Who Obadiah was, does not appear, neither the exact time when he prophesied. It is generally thought he was cotemporary with Hosea, Joel, and Amos.
After the preface, ver. 1. we have first threatenings against Edom, ver. 2 - 16. and then gracious promises to Israel, ver. 17 - 21.
Obadiah - His name speaks a servant or a worshipper of the Lord, but who he was we know not. We - The prophets, have heard. A rumour - Not an uncertain report, but it comes from God. Is sent - By the Lord first, and next by Nebuchadnezzar who executed on Edom what is here foretold. The nations - Those that were with, or subject to Nebuchadnezzar.
Small - Thou art a small people. In comparison with other nations. Despised - What ever these Edomites had been, now they were despised.
The pride - The Edomites were, as most mountaineers are, a rough hardy, and daring people. And proud above measure. Deceived thee - Magnifying thy strength above what really it is.
Bring thee down - God who is in the heavens would throw thee down. When men could not marshal armies against thee, stars should fight in their courses against thee. Nothing can stand which God will cast down, Jer 49:16,17.
If thieves - If thieves by day had spoiled thee, they would not have thus stripped thee. Robbers - If robbers in the night had been with thee, they would have left somewhat behind them. 'Till they had enough - But here is nothing left. Some grapes - But here have been those that have cut up the vine.
Esau - The father of this people, put for his posterity. Sought up - All that the Edomites had laid up in the most secret places, are seized and brought forth by soldiers.
Thy confederacy - Thy confederates have marched with thee until thou wert come to the borders of thy country. Deceived thee - Proved treacherous. Prevailed - Treacherously. A wound - A snare armed with sharp points. No understanding - Thou wast not aware of it.
Teman - A principal city of Idumea.
In the day - During the war which the Babylonians made upon Judea. Stoodest - Didst set thyself in battle array against thy brother. Jerusalem - Upon the citizens and their goods. As one of them - As merciless and insolent as any of them.
Looked - With joy on the affliction. A stranger - As a stranger, one who had no more right to any thing in the land. Proudly - Vaunting over the Jews, when Jerusalem was taken.
Entered - As an enemy.
The breaches - Of the walls, by which when the city was taken, some might have made their escape. Delivered - To the Chaldeans. Remain - Survived the taking of the city.
The day - The time which the Lord hath appointed for the punishing of this, and other nations. As thou hast done - Perfidiously, cruelly, and ravenously, against Jacob.
As ye - As ye, my own people, have drunk deep of the cup of affliction, so shall other nations much more, yea, they shall drink of it, 'till they utterly perish.
Zion - Literally this refers to the Jews: typically to the gospel - church. Deliverance - A remnant that shall be delivered by Cyrus, a type of Israel's redemption by Christ. Holiness - The temple, the city, the people returned from captivity shall be holy to the Lord. Their possessions - Their own ancient possessions.
Shall kindle - This was fulfilled in part by Hyrcanus and the Maccabees, 1Macc 5:3, but will be more fully accomplished, when the Lord shall make his church as a fire to all its enemies.
They - The Jews who live in the south parts of Canaan, next Idumea, shall after their return and victories over Edom, possess his country. Of the plain - The Jews who dwell in the plain country, shall enlarge their borders, possess the Philistines country, together with their ancient inheritance. The former was fully accomplished by Hyrcanus. And if this were the time of fulfilling the one, doubtless it was the time of fulfilling the other also. And all the land which the ten tribes possessed, shall again be possessed by the Jews. Gilead - Here is promised a larger possession than ever they had before the captivity; and it does, no doubt, point out the enlargement of the church of Christ in the times of the gospel.
The captivity - Those of the ten tribes that were carried away captive by Salmanesar. Of the Canaanites - All the country they anciently possessed with this addition, that what the Canaanites held by force, and the Israelites could not take from them, shall now be possessed by these returned captives. Zarephath - Near Sidon. Of Jerusalem - The two tribes carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar. Sepharad - Probably a region of Chaldea. The cities - All the cities which were once their own.
Saviours - Deliverers, literally the leaders of those captive troops, who shall come up from Babylon, such as Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Mystically, Christ and his apostles, and other preachers of the gospel. To judge - To avenge Israel upon Edom. The Lord's - The God of Israel, Jehovah, shall be honoured, obeyed, and worshipped by all.