Obadiah 1:19
And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
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Obadiah 1:19. And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau — The Jews that dwell in the southern parts of Judea, next Idumea, shall, after their return and victories over the Edomites, possess the mountainous part of their country, elsewhere called mount Seir: see Malachi 1:3. And they of the plain — The Jews who dwell in the plain country, lying toward that of the Philistines, shall possess their territories together with their own ancient inheritance. The Philistines were likewise ill neighbours to the Jews, who, it is here foretold, should at last conquer them and possess their land. The former part of this prediction 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 they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, &c. — All the land which belonged to the ten tribes shall be possessed by the Jews after their restoration to their own country. And Benjamin shall possess Gilead — Benjamin, although one of the smallest tribes, shall enlarge his borders as far as the land of Gilead beyond Jordan. Here a larger possession is promised than ever they had before the captivity. But if Judah be considered as united with Benjamin, which perhaps it is, as those two tribes made but one people, all this was completely fulfilled in the time of Hyrcanus, as appears from Josephus, lib. 12.; 22. But no doubt the great enlargement of the church of Christ, in the times of the gospel, is mystically pointed out in this passage.1:17-21 There should be deliverance and holiness at Jerusalem, and the house of Jacob would again occupy their possessions. Much of this prophecy was fulfilled when the Jews returned to their own land. But the salvation and holiness of the gospel, its spread, and the conversion of the Gentiles, seem also to be intended, especially the restoration of Israel, the destruction of antichrist, and the prosperous state of the church, to which all the prophets bear witness. When Christ is come, and not till then, shall the kingdom be the Lord's in the full sense of the term. As none that exalt themselves against the Lord shall prosper, and all shall be brought down; so none that wait upon the Lord, and put their trust in him, shall ever be dismayed. Blessed be the Divine Saviour and Judge on Mount Zion! His word shall be a savour of life unto life unto numbers, while it judges and condemns obstinate unbelievers.And they of the South shall possess the mount of Esau - The Church was now hemmed in within Judah and Benjamin. They too were to go into captivity. The prophet looks beyond the captivity and the return, and tells how that original promise to Jacob Genesis 28:14 should be fulfilled; "Thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt break North to the West, and to the East, and to the North, and to the South; and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Hosea and Amos had, at this time, prophesied the final destruction of the kingdom of Israel. Obadiah describes Judah, as expanded to its former bounds including Edom and Philistia, and occupying the territory of the ten tribes. "The South" , i. e., they of the "hot" and "dry" country to the South of Judah bordering on Edom, "shall possess the mountains of Esau," i. e., his mountain country, on which they bordered. And "the plain," they on the West, in the great maritime plain, the "shephelah," should spread over the country of the Philistines, so that the sea should be their boundary; and on the North, over the country of the ten tribes, "the fields of Ephraim and the fields of Samaria." The territory of "Benjamin" being thus included in Judah, to it is assigned the country on the other side Jordan; "and Benjamin, Gilead." 19. they of the south—The Jews who in the coming time are to occupy the south of Judea shall possess, in addition to their own territory, the adjoining mountainous region of Edom.

they of the plain—The Jews who shall occupy the low country along the Mediterranean, south and southwest of Palestine, shall possess, in addition to their own territory, the land of "the Philistines," which runs as a long strip between the hills and the sea.

and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim—that is, the rightful owners shall be restored, the Ephraimites to the fields of Ephraim.

Benjamin shall possess Gilead—that is, the region east of Jordan, occupied formerly by Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh. Benjamin shall possess besides its own territory the adjoining territory eastward, while the two and a half tribes shall in the redistribution occupy the adjoining territory of Moab and Ammon.

They of the south; the Jews who lived in the south parts of Canaan, which was next to Idumea, shall, after their return and victories over Edom, possess his country, called here

the Mount of Esau. They of the plain the Philistines; the Jews who dwelt in the plain country, which was next to Palestina, Joshua 15:33, shall enlarge their borders, and possess the Philistines’ country, together with their ancient inheritance. Now of the possession of Mount Esau by the Jews, saith Grotius, it was most fully accomplished by Hyrcanus. Josephus, lib. 13. chap; 17, reports the matter thus, that the Idumeans were commanded either to depart their country, or be circumcised. If this were the time of fulfilling the one, it was also the time of fulfilling the other also.

And they shall possess the fields of Ephraim; and all the land which the ten tribes once did possess shall again be possessed by the Jews.

And the fields of Samaria; the fields also about Samaria, how greatly soever wasted, shall be replanted, and that by the Jews too.

Benjamin, either apart, or jointly with Judah, shall possess Gilead; a country beyond Jordan, assigned to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh, wasted by Hazael and Tiglathpileser some time before Samaria was taken, but should be inhabited by the Benjamites; and probably Gad, Manasseh, and Reuben did enlarge upon the Moabites and Ammonites. Here is promised a larger possession than ever they had before the captivity, and it doth no doubt point out the enlargement of the church of Christ in the times of the gospel, and particularly when antichrist, typified in this prophecy by Edom, shall be destroyed: but we are to give the literal meaning, and think we do not miss of it. And they of the south shall possess the land of Esau,.... That is, those Jews that shall dwell in the southern part of the land of Judea shall seize upon the country of Idumea, lying contiguous to them; they shall enlarge their border, and take that into their possession:

and they of the plain the Philistines; or of Sephela, they that shall inhabit the plain, or champaign country of Judea, as the parts of Lydda, Emmaus, and Sharon, were; these shall possess the country of the Philistines, lying near unto them, as Azotus, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron:

and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria; all the countries that the ten tribes inhabited, in the times of their idolatry, before their captivity, which the Jews shall now be restored unto:

and Benjamin shall possess Gilead; that tribe shall be so enlarged as to take in the country of Gilead, which lay beyond Jordan, formerly possessed by the, half tribe of Manasseh. Some think this was fulfilled in the times of the Maccabees, when several of these places were taken by Judas, in the Apocrypha:

"17. Then said Judas unto Simon his brother, Choose thee out men, and go and deliver thy brethren that are in Galilee, for I and Jonathan my brother will go into the country of Galaad. 36. From thence went he, and took Casphon, Maged, Bosor, and the other cities of the country of Galaad. 38. So Judas sent men to espy the host, who brought him word, saying, All the heathen that be round about us are assembled unto them, even a very great host.'' (1 Maccabees 5)

but since the land of Judea, and the countries adjacent to it, were never as yet inhabited by the Jews in the form and manner here mentioned, it rather respects their settlement in their own land, in the latter day, when their borders will be greatly enlarged; see Ezekiel 48:1; or it may regard the enlargement of the church of Christ, either in the first times of the Gospel, when that was spread in those parts, and met with success; see Acts 8:6; or rather in the latter day, when Christ's kingdom will be from sea to sea, and his dominion from the river to the ends of the earth, Psalm 72:8; and to which also the following words belong.

And they of the south shall possess the {o} mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

(o) He describes how the Church will be enlarged and have great possessions: but this is mainly accomplished under Christ, when that faithful are made heirs and lords of all things by him who is their head.

19. they of the south] lit. the south. This is the first of the three divisions of the tribe of Judah, in the original apportionment of the land by Joshua: “the tribe of the children of Judah, toward the coast of Edom southward” (i.e. in the direction of the “Negeb,” or hot, dry country, which formed the southern frontier. Sinai and Palestine, pp. 159, 160). Joshua 15:21. The restored exiles of Judah shall not only possess again this their ancient domain; but whereas it was before “too much for them,” so that “the children of Simeon had their inheritance within the inheritance of them” (Joshua 19:9), now they shall not only occupy it, but spreading still further southward shall “possess the mount of Esau.”

they of the plain] Shepçlah: the low-land, R.V. This is the second of the original divisions of Judah. (Joshua 15:33, where the same Hebrew word is translated “valley.”) It is the great maritime plain along the western coast of Palestine. See Sinai and Palestine, chap. VI. pp. 255, seq. This again was not only to be repossessed, but its ancient boundaries were to be overpassed, and the entire country of the Philistines, to the shores of the Mediterranean, was to be won for Judah.

and they shall possess] The subject of this clause may of course be the two divisions of Judah, “they of the south,” and “they of the plain,” already mentioned. But it is much better to suppose that the prophet here refers to the remainder of the tribe, who are spoken of as “in the mountains” (Joshua 15:48). “And they (the tribe of Judah, i. e. the remaining portion of them) shall possess” the remaining portion of Palestine proper, the country of the ten tribes, “the field of Ephraim and the field of Samaria.”

and Benjamin shall possess Gilead] Judah having thus acquired the whole country on that side Jordan, Benjamin, the only other tribe now under consideration, takes possession of the territory which once belonged to the two tribes and a half on the other side.

19, 20. Restored to their own land, the Jews shall extend their territory in all directions, and shall realise the promise made to their father Jacob, “Thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south.” Genesis 28:14. The two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, as the sole remaining representatives of the people of God in the prophet’s time, are alone directly mentioned by him in the distribution of the land. But the ten tribes are not thereby excluded from a share in the returning prosperity of the nation. See note on Obadiah 1:18. In Obadiah 1:19 the exiles who returned from Babylon are provided for. The whole country on the west of the Jordan is assigned to Judah, and Benjamin takes possession of Gilead on the east side. In Obadiah 1:20, other Jewish exiles in Phœnicia and elsewhere are remembered, and a place found for them in the conquered territory of Esau.Verse 19. - Judah and Benjamin between them shall possess the whole territory that once belonged to the children of Israel. In Joshua 15:21, 33, 48, the inheritance of Judah is distributed into three portions - the south, the plain, and the mountains; the same divisions are noticeable here (see note on Zechariah 7:7). They of the south. The inhabitants of the Negeb, "the dry country" the southern part of Judah, shall take possession of Idumea (Amos 9:12). They of the plain. Of the Shephelah, or "low land" - the maritime plain and the country held by the Philistines (2 Chronicles 28:18; Zephaniah 2:7). And they shall possess. The Judaeans not already mentioned, i.e. those of the mountains, shall take the territory of the ten tribes. The fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria. The country, and the capital. Septuagint, τὸ ὄρος Αφραὶμ καὶ τὸ πεδίον Σαμαρείας, "the Mount of Ephraim and the Plain of Samaria." Others translate, "Ephraim shall possess the field of Samaria," considering that otherwise Ephraim would be excluded from the restored kingdom, and Judah would inherit the territory of Ephraim, in violation of the covenant (Briggs, 'Messianic' Prophecy,' p. 317). But the Israelites proper were merged in the Judaeans at the return; and if Benjamin possesses Gilead, it is not unnatural that Judah should extend northward to Samaria. And Benjamin shall possess Gilead. Benjamin, the other portion of the house of Jacob, whose territory originally reached to the river, shall possess all the territory on the other side of Jordan. Thus the restored people shall, in accordance with the promise in Genesis 28:14, "spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south" (comp. Isaiah 54:1-3). Obadiah sees the twelve tribes, once more united, extending their territory on every side; and, to make this evident, he gives certain examples, using Judah and Benjamin as equivalent to "the people of God," and their enlargement as denoting the majestic progress of the kingdom of God. Moab. - Amos 2:1. "Thus saith Jehovah: for three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I shall not reverse it, because it has burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime, Amos 2:2. I send fire into Moab, and it will devour the palaces of Kirioth, and Moab will perish in the tumult, in the war-cry, in the trumpet-blast. Amos 2:3. And I cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and all its princes do I strangle with it, saith Jehovah." The burning of the bones of the king of Edom is not burning while he was still alive, but the burning of the corpse into lime, i.e., so completely that the bones turned into powder like lime (D. Kimchi), to cool his wrath still further upon the dead man (cf. 2 Kings 23:16). This is the only thing blamed, not his having put him to death. No record has been preserved of this event in the historical books of the Old Testament; but it was no doubt connected with the war referred to in 2 Kings 3, which Joram of Israel and Jehoshaphat of Judah waged against the Moabites in company with the king of Edom; so that the Jewish tradition found in Jerome, viz., that after this war the Moabites dug up the bones of the king of Edom from the grace, and heaped insults upon them by burning them to ashes, is apparently not without foundation. As Amos in the case of all the other nations has mentioned only crimes that were committed against the covenant nation, the one with which the Moabites are charged must have been in some way associated with either Israel or Judah, that is to say, it must have been committed upon a king of Edom, who was a vassal of Judah, and therefore not very long after this war, since the Edomites shook off their dependence upon Judah in less than ten years from that time (2 Kings 8:20). As a punishment for this, Moab was to be laid waste by the fire of war, and Keriyoth with its palaces to be burned down. הקּריּות is not an appellative noun (τῶν πόλεων αὐτῆς, lxx), but a proper name of one of the chief cities of Moab (cf. Jeremiah 48:24, Jeremiah 48:41), the ruins of which have been discovered by Burckhardt (Syr. p. 630) and Seetzen (ii. p. 342, cf. iv. p. 384) in the decayed town of Kereyat or Krrit. The application of the term מת to Moab is to be explained on the supposition that the nation is personified. שׁאון signifies war tumult, and בּתרוּעה is explained as in Amos 1:14 by בּקול שׁופר, blast of the trumpets, the signal for the assault or for the commencement of the battle. The judge with all the princes shall be cut off miqqirbâh, i.e., out of the land of Moab. The feminine suffix refers to Moab as a land or kingdom, and not to Keriyoth. From the fact that the shōphēt is mentioned instead of the king, it has been concluded by some that Moab had no king at that time, but had only a shōphēt as its ruler; and they have sought to account for this on the ground that Moab was at that time subject to the kingdom of the ten tribes (Hitzig and Ewald). But there is no notice in the history of anything of the kind, and it cannot possibly be inferred from the fact that Jeroboam restored the ancient boundaries of the kingdom as far as the Dead Sea (2 Kings 14:25). Shōphēt is analogous to tōmēkh shēbhet in Amos 1:5, and is probably nothing more than a rhetorical expression applied to the מלך, who is so called in the threat against Ammon, and simply used for the sake of variety. The threatening prophecies concerning all the nations and kingdoms mentioned from Amos 1:6 onwards were fulfilled by the Chaldeans, who conquered all these kingdoms, and carried the people themselves into captivity. For fuller remarks upon this point, see at Jeremiah 48 and Ezekiel 25:8.
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