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My Commentary On Obadiah



My commentary is based on the 1984 edition of the New International Bible. 


Obadiah is a not too well known prophet that recorded his prophecy shortly after the Babylonian exile was over.  There does not appear to be any quotes from Obadiah in the rest of the Bible.


The prophecy concerns Edom, the descendents of Esau who were a constant enemy of Israe.


Right away in verse 1 we note that the Word of the Lord came to Obadiah in a vision.  There are a number of ways in which the Lord spoke to prophets in the Old Testament.  He spoke to them in dreams, in visions, or in person.


Note the words "Sovereign Lord' in verse 1.  The word "sovereign" as it applies to God in the Bible is one very  important word.  It simply means that God is the final authority over all things.  He can do whatever He wants.  He will do whatever He wants.  It is His prerogative to do whatever He wants without any consultation by anyone else. He is the Sovereign Lord.


As stated above, verse 1 says that the Word that Obadiah received was supposed to be given to the nation of Edom.  Edom was the descendents of Esau and lived south of Jerusalem, what is today known as southern Jordan and parts of southern Israel.


Verse 1 speaks of many nations going against Edom.  As is the case with many nations of the world, Edom has a history of attackers as well.


Note in verse 2 Edom's pride will be their fall.  Right back to the father of Edom, that's Esau, Edom had been a proud nation, and as we know, pride goes before a fall.  Edom would fall.


Note also in verses 2 and 3 that Edom lives in the "clefs of the rock and on the mountain tops".   The text suggests that Edom sees this as a measure of strength.  From the tops of mountains you can see the enemy as they come to attack.  It is a place of protection, along with living in the security of rocks. 


The area where Edom lived, was, and still is, a very rocky and mountainous area of the world.  This proves a false sense of security as seen in their question, "who can throw us down"?


There is one who can and will bring Edom down and that is God Himself.  Verse 4 states that even though Edom flies like eagles in the stars, God will bring her down.  The eagle is a bird of strength, but no nation can match the strength of the Lord.


In verses 5 through 7 we see the attack begin.  Even Edom's friends will deceive and take spoil from them. 


Verse 8 states that it is God who destroys the wise men and men of war of Edom.  There is something we need to understand here.  A careful reading of the Bible shows us that for the most part, the way that God judges, punishes, and destroys nations are through other nations that attack them.  The natural man can't see God working behind the scenes in times of war.  God is involved in the kingdom of men and works behind the scene to accomplish His purpose.  Only those with Biblical understanding and the Holy Spirit can see what the Lord is doing.


Verses 9 to 14 state the reason why God would destroy Edom.  It is for their mistreatment of Israel, Edom's brother.  This is all about the Abrahamic Covenant that stated, "he that blesses Israel will be blessed, and he that curses Israel will be cursed".  Edom cursed Israel.  These verses state how they cursed Israel. 


The text doesn't say it here, but we know what verses 9 through 14 is speaking of.  I'll briefly state why God was preparing to destroy Edom. 


God was angry at Israel because they had forsaken Him so He brought judgment on them.  This judgment took place with the help of Babylon .  God allowed, and even motivated, Babylon to overthrow Israel, and in particular Jerusalem, and take the Israelis captive.  For seventy years Jews lived in Babylon, away from their homeland.  This was their punishment for disobeying their God.


When Babylon sacked Israel and Jerusalem, Edom took advantage of the situation and came in and took spoil for themselves.  They actually aided Babylon in their conquest of Israel.  God motivated Babylon to do His will in attacking Israel as a form of judgment.  He did not motivate Edom.  Edom cursed Israel on her own.  For that, Edom would be judged, punished, and destroyed. 


It is ironic, but this is how God works, Babylon, even though it was God's will for them to attack and capture Israel, was punished for their deed.  They too were attacked and overtaken by Persia as a means of judgment and punishment by God.


The punishment ultimately came to Edom around 125 B.C. when Israelis attacked Edom, and made them become Jews.  Therefore what verse 15 says is true.  "As you have done, it will be done to you.  Your deeds will return to you upon your own head".  It is that simple.  This principle will be clearly seen at the end of this age.  How the nations treat Israel will return to them.  They will be treated in like fashion.  Verse 16 seems to suggest this with the use of the words "all the nations".


In the first 16 verses of Obadiah we've seen how God judged, punished, and destroyed Edom, Israel's brother. From verse 17 to the end of the book we see the contrast in how God will bless Israel.  It seems that to the degree in which Israel is cursed, is the degree to which she is blessed.


The text states that there will be deliverance for Israel. She will possess her inheritance.  In verse 18 Israel is portrayed as a fire burning up Edom, leaving no survivors.


The rest of the chapter simply states, that in the end, Israel will possess Edom, and that will be at the end of this age.  All that is prophesied here about Israel has not totally come true, but it will at the end of this age.  We  know this part of the text speaks of the end of the age because the way this prophetic book ends.  The text states, "the kingdoms will be the Lord's"  In the end, all nations of the world will be the possession of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We're not there yet, but we are getting very close.            



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