Obadiah 1:9
And your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.
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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.And thy mighty, O Teman, shall be dismayed - The pagan, more religiously than we, ascribed panic to the immediate action of one of their gods, or to Nature deified, Pan, i. e., the Universe: wrong as to the being whom they "ignorantly worshiped;" right, in ascribing it to what they thought a divine agency. Holy Scripture at times discovers the hidden agency, that we may acknowledge God's Hand in those terrors which we cannot account for. So it relates, on occasion of Jonathan's slaughter of the Philistine garrison 1 Samuel 14:15, "there was a trembling in the host and in the field, and among all the people: the garrison and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked, so it became a trembling from God," or (in our common word,) a panic from God. All then failed Edom. Their allies and friends betrayed them; God took away their wisdom. Wisdom was turned into witlessness, and courage into cowardice; "to the end that every one from mount Esau may be cut off by slaughter." The prophet sums up briefly God's end in all this. The immediate means were man's treachery, man's violence, the failure of wisdom in the wise, and of courage in the brave. The end of all, in God's will, was their destruction Romans 8:28.

By slaughter - , literally "from slaughter," may mean either the immediate or the distant cause of their being "cut off," either the means which God employed , "All things work together for good to those who love God," and for evil to those who hate Him, that Edom was cut off by one great slaughter by the enemy; or that which moved God to give them over to destruction, their own "slaughter" of their brethren, the Jews, as it follows;

9. cut off by slaughter—Maurer translates, "on account of the slaughter," namely, that inflicted on Judea by Edom (compare Ob 14). The Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate connect these words with Ob 10, "for the slaughter, for the violence (of which thou art guilty) against thy brother Jacob." English Version, "cut off by slaughter" (that is, an utter cutting off), answers well to "cut off for ever" (Ob 10). However, the arrangement of the Septuagint gives a better parallelism in Ob 10. "For the slaughter" (1) being balanced in just retribution by "thou shalt be cut off for ever" (4); as "For thy violence (not so bad as slaughter) against thy brother Jacob" (2) is balanced by "shame (not so bad as being cut off) shall cover thee" (3). Shame and extinction shall repay violence and slaughter (Mt 26:52; Re 13:10). Compare as to Edom's violence, Ps 137:7; Eze 25:12; Am 1:11. Mighty men; valiant commanders and soldiers, who were never blemished with cowardice, who formerly durst adventure on greatest dangers and encounter most formidable enemies, and were never daunted with a slow-approaching enemy, how much soever over number to them, nor with any sudden surprising accidents; men of invincible courage, and most ready minds.

Teman; a principal city and munition of Idumea. See Ezekiel 25:13 Habakkuk 3:3 Amos 1:12.

Dismayed; astonished and surprised with such fear as disableth from action and counsel, shall neither dare to resist, nor hope to escape, but tamely give up all to the enemy.

To the end that every one may be cut off by slaughter; thus all shall be exposed to slaughter when they dare not fight, who should have saved themselves and defended others. Deplorable is their condition, who, surrounded every way with enemies, have neither strength nor counsel to resist their power or defeat their malice! And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed,.... Teman was one part of the country of Edom, so called from Teman, a son of Eliphaz, and grandson of Esau, Genesis 36:11; and which it seems had been famous for men of might and courage: it abounded with brave officers, and courageous soldiers, who should now be quite dispirited, and have no heart to go out against the enemy; and, instead of defending their country, should throw away their arms, and run away in a fright. The Targum and Vulgate Latin version render it,

"thy mighty men that inhabit the south;''

or are on the south, the southern part of Edom, and so lay farthest off from the Chaldeans, who came from the north; yet these should be at once intimidated upon the rumour of their approach and invasion:

to the end that even one of the mount of Esau may be cut by slaughter; that so there might be none to resist and stop the enemy, or defend their country; but that all might fall by the sword of the enemy, and none be left, even every mighty man, as Jarchi interprets it, through the greatness of the slaughter that should be made.

And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.
9. by slaughter] i.e. by slaughter inflicted on them by their enemies. This is the simplest and most natural meaning. It might be rendered, as the same preposition is at the beginning of the next verse, “for,” i.e. on account of and in retribution of the slaughter which the Edomites had inflicted on the Jews. This clause would then be an introduction to the following verses, in which the cause of their calamity is treated of at length. Ewald’s rendering, “without battle,” though grammatically possible, is contradicted by Ezekiel 35:8.Verse 9. - O Teman; Septuagint, οἱ ἐκ Θαιμάν, "those from Thaeman;" Vulgate, a meridic, taking the word as an appellative; so the Chaldee. The southern district of Idumea was so called (see note on Amos 1:12). One of Job's friends, and the cleverest of them, was a Temanite (Job 2:11). To the end that. This judicial blindness is inflicted in order that all may perish. By slaughter. Murder at the hands of the enemy. The LXX., Vulgate, and Syriac connect these words with the following verse. But the Masoretic punctuation, as in the Anglican Version, is doubtless correct (see Keil). 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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