15. By saying that the day of Jehovah was nigh upon all nations, the Prophet may be regarded as reasoning from the greater to the less: “If God will not spare other nations, how canst thou escape his hand?” In a like manner does Jeremiah speak in chap. 49: he addresses the Idumeans in these words, ‘Behold, they shall drink of the cup, who have not been by judgment condemned to drink; and shalt thou not taste? by drinking thou shalt drink to the very dregs.’ He shows then that the Idumeans deserved a double vengeance; for if indeed they were compared with the Assyrians and Chaldeans, the fault of the latter would appear small: the Chaldeans might pretend some causes for the war, they were aliens, they were, in short, professed enemies; but the Idumeans were neighbours and kindred. The same thing might be also said of other nations. But the words may be explained in a simpler manner; and that is, that God would not only take vengeance on one or two nations, but on all. “See,” he says, “a change will take place not only in one corner, but in the whole world. The Lord will thus show that he is the judge of the whole earth. Hence it follows, that the Idumeans also must render an account, for God has resolved to execute judgment on all nations; no one whatever shall be passed by.”
Behold, then, nigh is the day of Jehovah. We have said that the time in which Obadiah prophesied is unknown to us. But it is no matter of wonder that he declares that nigh is the day of Jehovah; for the Lord hastens not after the manner of men; but, at the same time, he knows his own seasons; and this is ever accomplished, that when the ungodly think themselves to be at rest, then sudden destruction overtakes them.
He draws this conclusion, As thou hast done, so shall it be done to thee. There seems, however, to be here an implied comparison between the chastisement of the chosen people and the punishment which shall be inflicted on other nations. When the Idumeans saw that the kingdom of Israel and of Judah was trodden under foot, they thought that the children of Abraham were thus punished because they had despised their own Prophets, because they had become immoral and perverse in the extreme. Thus they exempted themselves and others from punishment. Now the Prophet declares that God had been the judge of his people, but that he is also the judge of the whole world, and that this would quickly be made evident. When, therefore, he says, that nigh was the day of Jehovah, he had, I have no doubt, a regard, as I have already said, to the chastisement of the Church; as though he said, “As God has proved himself to be one who justly punishes sins with respect to Israel and Judah; so also at length he will ascend his tribunal to judge all the nations; no one, therefore, shall escape punishment. All then in their different conditions shall be constrained to give an account of their actions, for the Lord will spare none: and though he has begun with his Church and his own house, yet there will come afterwards the suitable time to take vengeance, when he will extend his hand to punish all heathen nations.” This seems to me to be the real meaning.
Rightly then does he conclude, As then thou hast done, it shall be done to thee: “Think not that thou shalt be unpunished for having gone against thy brother. It was God’s purpose to exhibit an example of his severity towards others, while he spared thee; but thou hast abused his forbearance; for thou mightest have remained quiet at home: the Lord will then repay thee.” And then he subjoins, Thy reward shall recoil, or return, on thine own head. Here the Prophet announces what Christ also says, ‘With what measure any one measures, it shall be repaid to him,’ (Matth. 7:2.) This sentence is worthy of being noticed: for when God leaves the innocent to the will of the ungodly, they think that they may do whatever they please with impunity, as though they were the executioners of God. As then they become thus insolent when the Lord spares them, let us take notice of what the Prophet says here,—that a reward is prepared for every one, and that whatever cruelty the ungodly may exercise, it shall be returned on their own heads. 
The Day of the Lord (Obadiah 15–16)
15–16 / As a consequence, in contrast to the day of Edom (above), there will be the day of the Lord. Verses 15–16 should actually be connected with verses 11–14 in an unbroken stanza, but I have separated them here simply to emphasize the contrast between Edom’s day and God’s. Verses 15 and 16 are connected rhetorically with verse 14 by kî, “for,” an important word that the niv has omitted from the beginning of both verses 15 and 16. Thus, the sense is: Edom should not have betrayed Judah, for or because the day of the Lord is near, and because it will be judged along with all the nations on that day.
The concept of the day of the Lord had its roots in the wars fought by Israel’s tribal federation during the time of the Judges and of the early monarchy. In those wars, called “holy wars” by scholars because they were fought according to fixed cultic rules, it was believed that Yahweh fought for Israel with cosmic weapons. The popular belief therefore arose in Israel that Yahweh would finally bring in a time or day when all of Israel’s enemies would be defeated and Israel would be exalted among the nations. Most of the prophets denied that popular belief and declared that disobedient Israel would also be judged. Rather than being a time of Israel’s triumph, the day would bring wrath and darkness and destruction, leaving perhaps a remnant of its people (cf. Amos 5:18–20; Isa. 2:6–22; Ezek. 7:5–27; Joel 1:1–15; 2:1–11; Mal. 4:5). Obadiah reverses that usual prophetic picture of gloom and declares that the day of the Lord will be a time of salvation for the chosen people, while Edom, and indeed all of Israel’s enemies, will be no more, verse 16.
Obadiah uses two traditional pictures in these verses. First, he employs what scholars have called a “synthetic view” of sin, in which the sin of Edom returns upon its own head as its punishment, verse 15. It is a common view in the Scriptures (cf. Jer. 50:15, 29; Ezek. 35:15; Joel 3:4, 7): evil returns upon the evil doer, not automatically, but as a consequence of Yahweh’s working (cf. 1 Kgs. 8:31–32; Rom. 1:24, 26, 28). As Edom has done to Judah, so it shall be done to Edom.
Second, Obadiah uses the figure of all the nations forced on the day of Yahweh to drink of the cup of wrath (cf. Jer. 25:15–29; 49:12; Lam. 4:21). Edom, God says, profaned the holy hill of Zion with drinking and boisterous celebration of Judah’s fall, verse 16. But Edom and all nations will have another draught—the draught of God’s wrath from the cup of God’s anger, and they will drink and gulp and swallow that draught until they have disappeared from history.
15. For—resumptive in connection with Ob 1:10, wherein Edom was threatened with cutting off for ever.
the day of the Lord—the day in which He will manifest Himself as the Righteous Punisher of the ungodly peoples (Joe 3:14). The “all” shows that the fulfilment is not exhausted in the punishment inflicted on the surrounding nations by the instrumentality of Nebuchadnezzar; but, as in Joe 3:14, and Zec 12:3, that the last judgment to come on the nations confederate against Jerusalem is referred to.
as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee—the righteous principle of retribution in kind (Le 24:17; Mt 7:2; compare Jdg 1:6, 7; 8:19; Es 7:10).
thy reward—the reward of thy deed (compare Is 3:9–11).
15 The oracle now enters a new section which sets in overall context the predictions of doom against Edom: the Day of Yahweh is coming! This great day of Yahweh’s sovereign intervention militarily and politically, long expected by the prophets (cf. Amos 5:18–20; Isa 13:6–13; Jer 46:10; Zeph 3:8; cf. G. von Rad, “The Origin of the Concept of the Day of the Lord,” JSS 4  97–108; D. Stuart, “The Sovereign’s Day of Conquest,” BASOR 221  159–64), will be the occasion for Edom’s defeat. Edom’s fate is not isolated but is caught up in a general judgment action “against all the nations” (על־כל הגוים) which, like all proper judgments, will reverse evil and establish good on a worldwide scale (cf. Isa 13:11, also within a foreignnation oracle). Thus what Edom deserves it will get, much in the manner of lex talionis (cf. Lev 24:20; Deut 19:21), the punishment fitting the crime precisely. The very things Edom had done to others, thus incurring God’s wrath (as also in Joel 3:4–8, etc), will now be done to Edom. The opportunistic attacker and spoiler will itself be attacked and despoiled.
15 This verse bridges the halves of the book, uniting the more particular oracle against Edom (2–15) with the more general one concerning Israel and the nations (16–21; see Introduction).
The day of the Lord is the ultimate goal towards which history is heading. In it, God will punish those who oppose him and bring relief to his own people. Israel understood herself as included in the latter category, but found that she was rather in the former, due to rebellion and breach of covenant (Joel 1:15; 3:14; Am. 5:18–24). She will be among the punished nations (Dt. 32:35–36; Zc. 14:1–3), here exemplified by Edom. Edom will be punished in ways related to her own wrong doings, an example of ‘tit-for-tat’ or, more technically, of lex talionis (cf. Lv. 24:19; Je. 50:15, 29). God’s justice is being vindicated in not letting the guilty go unpunished.
V.15. Edom illustrates God’s judgment to come on all nations (cf. Isa. 34:2) who rebel in arrogance against God. The day of the Lord may refer to any time God judges by entering into world affairs (e.g., Ezek 30:3; see comments under “Major Interpretive Problems” in the Introduction to Joel). Most frequently, though, it refers to (a) God’s judgments in the Great Tribulation and at the return of Jesus Christ in glory, and/or (b) God’s establishing of the Millennium. In other words the Lord’s “day” is when He will bring all things under His rule.
Edom’s humiliation foreshadows what the Lord will do to all nations who similarly mistreat Israel. Besides her past humiliation, Edom will be repopulated in the future (see comments on Obad. 16) and with other nations will again come under God’s wrath in the forthcoming day of the Lord when Christ returns to establish His reign.
God’s judgments on Edom corresponded to her crimes. What she (you is sing.) had done to Judah would then be done to her: (1) She looted Jerusalem (v. 13), so she was looted (v. 6; cf. Jer. 49:10). (2) Edom killed Judean fugitives (Obad. 14; cf. Amos 1:11), so she was slaughtered (Obad. 8; cf. Isa. 34:5–8; Ezek. 32:29; 35:8). (3) She handed over Judean survivors to the enemy (Obad. 14; cf. Ezek. 35:5), so Edom’s allies expelled her (Obad. 7). (4) Edom rejoiced over Judah’s losses (Obad. 12; cf. Ezek. 35:15), so she was covered with shame and destroyed (Obad. 10).
15 The day of the Lord is a technical term used by the prophets to indicate the day of God’s judgment (Amos 5:18–20). Here the term likely refers to the time when God would judge all the nations, including Edom, that had participated in Judah’s destruction. As you have done: The nature of God’s judgment always reflects the nature of the sin being judged.
15 — “As you have done, it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return upon your own head.”
Repeatedly in Scripture God says that He will use a man’s own sin against him in judgment. “He made a pit and dug it out,” said David of the wicked, “and has fallen into the ditch which he made” (Ps. 7:15).
15 day of the Lord. God’s near judgment of Edom in history (vv. 1–14) was a preview of His far judgment on all nations (vv. 15, 16) who refuse to bow to His sovereignty (cf. discussion of “Day of the Lord” in Introduction to Joel).
15 The Edomites should discontinue their enmity against God’s people because (For) the day of God’s universal judgment is near. The day of the Lord is a term for events that especially vindicate God’s character and purposes (see Ex. 32:34; Deut. 31:16–19; 32:35–38 for background). The term can be used for near-term judgments on God’s own people (Amos 5:18–27, the exile of Israel; and Zeph. 1:7, 14, the fall of Jerusalem) or on nations that oppress them (Isa. 13:6, the punishment of Babylon), as well as for events far off with universal significance (Mal. 4:1, 5). The NT applies the term “day of the Lord” to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:8; 2 Pet. 3:10). (On the theme of “the day of the Lord,” see note on Amos 5:18–20; see also The Day of the Lord in the Prophets.) As you have done. The judgment will be based on retributive justice. Prophetic-judgment texts typically reflect this standard. The correspondence between misdeeds and punishment shows the punishment to be appropriate, fair, and deserved.
15 On the day of the Lord, see note on Isa. 13:6. On the principle of just retribution, see note on Prov. 1:18.
15 day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. For the day of the Lord, see Is. 2:11, 12. Now the prophet sets the judgment of Edom against the larger backdrop of God’s moral reckoning with all nations. This episode with Edom is only a small preview of God’s judgment; He will not stop until He has cleansed His world of all His enemies. The connection between Edom and the rest of the nations is their shared rebellion against God.
15 The prophets looked for God’s intervention to establish perfectly His rule and His justice on earth. Often this is called “the day of the Lord.” However, as any major act of God in judgment or deliverance is a foreshadowing of that day, it too can be called a “day of the Lord.” Here the final day of the Lord is in view. All the heathen will be judged.
15 The day of the Lord was a time of retribution for the Edomites because of their cooperation with the conquering Babylonians in the day of Judah’s distress (see note at vv. 12–14). What you deserve is lit “your payback or retribution.” Retribution would come upon Babylon the ally of Edom (Ps 137:8) and all who had insulted Judah (Lm 3:61–64). The promise of “retribution on your heads” to all Israel’s enemies will be fulfilled in the last days (Jl 3:4, 7).
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