Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obadiah 1: 5-9

5"If thieves came to you, if robbers by night--
O how you will be ruined!--
Would they not steal only until they had enough?
If grape gatherers came to you,would they not leave some gleanings?
6"O how Esau will be ransacked, and his hidden treasures searched out!
"All the men allied with you will send you forth to the border,
And the men at peace with you w
ill deceive you and overpower you.
They who eat your
bread will set an ambush for you.
(There is
no understanding in him.)
"Will I not on that day," declares the LORD, "Destroy wise men from Edom
And understanding from the mountain of Esau?
9"Then your mighty men will be dismayed, O Teman,
So that everyone may be
cut off from the mountain of Esau by slaughter.

As we continue with God's humbling words to Edom, the nation learns about the vicious nature of the attack to come. "Robbers by night" says verse 5. Remember the location of Edom, high in the craggy mountains. Robbers did not have flashlights and night-vision goggles to make entering such a place by night very easy. Yet this was a heist orchestrated by God, and going by night would make the perfect foil for this self-preserving people.

Not only would these robbers steal the basic wares, but they would take everything! Love the power in the metaphor in this verse: "If grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave some gleanings?" No, not even a skin! Brings to mind the hideous Grinch taking everything from the last Who Christmas ball to the roast beast. Even the "hidden treasures" would be pillaged.

As if knowing the nature of the attack wasn't enough bad news, the Edomites then hear that the "enemy" is actually their friend. "All of the men allied with you," reads verse 7, literally translated men "of your covenant."

That is a thought to ponder, and a characteristic of God that folks may find confusing. Why would God use nations who followed Edom's covenant for this work? Why didn't He raise up His people, like Israel, for instance, to come in and destroy Edom? They would seem to have earned the right! But, that is why God's ways are higher than Edom's ways, and our ways. Israel upheld God's Word in not attacking the Edomites; He would not bring them into the picture. The battle belonged to the Lord!

"'Vengeance is Mine, and retribution,
In due time their foot will slip;
For the day of their calamity is near,
And the impending things are hastening upon them.'"
--Deuteronomy 32:5

I enjoy reading Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible (which you can find online and through BibleGateway). Why the friends of the Edomites? Why would they suspects the ones who followed them and their ways? Here's what Henry says: "The God of our covenant will never deceive us: but if we trust men with whom we join ourselves, it may prove to us a wound and dishonour. God will justly deny those understanding to keep out of danger, who will not use their understandings to keep out of sin." That's good stuff!

God wanted Edom to be confused. This was a nation rich in wise men (verse 8). Would it make sense for their friends--the men at peace with them, who ate of their bread (verse 7)--to suddenly oppose them? "Ambush," is what God said. Edom was to be stunned, their mighty wisdom left for stupidity. Note the parenthetical thought: "There is no understanding in him [of it]."

The Lord makes it clear that it is He who is leading the charge. It is He who will remove the foolishness that the Edomites called wisdom. "Your mighty men will be dismayed, O Teman." (verse 9) Dismayed? The English root means "deprived of strength." God would tear them down from the inside and the outside, and the people would no longer be able to climb the mountain to know Him.

A note on Teman: This refers to an area in the northern part of Edom. The name stems from a descendant of Esau's. Specifically, Esau's firstborn son was named Eliphaz--who was one of Job's friends!--and Teman was one of the sons of Eliphaz.

Next time, God recounts the sins against Jacob. 'Til next Wednesday!


* * *

Next week: Obadiah 1: 10-14

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).


Kelly Combs said...

I missed last week, but caught up this morning on last weeks and todays. This is unfamiliar territory in the Bible for me, so I am looking forward to seeing where this is going.

But I am reminded of the Proverb, "Pride cometh before destruction, and a haughty spirit before the fall."

Carmen said...

This was good Sue! God makes sure they know that it is Him they contend with.

Edie said...

I'm way behind!

I love all the extra bits of information you provided.

When God does something, no matter what it is, He goes all out.