Obadiah 1:20
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.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Obadiah 1:20-21. And the captivity of this host, &c. — Those of the ten tribes that were carried away captive by Shalmaneser; shall possess that of the Canaanites — That is, all the countries 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. Even unto Zarephath — Or Sarepta, a city near Sidon, in the northern borders of Judea, 1 Kings 17:9. The Canaanites, properly so called, were the ancient inhabitants of that district: see Jdg 1:32; Matthew 15:21-22. And the captivity of Jerusalem — The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, carried captive from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar; which is in Sepharad — That is, as some suppose, a province of Babylon, in which the Jews resided during their captivity. Shall possess the cities of the south — All the cities which were once their own. And saviours shall come upon mount Zion, &c. — That is, deliverers. Taken literally, the expression may mean, the leaders of those captive troops who were to return from Babylon, such as Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. If understood mystically, these saviours are Christ, his apostles, and the other preachers of the gospel. To judge the mount of Esau — To avenge Israel upon the Edomites, or, figuratively speaking, the church of Christ upon all its enemies, here represented by Edom. Instead of saviours, the LXX., with a small alteration of the Hebrew points, read ανασωζομενοι, those that are saved, or escape: namely, the same with the remnant often mentioned in the prophets, and particularly Joel 2:32, where see the note. And the kingdom shall be the Lord’s — This will be fulfilled when the last of the four monarchies, foretold Daniel 2:7, are destroyed, and the stone which smote the image becomes a great mountain, and fills the whole earth; when the God of Israel shall be honoured, obeyed, and worshipped by all mankind.

1:17-21 There should be deliverance and holiness at Jerusalem, and the house of Jacob would again occupy their possessions. Much of this prophecy was fulfilled when the Jews returned to their own land. But the salvation and holiness of the gospel, its spread, and the conversion of the Gentiles, seem also to be intended, especially the restoration of Israel, the destruction of antichrist, and the prosperous state of the church, to which all the prophets bear witness. When Christ is come, and not till then, shall the kingdom be the Lord's in the full sense of the term. As none that exalt themselves against the Lord shall prosper, and all shall be brought down; so none that wait upon the Lord, and put their trust in him, shall ever be dismayed. Blessed be the Divine Saviour and Judge on Mount Zion! His word shall be a savour of life unto life unto numbers, while it judges and condemns obstinate unbelievers.And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel - , (it must, I believe, be rendered,) "which are among the Canaanites, as far as Zarephath, and the captivity of Jerusalem which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the South." Obadiah had described how the two tribes, whose were the promises to the house of David, should spread abroad on all sides. Here he represents how Judah should, in its turn, receive into its bosom those now carried away from them; so should all again be one fold.

Zarephath - (probably "smelting-house," and so a place of slave-labor, pronounced Sarepta in Luke) Luke 4:26. belonged to Sidon 1 Kings 17:9, lying on the sea about halfway between it and Tyre. . These were then, probably, captives, placed by Tyrians for the time in safe keeping in the narrow plain between Lebanon and the sea, intercepted by Tyre itself from their home, and awaiting to be transported to a more distant slavery. These, with those already sold to the Grecians and in slavery at Sardis, formed one whole. They stand as representatives of all who, whatever their lot, had been rent off from the Lord's land, and had been outwardly severed from His heritage.

20. the captivity of this host—that is, the captives of this multitude of Israelites.

shall possess that of the Canaanites—Maurer translates, "the captives … whom the Canaanites (carried away captive into Phœnicia) even unto Zarephath, shall possess the south," namely, Idumea as well as the south (Ob 19). Henderson, similarly, "the captives that are among the Canaanites," &c. But the corresponding clauses of the parallelism are better balanced in English Version, "the ten tribes of Israel shall possess the territory of the Canaanites," namely, Western Palestine and Phœnicia (Jud 3:3). "And the captives of Jerusalem (and Judah) shall possess the southern cities," namely, Edom, &c. Each has the region respectively adjoining assigned to it; Israel has the western Canaanite region; Judah, the southern.

even unto Zarephath—near Zidon; called Sarepta in Lu 4:26. The name implies it was a place for smelting metals. From this quarter came the "woman of Canaan" (Mt 15:21, 22). Captives of the Jews had been carried into the coasts of Palestine or Canaan, about Tyre and Zidon (Joe 3:3, 4; Am 1:9). The Jews when restored shall possess the territory of their ancient oppressors.

in Sepharad—that is, the Bosphorus [Jerome, from his Hebrew Instructor]. Sephar, according to others (Ge 10:30). Palæography confirms Jerome. In the cuneiform inscription containing a list of the tribes of Persia [Niebuhr, Tab. 31.1], before Ionia and Greece, and after Cappadocia, comes the name CPaRaD. It was therefore a district of Western Asia Minor, about Lydia, and near the Bosphorus. It is made an appellative by Maurer. "The Jerusalem captives of the dispersion" (compare Jas 1:1), wherever they be dispersed, shall return and possess the southern cities. Sepharad, though literally the district near the Bosphorus, represents the Jews' far and wide dispersion. Jerome says the name in Assyrian means a boundary, that is, "the Jews scattered in all boundaries and regions."

The captivity of this host of the children of Israel, those of the ten tribes that were carried away captive by Shalmaneser, one hundred and thirty years before Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar,

shall possess that of the Canaanites; all the country they anciently possessed, with this addition also, that what the Canaanites held by force, and the Israelites could not take from them, shall now be possessed by these returned captives.

Zarephath, called Sarepta, Luke 4:26, near Sidon.

The captivity of Jerusalem; the two tribes, carried captive when Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar.

In Sepharad; the modern Jews call Spain Sepharad, but without any good ground, nor was it so called anciently, nor doth the Chaldee paraphrase so interpret it; nor do I meet with any thing better than a tacit confession, that most believe it is a city of Chaldea or Assyria, and toward the northern and farthest bounds of it, but where it was exactly they know not.

Shall possess the cities of the south; all the cities, which were once their own, in Judea, which lay southward from this Sepharad, where the captives dwelt, and whence they return.

And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath,.... That is, the host or army, the great number of the children of Israel, that have been carried captive, upon their return shall possess that part of the land of Israel which was inhabited formerly by the Canaanites, even as far as to Zarephath, said to belong to Zidon, 1 Kings 17:10; and called Sarepta of Sidon; see Luke 4:26. It is mentioned by Pliny (h) along with Sidon, where glass was made; and perhaps this place might have its name from the melting of glass in it, from which signifies to melt metals, glass, &c. it is called by Josephus (i) Sarephtha; who says it was not far from Sidon and Tyre, and lay between them: according to an Arabic geographer (k), it was twenty miles from Tyre, and ten from Sidon. Here the Prophet Elijah dwelt for a time; and in the times of Jerom (l) was shown a little tower, said to be his habitation, which travellers visited. Mr. Maundrell (m) speaks of this place as three hours' journey from Sidon, and is now called

"Sarphan, supposed (he says) to be the ancient Sarephath, or Sarepta, so famous for the residence and miracles of the Prophet Elijah; the place shown us for this city consisted of only a few houses on the tops of the mountains, within about half a mile of the sea; but it is more probable the principal part of, the city stood below, in the space between the hills and the sea, there being ruins still to be seen in that place, of a considerable extent?''

It was once a place very famous for wine; the wine of Sarepta is often made mention of by writers (n); perhaps vines might grow upon the hills and mountains about it; and this being a city of Phoenicia, on the northern border of the land of Israel, is very fitly observed as the limit of the possession of the Israelites this way;

and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south; the Jews, who were carried captive into Babylon, to Sepharad; some place, though unknown, perhaps in the land of Babylon. Calmet (o) conjectures it may be Sippara or Sipparat, in Mesopotamia, a little above the division of the Euphrates: and the Septuagint version renders it Ephratha; which perhaps is a corruption, of the Euphrates in the present copies: the Vulgate Latin version translates it Bosphorus; and so Jerom, who says that the Hebrew that taught him assured him that Bosphorus was called Sepharad; whither Adrian is said to carry the Jews captive. Kimchi and Aben Ezra interpret it of the present captivity of theirs by Titus, who upon their return to their land shall possess the, southern part of it, which originally belonged to the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:20. If Sepharad, in the Assyrian language, signifies a border, as Jerom says it does, it denotes, as some think, that part of Arabia which borders on the south of Judea, that shall be inhabited by the Jews. Some render the words, "the captivity of Jerusalem shall possess that which is in Sepharad, and the cities of the south": but this is contrary to the accents, unless the words "shall possess" be repeated, and so two clauses made, "the captivity of Jerusalem shall possess that which is in Sepharad; they shall possess the cities of the south". The Targum and Syriac version, instead of Sepharad, have Spain; and so the Jewish writers generally interpret it. By the Canaanites they think are meant the Germans, and the country of Germany; by Zarephath, France; and by Sepharad, Spain; so Aben Ezra, Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, fancying that they who are now captives in these countries shall one day possess them: but the prophecy only respects their settlement in their own land, and some parts adjacent to it; or rather the enlargement of the church of Christ in the world. A late learned writer (p), is of opinion that some respect may be had to this passage in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, in which the former makes mention of "five brethren" that he had, Luke 16:28; and are by the said writer thus reckoned:

1. the house of Jacob; 2. the house of Joseph, which are said to possess the south, with the mountains of Esau, and the plain; 3. Benjamin, which shall possess Gilead; 4. the captives from the Assyrian captivity; 5. the captives from the Jerusalem captivity, namely, by Titus Vespasian, who shall possess the cities of the south.

(h) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 19. (i) Antiqu. l. 8. c. 13. sect. 2.((k) Scherif Ibn Idris apud Reland. Palestina Illustrata, tom. 2. l. 3. p. 935. (l) Epitaph. Paulae, fol. 51. M. (m) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 48. Ed. 7. (n) Vid. Roland. ut supra. (o) Dictionary, in the word "Sepharad". (p) Teelmanni Specimen, & Explic. Parabol. p. 517.

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

(p) By the Canaanites, the Jews mean the Dutchmen, and by Zarephath, France, and by Sepharad, Spain.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. Two ways of rendering this verse are given in our English Bibles, one in the text, the other in the margin. The latter of these fully expressed would be: “And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that (i.e. the land) of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem shall possess that which is in Sepharad; they shall possess the cities of the south.” But a third rendering of the verse is possible and appears to be more satisfactory than either of these:—“And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel which the Canaanites (have carried captive) even unto Zarephath and the captivity of Jerusalem which is in Sepharad (these) shall possess the cities of the south.” The prophet having assigned their dwelling-place to the main body of the people, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin who returned from Babylon, now bethinks him of their brethren, who in the general disruption of the Chaldean invasion had been carried captive in other directions. He mentions two such bodies of captives, whether as including or as representing all Jews who were in such a case, and for them he finds a home in the regions of the south. Another rendering is adopted in R.V.

this host of the children of Israel] It is suggested in the Speaker’s Commentary, that the word “this” here “indicates the body (of exiles) to which Obadiah himself belonged, and of which he formed one. We know nothing,” it is said, “of Obadiah’s history; he may well have been one of the many inhabitants of Judah who had to flee before the Babylonish inroad, and were afterwards spread as homeless exiles through the cities of Palestine and Phœnicia. If this be so, a touching personal interest attaches itself to the prophet’s words. He comforts his brother-exiles in Canaan by telling them that they, as well as the exiles in Sepharad, should return, and take possession of the cities of the south.” The suggestion is interesting, but it is more natural to understand the expression, “this host of the children of Israel,” of the entire body of the Jews, uprooted and doomed to exile as Obadiah saw them when he wrote. Of this whole captive host, he says, that portion which has been carried into Phœnicia shall be thus provided for. In this sense the word “host” (“forces”) is perhaps used in Obadiah 1:11. See note there.

even unto Zarephath] The Sarepta of the New Testament (Luke 4:26) famous in the history of Elijah, 1 Kings 17:9-24. It was a considerable town, as its ruins now shew, on the coast road between Tyre and Sidon. Its modern representative, Sarafend, is a small village on the hill above.

in Sepharad] Great difference of opinion exists as to the meaning and reference of this word. The conjecture of Jerome that it is not a proper name, but the Assyrian word for “boundary,” which the prophet has adopted, is accepted by some. It would then mean, “who are scattered abroad in all the boundaries and regions of the earth.” Comp. James 1:1. It is more probable, however, that like Zarephath in the other clause of the verse, Sepharad is the name of a place, though it is not easy to determine what place is intended by it. The modern Jews understand it of Spain, and accordingly, “at the present day the Spanish Jews, who form the chief of the two great sections into which the Jewish nation is divided, are called by the Jews themselves the Sephardim, German Jews being known as the Ashkenazim.” Dict. of the Bible, Art. Sepharad. By others it is identified with Sardis, the capital of the Lydian kingdom, the name having been discovered as it is thought to designate Sardis in the cuneiform Persian inscriptions. Adopting this view (for which some have found support in Joel 3:6). Dr Pusey thus explains the whole verse: “Zarephath (probably ‘smelting-house,’ and so a place of slave-labour, pronounced Sarepta in St Luke) belonged to Sidon, lying on the sea about half way between it and Tyre. These were then, probably, captives, placed by the Tyrians for the time in safe keeping in the narrow plain between Lebanon and the sea, intercepted by Tyre itself from their home, and awaiting to be transported to a more distant slavery. These, with those already sold to the Grecians and in slavery at Sardis, form one whole. They stand as representatives of all who, whatever their lot, had been rent off from the Lord’s land, and had been outwardly severed from His heritage.” Other conjectures are given in the article in the Dictionary of the Bible. Whatever uncertainty attaches to the word Sepharad, the drift of the prophecy is perfectly clear, viz. that not only the exiles from Babylon, but Jewish captives from other and distant regions shall be brought back to live prosperously within the enlarged borders of their own land.

Verse 20. - And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; Septuagint, Καὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας ἡ ἀρχὴ αὔτη τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραὴλ γῆ τῶν Ξαναναίων ἕως Σαρεπτῶν, "And this shall be the beginning of the captivity of the children of Israel, the land of the Canaanites as far as Sarepta." This would imply that the Ephraimitas should be the first to go into exile, and on their return should occupy the territory of the Canaanites on the north. But ἀρχὴ may mean "domain." Vulgate, Et transmigratio exercitus hujus filiorum Israel, omnia loca Chananaeorum usque ad Sareptam. The general meaning is that Jewish captives, who have been taken to other lands, shall return and possess the cities of the south. The sentence in the Hebrew is incomplete. Our translators supply, "shall possess." Pusey (in agreement with the Chaldee, and virtually with the Septuagint) renders, "which are among the Canaanites;" and this seems to be correct, making "shall possess the cities of the south" the predicate of both clauses. So the first portion of the verse means, as Henderson says, the number of Israelitish captives which were found in Phoenicia, into which they had been sold at different times as slaves (comp. vers. 11, 14; Joel 3:6, 7). This host. Not a general deportation, but only the portion of the people referred to. From this expression some have inferred that Obadiah himself was one of this body. This is possible, but not necessary. The captives who are among the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; as far as Zarephath, were probably placed there for safe keeping before being sold into Greece and other countries. Zarepbath ("Melting house"), the Sarepta of St. Luke (Luke 4:26), now Surafend or Sarafend, and celebrated in the history of Elijah (1 Kings 17:9, etc.), lay between Tyre and Sidon, a little inland, and was a town of some importance, as its ruins prove. The captivity of Jerusalem. The captives from Jerusalem. Which is in Sepharad; Septuagint, ἕως Ἐφραθά "as far as Ephrathah;" Vulgate, quae in Bosphoro est. The name occurs nowhere else in the Bible, and its identification cannot be established. Jerome suggests, in his commentary, that it is the Assyrian for "boundary," and not a proper name at all. The Peshito and the rabbins And modern Jews interpret it as "Spain." Keil supposes it to be "Sparta;" Pusey, "Sardis." For this last explanation some ground has been found in an inscription of Nakshi-Rustam, where a place called Cparda occurs in a list of tribes between Cappadocia and Ionia; and Cparda is considered to be the Persian form of Sardis (see Schrader, 'Keilinschr.,' p. 445, etc.). A further confirmation of this identification is found in the complaint of Joel (Joel 3:6 [4:6, Hebrew], that the Phoenicians had sold Israelites "unto the sons of the Grecians." Professor Sayce, in a note to G. Smith's 'History of Babylonia,' p. 156, places "Saparda" on the Black Sea. It may be questioned, however, whether some town nearer Judaea is not intended. Ewald would read "Sepharam," a town in North Palestine. The two bodies of captives shall possess the cities of the south. The Negeb. The cities are named in Joshua 19. Obadiah 1:20After the destruction of its foes the nation of God will take possession of their land, and extend its territory to every region under heaven. Obadiah 1:19. "And those towards the south will take possession of the mountains of Esau; and those in the lowland, of the Philistines: and they will take possession of the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria; and Benjamin (will take possession) of Gilead. Obadiah 1:20. And the captives of this army of the sons of Israel (will take possession) of what Canaanites there are as far as Zarephath; and the prisoners of Jerusalem that are in Sepharad will take possession of the cities of the south." In וירשׁוּ וגו the expression וירשׁוּ בּית י in Obadiah 1:17 is more precisely defined, and the house of Jacob, i.e., the kingdom of Judah, is divided into the Negeb, the Shephelah, and Benjamin, to each of which a special district is assigned, of which it will take possession, the countries being mentioned in the place of their inhabitants. The negebh, or southern land of Judah (see the comm. on Joshua 15:21), i.e., the inhabitants thereof, will take possession of the mountains of Esau, and therefore extend their territory eastwards; whilst those of the lowland (shephēlâh; see at Joshua 15:33), on the Mediterranean, will seize upon the Philistines, that is to say, upon their land, and therefore spread out towards the west. The subject to the second וירשׁוּ is not mentioned, and must be determined from the context: viz., the men of Judah, with the exception of the inhabitants of the Negeb and Shephelah already mentioned, that is to say, strictly speaking, those of the mountains of Judah, and original stock of the land of Judah (Joshua 15:48-60). Others would leave hannegebh and hasshephēlâh still in force as subjects; so that the thought expressed would be this: The inhabitants of the south land and of the lowland will also take possession in addition to this of the fields of Ephraim and Samaria. But not only is the parallelism of the clauses, according to which one particular portion of territory is assigned to each part, utterly destroyed, but according to this view the principal part of Judah is entirely passed over without any perceptible reason. Sâdeh, fields, used rhetorically for land or territory. Along with Ephraim the land, Samaria the capital is especially mentioned, just as we frequently find Jerusalem along with Judah. In the last clause ירשׁוּ (shall take possession of) is to be repeated after Benjamin. From the taking of the territories of the kingdom of the ten tribes by Judah and Benjamin, we are not to infer that the territory of the ten tribes was either compared to an enemy's land, or thought of as depopulated; but the thought is simply this: Judah and Benjamin, the two tribes, which formed the kingdom of God in the time of Obadiah will extend their territory to all the four quarters of the globe, and take possession of all Canaan beyond its former boundaries. Hengstenberg has rightly shown that we have here simply an individualizing description of the promise in Genesis 28:14, "thy seed will be as the dust of the ground; and thou breakest out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south," etc.; i.e., that on the ground of this promise Obadiah predicts the future restoration of the kingdom of God, and its extension beyond the borders of Canaan. In this he looks away from the ten tribes, because in his esteem the kingdom of Judah alone constituted the kingdom or people of God. But he has shown clearly enough in Obadiah 1:18 that he does not regard them as enemies of Judah, or as separated from the kingdom of God, but as being once more united to Judah as the people of God. And being thus incorporated again into the people of God, he thinks of them as dwelling with them upon the soil of Judah, so that they are included in the population of the four districts of this kingdom. For this reason, no other places of abode are assigned to the Ephraimites and Gileadites. The idea that they are to be transplanted altogether to heathen territory, rests upon a misapprehension of the true facts of the case, and has no support whatever in Obadiah 1:20. "The sons of Israel" in Obadiah 1:20 cannot be the ten tribes, as Hengstenberg supposes, because the other portion of the covenant nation mentioned along with them would in that case be described as Judah, not as Jerusalem. "The sons of Israel" answer to the "Jacob" in Obadiah 1:10, and the "house of Jacob" in Obadiah 1:17, in connection with which special prominence is given to Jerusalem in Obadiah 1:11, and to Mount Zion in Obadiah 1:17; so that it is the Judaeans who are referred to, - not, however, as distinguished from the ten tribes, but as the people of God, with whom the house of Jacob is once more united. In connection with the gâluth (captivity) of the sons of Israel, the gâluth of Jerusalem is also mentioned, like the sons of Judah and the sons of Jerusalem in Joel 3:6, of whom Joel affirms, with a glance at Obadiah, that the Phoenicians and Philistines have sold them to the sons of Javan. These citizens of Judah and Jerusalem, who have been taken prisoners in war, are called by Obadiah the gâluth of the sons of Israel and Jerusalem, the people of God being here designated by the name of their tribe-father Jacob or Israel. That we should understand by the "sons of Israel" Judah, as the tribe or kernel of the covenant nation, is required by the actual progress apparent in v.20 in relation to Obadiah 1:19.

After Obadiah had foretold to the house of Jacob in Obadiah 1:17-19 that it would take possession of the land of their enemies, and spread beyond the borders of Canaan, the question still remained to be answered, What would become of the prisoners, and those who had been carried away captive, according to Obadiah 1:11 and Obadiah 1:14? This is explained in Obadiah 1:20. The carrying away of the sons of Israel is restricted to a portion of the nation by the words, "the captivity of this host" (hachēl-hazzeh); no such carrying away of the nation as such had taken place at that time as that which afterwards occurred at the destruction of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The enemies who had conquered Jerusalem had contented themselves with carrying away those who fell into their hands. The expression hachēl-hazzeh points to this host which had been carried away captive. חל, which the lxx and some of the Rabbins have taken as a verbal noun, ἡ ἀρχή, initium, is a defective form of חיל, an army (2 Kings 18:7; Isaiah 36:2), like חק for חיק in Proverbs 5:20; Proverbs 17:23; Proverbs 21:14, and is not to be identified with חל, the trench of a fortification. The two clauses in Obadiah 1:20 have only one verb, which renders the meaning of צרפת ... אשׁר כ ambiguous. The Chaldee (according to our editions, though not according to Kimchi's account) and the Masoretes (by placing athnach under sephârâd), also Rashi and others, take אשׁר כּנענים as in apposition to the subject: those prisoners of the sons of Israel who are among the Canaanites to Zarephath. And the parallelism to אשׁר בּספרד appears to favour this; but it is decidedly negatived by the absence of ב before כנענים. אשׁר כן can only mean, "who are Canaanites." But this, when taken as in apposition to בּני ישׂ, gives no sustainable meaning. For the sons of Israel could only be called Canaanites when they had adopted the nature of Canaan. And any who had done this could look for no share in the salvation of the Lord, and no return to the land of the Lord. We must therefore take אשׁר כנענים as the object, and supply the verb ירשׁוּ from the first clauses of the preceding verse. Obadiah first of all expresses the verb twice, then omits it in the next two clauses (Obadiah 1:19 and Obadiah 1:20), and inserts it again in the last clause (Obadiah 1:20). The meaning is, that the army of these sons of Israel, who have been carried away captive, will take possession of what Canaanites there are as far as Zarephath, i.e., the Phoenician city of Sarepta, the present Surafend, between Tyre and Sidon on the sea-coast (see comm. on 1 Kings 17:9). The capture of the land of the enemy presupposes a return to the fatherland. The exiles of Jerusalem shall take possession of the south country, the inhabitants of which have pushed forward into Edom. בּספרד (in Sepharad) is difficult, and has never yet been satisfactorily explained, as the word does not occur again. The rendering Spain, which we find in the Chaldee and Syriac, is probably only an inference drawn from Joel 3:6; and the Jewish rendering Bosphorus, which is cited by Jerome, is simply founded upon the similarity in the name. The supposed connection between this name and the PaRaD, or parda, mentioned in the great arrow-headed inscription of Nakshi Rustam in a list of names of tribes between Katpadhuka (Cappadocia) and Yun (Ionia), in which Sylv. de Sacy imagined that he had found our Sepharad, has apparently more to favour it, since the resemblance is very great. But if parda is the Persian form for Sardis (Σάρδις or Σάρδεις), which was written varda in the native (Lydian) tongue, as Lassen maintains, Sepharad cannot be the same as parda, inasmuch as the Hebrews did not receive the name ספרד through the Persians; and the native varda, apart from the fact that it is merely postulated, would be written סורד in Hebrew. To this we may add, that the impossibility of proving that Sardis was ever used for Lydia, precludes our rendering parda by Sardis. It is much more natural to connect the name with Σπάρτη (Sparta) and Σπαρτιάαι (1 Maccabees 14:16, 20, 23; 12:2, 5, 6), and assume that the Hebrews had heard the name from the Phoenicians in connection with Javan, as the name of a land in the far west.

(Note: The appellative rendering ἐν διασπορᾶ (Hendewerk and Maurer) is certainly to be rejected; and Ewald's conjecture, ספרם, "a place three hours' journey from Acco," in support of which he refers to Niebuhr, R. iii. p. 269, is a very thoughtless one. For Niebuhr there mentions the village of Serfati as the abode of the prophet Elijah, and refers to Maundrell, who calls the village Sarphan, Serephat, and Serepta, in which every thoughtful reader must recognise the biblical Zarephath, and the present village of Surafend.)

The cities of the south country stand in antithesis to the Canaanites as far as Zarephath in the north; and these two regions are mentioned synecdochically for all the countries round about Canaan, like "the breaking forth of Israel on the right hand and on the left, that its seed may inherit the Gentiles," which is promised in Isaiah 54:3. The description is rounded off by the closing reference to the south country, in which it returns to the point whence it started.

With the taking of the lands of the Gentiles, the full display of salvation begins in Zion. Obadiah 1:21. "And saviours go up on Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau; and the kingdom will be Jehovah's." עלה followed by ב does not mean to go up to a place, but to climb to the top of (Deuteronomy 5:5; Psalm 24:3; Jeremiah 4:29; Jeremiah 5:10), or into (Jeremiah 9:20). Consequently there is no allusion in ועלוּ to the return from exile. Going up to the top of Mount Zion simply means, that at the time when Israel captures the possessions of the heathen, Mount Zion will receive and have saviours who will judge Edom. And as the mountains of Esau represent the heathen world, so Mount Zion, as the seat of the Old Testament kingdom of God, is the type of the kingdom of God in its fully developed form. מושׁיעים, which is written defectively מושׁעים in some of the ancient mss, and has consequently been rendered incorrectly σεσωσμένοι and ἀνασωζόμενοι by the lxx, Aq., Theod., and the Syriac, signifies salvatores, deliverers, saviours. The expression is selected with an allusion to the olden time, in which Jehovah saved His people by judges out of the power of their enemies (Judges 2:16; Judges 3:9, Judges 3:15, etc.). "מושׁיעים are heroes, resembling the judges, who are to defend and deliver Mount Zion and its inhabitants, when they are threatened and oppressed by enemies" (Caspari). The object of their activity, however, is not Israel, but Edom, the representative of all the enemies of Israel. The mountains of Esau are mentioned instead of the people, partly on account of the antithesis to the mountain of Zion, and partly also to express the thought of supremacy not only over the people, but over the land of the heathen also. Shâphat is not to be restricted in this case to the judging or settling of disputes, but includes the conduct of the government, the exercise of dominion in its fullest extent, so that the "judging of the mountains of Esau" expresses the dominion of the people of God over the heathen world. Under the saviours, as Hengstenberg has correctly observed, the Saviour par excellence is concealed. This is not brought prominently out, nor is it even distinctly affirmed; but it is assumed as self-evident, from the history of the olden time, that the saviours are raised up by Jehovah for His people. The following and concluding thought, that the kingdom will be Jehovah's, i.e., that Jehovah will show Himself to the whole world as King of the world, and Ruler in His kingdom, and will be acknowledged by the nations of the earth, either voluntarily or by constraint, rests upon this assumption. God was indeed Kings already, not as the Almighty Ruler of the universe, for this is not referred to here, but as King in Israel, over which His kingdom did extend. But this His royal sway was not acknowledged by the heathen world, and could not be, more especially when He had to deliver Israel up to the power of its enemies, on account of its sins. This acknowledgment, however, He would secure for Himself, by the destruction of the heathen power in the overthrow of Edom, and by the exaltation of His people to dominion over all nations. Through this mighty saving act He will establish His kingdom over the whole earth (cf. Joel 3:21; Micah 4:7; Isaiah 24:23). "The coming of this kingdom began with Christ, and looks for its complete fulfilment in Him" (Hengstenberg).

If now, in conclusion, we cast another glance at the fulfilment of our whole prophecy; the fulfilment of that destruction by the nations, with which the Edomites are threatened (Obadiah 1:1-9), commenced in the Chaldean period. For although no express historical evidence exists as to the subjugation of the Edomites by Nebuchadnezzar, since Josephus (Ant. x. 9, 7) says nothing about the Edomites, who dwelt between the Moabites and Egypt, in the account which he gives of Nebuchadnezzar's expedition against Egypt, five years after the destruction of Jerusalem, in which he subdued the Ammonites and Moabites; the devastation of Edom by the Chaldeans may unquestionably be inferred from Jeremiah 49:7. and Ezekiel 35:1-15, when compared with Jeremiah 25:9, Jeremiah 25:21, and Malachi 1:3. In Jeremiah 25:21 the Edomites are mentioned among the nations round about Judah, whom the Lord would deliver up into the hand of His servant Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 25:9), and to whom Jeremiah was to present the cup of the wine of wrath from the hand of Jehovah; and they are placed between the Philistines and the Moabites. And according to Malachi 1:3, Jehovah made the mountains of Esau into a wilderness; and this can only refer to the desolation of the land of Edom by the Chaldeans (see at Malachi 1:3). It is true, that at that time the Edomites could still think of rebuilding their ruins; but the threat of Malachi, "If they build, I shall pull down, saith the Lord," was subsequently fulfilled, although no accounts have been handed down as to the fate of Edom in the time of Alexander the Great and his successors. The destruction of the Edomites as a nation was commenced by the Maccabees. After Judas Maccabaeus had defeated them several times (1 Maccabees 5:3 and 65; Jos. Ant. xii. 18, 1), John Hyrcanus subdued them entirely about 129 b.c., and compelled them to submit to circumcision, and observe the Mosaic law (Jos. Ant. xiii. 9, 1), whilst Alexander Jannaeus also subjugated the last of the Edomites (xiii. 15, 4). And the loss of their national independence, which they thereby sustained, was followed by utter destruction at the hands of the Romans. To punish them for the cruelties which they had practised in Jerusalem in connection with the Zelots, immediately before the siege of that city by the Romans (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, iv. 5, 1, 2), Simon the Gerasene devastated their land in a fearful manner (Wars of the Jews, iv. 9, 7); whilst the Idumaeans in Jerusalem, who took the side of Simon (v. 6, 1), were slain by the Romans along with the Jews. The few Edomites who still remained were lost among the Arabs; so that the Edomitish people was "cut off for ever" (Obadiah 1:10) by the Romans, and its very name disappeared from the earth. Passing on to the rest of the prophecy, Edom filled up the measure of its sins against its brother nation Israel, against which Obadiah warns it in Obadiah 1:12-14, at the taking and destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans (vid., Ezekiel 35:5, Ezekiel 35:10; Psalm 137:7; Lamentations 4:22). The fulfilment of the threat in Obadiah 1:18 we cannot find, however, in the subjugation of the Edomites by the Maccabeans, and the devastating expedition of Simon the Gerasene, as Caspari and others do, although it is apparently favoured by the statement in Ezekiel 25:14, that Jehovah would fulfil His vengeance upon Edom by the hand of His people Israel. For even if this prophecy of Ezekiel may have been fulfilled in the events just mentioned, we are precluded from understanding Obadiah 1:18, and the parallel passages, Amos 9:11-12, and Numbers 24:18, as referring to the same events, by the fact that the destruction of Edom, and the capture of Seir by Israel, are to proceed, according to Numbers 24:18, from the Ruler to arise out of Jacob (the Messiah), and that they were to take place, according to Amos 9:11-12, in connection with the raising up of the fallen hut of David, and according to Obadiah, in the day of Jehovah, along with and after the judgment upon all nations. Consequently the fulfilment of Obadiah 1:17-21 can only belong to the Messianic times, and that in such a way that it commenced with the founding of the kingdom of Christ on the earth, advances with its extension among all nations, and will terminate in a complete fulfilment at the second coming of our Lord.

Links
Obadiah 1:20 Interlinear
Obadiah 1:20 Parallel Texts


Obadiah 1:20 NIV
Obadiah 1:20 NLT
Obadiah 1:20 ESV
Obadiah 1:20 NASB
Obadiah 1:20 KJV

Obadiah 1:20 Bible Apps
Obadiah 1:20 Parallel
Obadiah 1:20 Biblia Paralela
Obadiah 1:20 Chinese Bible
Obadiah 1:20 French Bible
Obadiah 1:20 German Bible

Bible Hub






Obadiah 1:19
Top of Page
Top of Page