Obad 1:1-21

From Feast upon the Word (http://feastupontheword.org). Copyright, Feast upon the Word.
Jump to: navigation, search

Home > The Old Testament > Obadiah


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Old Testament. Obadiah is one of the "Minor Prophets" of the Old Testament. The relationship of Obadiah to the Old Testament as a whole, and to the other minor prophets in particular, is discussed at Old Testament: Organization.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Obadiah include:

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should be brief and explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the book. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Edom was Israel's neighbor to the southeast (LDS Bible Map 4; LDS Bible Map 10). Edom was descended from Jacob’s brother Esau and was therefore the nation most closely related to Israel. But the two nations were not friendly. Although Israel was forbidden to destroy Edom (Deut 2:2-6), Israel often brought Edom into submission, fulfilling the prophecy to Isaac and Rebekah that their older son Esau would serve the younger Jacob but break free (Gen 25:23; Gen 27:27-40).

The Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered and carried off by the Assyrians in 723 BC.[1]

In 605 BC Nebuchadnezzar decisively defeated uthe combined armies of Assyria and Egypt, succeeded his father as king of Babylonia, and then invaded the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Judah submitted to Nebuchadnezzar, and he carried off a large number of captives including Daniel and his friends (2 Kgs 24:1; 2 Chron 36:5-8; Dan 2:1-2).[2] Judah soon rebelled, and Nebuchadnezzar invaded again, this time laying siege to Jerusalem, which fell on 16 March 597 BC.[3] This time the Babylonians carried off all but the poorest of the Jews (2 Kgs 24:1-16; 2 Chron 36:9-10). Judah soon rebelled yet again, and Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah a third time and again laid siege to Jerusalem. This was the siege during which food ran out and conditions within the city became exceptionally bad even for a city under siege. After a two and a half year siege, the Babylonians again took Jerusalem, and a month later on 28 August 587 BC destroyed the Temple of Solomon (2 Kgs 24:17-25:12; 2 Chron 36:11-21).[4]

Obadiah is a short prophecy of destruction upon Edom in consequence of its behavior when Jerusalem was pillaged, probably by the Babylonians. [5]

Discussion[edit]

This heading is for more detailed discussions of all or part of a passage. Discussion may include the meaning of a particular word, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout the passage, insights to be developed in the future, and other items. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Obad[edit]

Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament, consisting of only 21 verses in a single chapter.

Obadiah reflects a sense of betrayal on the part of Israel at the failure of its brother and ally Edom to jointly defend against an obvious common threat. Despite the conquest of Judah, Obadiah prophesies that Israel will ultimately be restored while Edom, though still independent for the moment, will be conquered and erased. Obadiah can be outlined as follows:

A. Judgment against Edom by the nations (v.1-7)
a. the Lord calls upon the nations to rise up against Edom (1)
b. Edom’s heart is exalted and over-confident,
but the Lord will bring Edom down and make it small (2-4)
b. even thieves and harvesters leave gleanings behind,
but Edom will be plundered thoroughly (5-6)
a. Edom will be betrayed and brought down by its allies (7)
B. In that day Edom will receive violence for violence (v.8-10)
a. in that day Edom will be confused and slaughtered (8-9)
b. Edom will be destroyed for violence against its brother Israel (10)
C. Edom should not have acted as a stranger and: (v.11-14)
• failed to aid its ally Israel in the day that Jerusalem fell (11)
• rejoiced in the affliction of its brother Israel (12)
• plundered Jerusalem’s gleanings after others already plundered (13)
• and prevented those of Israel who fled for safety (14)
B. In the day of the Lord the nations will receive as they dealt (v.15-16)
b. as the nations have done to Israel, so will it be done to them (15)
a. they have drunk the cup of Lord’s wrath and will be destroyed (16)
A. Israel will be restored and consume the nations (v.17-21)
a. Mt Zion will be restored as a place of deliverance and holiness (17)
b. Jacob will be as a fire that consumes the stubble of Edom (18)
b. Israel will possess surrounding lands including Mt Esau (19-20)
a. saviors on Mt Zion will judge Mt Esau in the day of Lord’s kingdom (21)
The middle third of Obadiah (11-14) is the indictment, an itemization of the evil conduct that justifies Obadiah's prophecy of woe against Edom. This middle third can be seen to more broadly include all of verses 8-16. Verses 10, 15-16 explicitly state that Edom and other nations will receive back from the Lord as they have measured out to the Lord’s people Israel, and that the woe prophesied against them is therefore just. This is the central message of Obadiah.
The opening third (1-7) refers to Edom’s capitol Sela (later Petra), which was built high on Mount Seir in an excellent defensive position. Edom securely asks “Who can bring me down to the ground?” “I will bring thee down,” saith the Lord. And when brought down, Edom will be picked more thoroughly clean than if it had been robbed or harvested of fruit, just as when Edom followed behind the original invaders of Jerusalem and plundered the gleanings that remained. “Gleanings” are the stray stalks of wheat left behind as farmers move through a field at harvest time. This opening third can be seen to more broadly include all of verses 1-10, which are similar to the prophecy against Edom found in Jer 49:7-22. This opening section is often thought to refer to the fall of Edom in ancient times.
The ancient destruction of Edom foretold in the first third of Obadiah (1-10) is often seen as a type of the destruction that will befall all heathen nations in the last days as foretold in the last third (15-21).
The closing third of Obadiah (17-21) describes Israel being restored to its possessions and consuming the heathen nations in the latter days. It is clear from verses 15-16, 21 that this restoration occurs in the Day of the Lord when the kingdom is the Lord's.
  • It has been noted that Obadiah prophesied the destruction of Edom; Amos, the Northern Kingdom of Israel; Zephaniah, the Southern Kingdom of Judah; Ezekiel, Egypt; Nahum, Assyria; Jeremiah, Babylon; and Daniel the rise and fall of several world powers including Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, followed by the eventual setting up of the kingdom of God.

Obad 1:17, 21: Saviors on Mount Zion[edit]

  • In Biblical prophecy, mountains often represent kingdoms. Verses 17, 21 both refer to mountains in this way, and the two verses can be read as a pair. Together they state that deliverance shall be only upon Mount Zion, not upon Mount Esau or any of the other heathen nations that are to be judged. The phrase “Saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau” (KJV) is rendered in several other translations as “deliverers" who will go up on Mount Zion to "govern, rule and/or judge" Mount Esau (Amplified, NIV, NASB, RSV). The clearest meaning of this verse in Obadiah thus refers to those who will participate in restoring Israel or Zion, the Lord’s latter-day kingdom.
Mountaintops also represent places to commune with God, and the reference to holiness upon Mount Zion (17) is suggestive of temples. So it is understandable that Joseph Smith, while discussing proxy temple work, would refer to those who perform that work as “saviors on Mount Zion.” There at least four accounts of Joseph Smith using this phrase (HC 4:360, 4:424-25, 4:599, 6:184),[6] In two of those accounts he is reported to have said that the Latter-day Saints can become saviors on Mount Zion only by performing temple work. In the other two he is reported to have used the term while speaking more broadly on the duty of the priesthood toward their living relatives or the world at large. In D&C 103:9, after the Saints were expelled by mobs from Jackson County, Missouri, the Lord used the term "saviors of men" in the same breath as being a light unto the world. So the application of the phrase "saviors on Mount Zion" to vicarious temple work need not prevent it also being applied to those who build up Zion.

Obad 1:18: House of Joseph[edit]

  • The prominence given in verse 18 to the house of Joseph is interesting since Ephraim, Manasseh and the other Northern tribes had already been carried off by Assyria more than a hundred years earlier.

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire book. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of the book. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

A. Judgment against Edom by the nations (v.1-7)
a. the Lord calls upon the nations to rise up against Edom (1)
b. Edom’s heart is exalted and over-confident,
but the Lord will bring Edom down and make it small (2-4)
b. even thieves and harvesters leave gleanings behind,
but Edom will be plundered thoroughly (5-6)
a. Edom will be betrayed and brought down by its allies (7)
B. In that day Edom will receive violence for violence (v.8-10)
a. in that day Edom will be confused and slaughtered (8-9)
b. Edom will be destroyed for violence against its brother Israel (10)
C. Edom should not have acted as a stranger and: (v.11-14)
• failed to aid its ally Israel in the day that Jerusalem fell (11)
• rejoiced in the affliction of its brother Israel (12)
• plundered Jerusalem’s gleanings after others already plundered (13)
• and prevented those of Israel who fled for safety (14)
B. In the day of the Lord the nations will receive as they dealt (v.15-16)
b. as the nations have done to Israel, so will it be done to them (15)
a. they have drunk the cup of Lord’s wrath and will be destroyed (16)
A. Israel will be restored and consume the nations (v.17-21)
a. Mt Zion will be restored as a place of deliverance and holiness (17)
b. Jacob will be as a fire that consumes the stubble of Edom (18)
b. Israel will possess surrounding lands including Mt Esau (19-20)
a. saviors on Mt Zion will judge Mt Esau in the day of Lord’s kingdom (21)

Points to ponder[edit]

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which all or part of this passage can influence a person's life. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

I have a question[edit]

This heading is for unanswered questions and is an important part of the continual effort to improve this wiki. Please do not be shy, as even a basic or "stupid" question can identify things that need to be improved on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those cited in the notes. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Translations[edit]

  • Amplified • The Amplified Bible, 1987 update
  • NASB • New American Standard Bible, 1995 update
  • NIV • New International Version
  • RSV • Revised Standard Version

Parallel passages[edit]

Joseph Smith Translation[edit]

The Joseph Smith Translation made no changes to the book of Obadiah.[7]

Cited references[edit]

  • Finegan, Jack. Handbook of Biblical Chronology: Principles of Time Reckoning in the Ancient World and and Problems of Chronology in the Bible, revised ed. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Pub., 1998. (ISBN 1565631439). BS637.2 .F5 1998.
  • Roberts, B.H. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed., 7 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976. (ISBN 087747074X).
  • Steinmann. Andrew E. From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2011. (ISBN 0758627998). BS637.3 .S74 2011.
  • Sweeney, Marvin A. The Twelve Prophets: Berit Olam Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry, Vol. 2. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2000. (ISBN 0814650910) BS1560 .S94 2000.
  • Wayment, Thomas A., ed. The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the Old Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2009. (ISBN 1606411314) BX8630 .A2 2009.

Other resources[edit]

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.

  1. The date of the Assyrian conquest of the Northern Kingdom is often stated to be 721 BC or 722 BC, but the date of 723 BC appears to be more accurate. Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul, 136, 141, 156.
  2. Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, 252-53; Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul, 158-59, 172.
  3. Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, 257-58, 264.
  4. The consensus date for the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple has been 17 August 586 BC. Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, 259; Coogan, The Oxford History of the Biblical World, 371; Pasachoff & Littleman, A Concise History of the Jewish People, 43. Steinmann appears, however, to be correct in building upon that earlier work to advocate a date one year earlier, 28 August 587 BC, discussing especially Ezek 26:1-2. Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul, 136-38, 164-69.
  5. Sweeney, The Twelve Prophets, 1:280-85.
  6. Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 189, 191, 223, 330 quoting Roberts, History of the Church, 4:360, 4:424-25, 4:599, 6:184.
  7. Wayment, The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the Old Testament, p. 217-18.


                                                                 Return to The Old Testament