The Book of Obadiah

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The Book of Obadiah

  • Author: Obadiah
  • Writing Completed: c. 587-6 B.C.E. or c. 848-841 B.C.E.[1]

Haughty Edom to Be Brought Low

The vision of Obadiah.

Edom Will Be Humbled

Thus says Jehovah God concerning Edom:
We have heard a report from Jehovah,
    and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”
Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
    you shall be greatly despised.
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
    you who live in the clefts of the rock,
    in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
    “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Though you make your dwelling high like the eagle,
    though your nest is set among the stars,
    from there I will bring you down,
declares Jehovah.

If thieves came to you,
    if  robbers came by night,
    how you have been destroyed!
    would they not steal only what they wanted?
If grape gatherers came to you,
    would they not leave gleanings?
How Esau has been searched out,
    his treasures sought out!
All your allies have driven you to the border;
    those at peace with you have deceived you;
the men have prevailed against you;
    those who eat your bread have set a trap beneath you,
    but you will not discern it.

Will I not on that day, declares Jehovah,
    destroy the wise men out of Edom,
    and understanding out of Mount Esau?
And your mighty men shall be terrified, O Teman,
    so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.

Edom’s Violence Against Jacob

10 Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
    shame shall cover you,
    and you shall be cut off forever.
11 On the day that you stood off to the side,
    on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
    and cast lots for Jerusalem,
    you were like one of them.
12 But do not gloat over the day of your brother
    in the day of his misfortune;
do not rejoice over the people of Judah
    in the day of their perishing;
do not make your mouth large [2]
    in the day of distress.
13 Do not enter the gate of my people
    in the day of their disaster;
do not gloat over his calamity
    in the day of his disaster;
do not loot his wealth
    in the day of his disaster.
14 Do not stand at the crossroads
    to cut off his fugitives;
do not hand over his survivors
    in the day of distress.

The Day of Jehovah Is Near

15 For the day of Jehovah is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
    your deeds shall come back on your own head.
16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
    so all the nations shall drink continually;
they shall drink and swallow,
    and shall be as though they had never been.

The House of Jacob to Be Restored

17 But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,
    and it shall be holy,
and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.[3]
18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
    and the house of Joseph a flame,
    and the house of Esau stubble;
they shall burn them and consume them,
    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for Jehovah has spoken.

The Kingdom of Jehovah

19 Those of the Negev[4] shall possess Mount Esau,
    and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;
they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,
    and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
20 The exiles of this army of the sons of Israel
    shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,
and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
    shall possess the cities of the Negev.
21 Saviors[5] shall go up on[6] Mount Zion
    to judge Mount Esau,
    and the kingdom shall be Jehovah’s.

[1] The only way we can date Obadiah is to look for a time when Judah and Jerusalem were destroyed, and Edom acted in a hostile way toward the Israelites. The other option is when Judah and Jerusalem were almost destroyed, and Edom acted in a hostile way toward the Israelites. There are two main events: (1) the Philistine-Arabian invasion in the early 9th century B.C.E., and (2) Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion in 587 B.C.E. The last event is the most likely. During the reign of Jehoshaphat, the Philistines were subject to him. (2 Ch. 17:11) However, through the rule of his son Jehoram, the Philistines and Arabs attacked Judah and took much spoil from Jerusalem. They also took captive Jehoram’s wives and sons, except for the youngest, Jehoahaz. – 2 Chronicles 21:16-17.

[2] That is, boast

[3] LXX SYR VG “their possessions” by a slight emendation of the Hebrew “their dispossessors”

[4] Or the south. That is the southern part of the Promised Land. The Negev was an arid region in the southern part of Palestine, and its name came to mean south.

[5] MT AT VG “saviors” LXX “saved men” SYR “the redeemed ones”

[6] MT AT SYR VG “on” LXX “from; out of”

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