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he would wait to see what by divine inspiration he should be enabled to answer himself and others, in regard to his own expostulation with God, or his complaints respecting the Divine government, in ch. i., and thus quiet his mind.
2. may run ; i. e. let the characters be very large and legible, so that one may read them running, -- may not need to stop, but hold on his course. In this case, as in others, I have preferred a strictly literal translation to one which might express my interpretation of it more clearly. Others may interpret it differently. Thus Houbigant supposes the word run to be used in a figurative sense, so as to make the line mean, “ That he may read it quickly who reads it.” Thus we speak of running over a book. Others, that he who reads it may run and proclaim the tidings.
4. - Behold, the, &c. This has special reference to the Chaldæans, in comparison with whom the Jews are called “just” in the antithetic line. - shall live ; i.e. be safe, prosperous, happy. - faithfulness; i. e. his truth and integrity.
9. - evil hand ; i. e. from the assaults of his enemies.
11.--the stone, &c. ; i. e. the very stones of the cities overthrown by the Chaldæans proclaim their violence and cruelty.
13. —- for the fire; i. e. for that which is soon to be burned up, viz. Babylon, their capital city. --for naught; i. e. for that which shall be brought to nothing. Comp. Jer. li. 58.
14.- knowledge of the glory, &c.; i. e. the perfections of God will be widely displayed in the destruction of Babylon, and the deliverance of his people.
15. — giveth his neighbor drink. Under this image the meaning is conveyed, that Babylon, in various ways, by arts and arms, had subjected nations to her, and treated them with the utmost scorn.
17.- Lebanon in this verse probably represents Judæa. - shall cover thee; i. e. fall, as a just retribution upon thine own head. destruction of the beasts ; i. e. the desolation and slaughter of the inhabitants of the land, with which they were terrified, as wild beasts by hunters. For as Lebanon in this verse denotes the land of Israel, so the beasts of Lebanon denote the people of Israel.
20. Be silent. When an Asiatic sovereign goes to the mosque on any of their great festivals, such as the Bairam, the deepest silence reigns among all his retinue, viziers, foreign ambassadors, &c. They all bow respectfully before him, but no word is spoken, no sound uttered. It is to this species of reverence that the prophet alludes.”
- Adam Clarke.
III. 1. The prayer, &c. It appears to me probable that this title was inserted by some transcriber. This chapter appears not to be an independent production, but to be connected with what precedes, as a part of a whole poem. - an ode ; probably of a particular kind, unknown to us. Otherwise, in the manner of an elegy.
2.--revive thy work ; i. e. again manifest that power for the deliverthe years;
ance of thy people which was manifested in times past.
3. God cometh from Teman. It seems to me that it is much. more appropriate to the connection, to understand the poet as representing, in lofty poetic language, borrowed in some measure from .scenes in the Jewish history, a present or future interposition of the Deity, than to suppose that he is merely mentioning historical facts for their encouragement, according to the translation of the common version. The objections of Schnurrer, who is followed by Rosenmueller, to this view, do not make sufficient allowance for the bold and lyrical character of the representation.
3. - Selah. The most probable supposition in regard to this term is, that it was a direction to the singers to be silent ; i. e. to pause a little, while the instruments played an interlude or symphony. See Ges. ad verb. As it is not a part of Scripture, and is of no use, I omit it in the text.
4. His brightness; otherwise, the brightness or splendor; i. e. which issued from the dark clouds with which the Deity was enveloped. — Rays, &c. May not this denote that lightnings were in his hands? See Job xxxvi. 32, He covereth his hands with lightning. Also xxxvii. 3, 11, 15.
6. — measureth, &c. If we might disregard Hebrew usage and trust to an Arabic root, the rendering might be shaketh, &c.
7.- Cushan: a poetical word for Cush. Professor Robinson, in his edition of Calmet, supposes Cush to denote, - 1. a country in Africa, viz. Ethiopia, south of Egypt; 2. in Southern Arabia ; and 3. the regions of Persis, Chusistan, and Susiana. See Ges. Lex. ad verb., and Robinson's Calmet, Art. Cush and Ethiopia.
9. - made bare; i. e. taken from its case. Harmer informs us, from Sir John Chardin, that the Oriental bows were wont to be carried in a case hung to the girdle. The arrows of the Almighty are thunderbolts. As to the translation of the line, I have but little confidence in it, but give what seems least objectionable. The idea is, that the weapons which God commands to execute judgment have curses and destruction as their consequences.
11.-remain, &c. The representation seems to be, that there was darkness, and storm with lightning, &c., as instruments of Divine punishment. The sun and moon remained obscured by clouds in their habitation, when the lightnings, the arrows and spears of the Almighty, flew. Comp. Joel ii. 10; Zeph. i. 15. Some understand the arrows and spear as denoting weapons employed by Hebrew warriors, which weapons by their brightness and thickness obscured the light of the sun This does not seem so agreeable to the connection, or to similar passages in the Old Testament.
13. to the neck. This is probably a phrase which had a determined signification when employed by the author, but is now ambigu
I should understand it of the depth to which they razed the foundations, as it were man-deep, so that, if a man stood in them, his head only would be above them.
17.-- blossom ; i. e. put forth its fruit. For the fig-tree does not strictly put forth blossoms, but shoots out the figs, like so many little buttons, with their flowers, small and imperfect as they are, within them.
NOTES ON OBADIAH.
THERE is no information in the sacred records respecting the life of Obadiah, and the time in which he lived, nor any tradition worthy of the least regard.
It is probable that he was a contemporary of Jeremiah, as it appears from ver. 11 that he wrote after the destruction of Jerusalem, and denounced punishments against the Edomites similar to those which are contained in Jeremiah. Comp. Jer. xlix.
. There is an agreement not only in the sentiments, but also in words, and even in whole verses, between Obadiah and Jer. xlix. I should think the latter borrowed from the former.
The book of Obadiah was probably placed by the collector of the prophets next to Amos, and before several more ancient prophets, for no other reason than that in Amos ix. 12 mention is made of the conquest of Edom by the Jews.
3. clefts of the rock; better, perhaps, recesses, refuges, asylums of the rock. The agreement of the expressions used by the prophets in regard to ancient Edom with what we know of that country is very striking. It will be interesting to the reader to compare some description of the celebrated city of Petra with this passage. An account of the wonderful ruins of this city, with a wood-cut representing the entrance to it, may be found in the History of Arabia, No. LXVIII. of the Family Library, pp. 142 - 151.
The reader needs not to be reminded that many of these ruins are of more modern date than the period of the prophecy. There is probably an allusion to it in Jer. xlix. 16:
“ Thy terribleness hath deceived thee,
The pride of thy heart,
From thence will I bring thee down, saith Jehovah." 5. have ceased stealing, &c. ; lit. Would they not have stolen their sufficiency. But the parallelism shows that I have given the sense. The
Idea is, that it was to be more thoroughly wasted than common robbers usually perform their work, who through hurry or satiety leave some property to its possessor.
7. to the border. The meaning seems to be, that the allies of the Edomites had brought them to the borders of their country, and there abandoned or delivered them to their enemies. The phrase may have had an emphatic or proverbial meaning, which is lost to us.
16. For as ye have drunk; i. e. as ye Jews have partaken of the cup of Divine punishment, so shall all the nations partake of it. Comp. Jer. xxv, 27, 28.
END OF VOL. I.
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