Obadiah 1:19
Those from the Negev will possess the mountains of Esau; those from the foothills will possess the land of the Philistines. They will occupy the fields of Ephraim and Samaria, and Benjamin will possess Gilead.
Holiness on Mount ZionG. Cubitt.Obadiah 1:17-20
Mount Zion and its BlessingsJohn N. Norton.Obadiah 1:17-20
The Church Delivered, Purified, and PrivilegedJohn Campbell.Obadiah 1:17-20
The True Church, or the Community O the GoodHomilistObadiah 1:17-20
RehobothA.C. Thiselton Obadiah 1:19, 20
The True Church; Or, the Community of the Good: 3. an Aggressive PowerD. Thomas Obadiah 1:19, 20

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. And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites [or rather, 'the captivity,' etc., 'which are among the Canaanites' (Pusey, following the Chaldee, etc.)], even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. Here we have wideness at last; Rehoboth after narrowness, strife, contention, and hatred (Genesis 26.). The house of Jacob is shown us stretching forth in all directions - north, south, east, and west; the promises long looked for fulfilled; Jacob, long pent in, now enjoying a large room. The cries in narrowness have been answered in wideness. Rehoboth is inscribed on Judah's banner, and little Benjamin shares the plenteousness. They of the south have no Edomite enemy; nay, the mount of Esau is their possession. They of the plain have no Philistine foe; their own borders reach to the coast. Over Philistia they triumph. The giants of Gath lie in the dust. The men of Ashdod and Ekron, who sang the praise of Dagon, are no more. Ashkelon and Gaza are silent in death. They of the plain possess the whole territory of the Philistines, with the sea for their only border. But much more than this. They extend northward. They take in Ephraim. No more shall Ephraim vex Judah. They also take in Samaria. No more shall it be heard that the Samaritans have no part with the Jews. And more still Benjamin shall possess Gilead, thus stretching to the east. It shall have a portion on both sides of Jordan. And, further, Judah shall receive into fellowship those who were carried away captive from them. Some in Zarephath in Zidon, labouring as slaves in the smelting house, and the captivity of Jerusalem shall possess the cities of the south. Thus the inspired prophet, from the sacred mount of vision, amongst other blessings, notices these five:

(1) liberty after captivity;

(2) peace after war;

(3) wideness after straits;

(4) a portion on both sides of Jordan;

(5) unity after divisions and discord.

With what joy must Obadiah have seen all these rich blessings unfolded before him! Liberty! Oh what a history of captivity and bondage was that of the Jews! Peace! Their national life hitherto had been one of war. Wideness! Up to this they had been sorely straitened and hemmed in in veriest narrowness. A portion on both sides of Jordan! Hitherto they had had their lot on the western side only. Unity! They had been torn by divisions. They had been weakened, impoverished, and desolated by divisions. How pleasant, therefore, the prospect of Judah receiving into its bosom multitudes of the captivity of Israeli All one at last. One fold under one Shepherd. A delightful prospect. Obadiah, like another Moses, must have viewed the scene with patriotic joy and hallowed fervour and gratitude. And now for the spiritual application of the passage to ourselves.

I. GLORIOUS LIBERTY IS PROCLAIMED TO US. Christ sets his people free. He came to lead captivity captive. He opens the prison to those who were bound. His Word is the perfect law of liberty. The Apostle Peter's deliverance from prison is like a picture of the deliverance wrought for the soul of man. We were in the dark dungeon, fast bound in misery and iron. Light shone in the prison. A friendly hand smote us. A voice bade us arise. The fetters fell off. We were led forth from the darkness of death into the light and liberty of the children of God. Or we may say, in the language of David (Psalm 126:7), "Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped;" Joyous liberty, blessed liberty, glorious liberty of the children of God.

II. PEACE IS OURS. The peace of the very God of peace. Secure tranquillity through the blood of the everlasting covenant. "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned;" "Peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near." Peace always and by all means.

III. WIDENESS IS OURS. "Thou hast known my soul in adversities;...thou hast set me in a large room." The Lord brings his people into a wealthy place. "Rehoboth" is written on the gospel "Rehoboth" is written on the work of Christ. "Rehoboth" is written on the wells of salvation. On the joys, the glories, the promises of covenant grace, the letters are written as with Calvary's blood - "Rehoboth." Room enough and to spare (Job 36:16).

IV. A PORTION ON BOTH SIDES OF JORDAN IS OURS. The Christian has the promise of the life that now is as well as that which is to come. All things are ours. The world, life, death, things present, things to come, the blessings of the throne and the blessings of the footstool, the upper springs and the nether springs, - all are ours. Oh, let us pity the men who have their portion only in this life! Let us pray for those whose hearts and treasures are where the rust and moth are. Let us seek to influence for good all those who have no portion on both sides of Jordan.

V. Finally, THE CHURCH IS CALLED TO UNITY. We are to endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit. There are many stones, but one temple. There are many children, but one household - one family. There are many branches, but one Vine. There are many members, but one body. The Communion feast teaches this oneness. Our Lord's great intercessorial prayer was that his people all might be one. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love and concord, calls us to oneness. The divisions of Christians must grieve the Spirit.

"Our little systems have their day; .
They have their day, and cease to be,
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they."
Oh for another Pentecost, that the Church of today might be as the Church of the fruit days; and the Redeemer's words be exemplified "That they all might be one, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me! - A.C.T.

But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness.
The imagery of Scripture poetry often presents instructive truths, referring to more general subjects than those on which the sacred writer might, at the particular time, be called to dwell.

I. Regard the text as respects MOUNT ZION. A grand Scripture type. Not only there God was worshipped, but there God Himself, as the object of worship, dwelt. Conceive of God, accepting Christ's atonement, — Christ standing as Mediatorial King on the holy hill, — the redeemed from earth actually worshipping there — and, in spirit, all true worshippers coming to God by Christ. You have thus that state of things of which Mount Zion, with its temples, its glory, its services, its worshippers, was a type.


1. The text says, "deliverance"; marg. reads, "They that escape." Two aspects of the same subject. Where do they come that flee for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them? To Christ on this Mount Zion. They escape for their lives, — come to Him, and He casts them not out. They have "deliverance" therefore. Pardon, spiritual freedom, and blessedness.

2. Then "there shall be holiness." An undoubted truth, the penitent sinner, coming to God in truth, by faith, for pardon, is made holy, becomes a new creature. Justification and sanctification thus connected; the favour, and the image of God. Real holiness; — holiness of life, as well as of heart; — growing holiness. Nor is it anywhere else. They who will not come to Christ may sometimes have human virtue; they cannot have Divine holiness. Look at this mount. Oh, the blessedness of dwelling there. Well fortified, well supplied. God is there. You live in peace. He is preparing you for the higher blessings. There is the heavenly Zion. Only they pass to it who on earth dwelt on the spiritual Zion.

(G. Cubitt.)

I. THE DELIVERANCE OF THE CHURCH OF GOD. Mount Zion signifies the Church, the entire mass of those who are given to the Lord Jesus Christ, and whom He has ransomed by His blood. It is remarkable that what is exhibited as the liberation of the Church is always conjoined with the destruction of some opposing power. The fact is, that the destruction of the opposing power is the means used for the liberating of the Church. Conquest in the world is triumph in the Church. Consolation is combined with liberation. Deliverance is the first and principal object which presented itself to the mind of the Lord Jesus. His death was a necessary step to His resurrection, His resurrection to His exaltation, His exaltation to the assumption of His mediatorial power. We see that Jesus Christ first fought and conquered, and then He became the liberator of the world. In the world He works liberation by instrumentality, and the great agency employed in carrying it on is the Holy Spirit. Liberation begins with Christ, but it does not end with Him; for, as He Himself obtained resurrection by the power of God, so there is another resurrection which takes place in the breast of every man who is the subject of His kingdom.

II. THE GRAND EFFECT WHICH THE TEXT SETS FORTH. "There shall be holiness." The mount of deliverance is always the mount of holiness. Another name for holiness is spiritual health. Bring the whole to this one point, that the test of state is character; that wherever this holiness is met with, there the deliverance that has been effected on Mount Zion by the Lord Jesus is applied, and there the liberation that the Spirit of God works in the souls of His people is likewise brought to pass.

III. THE PRIVILEGES TO WHICH THIS EFFECT LEADS, AND FOR WHICH IT PREPARES. "Shall possess their possessions." Canaan for the earlier saints. For us "the inheritance of the saints."

(John Campbell.)

The coming of the Lord in glorious majesty to judge the earth is the burden of the Church's message to-day. Throughout the writings of the prophets the choicest and most consoling promises concerning the Christian Church follow close upon God's terrible threatenings against His enemies. The main scope of Obadiah's prophecy was to warn the Edomites of the destruction which awaited them. The true Mount Zion is the Christian Church, typified by Mount Zion in Jerusalem. The prophet in the text points us to Mount Zion as the place where we may look for deliverance. From what? From a mere local religion with its centre at Jerusalem. The Kingdom of God's dear Son is for the whole world. From the blackness and condemnation of Sinai and the violated law. With this "deliverance" will be seen its never-failing attendant — "holiness." It was the great design of our Divine Redeemer to produce the fruits of holiness in His Church. The kingdom of God is not only the manifestation and free offer of Christ's pardon to penitent sinners, but it is holiness of heart and life. When the tree is made good, the fruit will be good also.

(John N. Norton.)


1. It is connected with deliverance.

2. With purity.

3. With enjoyment. Possess here means, enjoy their possessions.

II. A CONSUMING POWER. There is a fire in the true Church (ver. 18).

1. The characteristics this fire displays. What is the fire? The fire of truth, that burns up error; the fire of right, that burns up wickedness; the fire of love, that burns up selfishness. It is a strong fire; an extending fire; a steady fire; an unquenchable fire.

2. The materials this fire consumes. "Stubble." What is moral depravity in all its forms, theoretical and practical, religious, social, and political? "Stubble." Error to truth, wrong to right, malice to love, is but stubble to fire.

III. AN AGGRESSIVE POWER. The Gospel is at once the inspiration, the life, and the instrument of the true Church.

1. The elements of which the Gospel is composed. "Grace and truth," or eternal reality and Divine benevolence. To show the aggressiveness of these principles, state three facts.

(1)The human soul is made to feel their imperial force.

(2)The human soul is bound to yearn after these elements as its highest good.

(3)The human soul is everywhere restless without these elements.

2. The proselytising spirit which the Gospel engenders. Every genuine recipient of the Gospel becomes a missionary.

3. The triumphs which the Gospel has already achieved. Such thoughts as these tend to demonstrate the essential aggressiveness of the true Church.


Benjamin, Canaanites, Esau, Jacob, Joseph, Obadiah, Teman
Edom, Esau, Gilead, Jerusalem, Mount Esau, Mount Zion, Negeb, Samaria, Sepharad, Shephelah, Teman, Zarephath
Benjamin, Ephraim, E'phraim, Esau, Field, Fields, Foothills, Gilead, Heritage, Low, Lowland, Mount, Mountain, Mountains, Negeb, Negev, Occupy, Philistine, Philistines, Plain, Possess, Possessed, Samaria, Sama'ria, Shephelah, Shephe'lah, South, Territory, Yea
1. The destruction of Edom,
3. for their pride,
10. and for their wrong unto Jacob.
17. The salvation and victory of Jacob.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Obadiah 1:1-21

     5263   communication

Obadiah 1:17-21

     9145   Messianic age

The book of Obadiah--shortest of all the prophetic books--is occupied, in the main, as the superscription suggests, with the fate of Edom. Her people have been humbled, the high and rocky fastnesses in which they trusted have not been able to save them. Neighbouring Arab tribes have successfully attacked them and driven them from their home (vv, 1-7).[1] This is the divine penalty for their cruel and unbrotherly treatment of the Jews after the siege of Jerusalem, vv. 10-14, 15b. Nay, a day
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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