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The Book of Obadiah

Obadiah: Angels with Symbols of Passion and Prophets. Fresco by Melozzo da Forlì, 1477. Santuario della Santa Casa, Loreto, Italy. Public Domain
Obadiah: Angels with Symbols of Passion and Prophets. Fresco by Melozzo da Forlì, 1477. Santuario della Santa Casa, Loreto, Italy. Public Domain

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Introduction to The Book of Obadiah

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Obadiah 1

(Online: ASV WEB)

Proud Edom Will Be Brought Low

1:1 The vision of Obadiah.1 This is what the Lord Yahweh says about Edom.2 We have heard news from Yahweh, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, "Arise, and let's rise up against her in battle. 1:2 Behold, I have made you small among the nations. You are greatly despised. 1:3 The pride of your heart3 has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high, who says in his heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?' 1:4 Though you mount on high as the eagle,4 and though your nest is set among the stars, I will bring you down from there," says Yahweh.

  1. Obadiah. The higher thoughts in man that serve and worship God through the I AM, Jehovah, indwelling Christ. They are faithful and true. They are thoughts that are obedient to spiritual ideals, that hear and heed the voice of Spirit.
  2. Edom. A nation descended from Esau, Jacob's brother. As Jacob and Esau had a contentious relationship, so did Edom and Israel. When Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, Edomites took advantage and earned the ire of the Jews. Metaphysically represents the outer man, the body, or the carnal, physical phase of man's consciousness and organism; sense consciousness.
  3. The pride of your heart. Edom was located on higher elevations in the mountains of Seir; Edomites thought very highly of themselves and superior to the Israelites. Metaphysically, sense thoughts seem more important than spiritual ones and thus can be easily prioritized.
  4. Though you mount on high as the eagle. When operating apart from God, pridefully, and dominated by sense consciousness, man will be brought down, humbled.

Pillage and Slaughter Will Repay Edom's Cruelty

1:5 "If thieves came to you, if robbers by night--oh, what disaster awaits you--wouldn't they only steal until they had enough? If grape pickers came to you, wouldn't they leave some gleaning grapes? 1:6 How Esau will be ransacked! How his hidden treasures are sought out! 1:7 All the men of your alliance have brought you on your way, even to the border. The men who were at peace with you have deceived you, and prevailed against you. Friends who eat your bread lay a snare under you. There is no understanding in him."

1:8 "Won't I in that day," says Yahweh, "destroy the wise men out of Edom,1 and understanding out of the mountain of Esau? 1:9 Your mighty men, Teman,2 will be dismayed, to the end that everyone may be cut off from the mountain of Esau by slaughter.

  1. Destroy the wise men out of Edom. As Edom has done to the Israelites, so it will be done to them.
  2. Teman. Refers to the realm of the subconsciousness with its inherently rich stores of substance and good. Here this realm is under the influence of the Edom phase of mind in the individual; under material thought.

Edom Mistreated His Brother

1:10 For the violence done to your brother1 Jacob, shame will cover you, and you will be cut off forever. 1:11 In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that strangers carried away his substance, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots for Jerusalem, even you were like one of them. 1:12 But don't look down on your brother in the day of his disaster, and don't rejoice over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction. Don't speak proudly in the day of distress. 1:13 Don't enter into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity. Don't look down on their affliction in the day of their calamity, neither seize their wealth on the day of their calamity. 1:14 Don't stand in the crossroads to cut off those of his who escape. Don't deliver up those of his who remain in the day of distress. 1:15 For the day of Yahweh is near all the nations! As you have done, it will be done to you.2 Your deeds will return upon your own head. 1:16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so will all the nations drink continually. Yes, they will drink, swallow down, and will be as though they had not been.

  1. For the violence done to your brother. Referencing the violence Edomites committed against the descendants of Jacob, the Israelites. The atrocities are detailed here.
  2. as you have done, it will be done to you. Obadiah's message is now applied to all nations and peoples. Those who act pridefully, and harm others, will one day receive what they've given. Prideful nations will be judged.

Israel's Final Triumph

1:17 But in Mount Zion,1 there will be those who escape, and it will be holy. The house of Jacob will possess their possessions. 1:18 The house of Jacob will be a fire, the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble.2 They will burn among them, and devour them. There will not be any remaining to the house of Esau." Indeed, Yahweh has spoken.

1:19 Those of the South will possess3 the mountain of Esau, and those of the lowland, the Philistines. They will possess the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria. Benjamin will possess Gilead. 1:20 The captives of this army of the children of Israel, who are among the Canaanites, will possess even to Zarephath; and the captives of Jerusalem, who are in Sepharad, will possess the cities of the Negev. 1:21 Saviors will go up on Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom will be Yahweh's.

  1. Mount Zion. Dwelling place of high, holy thoughts and ideals; love's abode. As we learn to harmonize ourselves with God, we escape the harms that come with living in sense consciousness; we experience holiness or wholeness [Turner, Let There Be Light].
  2. stubble. Cut stalks of grain plants left sticking out of the ground after the grain is harvested. Joseph is Jacob's son. Metaphysically, spiritual or I AM consciousness (Jacob) and imagination (Joseph) will overcome the animal mind (Esau).
  3. will possess. Metaphysically, a description of change in consciousness culminating in higher forms of thought overcoming those of sense conscioussness.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations by Mark Hicks and Eddy Rodriguez.

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