Obadiah 1:21
And saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD's.
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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 saviors shall ascend on Mount Zion - The body should not be without its head; saviours there should be, and those, successively. The title was familiar to them of old Judges 3:9, Judges 3:15. "The children of Israel cried unto the Lord, Who raised them up a savior, and he saved them. And the Lord gave unto Israel a savior" 2 Kings 13:5, in the time of Jehoahaz. Nehemiah says to God, Nehemiah 9:27. "According to Thy manifold mercies, Thou gavest them saviours, who should save them from the hands of their enemies." So there should be thereafter. Such were Judas Maccabeus and his brothers, and Hyrcanus, Alexander, Aristobulus. They are said to "ascend" as to a place of dignity, to "ascend on Mount Zion;" not to go up thither "ward," but to dwell and abide "in" it, which aforetime was defiled, which now was to be holy.

He ends, as he began, with Mount Zion, the "holy hill," where God was pleased to dwell Psalm 2:6; Psalm 68:16, to reveal Himself. In both, is the judgment of Esau. Mount Zion stands over against Mount Esau, God's holy mount against the mountains of human pride, the Church against the world. And with this agrees the office assigned, which is almost more than that of man. He began his prophecy of the deliverance of God's people, "In Mount Zion shall be an escaped remnant;" he ends, "saviors shall ascend on Mount Zion:" he began, "it shall be" holiness;" he closes, "and the kingdom shall be the Lord's. To judge the mount of Esau." Judges, appointed by God, judge His people; saviours, raised up by God, deliver them. But once only does Ezekiel speak of man's judging another nation, as the instrument of God Ezekiel 24:14. "I, the Lord, have spoken it - and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways and according to thy doings shall they judge thee, saith the Lord God." But it is the prerogative of God. And so, while the word "saviours" includes those who, before and afterward, were the instruments of God in saving His Church and people, yet, all saviours shadowed forth or back the one Saviour, who alone has the office of Judge, in whose kingdom, and associated by Him with Him 1 Corinthians 6:2, "the saints shall judge the world," as He said to His Apostles Mat 19:28, "ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." And the last words must at all times have recalled that great prophecy of the Passion, and of its fruits in the conversion of the Pagan, from which it is taken - Psalm 22.

The outward incorporation of Edom in Judah through Hyrcanus was but a shadow of that inward union, when the kingdom of God was established upon earth, and Edom was enfolded in the one kingdom of Christ, and its cities, from where had issued the wasters and deadly foes of Judah, became the sees of Christian Bishops. And in this way too Edom was but the representative of others, aliens from and enemies to God, to whom His kingdom came, in whom He reigns and will reign, glorified forever in His saints, whom He has redeemed with His most precious Blood.

And the kingdom shall be the Lord's - Majestic, comprehensive simplicity of prophecy! All time and eternity, the struggles of time and the rest of eternity, are summed up in those three words ; Zion and Edom retire from sight; both are comprehended in that one kingdom, and God is "all in all" 1 Corinthians 15:28. The strife is ended; not that ancient strife only between the evil and the good, the oppressor and the oppressed, the subduer and the subdued; but the whole strife and disobedience of the creature toward the Creator, man against his God. Outward prosperity had passed away, since David had said the great words Psalm 22:28, "the kingdom is the Lord's." Dark days had come. Obadiah saw on and beyond to darker yet, but knits up all his prophecy in this; "the kingdom shall be the Lord's." Daniel saw what Obadiah foresaw, the kingdom of Judah also broken; yet, as a captive, he repeated the same to the then monarch of the world Jeremiah 50:28, "the hammer of the whole earth," which had broken in pieces the petty kingdom of Judah, and carried captive its people (Daniel 2:44, add Daniel 7:14, Daniel 7:27); "the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed."

Zechariah saw the poor fragments which returned from the captivity and their poor estate, yet said the same;" Zechariah 14:9, "The Lord shall be king over all the earth." All at once that kingdom came; the fishermen, the tax gatherer and the tentmaker were its captains; the scourge, the claw, thongs, rack, hooks, sword, fire, torture, the red-hot iron seat, the cross, the wild-beast, not employed, but endured, were its arms; the dungeon and the mine, its palaces; fiery words of truth, its Psalm 45:5, "sharp arrows in the hearts of the King's enemies;" for One spake by them, whose word "is with power." The strong sense of the Roman, the acuteness of the Greek, and the simplicity of the Barbarian, cast away their unbelief or their misbelief, and joined in the one song Revelation 19:6, "The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth." The imposture of Mohammed, however awfully it rent off countless numbers from the faith of Christ, still was forced to spread the worship of the One God, who, when the prophets spake, seemed to be the God of the Jews only.

Who could foretell such a kingdom, but He who alone could found it, who alone has for these 18 centuries preserved, and now is anew enlarging it, God Omnipotent and Omniscient, who waked the hearts which He had made, to believe in Him and to love Him? Blessed peaceful kingdom even here, in this valley of tears and of strife, where God rules the soul, freeing it from the tyranny of the world and Satan and its own passions, inspiring it to know Himself, the Highest Truth, and to love Him who is love, and to adore Him who is infinite majesty! Blessed kingdom, in which God reigns in us by grace, that He may bring us to His heavenly kingdom, where is the manifest vision of Himself, and perfect love of Him, blissful society, eternal fruition of Himself ; "where is supreme and certain security, secure tranquility, tranquil security, joyous happiness, happy eternity, eternal blessedness, blessed vision of God forever, where is perfect love, fear none, eternal day and One Spirit in all!"

21. saviours—There will be in the kingdom yet to come no king, but a prince; the sabbatic period of the judges will return (compare the phrase so frequent in Judges, only once found in the times of the kings, 2Ch 14:1, "the land had rest"), when there was no visible king, but God reigned in the theocracy. Israelites, not strangers, shall dispense justice to a God-fearing people (Isa 1:26; Eze 45:1-25). The judges were not such a burden to the people as the kings proved afterwards (1Sa 8:11-20). In their time the people more readily repented than under the kings (compare 2Ch 15:17), [Roos]. Judges were from time to time raised up as saviours or deliverers of Israel from the enemy. These, and the similar deliverers in the long subsequent age of Antiochus, the Maccabees, who conquered the Idumeans (as here foretold, compare 2 Maccabees 10:15,23), were types of the peaceful period yet to come to Israel.

to judge … Esau—to punish (so "judge," 1Sa 3:13) … Edom (compare Ob 1-9, 15-19). Edom is the type of Israel's and God's last foes (Isa 63:1-4).

kingdom shall be the Lord's—under Messiah (Da 2:44; 7:14, 27; Zec 14:9; Lu 1:33; Re 11:15; 19:6).

And, or For, so the Gallic version, printed at Rochelle, 1616.

Saviours; deliverers; literally, the governors or leaders of those captive troops, who shall come up from Babylon to their own country, such as Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, of whom it was said he came to seek the good of the Jews, Nehemiah 2:10, and successively after these many others, to the times of Hyrcanus and the Maccabees; mystically, Christ and his apostles, and other preachers of the gospel.

Shall come; literally, with leave and commission from the kings of Persia, such as Cyrus and Darius Hystaspes, to manage the affairs of the returned captives.

Upon Mount Zion; in Judea, at Jerusalem and the temple, and whatever might concern them, with their neighbours round about.

To judge; to avenge Israel upon Edom, to fight, subdue, and give laws to them, as Hyrcanus did when the Edomites were glad to be circumcised to keep their country.

The Mount of Esau; the whole country, so called from thee father of that nation, who chose those mountainous countries for his habitation, as most suitable to his wild and rambling humour, which delighted in hunting.

The kingdom shall be the Lord’s; the government, called here the kingdom, shall manifestly appear to be set up, maintained, and prospered by a power, wisdom, and goodness greater than human. The God of Israel, who is Jehovah, shall be honoured, obeyed, and worshipped by them, and they shall not, as formerly, rely on idols, or foreign aids. All which most fully is accomplished by Christ the Saviour, and now known in the Christian church, who do believe he will, and pray that he would, save his Zion, and destroy Edom, i.e. antichrist and his kingdom. And saviours shall come upon Mount Zion,.... Which according to some, is to be understood literally, either of Zerubbabel and Joshua, after the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, who were the restorers of, their civil and church state; or rather of Judas Maccabeus and his brethren, who saved the people of the Jews from Antiochus and his generals, called "saviours", as the judges of old were, Nehemiah 9:27; but it is best to interpret these saviours of the apostles of Christ, and ministers of the word; and especially of the preachers of the Gospel in the latter days; called "saviours", because they publish salvation, preach the Gospel of it, show unto men the way of salvation; and so they, and the word preached by them, are the means and instruments of the salvation of men; otherwise Christ is the only Saviour of God's appointing and sending; and who came to effect salvation, and is become the author of it, nor is it in any others; see 1 Timothy 4:16; these in great numbers, in the latter day, wilt appear on Mount Zion, or in the church of Christ, and, shall openly and publicly, as on a mountain, declare the everlasting Gospel; these will be with Christ the Lamb, among the 144,000 upon Mount Zion, Revelation 14:1. Kimchi and Ben Melech say, these are the King Messiah and his companions, the seven shepherds and eight principal men, Micah 5:5. Aben Ezra says the words refer to time to come; according to Baalhatturim on Genesis 32:4; they will be fulfilled about the end of the sixth Millennium, when they expect the Messiah; and they are applied to times of the Messiah both by ancient and more modern Jews. In their ancient book of Zohar (q) it is said,

"when the Messiah shall arise, Jacob shall take his portion above and below; and Esau shall be utterly destroyed, and shall have no portion and inheritance in the world, according to Obadiah 1:18; but Jacob shall inherit two worlds, this world and the world to come; and of that time is it written, "and saviours shall come upon Mount Zion", &c.''

So, in the Jerusalem Talmud (r),

"says R. Hona, we do not find that Jacob our father went to Seir (see Genesis 33:14;) R. Joden, the son of Rabbi, says, in future times (the world to come, the days of the Messiah), is it not said, "and saviours shall come upon Mount Zion, to judge the mount of Esau?"''

And to much the same purpose it is said in one of their ancient Midrasses (s) or expositions,

"we have turned over all the Scripture, and we do not find that Jacob stood with Esau on Seir; he (God) said, until now it is with me to make judges and saviours stand, to take vengeance on that man, as it is said, "and saviours shall come up", &c.''

And the Cabalistic writers (t) thus paraphrase the words,

""and saviours shall come up"; who are the Lord of hosts, and the God of hosts: "on Mount Zion"; which is, the mystery of the living God: "to judge the mount of Esau"; which is Mount Seir.''

So Maimonides (u), quoting the passage in Numbers 24:18, "Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies", adds, by way of explanation, this is the King Messiah, of whom it is said, "and saviours shall come upon Mount Zion". The work and business of these saviours will be,

to judge the mount of Esau; to take vengeance on the Edomites, for their ill usage of the children of Judah, as the Jewish commentators generally interpret it: or rather, as Gospel ministers are these saviours, it expresses their business; which as it is to declare that whoever believes in Christ shall be saved, so that whoever does not shall be damned; and to convince impenitent and believing sinners of their sin and danger, and their need of Christ, judging and condemning, those that remain so: and moreover, as Esau and Edom signify antichrist, the sense is, that they shall publish proclaim the judgment of God upon antichrist, declare it to be near, yea, to be done; and shall express their approbation of the justice: of God in it, and shall call upon the saints to rejoice at it, Revelation 14:6; yea, these saviours may include the Christian princes, that shall pour out the vials of God's wrath upon the antichristian states;

and the kingdom shall be the Lord's: the Lord Christ's, who is the one Jehovah with the Father and Spirit; meaning not the government of the world, to which he has a natural right as Creator, and which is generally ascribed to Jehovah the Father; nor the government of the church in this present state, which is Christ's already, and ever was: but the government of it in the latter day, when he will take to himself his great power, and reign; when his kingdom will be more visible, spiritual, glorious; and extensive; when the kingdoms of this world will become his, the Pagan, Papal, and Mahometan kingdoms, even all the kingdoms and nations of the earth; he will be King over all the earth; there will be but one Lord and King, and whose kingdom is an everlasting one; it shall never come into other hands; this will continue till the personal reign takes place, and that will issue in the ultimate glory; see Revelation 11:15.

(q) In Gen. fol. 85. 1.((r) T. Hieros. Avoda Zara, fol. 40. 3.((s) Debarim Rabba, fol. 234. 4. (t) Kabala Denudata, par. 1. p. 283. (u) Hilchot Melachim, c. 11. sect. 1.

And {q} saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.

(q) Meaning that God will raise up in his Church those who will rule and govern for the defence of it, and for the destruction of his enemies under the Messiah, whom the Prophet here calls the Lord and head of this kingdom.

21. saviours] i.e. deliverers. The word, enshrined already in the name of Joshua, the great deliverer, is frequently applied to the Judges: “The Lord raised up judges, which delivered (saved) them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.” Jdg 2:16. “Thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.” Nehemiah 9:27. See also Jdg 2:18; Jdg 3:31; Jdg 6:14-15; Jdg 6:36. It is applied once in the later history to king Joash, as the deliverer of Israel from the oppression of the Syrians: “the Lord gave Israel a saviour.” 2 Kings 13:5 with 25. Here the immediate reference is to the Maccabees and such like human saviours. But as the long lines of Jewish prophets, and priests, and kings were respectively the manifold types of the one true Prophet, Priest, and King, so their saviours foreshadowed Him, of whom in the fulness of time it was said, “Unto you is born in the city of David a Saviour,” and whom, as “a Saviour,” His Church still looks for. (Philipp. 3:20; Hebrews 9:28.)

to judge the mount of Esau] The vengeance on Esau, which is the predominant idea of this short prophecy, is still before the prophet’s mind. And yet perhaps we may say that that wider sense of “judging,” which the remembrance of the “judges who judged (i.e. governed) Israel” would suggest, is here prevailing. Esau subdued shall also be incorporated, and share the privileges of that righteous and beneficent rule with which Zion shall be blessed.

the kingdom shall be the Lord’s] The grand climax is here certainly, however indistinctly, before the prophet’s mind. It is this that stamps the writings of the Hebrew prophets with a character which is all their own, and proves them to be inspired with an inspiration of God, other and higher far than that of the most gifted seers and poets of other lands and ages. With them the national and the human reach forth ever to the divine and the universal. The kingdom of Israel gives place to and is lost in the kingdom of God. Never in any adequate realisation even of Jewish idea and conception, could it be said of any period of the history of Israel after the return from Babylon, “The kingdom is the Lord’s.” Never of any country or any church, much less of the world at large, has so great a word been true, since in the person and the religion of Christ the kingdom of God has come among us. Still the Church prays as for a thing still future, “Thy kingdom come.” Still Obadiah’s last note of prophecy, “the kingdom shall be the Lord’s,” vibrates on, till at last it shall be taken up into the great chorus of accomplished hope and satisfied expectation, “Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.”Verse 21. - § 2, The prophet sums up his prediction: with the conquest of the Gentiles salvation shall come to Zion in all its fulness. Saviours. The LXX. incorrectly takes the word passively, translating it ἀνασωζόμενοι, "they that are saved;" so Aquila, Theodolion, and the Syriac; Symmachus rightly, σώζοντες: Vulgate, salvatores. The judges are so called in Judges 3:9, 15 (comp. 2 Kings 13:5; Nehemiah 9:27). The judges had a twofold character - they were deliverers and governors, as in the present ease. Here the immediate reference is to Zerubbabel and the valiant Maccabees, who severely punished the Idumeans (2 Macc. 10:15, etc.; Josephus, 'Ant.,' 13:09. 1). But all these "saviours" are types and forerunners of the Messiah, "the Saviour which is Christ the Lord?" Shall come up. Not from exile, but simply as ascending a hill, and taking their seat there. Mount Zion. The seat of the kingdom of God, in contrast with "the mount of Esau," the type of the enemies of Israel and of God. To judge; LXX., τοῦ ἐκδικῆσαι, "to take vengeance on." But the "judging" is not only the taking of vengeance on Edom and that which it represents, the expression includes the notion of governing; so that the prophet looks forward to the time when the heathen shall submit themselves to the dominion of the people of God, and, as the following clause foretells, "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ" (Revelation 11:15). The kingdom shall be the Lord's. No earthly accomplishment could fulfil this great announcement. The kingdom can be Jehovah's; he can show himself as Ruler of the world, and be acknowledged as such by the nations, only under Christ. This is "the sceptre of Judah" of which Jacob spoke (Genesis 49:10); this is the throne of David which was to be established forever (2 Samuel 7:16); this is what all the prophets fore, w, what we are still expecting, what we daily pray for, as we say, "thy kingdom come" - when "the Lord shall be King over all the earth, and there shall be one Lord, and his name one" (Zechariah 14:9).

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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