct. They are joined, as cause and effect, as beginning and end.

Whoso drinketh the draught of sinful pleasure, whether excess or other, drinketh there with the cup of God's anger, consuming him. It is said of the Babylon of the world, in words very like to these Revelation 18:3, Revelation 18:6; "All nations have drank of the wine of her fornications - reward her as she has rewarded you; in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double." "All nations" are in the first instance, all who had been leagued against God's people; but the wide term, "all nations," comprehends all, who, in thee, become like them. It is a rule of God's justice for all times. At each and at all times, God requites them to the uttermost. The continuous drinking is filfilled in each. Each drinketh the cup of God's anger, until death and in death. God employs each nation in turn to give that cup to the other. So Edom drank it at the hand of Babylon, and Babylon from the Medes, and the Medes find Persians from the Macedonians, and the Macedonians from the Romans, and they from the Barbarians. But each in turn drank continuously, until it became as though it had never been. To swallow up, and be swallowed up in turn, is the world's history.

The details of the first stage of the excision of Edom are not given. Jeremiah distinctly says that Edom should be subjected to Nebuchadnezzar Jeremiah 27:2-4, Jeremiah 27:6. "Thus saith the Lord; make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, and send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hands of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah, and command them to say to their masters - I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant." Holy Scripture gives us both prophecy and history; but God is at no pains to clear, either the likelihood of His history, or the fulfillment of His prophecies. The sending of messengers from these petty kings to Zedekiah looks as if there had been, at that time, a plan to free themselves jointly, probably by aid of Egypt, from the tribute to Nebuchadnezzar. It may be that Nebuchadnezzar knew of this league, and punished it afterward.

Of these six kings, we know that he subdued Zedekiah, the kings of Tyre, Moab and Ammon. Zion doubtless submitted to him, as it had aforetime to Shalmaneser . But since Nebuchadnezzar certainly punished four out of these six kings, it is probable that they were punished for some common cause, in which Edom also was implicated. In any case, we know that Edom was desolated at that time. Malachi, after the captivity, when upbraiding Israel for his unthankfulness to God, bears witness that Edom had been made utterly desolate Malachi 1:2-3. "I have loved Jacob, and Esau I have hated, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the jackals of the wilderness." The occasion of this desolation was doubtless the march of Nebuchadnezzar against Egypt, when, Josephus relates, he subdued Moab and Ammon (Josephus, Ant. x. 9, 7). Edom lay in his way from Moab to Egypt. It is probable, anyhow, that he then found occasion (if he had it not) against the petty state, whose submission was needed to give him free passage between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Akaba, the important access which Edom had refused to Israel, as he came out of Egypt. There Edom was "sent forth to its borders," i. e., misled to abandon its strong fastnesses, and so, falling into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, it met with the usual lot of the conquered, plunder, death, captivity.

Malachi does not verbally allude to the prophecy of Obadiah, for his office related to the restored people of God, not to Edom. But whereas Obadiah had prophesied the slaughter of Edom and the searching out of his treasures, Malachi appeals to all the Jews, their immediate neighbors, that, whereas Jacob was in great degree restored through the love of God, Edom lay under His enduring displeasure; his mountains were, and were to continue to be Malachi 1:4, a waste; he was "impoverished;" his places were desolate. Malachi, prophesying toward (See the introduction to Malachi) 415 b.c., foretold a further desolation. A century later, we find the Nabathaeans in tranquil and established possession of Petra, having there deposited the wealth of their merchandise, attending fairs at a distance, avenging themselves on the General of Antigonus, who took advantage of their absence to surprise their retreat, holding their own against the conqueror of Ptolemy who had recovered Syria and Palestine; in possession of all the mountains around them, from where, when Antigonus, despairing of violence, tried by falsehood to lull them into security, they transmitted to Petra by fiery beacons the tidings of the approach of his army .

How they came to replace Edom, we know not. They were of a race, wholly distinct; active friends of the Maccabees (See 1 Macc. 5:24-27; 9:35. Josephus, Ant. xii. 8, 3; xiii. 1. 2. Aretas of Petra aided the Romans 3, b.c. against Jews and Idumaeans. Ant. xvii. 10. 9), while the Idumaeans were their deadly enemies. Strabo relates , that the Edomites "were expelled from the country of the Nabathaeans in a sedition, and so joined themselves to the Jews and shared their customs." Since the alleged incorporation among the Jews is true, although at a later period, so may also the expulsion by the Nabathaeans be, although not the cause of their incorporation.

It would be another instance of requital by God, that "the men" of their "confederacy brought" them "to" their "border, the men of" their "peace prevailed against" them." A mass of very varied evidence establishes as an historical certainty, that the Nabathaeans were of Aramaic contends that the Nabathaeans of Petra were Arabs, on the following grounds:

(1) The statements of Diodorus (xix. 94), Strabo (xvi. 2. 34. Ibid. 4. 2 & 21), Josephus (Ant. i. 12, 4.), S. Jerome and some latter writers.

(2) The statement of Suidas (980 a.d.) that Dusares, an Arab idol, was worshiped there.

(3) The Arabic name of Aretes, king of Petra.

are alleged; Arindela (if the same as this Ghurundel) 18 hours from Petra (Porter, Handb. p. 58); Negla, (site unknown): Auara, a degree North, (Ptol. in Reland, 463); Elji, close to Petra. But as to:

(1) Diodorus, who calls the Nabathaeans Arabs, says that they wrote "Syriac;" Strabo calls the "Edomites" Nabathaeans, and the inhabitants of Galilee, Jericho, Philadelphia and Samaria, "a mixed race of Egyptians, Arabians, and Phoenicians" (Section 34). Also Diodorus speaks of "Nabathaean Arabia" as a distinct country (xvii. 1. 21) Josephus, and Jerome (Qu. in Genesis 25. 13) following him, include the whole country from the Euphrates to Egypt, and so some whose language was Aramaic. As to

(2) Dusares, though at first an Arab idol, was worshiped far and wide, in Galatia, Bostra, even Italy (See coins in Eckhel, Tanini, in Zoega de Obelisc. pp. 205-7, and Zoega himself, p. 205). As to:


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).

This, with some, is a confirmation of what is threatened against Edom, yet others make this verse the beginning of the consolatory sermon to Judah, and either suits well with the context.

As ye, O Edomites, or ye, O Jews.

Have drunk: if you interpret this drinking as feasting, revelling, and carousing, it is to be applied to the Edomites and others, who triumphed first by their arms, next in their cups, over conquered Judah.

Upon my holy mountain; either the whole land, or Jerusalem, or the temple, for all these are called by this name; and here these proud and insolent conquerors did drink confusion to the Jews.

All the heathen; the nations, enemies to Edom, shall on Mount Esau conquer first, and then triumph in their revelling feasts, and drink continually, till they have swallowed up Edom.

And they, Edomites,

shall be as though they had not been; shall by this means perish utterly, and their memory cease with them; so it suits with Ezekiel 35:14,15, which see. Others refer the words to the Jews, thus: Ye have drunk the cup of astonishment in your land, and in Jerusalem, my holy mountain; so now ere long the nations which afflicted you shall drink of the cup of astonishment long, yea, drink the dregs of it, so that they shall perish, and be no more, when your day of dark affliction shall end in a day of light and salvation; and when other nations do this, Edom shall much more, because most deeply guilty above others’ see Jeremiah 49:17,18,21,22.

For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the Heathen drink continually,.... Which is either spoken to the Edomites; and the sense be, according to the Targum,

"as ye have rejoiced at the blow (given unto or at the subversion and destruction) of the mountain of my holiness, all people shall drink the cup of their vengeance;''

or punishment; and to the same sense Jarchi and Japhet interpret it; and so Kimchi,

"as ye have made a feast, rejoicing at the destruction of my holy mountain, so thou and all nations shall drink of the cup of trembling;''

but Aben Ezra thinks the words are spoken to the Israelites,

"as ye have drank the cup, so shall all nations;''

the cup of vengeance began with them, and so went round the nations, according to the prophecy in Jeremiah 25:17, &c. for, if judgment begins at the house and people of God, it may be expected it will reach to others; wherefore Edom had no reason to rejoice at the destruction of the Jews, since they might be assured by that the same would be their case before long; and with this difference, that whereas the Jews only drank this cup for a while, during the seventy years' captivity, these nations, and the Edomites among the rest, should be "continually" drinking it:

yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down; not only drink of the cup, but drink it up; not only take it into their mouths, but swallow it down their throats; not only sip at it, but "sup it up" (a), as it may be rendered. The phrase denotes the fulness of their punishment, and their utter and entire ruin and destruction, which the next clause confirms:

and they shall be as though they had not been; as now are the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, and so the Edomites; their names are not heard of in the world, only as they are read in the Bible; and thus it shall be with mystical Babylon or Edom, it shall be thrown down, and found no more, Revelation 18:21.

(a) "absorbebunt", V. L. Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "deglutient", Montanus, Mercerus. Gussetius renders it "absorbebantur".

For as ye have {l} 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 {m} as though they had not been.

(l) That is, rejoiced and triumphed.

(m) The Edomites will be utterly destroyed, and yet in spite of all the enemies I will reserve my Church and restore it.

Verse 16. - As ye have drunk. There are two interpretations of this passage. By the first, the people addressed are considered to be the Jews, and the word "drunk" is taken metaphorically in both clauses (see note on Nahum 3:11). The meaning is then this - As ye Jews, who are upon my holy mountain, the people of election, have not escaped from suffering the wrath of God, so all the nations shell feel the same, and that to a much more terrible extent. Confirmatory of this explanation is the language of Jeremiah, who (Jeremiah 25:15-29) bids all the nations to drink the cup of God's wrath, beginning at Jerusalem and passing on to Edom, and then says, in answer to any who refuse the offered draught, "Lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished?" The same notion is found also in Jeremiah 49:12 and Lamentations 4:21, etc. But there are objections to this view of the passage. The previous verse enunciated the doctrine of retribution; this verse confirms the former with the words, "for as ye," etc. It would be no proof of the lex talionis on the Edomites to cite what had happened to the Jews. What is wanted is an assertion that what they had done should be repaid to them in like coin, Besides, the prophecy is nominally addressed to the Edomites, not to the Jews, and it would he most harsh to change the subject suddenly here. "Upon my mountain" cannot be equivalent to "ye who are upon my mountain;" nor is such an expression ever used to signify "Judaeans." It is best, therefore, to take the clause as referring to the Edomites and their comrades, who, after their victory, indulged in unseemly revelry, and profaned the mountain hallowed by God's presence in the temple with their idolatrous festival The "drinking" in this first clause is literal; in the following clause it is figurative. Septuaguint, ἔπιες, "thou didst drink," which makes the connection of the subject here with that in ver. 15 more evident, and it has probably been altered by the translators for that purpose. So shall all the heathen drink continually. The prophet plays on the word "drink." The nations shall drink, not wine, but the wrath of God (Psalm 75:8; Jeremiah 25:15). The nations are spoken of here because Edom is taken as a type of all nations hostile to God, and the retribution that falls on him is extended to all who assume his attitude towards God's people (Keil). Continually; Vulgate, jugiter, perpetually, in uninterrupted succession. The LXX. has οϊνον, by a mistaken reading. They shall swallow down; drink a full draught; Septuagint, καταβήσονται, they shall go down." They shall be as though they had not been. They shall drain the wrath of God till they utterly perish, till, as nations, they exist no more (comp. Ezekiel 26:21; Ezekiel 27:36). Septuagint, καθὼς οὐχ ὑπάρχοντες, as if not, being" (comp. Ecclus. 38:11 Ecclus. 44:9). (For the accomplishment of this prophecy against Edom, see Introduction, § L) Obadiah 1:16This warning is supported in Obadiah 1:15 by an announcement of the day of the Lord, in which Edom and all the enemies of Israel will receive just retribution for their sins against Israel. Obadiah 1:15. "For the day of Jehovah is near upon all nations. As thou hast done, it will be done to thee; what thou hast performed returns upon thy head. Obadiah 1:16. For as ye have drunken upon my holy mountain, all nations will drink continually, and drink and swallow, and will be as those that were not." כּי (for) connects what follows with the warnings in Obadiah 1:12-14, but not also, or exclusively, with Obadiah 1:10, Obadiah 1:11, as Rosenmller and others suppose, for Obadiah 1:2-14 are not inserted parenthetically. "The day of Jehovah" has been explained at Joel 1:15. The expression was first formed by Obadiah, not by Joel; and Joel, Isaiah, and the prophets that follow, adopted it from Obadiah. The primary meaning is not the day of judgment, but the day on which Jehovah reveals His majesty and omnipotence in a glorious manner, to overthrow all ungodly powers, and to complete His kingdom. It was this which gave rise to the idea of the day of judgment and retribution which predominates in the prophetic announcements, but which simply forms one side of the revelation of the glory of God, as our passage at once shows; inasmuch as it describes Jehovah as not only judging all nations and regarding them according to their deeds (cf. Obadiah 1:15, and Obadiah 1:16), but as providing deliverance upon Zion (Obadiah 1:17), and setting up His kingdom (Obadiah 1:21). The retribution will correspond to the actions of Edom and of the nations. For גּמלך וגו, compare Joel 3:4, Joel 3:7, where (Joel 3:2-7) the evil deeds of the nations, what they have done against the people of God, are described. In Obadiah 1:16 Obadiah simply mentions as the greatest crime the desecration of the holy mountain by drinking carousals, for which all nations are to drink the intoxicating cup of the wrath of God till they are utterly destroyed. In shethı̄them (ye have drunk) it is not the Judaeans who are addressed, as many commentators, from Ab. Ezra to Ewald and Meier, suppose, but the Edomites. This is required not only by the parallelism of כּאשׁר שׁתיתם (as ye have drunk) and בּאשׁר שׁתיתם על הת (as thou hast done), but also by the actual wording and context. בּאשׁר שׁתיתם על הר cannot mean "as ye who are upon my holy mountain have drunk;" and in the announcement of the retribution which all nations will receive for the evil they have done to Judah, it is impossible that either the Judaeans should be addressed, or a parallel drawn between their conduct and that of the nations. Moreover, throughout the whole of the prophecy Edom only is addressed, and never Judah. Mount Zion is called "my holy mountain," because Jehovah was there enthroned in His sanctuary. The verb shâthâh is used in the two clauses in different senses: viz., shethı̄them, of the drinking carousals which the Edomites held upon Zion, like yishtū in Joel 3:3; and shâthū, in the apodosis, of the drinking of the intoxicating goblet (cf. Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15; Jeremiah 49:12, etc.), as the expression "they shall be as though they had not been" clearly shows. At the same time, we cannot infer from the words "all nations will drink," that all nations would succeed in taking Zion and abusing it, but that they would have to taste all the bitterness of their crime; for it is not stated that they are to drink upon Mount Zion. The fact that the antithesis to שׁתיתם is not תּשׁתּוּ ("ye will drink") but ישׁתּוּ כּל־הגּוים, does not compel us to generalize shethı̄them, and regard all nations as addressed implicite in the Edomites. The difficulty arising from this antithesis cannot be satisfactorily removed by the remark of Caspari, that in consequence of the allusion to the day of the Lord upon all nations in Obadiah 1:15, the judgment upon all nations and that upon the Edomites were thought of as inseparably connected, or that this induced Obadiah to place opposite to the sins of the Edomites, not their own punishment, but the punishment of all nations, more especially as, according to Obadiah 1:11, it must necessarily be assumed that the foreign nations participated in the sin of Edom. For this leaves the question unanswered, how Obadiah came to speak at all (Obadiah 1:15) of the day of the Lord upon all nations. The circumstance that, according to Obadiah 1:11, heathen nations had plundered Jerusalem, and committed crimes like those for which Edom is condemned in Obadiah 1:12-14, does not lead directly to the day of judgment upon all nations, but simply to a judgment upon Edom and the nations which had committed like sins. The difficulty is only removed by the assumption that Obadiah regarded Edom as a type of the nations that had risen up in hostility to the Lord and His people, and were judged by the Lord in consequence, so that what he says of Edom applies to all nations which assume the same or a similar attitude towards the people of God. From this point of view he could, without reserve, extend to all nations the retribution which would fall upon Edom for its sins. They should drink tâmı̄d, i.e., not at once, as Ewald has rendered it in opposition to the usage of the language, but "continually." This does not mean, however, that "there will be no time in which there will not be one of the nations drinking the intoxicating cup, and being destroyed by drinking thereof; or that the nations will come in turn, and therefore in a long immeasurable series, one after the other, to drink the cup of intoxication," as Caspari supposes, but "continually, so that the turn never passes from the heathen to Judah, Isaiah 51:22-23" (Hitzig). This drinking is more precisely defined as drinking and swallowing (לוּע, in Syriac, to devour or swallow, hence לע, a throat, so called from the act of swallowing, Proverbs 23:2), i.e., drinking in full draughts; and the effect, "they will be like such as have not been, have never existed" (cf. Job 10:19), i.e., they will be utterly destroyed as nations.
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