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Obadiah 1; Psalms 82-83 Listen
1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.
2 Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised.
3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?
4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.
5 If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes?
6 How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!
7 All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him.
8 Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau?
9 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.
10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.
11 In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.
12 But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress.
13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;
14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.
15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.
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.
17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.
18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.
19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
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.
21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.
A Brief History of Edom
Click on the references for detail
|Descendants of Esau, Jacob's brother||Genesis 36:1, 9|
|Denied passage to Israel on the east side of the Jordan River||Numbers 20:14-21; Judges 11:17-18|
|Balaam prophesied their conquest by Israel||Numbers 24:18|
|King Saul fought against Edom||I Samuel 14:47|
|King David conquered it||II Samuel 8:13-14|
|After a rebellion, David's General Joab killed all the males in Edom||I Kings 11:14-16|
|Edom's King who fled into Egypt under David returns during Solomon's reign||I Kings 11:17-22|
|Edom and allies attempted and unsuccessful raid of Judah during King Jehoshaphat's reign||II Chronicles 20:1-2|
|They rebelled against King Jehoram (Joram)||II Kings 8:20-22; II Chronicles 21:8-10|
|King Amaziah of Judah recaptured Edom||II Kings 14:7; II Chronicles 25:11-12|
|Edom raided Judah when Ahaz was king||II Chronicles 28:17|
|Edom was controlled by the Assyrians and later, the Babylonians||Jeremiah 27|
|The Edomites were displaced by other people and a remnant migrated into Southern Judah where we find them in New Testament times. This region of Judea was known as Idumaea.|
Edom was the land southeast of Israel. Obadiah prophesied their fall. That's what the whole book is about - all 21 verses. We don't know when Obadiah was written, but we do know what period of time he was prophesying about. It was the period immediately after the fall of Jerusalem.
You will recall that the Edomites were descendants of Esau, Jacob's brother. From the sound of this passage, it would appear that the Edomites turned against Israel in the time leading up to Jerusalem's fall in 586 B.C. This prophecy says that this action will be punished by their own demise; they will fall to the Babylonians as well. They disappeared in the sixth century, never to reappear as a nation ever again. We do find references to the region in the New Testament in Mark 3:8, "And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him." However, they were not an autonomous nation then and disappeared from any reference in history after the first century A.D.
That being said, there are two likely possibilities for the time of the writing of Obadiah. The first is during the reign of Jehoram, 853-841; the second is after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. As far as the fulfillment of this prophecy against Edom, we only know that they disappeared after the Assyrians and later, the Babylonians conquered the region.
Other prophets also prophesied concerning Edom:
We see in verses 5-6 the utter destruction that will befall Edom. Even their allies will turn against them (verse 7). And why this judgment? Verse 10 has the answer, "For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever." It will be for their ill treatment of their brethren, Jacob's descendants, Israel. The outline of their offense against Israel is to be found in verses 11-14 as follows:
Obadiah's reference to the "day of the LORD" in verse 15, based upon the accompanying prophetic events, certainly directly refers to what Believers today understand to be the second coming of Jesus Christ as seen in Revelation 19:11-21 (see notes). It should be noted, however, that Edom's overthrow is now historical to us - not future. Notice verse 18, "And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it." That prophecy has been fulfilled already.
Here's a technical aside: Many scholars think that the phrase in verse 3, "thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high," is really a direct reference to the capital city of Edom, Sela. The general Hebrew word for "rock" is "sela." Since no differentiation between words and names exists in Hebrew manuscripts, many think that this verse should read "thou that dwellest in the clefts of Sela." Since "petra" means "rock" in Greek, the capital city of Sela was called "Petra" by the Greeks (we are told). To add strength to their argument, many cite the Septuagint rendering of the phrase. However, the Septuagint renders the Greek phrase in the Genitive plural case appropriately translated "in the clefts of the rocks." Since the Hebrew phrase shows a singular "sela," but the Greek Septuagint phrase shows a plural "petra" ("petron"), a proponent of that theory can only conclude that the Septuagint's translation of that verse slightly misses the mark - the difference between the singular name of a city as opposed to the plural reference to rocks. "Who cares?" one might say. It is only significant in light of a prophetic teaching that those who flee the wrath of the second half of the tribulation will take flight to Petra, the capital city of Edom. For a full discussion of this theory of prophecy, click here to read the notes on Micah 2:12. Regardless of the merit of that prophetic theory, no validity is lent to it based upon Obadiah 3.
An overview of Psalms 82-83
Chronologically, why read these two Psalms here? We don't know the time in which these two Psalms were written, but notice some interesting verses in 83:6-8. In these verses we find a confederation of nations who assist the Ammonites and Moabites against Israel. You will recall that Jehoshaphat experienced such warfare from these neighbors. II Chronicles 20:1 (see notes) says, "It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle." Now here's the interesting aspect of the confederation of nations listed in Psalms 83:6-8, Assur is listed as one of those nations in verse 8. "Assur" is Assyria who emerged after the Kingdom of Israel split. Incidentally, that's modern-day Iraq.
So, when a nation that did not emerge as a threat until after the division of Israel is mentioned in a Psalm, coupled with the account of a battle in II Chronicles 20 (see notes) that seems to fit the description, some have concluded that this Psalm was written around the time of Jehoshaphat's reign (873-848). Whoooops! There's a problem, though. The introductions of Psalms 82-83 clearly say, "A Psalm of Asaph." Asaph was, without question, David's music guy. So, was Asaph writing a little prophecy into his songs, or was there another named Asaph during Jehoshaphat's day? That's one we'll need to address when we get to Heaven, if you're still interested then.
There's another fascinating aspect of these two Psalms. Jesus refers to Psalm 82:6 (see notes) in one of his verbal battles with the Pharisees in the Book of John. Psalm 82:6 says, "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." Now notice the way Jesus used this verse in John 10:33-35 (see notes):
John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
Here's a note from the Expositor's Bible Commentary with regard to Jesus' usage of Psalm 82:6:
Had Jesus not meant to convey a claim to deity, he undoubtedly would have protested the action of the Jews by declaring that they had misunderstood him. On the contrary, Jesus introduced an a fortiori argument from the Psalms to strengthen his statement. Psalm 82:6 represents God as addressing a group of beings whom he calls "gods" (Heb. elohim ) and “sons of the Most High.” If, then, these terms can be applied to ordinary mortals or even angels, how could Jesus be accused of blasphemy when he applied them to himself whom the Father set apart and sent into the world on a special mission? Jesus was not offering a false claim; he was merely asserting what he was by rights.
It's amusing that Jesus used a passage from the Old Testament that the Pharisees obviously did not understand to thoroughly confuse them. Let's face it; those Pharisees were just no match for Jesus.
A Psalm of Asaph.
1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
This psalm declares that all powers on earth are subject to the one true God. Jesus quoted verse 6 in John 10:33-35 (see notes). See the note in the introduction of this Psalm for the exact context of his usage. Since Jesus declares that these "gods" are mere men, the notion adopted by some commentators that the "gods" of nations surrounding Israel are in view here cannot be correct. This Psalm, therefore, is a condemnation of unjust judges.
While I present the war of verse 6-8 as having already taken place, some teach that this is a yet-future confederation who attacks Israel.
A Song or Psalm of Asaph.
1 Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.
2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:
6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.
9 Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:
10 Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:
12 Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.
13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.
14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;
15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.
16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.
17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:
18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
We see in this psalm the formation of a confederacy who seek the total annihilation of Israel. We see in verses 6 and 7 that this confederation of nations is made up of Edom, the descendants of Ishmael, the Moabites, the Hagarenes, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, the Philistines and finally the inhabitants of Tyre. Wow...that's quite a list of enemies.
In verses 9-18, the Psalmist prays for God's vengeance upon this confederacy of nations who seek Israel's demise. Incidentally, the name "JEHOVAH" is transliterated from the Hebrew text in verse 18 (sometimes rendered YAHWEH instead. Usually this Hebrew name for God, also known by Jews as the "tetragrammation," is simply translated in our Bibles as "LORD" (all capital letters).