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Obadiah 1:1

1. The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom; 6969     The Septuagint renders the words, “to Edom” — Ταδε λεγει κυριος ὁ Θεὸς τη Ιδουμαία —”Thus saith the Lord God to Idumea;” which is an exact rendering of the original, for it is, לאדום—”to Edom.” It was a message from God to that people. May we not hence conclude that this prophecy was sent to them by Obadiah? They are often personally addressed: and this seems to favor such a supposition. It is indeed true that ל prefixed to a word after the verb, to say or to speak, is often rendered, of, or, concerning; but it is also rendered by, to, meaning that the address is made to the person. — Ed. We have heard a rumour from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.

1. Visio Obadiae. Sic Dominus Jehova contra Edom, Rumorem audivimus a Jehova, et legatus ad gentes missus est, Surgite et surgamus contra eam ad proelium.


Obadiah’s preface is, that he brought nothing human, but only declared the vision presented to him from above. We indeed know that it was God alone that was ever to be heard in the Church, as even now he demands to be heard: but yet he sent his prophets, as afterwards the apostles; yea, as he sent his only begotten Son, whom he has set over us to be our only and sovereign Teacher. Obadiah then by saying that it was a vision, said the same, as though he declared, that he did not presumptuously bring forward his own dreams, or what he conjectured, or discovered by human reason, but that he adduced only a celestial oracle: for חזון, chezun, as we have observed in other places, was a vision, by which God revealed himself to his Prophets.

He then adds, Thus saith Jehovah. Here is a fuller expression of the same declaration. We thus see that the Prophet, in order that the doctrine he brought forward might not be suspected, made God the author; for what faith can be put in men, whom we know to be vain and false, except as far as they are ruled by the Spirit of God and sent by Him? Seeing then that the Prophet so carefully teaches us, that what he declared was delivered to him by God, we may hence learn what I have lately referred to, — that the Prophets formerly so spoke, that God alone might be heard among the people.

He says afterwards, A rumor have we heard. Some render it, a word, or a doctrine. שמועה, shimuoe, is properly a hearing, and is derived from the verb the Prophet subjoins. A hearing then have we heard; so it is translated literally. But some think that what was taught is pointed out, as though he said, “The Lord has revealed this to me and to other Prophets;” according to what Isaiah says, Isaiah 53:1, ‘Who has believed our hearing?’ It is the same word, and he speaks of God’s word or doctrine. But it is probable that he refers here to those tumultuous rumors, which commonly precede wars and calamities. We have then heard a rumor The verb in Jeremiah is not in the plural number, שמענו shimonu, but שמועה שמעתו shimoti shimunoe, ‘I have heard,’ says Jeremiah, ‘a hearing.’ But our Prophet uses the plural number, ‘We have heard a hearing.’ The sense however is the same; for Jeremiah says that he had heard rumors; and the Prophet here adds others to himself, as though he said, “This rumor is spread abroad, but it is from the Lord: it is certain that this rumor has been heard even by the profane and the despisers of God.” But the Prophet shows that wars are not stirred up at random, but by the secret influence of God; as though he said, “When a tumult arises, let us not think that its beginning is from the earth, but God himself is the mover.” We now then apprehend the design of the Prophet: though he speaks of the rumor of wars, he yet shows that chance or accident does not rule in such commotions, but the hidden influence of God.

We have heard, he says from Jehovah, and a messenger, or, an ambassador, to the nations has been sent 7070     Or the two lines may thus be rendered,—
   A rumor have we heard from Jehovah,
And a messenger to the nations hath he sent.

   The verb, to send, is here active; and so it is rendered in the Septuagint. It is indeed passive in the corresponding passage in Jeremiah; but there are several other instances of variety in the expressions used by the two Prophets, though there be in sense a material agreement. — Ed.
, Arise ye, and we will arise against her to battle. In Jeremiah, it is, ‘Assemble ye, come and arise against her to battle.’ The Prophet here shows, I have no doubt, whence the rumor came, which he had just mentioned; for they were now indeed stirring up one another to destroy that land. If any one had formed a judgment according to human wisdom, he would have said that the Assyrians were the cause why war was brought on the Idumeans, because they had found them either inconstant or even perfidious, or because they had feigned a pretense when there was no just reason for making war. But the Prophet here raises his mind upwards and acknowledges God to be the mover of this war, because he intended to punish the cruelty of that people, which they had exercised toward their own kindred, the Israelites; and at the same time he encourages others also, that they might understand that it was altogether directed by the hidden counsel of God, that the Assyrians, from being friends, became of a sudden enemies, that a war was all in a flame against the Idumeans at a time when they were at ease, without any fear, without any apprehension of danger. It follows —

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