The Vision of Obadiah (Minor Prophets Part 4)

Mountains of Edom rise abruptly out of the desert landscarpe forming a natural barrier against attack

Mountains of Edom rise abruptly out of the desert landscarpe forming a natural barrier against attack

Consisting of one chapter with 21 verses, Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. The superscription calls it the “Vision of Obadiah.” The subject of the book, made very clear from the start, is Edom. The nation of Edom was fathered by Jacob’s brother, Esau, as detailed in Genesis 36, so they were actually relatives of the Israelites. Deuteronomy 2 tells us that God had given the Edomites Mount Seir and the mountain land around it for them to live in, which goes to explain a bit about  verse 3’s description of them and their false sense of security:

The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rock,
in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
“Who will bring me down to the ground?”

Dating this book is not difficult. Verse 11 speaks of the fall of Jerusalem as a past event, and the fall of Edom itself as a future event. The former event was in 586 B.C., and Babylon took Edom down in 553 B.C. – a span of about 33 years. So the book was probably written during the first half of the Babylonian exile.   In 586, when Israel was being attacked, the Edomites who were the brother nation of Israel, joined in (instead of assisting them), as they were hoping to gain favor with Babylon. They brutalized them, plundered Jerusalem, and even thwarted the escape of those who would flee the destruction. This book foretells God’s vengeance on them for their part in the persecution of God’s people. It certainly answers the plea of Psalm 137:7.

Though the message is that those who oppose God and His people will get their just judgment (verse 15), the book ends with the promise of restoration for His covenant people and the promise of the kingdom (verses 19-21).

/Bob’s boy
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image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

 

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Job 4 – The Innocent Prosper?

The ancient kingdom of Edom. The Land of Uz pr...

The ancient kingdom of Edom. The Land of Uz probably lay on the darkened area. Suomi: Muinaisen Edomin alue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Job’s friend Eliphaz is called a Temanite.  Teman was an important city of Edom and is referred to in Amos 1:12.  He was probably not the same Eliphaz that is mentioned in Genesis 36:15, but as the first-born of Esau, his son was himself named Teman, which is where the name for the city probably came from.

After seven days of silence, he offers his opening speech, beginning with a compliment to Job’s integrity, but quickly we see that deteriorate to the same sort of rhetoric common to the day.  Satan has already counted on Job becoming a hypocrite, and Eliphaz suggests that he has become one by way of his complaining.  His self-righteous speech must have sorely aggravated Job, as he clearly demonstrates his total misunderstanding of Job’s plight, as well as the reasons for it to be happening to a man who by all other accounts had been judged innocent by his deeds.  The conclusion then, from his point of view, can only be that Job is, in fact that hypocrite, for “who that was innocent ever perished?”

Eliphaz’s “vision” begins and ends with a tale from a point of view that God Himself will declare as folly, and was true only in the imagination of Eliphaz.  As Coffman noted: “No one could make a bigger mistake than to suppose that God really spoke to Eliphaz in a dream or vision. Commentators differ on just where the vision ends; but we accept the opinion that it was concluded only by the end of this chapter.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Genesis 37 – Joseph’s Dreams

Moving from Genesis 32 to Genesis 37 – here are some highlights we have skipped over.  Esau and Jacob’s reunion goes much better than he had feared, but they have little to do with each other. Esau and his people move from the land of Canaan, and he is the father of the Edomites (we will hear much about them, particularly after the Babylonian captivity). Dinah, Leah’s daughter is sexually assaulted by Shechem.  Ultimately, Jacob’s sons (led by Simeon and Levi, who slaughter him and all the males of the city) take their revenge.  Jacob seems more worried about himself and his reputation in the land than anything else.  Reuben has laid with his father’s concubine in an apparent effort to assume position in the family, very much a slap in the face of Jacob – for which he will carry a grudge.

Isaac has died, as well as Rachel (after bearing his son Benjamin). And as 35:22-25 state  “…Now the sons of Jacob were twelve. 23 The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. 24 The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 25 The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant: Dan and Naphtali.”  So now we have the basis for the “twelve tribes of Israel.”

Jacob, having already proved he was not the best father, shows favoritism to Joseph and made him a “robe of many colors.” We read about this same Hebrew term (for the robe) again only in 2 Sam. 13:18, with (King) David’s daughter Tamar. So we know it is a very special coat, and simply seeing him wear it must have angered his brothers. Then Joseph has what can only be thought of as the bad judgment to tell them about his dreams that seem to signify his entire family bowing down to him. His angry and jealous brothers conspire to kill him. Reuben talks them into throwing him into a pit, hoping to save him later. But Judah talks the others into selling him to Midianite traders, who in turn sell him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh.  Jacob’s despair, thinking he is dead, is deep after the boys pull off their deception (v 31-35).

Joseph has gone from favored son to prisoner in a far-off land – betrayed by his own family in the worst possible ways. How quickly ones fortune can turn! And soon, God will show that to be very much the case – as He has special plans for Jacobs’s favorite.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

___________________

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert