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gatherers leave some gleanings. But the pillage of Esau was complete; not even his most secret treasures were spared.
From this view of the wholesale plunder of Edom, which is made thus emphatically prominent, because they were a rich people, and this was therefore a considerable item in their destruction-Petra being an important point on the route of the Syro-Arabian trade, and a depôt of Arabian products-the prophet reverts to what had preceded it, and how it came about. "All the men of thy confederacy"-i. e., the nations without exception which were in league with thee, and which therefore might reasonably have been expected to furnish thee aid -"have brought thee to the border." This is not to be taken exactly in the sense that some have understood it, as drawn from the custom of honouring the ambassadors of friendly nations with an escort to conduct them to the frontier, so that the meaning would be, They lavish great honour upon thee, and make fine promises, but do nothing; for in that case the most essential thought of all, that these promises were not fulfilled, is not stated. Nor does it mean, They brought to their border the fugitives escaped from Edom's overthrow, refusing them shelter; nor, They accompany thee to the borders of thy territory, uniting their forces with thine, as though they would assist thee in the battle against the foe, but intending then to desert thee and return; nor, They drive thee to the border of thy territory,-i. e., expel thee from it. The best understanding of it is, They conduct thee in the person of thy representatives, the ambassadors sent to solicit their aid, to the border,-i. e., refuse them the aid which they ask, and sent them out of the country.
"The men of thy peace,"-i. e., the nations at peace with thee, have also acted in a manner the opposite of what might have been expected; they have deceived thee; and that not merely by withholding assistance; they have committed positive, unlooked-for acts of hostility, and have prevailed against thee. The next clause is best translated by the assumption of an ellipsis, which is, it is true, an unusual one. But this is preferable to the violation of the accents with some interpreters, and to the forced constructions adopted by others. "The men of thy bread lay a snare under thee,"―i. e., those whom thou hast befriended, or who have derived their subsistence from thee, have requitted thy kindness with perfidy and betrayal.
Thus forsaken and betrayed by all their allies and former friends, they should fall into utter perplexity and distraction of counsels. That "there is none understanding in him" is here stated, not as the cause of misfortunes just detailed, nor as a judgment based upon them, (equivalent to saying, If they were as wise as they profess to be, they would not suffer themselves
to be so imposed upon), but as in part, at least, their result. And to render their condition perfectly hopeless, their last dependence should be stricken from them by a direct divine infliction. The sagacity for which their wise men were famed, and the bravery of the warriors of Teman (a part of Idumea, so named from the grandson of Esau, or as being the southern district of the land, here used interchangeably with Esau and Edom as their poetical equivalent), God would himself destroy, in order that the entire people left thus defenceless might be "cut off by slaughter." The common rendering of these last words is preferable to the translation "without slaughter,"i. e., they shall from mere faint-heartedness be vanquished without a battle; or "because of slaughter,"-viz., thy slaughter of Israel, whether the words be connected in this sense with the close of ver. 9, or in imitation of the Vulgate, Septuagint, and Peshito, but in opposition to the accents and the Masoretic division of the verses, with the beginning of ver. 10 ("For the slaughter and for the violence," &c.)
The second portion of the prophecy explains the reason of this terrible visitation. "For thy violence," in itself an atrocity, but aggravated by being committed against a brother, and that, too, Esau's twin-brother Jacob, "shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever," as already predicted.
Edom's enmity against Israel was not of recent origin, nor displayed merely in occasional acts of hostility. It began in the very earliest period of their history, and had its root in the jealousy felt on account of Israel's superior advantages. The most marked display of it was naturally in the time of Jerusalem's deepest humiliation. When it had fallen a prey to foreign invaders, and was suffering their barbarities, Edom insolently triumphed over its downfall, and lent their aid to complete its ruin. Hence, passing by less marked instances, the prophet portrays this in its aggravations, and denounces upon them, in consequence, the judgment of God.
The event described, ver. 11, and Edom's conduct on that occasion, identifying himself with the foreign invaders, was yet future, according to the view adopted by Caspari, but, from the certainty with which it is foreseen, is spoken of as past. The exhortations that follow, ver. 12-14, he considers to have reference to the same event, now conceived of as future or as in progress, the identity being established by the similarity of the terms employed. Those who regard ver. 11 as historically past, either refer these exhortations to a course of subsequent hostility, or suppose the prophet to conceive of the event which he had just mentioned as having taken place, with the vividness of an event passing before his eyes.
This dissuasion from the injurious treatment of Israel is
enforced by an appeal to the approaching day of the Lord upon all the heathen. This day of the Lord is variously represented by the prophets as one of judgment, of punishment, and of battle. It is designed for the illustration of the attributes of the Most High, especially his righteousness in the destruction of his people's enemies and of his own. Although in prophetic representation "a day," it proves in actual fact to be not a single point of time, in which judgment shall be simultaneously executed upon all nations, but a continuous period, in the course of which all shall in succession receive the punishment that they merit. This day is "near," not from the historical position of Obadiah, but from the ideal prophetic one which he has taken in the future. When each nation has completed its deeds of iniquity, the time of retribution is not far distant. That which here appears as the matter to be avenged on that day is the hostilities which have been committed against the people of God. Viewed under one aspect, the destruction of Jerusalem and all that Israel suffered from other nations was the consequence of their own sins. Viewed under another aspect, it was a consequence of the hostile disposition cherished by the world toward them as the people of God, and in them toward God himself. This disposition, it is true, he uses as an instrument for the correction of his people's sins, but it finds in that fact no justification. It is under this latter aspect that Obadiah in this prophecy regards the sufferings of Jerusalem. Their own sins are not once referred to as concerned in the treatment they experience, but only the hostility of other nations, and particularly of Edom, the most unrelenting and inexcusable of all, and who appears here not in his individual character merely, but as the representative generally of all the enemies of God's people.
This coming day of retribution upon all nations affords a sure guarantee of Edom's doom; for if no deed of criminality against Israel from any quarter shall pass unavenged, theirs shall not. As they had done, it should be done to them. For as ye (Edom) have drunk upon my holy mountain, indulging your profane revels over the scene of my people's overthrow, so shall all the heathen, and you of course among them, drink continually, but in another sense, drink the cup of divine wrath, and that in large, copious draughts, because forced so to do, and to their complete undoing; they shall be as though they had not been. That they shall drink" continually," does not imply that the same nations are to be for ever drinking, for the draughts are productive of speedy extinction. But one or another of the nations shall be always experiencing divine judgments.
The principal constructions, in addition to that given above,
which have been proposed for this passage, are the following: 1. As ye (Edomites) have drunk exulting over the ruin of Jerusalem, so shall all nations drink exulting over yours. 2. As ye (Edomites) have caroused upon my holy mountain, so shall all other nations inflict similar injuries upon Jerusalem, carouse there and perish. 3. As ye (Edomites) have drunk the cup of divine wrath for your treatment of God's people (their future punishment, from its certainty, spoken of as already experienced), so shall all nations. 4. As ye (Jews) have in the destruction of Jerusalem drunk of the divine wrath, so shall all nations drink of the same, but more largely and for a longer term.
The last division of the prophecy opens with a contrast to the doom denounced upon Edom, and upon all nations. Mount Zion shall have a fate directly opposite to the fate of those who have desecrated and wasted it. The contrast here stated is not simply that in the time of the utter extinction of the nations Israel, instead of being totally destroyed as they are, shall have still some survivors. The day of retribution which had been announced was for the nations, not for Israel. The latter is already judged in the (ideal) present, and only the judgment on the nations for what they have done to Israel lies yet in the future. The time in which the nations are visited for their sins will be the time of Israel's security and triumph. The escaped from all past and present tribulations will then be found on Mount Zion, which is thenceforth to be a sanctuary and inviolable. The house of Jacob shall retake their former seats. Israel, no longer divided into two opposing kingdoms, but acting in concert, shall find Esau powerless to resist them. Their former coasts will prove too strait for them, such shall be the increase of their numbers. They shall spread southward over the territory of Esau, westward over that of the Philistines, northward into the possessions of Ephraim, to whom a district still farther north must consequently be assigned, and eastward beyond Jordan.
From the body of the nation, who, after the calamities that awaited them (ver. 11), should return to repeople and enlarge their ancient seats, the eye of the prophet turns to those in captivity in his own times, and he predicts for them also a return and a similar enlargement. This captive host of the children of Israel who are scattered up and down among the Canaanites as far as to Zarephath, and those in Sepharad, shall occupy the cities of the south, where room will be made for them by the previous occupation of Edom by the inhabitants of these cities. Sepharad is not to be taken in its appellative sense as meaning dispersion, but the name of some definite locality, situated most probably in the distant west (compare
Joel iii. 6.) The Chaldee and Peshito render it Spain, and in modern Hebrew this is the name of that country.
Another construction of this passage is that this captive host of the children of Israel, i.e., those of the kingdom of the ten tribes carried captive to Assyria, shall on their return possess the land which belonged to the Canaanites as far as Zarephath.
And there shall go up, return out of exile, saviours (compare Judges iii. 9) for the defence of Israel and the subjugation of their foes, and particularly of Edom: "And the kingdom shall be the LORD'S." By the protection and deliverance which he shall afford to his people, and by his destruction of their foes, he shall demonstrate to the world that he does indeed reign.
ART. VI." The Marrow" Controversy: with Notices of the State of Scottish Theology in the beginning of last Century. To the generality of our readers the title of this article will no doubt sound strange, and to few will it present a very inviting bill of fare. It may be well, therefore, to announce that it refers to a controversy which agitated the Church of Scotland in the early part of last century, the bone of contention being a small treatise, bearing the somewhat equivocal and unpromising title of "The Marrow of Modern Divinity." The reader, however, need not be alarmed at the prospect of being dragged through the length and breadth of an obsolete controversy. We adopt the title simply because it indicates, more precisely than any other we can think of, the course of investigation we mean to pursue, which will embrace a general view of the state of theology in Scotland in the beginning of the eighteenth century, reintroducing on the stage a few characters which do not deserve to be forgotten, and presenting a curious phase of religious sentiment, interesting to all who love to trace to their remote causes those ecclesiastical movements which are seen and felt in their effects to the present day.
The Revolution of 1688 was not less remarkable for the religious than it was for the political change which it wrought in Scotland. Itself the product of two reigns of infatuated policy, it became the seed-plot of a new set of growths hitherto strange to Scottish soil, and destined to bear their peculiar fruit. In many respects the age that succeeded is tame and unattractive. Wanting the graphic interest of the two preceding centuries, which abound in picturesque scenery and original character, the eighteenth century presents a flat and featureless aspect,