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Obadiah 17

17. But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

17. Et in monte Sion erit evasio, et erit sanctitas (nempe mons ipse;) et possidebit domus Jacob possessiones suas (alii vertunt, eos a quibus possidebantur.


Here the Prophet promises deliverance to the Jews; for other consolations would have been of no great moment, had they, who then were perishing, no hope of being some time restored to safety. The Jews might indeed have objected, and said, “What is it to us, though the Lord may avenge our wrongs? Should the Idumeans be destroyed for our sake, what profit will that be to us? We are in the meantime destroyed and have no hope of deliverance.” The Prophet here meets this objection, and says, In mount Zion shall be escape Though then the Idumeans had attempted to intercept all outlets, as it has been before mentioned, yet God promises here that there would be an escape in mount Zion: he says not, from mount Zion, but in the very mountain. What does this mean? even that God would restore those who might seem then to be lost. Then Obadiah clearly promises that there would be a restoration of the Church.

But we are taught in this place, that the punishment, by which the Lord chastises his people for their sins, is ever for a time. Whenever then God inflicts wounds on his Church, prepared at the same time is the remedy; for God designs not, nor does he suffer, that his own people should be wholly lost. This we may learn from the Prophet’s words, when he says, that there would be escape in Zion. And it was no ordinary comfort for the Jews to know, that even in their extreme decay, there remained for them some hope of deliverance, and that the people, who might appear at the time to be extinct, would yet be saved, and preserved alive, as though they arose from the dead.

He says that mount Zion would be holiness or holy, by which he means that God would be mindful of his covenant. As then he had chosen mount Zion where he would be worshipped, the Prophet intimates that God’s name was not there involved presumptuously or in vain. Inasmuch as God had chosen this mount for himself, it was holy; for God is said to have profaned the land and the temple, when he forsook them and delivered them up into the hands of enemies. So also now when the Prophet says, that mount Zion would be holy, it is the same as though he had said, that God would have a care for this mountain, because he had once consecrated it to himself, and designed it to be his own habitation. The cause then is put here for its effect. He had said, that the Jews would survive, how much soever like the lost and the dead they might for a time be, — How could such a thing be? The reason is this, — mount Zion shall be holy: it was a dreadful profanation of mount Zion when the temple was destroyed, when the holy vessels were taken away by the Babylonians, when, in short, the enemies showed there every kind of insolence. But when the Lord restored his people, when the altar was built again, and sacrifices were offered, then mount Zion recovered its holiness, that is, God manifested that the grace of his election had not been abolished, for he had again sanctified mount Zion, and thus designed it to be preserved safe. Holy then shall be mount Zion Were any one disposed to refine more on the Prophet’s words, he might say, that it is evidently the manner of our salvation that is intended, when God is said to sanctify or govern us by his Spirit: but the Prophet, I have no doubt, has regard here simply to the election of God.

And the house of Jacob shall again possess his own possessions, that is whatever God has given as an heritage to the children of Abraham, he will restore to them when they return from exile. If any one prefers to take possessions to be those of Edom, I do not object. But yet I think that the real meaning of the Prophet is, that when the children of Israel should return from exile, God would restore to them their ancient country, that they might possess whatever had been promised to their father Abraham. He means then, by their possessions, the whole land, which came by lot into the possession of the chosen people, as it had been promised to Abraham. It follows —

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