Bible Query from
Q: In Obad, why write an entire book about judgment on the nation of Edom?
A: Here is one possible reason, with eight parts.
1. The Edomites consistently chose to be enemies of God's people.
2. When the Edomites were hostile towards their Israelite brothers in Numbers 20:14-21, they were given another chance because of their close relationship.
3. When Jerusalem fell, they were active in hunting down Israelites and turning them over to the Babylonians according to verses 11-13 and Amos 1:11-12.
4. Specific sins of Edom are listed as pride (verses 3-4) and violence toward the Israelites.
5. It is true the Edomites were not as bad as the Canaanites, and they were not as harmful to the Israelites as the Assyrians and Babylonians.
6. Nevertheless, they knew about the true God, and with greater opportunities for knowledge comes greater responsibility
7. The Edomites are an example to us not to be proud or rejoice over the destruction of godly people.
8. The Edomites are an example of God's judging a nation collectively.
Q: Was Obad just an expression of Jewish nationalism?
A: No. One can create all sorts of human motivations for nearly any kind of writing. Obadiah presents itself as a message from God of protection of Israel and judgment against Edom, and there is no evidence to suppose otherwise.
See When Critics Ask p.305 for more info.
Q: In Obad, what are the main points of the book?
A: The book of Obadiah can be read on three different levels.
1. On the surface, one might think it is only a prophecy of the destruction of Edom.
2. On a deeper level, it is a warning to all about pride and rejoicing in the downfall of godly people.
3. On a still deeper level, one can explore the concept of the corporate sins of a people, how it is passed on through the culture and preserved history, and how God punishes it.
Q: In Obad, what is an outline of the book?
A: Here is a high-level outline.
1-9 Esau's pride and coming destruction
10-16 Why Esau will be punished
17-21 Jacob's role in punishing Esau
Q: In Obad 1, when was the book of Obadiah written?
A: There are few clues on the date of Obadiah. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament (Victor Books) p.1453 says there are three main theories:
1. Under King Jehoram (848-841 B.C.)
2. Under King Ahaz (731-715 B.C.),
3. Soon after the fall of Jerusalem, around 585 B.C.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament for more info.
Q: In Obad 1, was this the same Obadiah who hid 100 prophets in 1 Ki 18:3-4?
A: Josephus mistakenly thought so. However, the skeptical work Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.639-641 correctly points out that since Obadiah 1:11 refers to the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem, the Obadiah in 1 Kings 18:3-4 lived almost 300 years earlier. In conclusion, we have no record outside of the Bible of this Obadiah.
Q: In Obad 1, how was an envoy sent to the nation to go against Edom?
A: This would be a spirit rousing the nations up for battle. In this case, it does not specify whether it was angels of God commanded to do this, or demons that God permitted to do this. But there is a similar situation in Revelation 16:12-14 where three evil spirits that resembled frogs came out of the mouth of the dragon to rouse the kings of the world for battle.
Q: In Obad 3, why would Edom be so proud?
A: The mighty, rich, and beautiful do not have a monopoly on the sin of pride. The Edomites were proud of their (apparently) impregnable mountain defenses. Having good defenses is not a bad thing, but when you rely on them, and turn away from God that is bad. However, Edom did more than just that. When Jerusalem fell, they raided the defenseless Israelites themselves (Obadiah 10,11). Sometimes people feel that rules of decency and niceness do not apply to them anymore, when they are proud and think they can trust in their own defenses.
Q: What does Obad 5 teach us about punishment?
A: There are different degrees of punishment from God. Sometimes, like in Haggai 1, it is merely having less financial prosperity than you would naturally otherwise have. Other times, it might be like thieves who took whatever they wanted. However, this is a third, more severe type, where, as in a locust plague in Joel 1, there will be nothing left. But while the locust plague was severe over a very limited range, this destruction would affect all of Edom. Historically, in Jesus time, there were not any Edomites left. The land had been taken over by Nabataean Arabs, called Idumeans.
Q: In Obad 8-9, who were the wise men of Edom?
A: Edom was known for having wise men. One of them apparently was Eliphaz the Temanite, who is mentioned in Job 2:11.
Q: In Obad 20, was this a false prophecy since the Israelites never returned, as Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.641 suggests?
A: No. The exiles who returned, who were called the Jews, did possess the land. While it is true that the majority of the returned exiles were from Judah, Ezra 2:3-63 and Nehemiah 7:6-63 and Nehemiah 11 shows that people from other tribes returned, too. If a group of Benjamites was selected to live in Jerusalem in Nehemiah 11:7-9, there had to be Benjamites from which to select.
Q: In Obad 21 (KJV), who were the saviors here?
A: Both the NIV and Green's Literal translation translate this as deliverers. The New Geneva Study Bible (NKJV) mentions in a footnote that the "saviors" are the Jews who were former fugitives but now reign over the land once held by their enemies.
Q: In Obad, what are some of the earliest manuscripts that still exist today?
A: There are no copies containing any verses of Obadiah among the Dead Sea scrolls, Nahal Hever, or wadi Murabb'at
Christian Bible manuscripts, from about 350 A.D., contain the Old Testament, including Obadiah. Two of these are Vaticanus (325-250 A.D.) and Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.), where the books of the twelve minor prophets were placed before Isaiah. Hosea is complete in both Vaticanus and Alexandrinus.
Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.) also has the entire book of Obadiah. It starts on the same page as Joel ends. It ends on the same page as Jonah starts.
No pre-Nicene writers referred to the small book of Obadiah.
Melito of Sardis (170-177/180 A.D.) (Implied) mentions the "Old Testament" and lists the books. He does not list the twelve minor prophets individually, but calls them The Twelve. Fragment 4 from the Book of Extracts vol.8 p.759
After Nicea (325 A.D.):
Athanasius of Alexandria (367 A.D.) (Implied because mentions the twelve prophets) "There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; ... then the Prophets, the twelve being reckoned as one book...." Athanasius Easter Letter 39 ch.4 p.552.
Jerome (373-420 A.D.) discusses the books of the Old Testament. He specifically discusses Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, the Pentateuch, Job, Jesus son of Nave [Joshua], Judges, Ruth, Samuel Kings (2 books), twelve prophets, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai,, Zechariah, Malachi, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Letter 53 ch.7-8 p.99-101.
Q: In Obad, what are some of the translation differences between the Hebrew and Greek Septuagint?
A: The book of Obadiah has 21 verses and about 272 words in the Hebrew Masoretic text. The Septuagint Greek translation of the book of Obadiah has about 460 words in Greek. Here are a few of the translation differences, first being in Hebrew and the second being in Greek.
Obad 1 "a messenger is sent" vs. "he has sent forth a messenger"
Obad 1 "among the nations" vs. "to the nations"
Obad 2 "despised" vs. "dishonored"
Obad 3 "deceived you" vs. "elated you"
Obad 6 "hidden things are sought out" vs. "hidden things been detected"
Obad 7 "All the men of your covenant have dismissed you to the border. The men who were at peace with you have deceived you and have prevailed over you. They are setting your bread as a snare under you; there is no understanding in him." vs. "They have sent thee to thy coasts: all the men of they covenant have withstood thee; thin allies have prevailed against thee, they have set snare under thee: they have no understanding."
Obad 1:8 "Shall in that day" vs. "In that day"
Obad 1:9 "mighty ones" vs. "warriors"
Obad 1:9 "by slaughter" vs. "from the mount of Esau"
Obad 1:11 "from the" vs. "because of"
Obad 1:12 "enlarged your mouth" (idiom for boast) vs. "boasted"
Obad 1:16 "continually drink" vs. "drink wine"
Obad 1:16 "shall drink and shall swallow" vs. "shall drink and go down"
Obad 1:17 "But the ones who escaped shall be on Mount Zion, and it shall be holy." vs. "But on mount Sion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be sanctuary"
Obad 1:17 "shall possess their own possessions" vs. "shall take for an inheritance those that took them for an inheritance."
Obad 1:18 "straw" vs. "stubble"
Obad 1:19 "no survivor" vs. "be a corn-field"
Obad 1:19 "and they shall possess Ephraim's fields, and Samaria's fields; and Benjamin [shall possess] Gilead." vs. "and they shall inherit the mount of Ephraim, and the plain of Samaria, and Benjamin, and the land of Galaad."
Obad 1:20 "exiles of this force" vs. "captivity"
Obad 1:20 "exiles" vs. "captives"
Obad 1:20 "Negeb" vs. "Ephratha" (Ephrapha was an early name for Bethlehem in Judea according to Genesis 35:19; 48:7.)
Obad 1:21 "Deliverers/Saviors" vs. "They that escape"
Obad 1:21 "judge" vs. "take vengeance"
The Hebrew translation is taken from Jay P. Green's Literal Translation. The Septuagint rendering is from Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton's translation of The Septuagint : Greek and English.
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