It is my sincere belief that achieving a rich understanding of Obadiah’s vision requires a basic understanding of the Psalm 83 prophecy. My book, which is available for purchase at this link, is a compilation of over 11-years of research on the subject of the Psalm 83 concluding Arab-Israeli war. For information about the Psalm 83 book click here.
Onward with Obadiah’s Vision – Part 3 This study looks at Obadiah 1:8-14 (all footnotes are included in the Psalm 83 book).
“Will I not in that day,” says the LORD, “Even destroy the wise men from Edom, And understanding from the mountains of Esau? Then your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, To the end that everyone from the mountains of Esau May be cut off by slaughter.” (Obad. 1:8–9, NKJV; emphasis added)
Obadiah has previously stated the severity of the judgment in verse (Obad. 1:5–6) to befall Edom, and in (Obad. 1:8–9) he extends the scope even further to include the destruction of the “wise” and the “mighty men.” These mighty men “shall be dismayed” because of the slaughter that will be inflicted upon them by the exceedingly great army of Israel.
For violence against your brother Jacob, Shame shall cover you, And you shall be cut off forever. (Obad. 1:10, NKJV; emphasis added).
The reason for the slaughter is “For violence against your brother Jacob.” As stated previously this behavior provokes upon the persecutor of the Jews the curse-for-curse-in-kind clause of the Abrahamic Covenant as prescribed in Genesis 12:3. Obadiah continues in verses 11 through 14 below to outline and identify the historical crimes, whereby Esau’s descendants, the Edomites committed “violence against Jacob.” Their criminal rap sheet spans the scope of time from the Exodus to the present.
In the day that you stood on the other side. (Obad. 1:11a, NKJV; emphasis added)
The Exodus of the Jews via the route of Edom is referenced in verse 11. The Jews were disallowed by the Edomites to pass through the territory of Edom, as they were making their way into the Promised Land. The Edomite descendants of Esau “stood (their ground) on the other side” in opposition to the request of Moses to harmlessly pass through. This was the first serious offense they committed against the descendants of Jacob.
This was a slap in the face of the God of the Jews, Who had clearly evidenced His favoritism to the Hebrews. Jehovah, their God, had parted the Red Seas and conquered the Egyptian army single-handedly enabling the descendants of Jacob the freedom to migrate toward the Promised Land.
Now Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. “Thus says your brother Israel: ‘You know all the hardship that has befallen us, how our fathers went down to Egypt, and we dwelt in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptians afflicted us and our fathers. When we cried out to the LORD, He heard our voice and sent the Angel and brought us up out of Egypt; now here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your border. Please let us pass through your country. We will not pass through fields or vineyards, nor will we drink water from wells; we will go along the King’s Highway; we will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.’” Then Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through my land, lest I come out against you with the sword.” Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory; so Israel turned away from him. (Num. 20:14–18, 21, NKJV ; emphasis added)
In the day that strangers carried captive his forces, When foreigners entered his gates And cast lots for Jerusalem—Even you were as one of them. (Obad. 1:11b, NKJV; emphasis added)
Obadiah 1:11b is most likely depicting the siege in 845 BC by the Philistines. The Edomites at that time behaved indignantly to the Jews, much like the Philistines did. “Even you were as one of them.”
But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother In the day of his captivity; Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah In the day of their destruction; Nor should you have spoken proudly In the day of distress. (Obad. 1:12, NKJV; emphasis added)
Obadiah 1:12 testifies of the crimes committed by the Edomites during the Babylonian period. Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, and the Jews were carted off into seventy years of Babylonian captivity. He references three events: “the day of his captivity,” “day of their destruction,” and “the day of distress.” By ordering these episodes chronologically, Obadiah appears to identify for us the three Babylonian sieges that came against the Jewish people.
“The day of his captivity” The Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar, first attacked Judah in 606 BC. This resulted in the first deportation wave of Jews into captivity. Some royal youths, including the prophet Daniel and some of his companions were relocated into Babylon. Additionally the king and his family along with many notable and skillful Jews were likewise transported out of Judah at this time.
“The day of their destruction”: In 586 BC there was a second general deportation of Jews by Nebuchadnezzar. Many more principal Jews were moved into Babylon. The first Jewish temple was destroyed, and the Babylonians confiscated many of the holy vessels at this time.
“The day of distress”: In 582 BC, the last deportation occurred. Many of the heads of families, their wives and children were exiled to Babylon because of this third Babylonian siege. Because of these three deportations, a sizeable Jewish community was established in Babylon.
Ample forewarning of the pending “day of” Esau’s twin “brother” Jacob had been given by the prophet Jeremiah, among others. The world was put on notice that the client nation Israel would be disciplined through captivity for a period of seventy years for their idolatrous practices and overall failure to honor and obey their Mosaic Law.
The Edomites “gazed on the day of your brother.” The crime of the Edomites was that rather than glean from the mistake of their cousins the Jews; they “gazed” upon them at the time of their first deportation, depicting their severe disdain toward the Jewish people. First, they “gazed” then they “rejoiced” at the events of the second deportation, and lastly they “spoke proudly” at the time of the third Jewish deportation.
Moreover, history tells us at that time that they capitalized on the captivity of the Jews by further migrating into Hebron and the surrounding areas of Israel, further homesteading the Holy Land.
You should not have entered the gate of My people In the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction In the day of their calamity, Nor laid hands on their substance In the day of their calamity. (Obad. 1:13; NKJV, emphasis added)
Obadiah advances the clock to the time of the Roman Empire. The phrase “day of their calamity,” used in this passage three times alludes to a completely calamitous period in Jewish history. Such was the case during the occupation of the Romans in the Holy Land. First the Edomites “entered the gate,” as exemplified by Antipater, a full blooded Idumean (Greek word for Edomite), who was established by Julius Caesar as the procurator over Judea in 47 BC. Then, Antipater’s son, Herod the Great reigned over Israel between 37 BC and 4 BC with the blessings of the Roman Empire.
Subsequently we see that the Edomites are again accused of gazing rather than gleaning: “you should not have gazed on their affliction.” They gazed during the Babylonian period, and that led to rejoicing and prideful boasting, Obadiah foretells in the Roman episode, they will likewise gaze, and then possess things of value to the Jews. One of the things most esteemed by the Jews was their second temple and all of its priestly implements. This temple became known during the Roman era as the “Herodian Temple,” named after Herod, who was not even a Jew. He was one-half Edomite, and one-half Nabatean. Herod and his court found themselves in a position to have “laid hands on their (Jewish) substance.”
You should not have stood at the crossroads To cut off those among them who escaped; Nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained In the day of distress. (Obad. 1:14, NKJV)
Obadiah identifies two groups of Jews, those who attempted to escape from the Roman destruction of AD 70 and those who remained in Israel during the destruction, “In the day of distress.” In so doing, he concludes his list of historical war crimes committed by the Edomites against their Jewish kindred.
In verse 1:14 he accuses the Edomites of attempting to hinder the prescribed disciplinary dispersion of the Jews out of Israel, into the nations of the world. They “stood at the crossroads to cut off those (Jews) among them who escaped.” The Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the second Jewish temple in AD 70. This provoked a majority of the Jewish population to scatter amongst the nations of the world. This dispersion was in fulfillment of numerous Old Testament Bible prophecies.
The irony is that the Edomites as a population were “among them who escaped.” At that time, they were identified by their Greek name, the Idumeans. Idumea was a recognized region in Southeastern Israel. The Idumeans “stood at the crossroads to cut off ” those Jews attempting to flee from Roman persecution.
A study of Hebrew history between the time of AD 33 to about AD 135 evidences a period of time whereby many Jews began to exit out of Israel into the nations of the world. The Idumeans tended to present themselves more as an obstacle to, rather than a facilitator of, that migration process. Obadiah ranks that episode of Edomite/ Idumean history as being comparable to the other war crimes on his lengthy list.
Lastly in Obadiah 1:14, not only did the Idumeans attempt to hinder the exodus of the Jews out of Israel, they “delivered up those among them who remained.” This behavior completely evidenced their adversarial attitude against the Jewish people. It served to prove that down through the ages the ancient hatred spawned by Esau against his twin brother Jacob, continued to filter on down through to his descendants, the Edomites, and Idumeans.
The pages of history authenticate and adjudicate Obadiah’s accusations. Today it is as if those very damaging pages have been reopened and are being relived through the events of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Palestinians, who have some traces of Edomite ancestry among their ranks, continue to harbor the same ancient attitude of hatred outlined out of the annals of their history.
The atrocities of their past, combined with the catastrophes of their present seal their fate for the future! They will soon experience their ethnical demise through divine judgment. Although many suggest that the end of the Edomites came in correlation with the conclusion of Obadiah’s list of war crimes, Bible prophecy defeats that presumption. The Edomites resurface on numerous pages of end time’s prophecy.
Though it would have appeared as though they sealed their judgment from their actions in the past, that judgment has not been officially executed as of yet. The Judgment of the Edomites, who became called the Idumeans, and can now be best referred to as the Palestinians, will be judged in the fashion described in Ezekiel 25:14 and Obadiah 1:18.
“I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel, that they may do in Edom according to My anger and according to My fury; and they shall know My vengeance,” says the LORD GOD. (Ezek. 25:14, NKJV)
“The house of Jacob shall be a fire, And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau shall be stubble; They shall kindle them and devour them, And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau,” For the LORD has spoken. (Obad. 1:18, NKJV)
Make no mistake: by his usage of “the house of Esau,” Obadiah refers to the ancient Edomites in the Hebrew language, later labeled the Idumeans in the Greek language, who are today known as the Palestinians, which is a derivative from the Hebrew word Pelesheth, the Arab term Filastin, the Latin word Palaestina, and the English word Palestine. The Palestinian trail can be traced in part back to the ancient Philistines, and the Edomite descendants of Esau.
Presently the Palestinians have picked up where the Idumean contingency of their ancestors left off. “Nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained In the day of distress.” They are still delivering up their Jewish cousins to oppressive conditions. It is as if the Jews who have returned to their motherland, are still living under persecution as in the former times “In the day of distress.”
Click HERE to read Obadiah’s Mysterious Vision – Part 1 (Commentary on Obadiah 1:1-2)
Click HERE to read Obadiah’s Mysterious Vision – Part 2 (Commentary on Obadiah 1:3-7)
Click HERE to read Obadiah’s Mysterious Vision – Part 4 (Commentary on Obadiah 1:15-21)