(Calvin, Commentary on Obadiah , part 4)

Lecture Seventy-first. 
Obadiah 1:12-14 
12  But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in 
the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have 
rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; 
neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 
13  Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in 
the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on 
their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid [hands] 
on their substance in the day of their calamity; 
14  Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off 
those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered 
up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. 
    The Prophet enumerates here the kinds of cruelty which the 
Idumeans exercised towards the Church of God, the children of 
Abraham, their own kindred. But he speaks by way of prohibition; it 
is then a personification, by which the Prophet introduces God as 
the speaker, as though he taught and admonished them on the duties 
of human kindness. Engraven, indeed, on their hearts ought all these 
to have been, on account of which he now reproaches them; for by 
forgetting humanity they had departed from everything right which 
nature requires. God indeed did not commence by instructing or 
teaching the Idumeans what were their duties; but the Prophet 
reminds them of things which must have been well known to them, and 
were beyond all dispute true. 
    Hence he says, "Thou shouldest not look on in the day of thy 
brother, in the day of his alienation". The day of Judah he calls 
that in which God visited him: so the day of Jerusalem is called the 
day of calamity. Thou shouldest not then look on: we know in what 
sense this verb, to look on, is usually taken in Scripture; it is 
applied to men, when they lie in wait, or very anxiously desire 
anything, or rejoice at what they witness. The Prophet no doubt 
takes it metaphorically for taking delight in the misery of the 
chosen people; for, shortly after, he repeats the same word. Thou 
shouldest not then look on in the day of thy brother, even in the 
day of his alienation. Some take another sense; but I approve of 
their opinion, who regard this alienation as meaning exile; at the 
same time, they give not the reason for this metaphor, which is 
this, - that such a change then took place in the people, that they 
put on a new appearance. It was then alienation, when God wholly 
abolished the glory of the kingdom of Judah, and when he took away 
all his favors, so that the appearance of the people became 
deformed. In the day then of his alienation, that is, when the Lord 
stripped him of his ancient dignity. 
    "Thou shouldest not rejoice, he says, over the children of 
Judah, in the day of their destruction", that is of their ruin; 
"thou shouldest not make thy mouth great in the day of affliction". 
We now perceive what the Prophet means. Though indeed he seems here 
to show to the Idumeans their duty, he yet reproves them for having 
neglected all the laws of humanity, and of having been carried away 
by their own pride and cruelty. It hence follows that they were 
worthy of that dreadful vengeance which he has already mentioned. In 
case then the Idumeans complained that God dealt too severely with 
them, the Prophet here reminds them, that they in many ways sought 
such a ruin for themselves, - How so? "Were not thou delighted with 
the calamity of thy brother? Didst not thou laugh when Judah was 
distressed? And didst not thou speak loftily in ridicule? Was this 
outrageousness to be endured? Can the Lord now spare thee, as thou 
hast been so cruel towards thy brother?" And he repeats the name of 
brother, for the crime was the more atrocious, as it has been 
already said, as they showed no regard for those of their own blood. 
But the Prophet often mentions either affliction, or ruin, or 
calamity, or evils, or adversity; for it is a feeling naturally 
implanted in us, that when one is distressed, we are touched with 
pity; even when we see our enemies lie prostrate on the ground, our 
hatred and anger are extinguished, or at least are abated: and all 
who see even their enemies ill-treated, become, as it were, other 
men, that is, they put off the anger with which they were previously 
inflamed. As then this is what is common almost to all men, it 
appears that the Idumeans must have been doubly and treble 
barbarous, when they rejoiced at the calamity of their brethren, and 
took pleasure in a spectacle so sad and mournful, and even spoke 
proudly, and jeered the miserable Jews; for this, as we have said, 
is the meaning of the words, to make great the mouth 
    It follows, "Thou shouldest not enter the gates of my people in 
the day of their destruction, nor shouldest thou look on in their 
calamity". Probably the Idumeans had made an irruption in company 
with the Assyrians and Chaldeans, when they ought to have remained 
at home, and there to lament the slaughter of their brethren. For if 
I cannot save my friend from death or from a calamity, I shall yet 
withdraw myself, for I could not bear to look on: but were I 
constrained to look on my friend, and be not able to succor him in 
his necessity, I should rather close my eyes; for there is in the 
eyes, we know, the tenderest sympathy. As then the Idumeans 
willingly went forth and entered Jerusalem with the enemies, it was 
hence evident that they were no better than wild beasts. Thou 
shouldest not then, he says, enter the gates of my people in the day 
of slaughter, nor shouldest thou especially then, look on. He again 
repeats "gam 'attah", thou also, or, especially thou: "If other 
neighbors do this, yet thou shouldest abstain, for thou art of the 
same blood; if thou can't not bring help, show at least some token 
of grief and of sympathy: but as thou willingly and gladly lookest 
on their calamities, it is quite evident that there is not in thee a 
particle of right feeling." 
    He afterwards adds, "Thou shouldest not stretch forth thy hand 
to his substance". Here he accuses the Idumeans of having been 
implicated in taking the spoils with other enemies, as though he 
said, "Ye have not only suffered your brethren to be pillaged, but 
ye became robbers yourselves. Ye ought to have felt sorrow in seeing 
them distressed by foreign enemies; but ye have plundered with them, 
and enriched yourselves with spoils; this certainly is by no means 
to be endured." 
    It follows, "And thou shouldest not stand on the going forth". 
The word "perek" signifies to break, to dissipate, to rend; hence 
"perek", as a noun, in Hebrew means rending and breaking. Therefore 
some take it metaphorically for a place where two ways meet, when 
one road is cut or divided into two. When the two meet then there is 
a going forth by two ways; hence they take "perek" for such a place. 
But we may simply take it for the rending of the people. Though I am 
certainly pleased with the first explanation, yet I do not confine 
the word to that meaning; and I prefer the idea of going forth, as 
it harmonizes better with the context: Thou hast stood then on the 
going forth; and for what purpose? "To destroy those who had 
escaped, and to stop or to deliver up his remaining captives in the 
day of affliction". In short, the Prophet means that the Idumeans 
occupied all the ways, to intercept the miserable exiles, to whom 
flight was the only way of safety. 
    As then the miserable Jews tried by winding outlets to provide 
for their own safety, the Prophet says that they were intercepted by 
the Idumeans, lest any of them should escape, and that they were 
stopped, that afterwards they might be slain by their enemies. 
Inasmuch as the Assyrians and the Chaldeans were a people far remote 
from Judea, it is probable that the roads were unknown to them, and 
that they were afraid of being entrapped; but the Idumeans, who were 
familiarly acquainted with all their roads, could stand at all the 
outlets. Some give the following explanation, but it is too frigid: 
"Thou shouldest not stand for the rending of thy brethren," that is, 
thou should not stand still, but strive to extend a helping hand to 
the distressed: but this, as I have said, is too frigid and 
strained. Thou shouldest not then stand on the going forth of the 
roads to destroy. We now see what the Prophet had in view; to 
destroy, he says, and whom did they destroy? Even those who had 
already escaped. Expressly then is pointed out here the cruelty to 
which I have referred, that the Idumeans were not contented with the 
ruin of the city, and the great slaughter which had been made; but 
in case any had stealthily escaped, they occupied the outlets of the 
roads, that they might not flee away: and the same thing is meant 
when he adds, that all were betrayed or stopped who had remained 
alive in the day of affliction. 
    We now understand the Prophet's meaning; - that the Idumeans 
could not complain that God was too severe with them, when he 
reduced them to nothing, because they had given examples of extreme 
cruelty towards their own brethren, and at a time when their 
calamities ought to have obliterated all hatred and old enmities, as 
it is usually the case even with men the most alienated from one 
another. Let us proceed - 
Obadiah 1:15 
For the day of the LORD [is] near upon all the heathen: as thou hast 
done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine 
own head. 
    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 neighbors 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. It follows - 
Obadiah 1:16 
For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, [so] shall all the 
heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall 
swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. 
    Here Obadiah proceeds farther and says, that God would revenge 
the wrongs done to his Church. The declaration in the last verse was 
general, "Behold, on all the nations the day of Jehovah is nigh; as 
then thou hast done, God will repay thee:" but now he shows that 
this would be, because God purposed to defend his own servants, and 
as they had been cruelly treated, he would become the avenger of 
their wrongs; As then "ye have drunk on my holy mountain", &c. The 
Prophet, I have no doubt, taking a part for the whole, included in 
the word drink their triumphs and rejoicings. As then ye have 
rejoiced on my holy mountain, so also all the nations shall drink 
and continue their excess; they shall drink up, so that ye shall 
utterly perish. But the Prophet appears to me evidently to add here 
a proof of their avariciousness. He had shortly before accused the 
Idumeans of having taken away a part of the spoil, together with the 
foreign nations, when the miserable Jews were plundered. So also, he 
says now, Ye have drunk, in token of triumph and rejoicing. 
    Ye have then drunk wine on my holy mountain: now drink shall 
all the nations. This latter drinking is to be taken in a sense 
different from the former. What then? Drink they shall, and drink 
up, that is, "They shall consume all your substance." And he 
afterwards adds, "And drink they shall continually; and they shall 
be as though they had not been", that is they shall not cease to eat 
and to drink until they shall consume whatever is among you. He then 
intimates that the Idumeans, who had enriched themselves with the 
spoils of their brethren, and who had also kept feastings in token 
of their joy on the holy mountain, would hereafter be the food of 
others, for all the nations would drink, and drink them up. To drink 
then here is the same as to consume. It follows, (for I am under the 
necessity of finishing this prophecy today, and time, I hope, will 
allow me) - 
Obadiah 1:17 
But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be 
holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 
    Here the Prophet promises deliverance to the Jews; for other 
consolations would have been of no great moment, had they, who then 
were perishing, no hope of being some time restored to safety. The 
Jews might indeed have objected, and said, "What is it to us, though 
the Lord may avenge our wrongs? Should the Idumeans be destroyed for 
our sake, what profit will that be to us? We are in the meantime 
destroyed and have no hope of deliverance." The Prophet here meets 
this objection, and says, "In mount Zion shall be escape". Though 
then the Idumeans had attempted to intercept all outlets, as it has 
been before mentioned, yet God promises here that there would be an 
escape in mount Zion: he says not, from mount Zion, but in the very 
mountain. What does this mean? even that God would restore those who 
might seem then to be lost. Then Obadiah clearly promises that there 
would be a restoration of the Church. 
    But we are taught in this place, that the punishment, by which 
the Lord chastises his people for their sins, is ever for a time. 
Whenever then God inflicts wounds on his Church, prepared at the 
same time is the remedy; for God designs not, nor does he suffer, 
that his own people should be wholly lost. This we may learn from 
the Prophet's words, when he says, that there would be escape in 
Zion. And it was no ordinary comfort for the Jews to know, that even 
in their extreme decay, there remained for them some hope of 
deliverance, and that the people, who might appear at the time to be 
extinct, would yet be saved, and preserved alive, as though they 
arose from the dead. 
    He says that mount Zion would be holiness or holy, by which he 
means that God would be mindful of his covenant. As then he had 
chosen mount Zion where he would be worshipped, the Prophet 
intimates that God's name was not there involved presumptuously or 
in vain. Inasmuch as God had chosen this mount for himself, it was 
holy; for God is said to have profaned the land and the temple, when 
he forsook them and delivered them up into the hands of enemies. So 
also now when the Prophet says, that mount Zion would be holy, it is 
the same as though he had said, that God would have a care for this 
mountain, because he had once consecrated it to himself, and 
designed it to be his own habitation. The cause then is put here for 
its effect. He had said, that the Jews would survive, how much 
soever like the lost and the dead they might for a time be, - How 
could such a thing be? The reason is this, - mount Zion shall be 
holy: it was a dreadful profanation of mount Zion when the temple 
was destroyed, when the holy vessels were taken away by the 
Babylonians, when, in short, the enemies showed there every kind of 
insolence. But when the Lord restored his people, when the altar was 
built again, and sacrifices were offered, then mount Zion recovered 
its holiness, that is, God manifested that the grace of his election 
had not been abolished, for he had again sanctified mount Zion, and 
thus designed it to be preserved safe. Holy then shall be mount 
Zion. Were any one disposed to refine more on the Prophet's words, 
he might say, that it is evidently the manner of our salvation that 
is intended, when God is said to sanctify or govern us by his 
Spirit: but the Prophet, I have no doubt, has regard here simply to 
the election of God. 
    "And the house of Jacob shall again possess his own 
possessions", that is whatever God has given as an heritage to the 
children of Abraham, he will restore to them when they return from 
exile. If any one prefers to take possessions to be those of Edom, I 
do not object. But yet I think that the real meaning of the Prophet 
is, that when the children of Israel should return from exile, God 
would restore to them their ancient country, that they might possess 
whatever had been promised to their father Abraham. He means then, 
by their possessions, the whole land, which came by lot into the 
possession of the chosen people, as it had been promised to Abraham. 
It follows - 
Obadiah 1:18 
And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a 
flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in 
them, and devour them; and there shall not be [any] remaining of the 
house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken [it]. 
    Here again the Prophet meets a doubt, which might come into the 
mind of each of them; for the Idumeans were flourishing, and their 
condition was independent, when the Israelites as well as the Jews 
were led into exile, and Jerusalem with its temple was destroyed. 
They might under such circumstances despair; but the Prophet shows, 
that though for a time the house of Jacob seemed to be dead, yet a 
fire would be kindled, which would consume the Idumeans, though they 
were then proud of their power and their wealth, and also of the 
prosperous issue of the victory over the Jews, for they had been 
enriched, ad well as the Assyrians, by the overthrow of their 
brethren. A similar mode of speaking Isaiah also adopts; though he 
directs his discourse, not to the Idumeans, but to others, yet his 
manner of speaking is the same when he says, that God, the light of 
Israel, would be a fire and a flame to consume the wicked, (Isa. 29: 
    But this was fulfilled, when the Lord avenged the cruelty of 
Edom, though the Jews were then in exile and could not move a 
finger, when they were without arms, yea, when they were miserable 
slaves: the Idumeans were even then consumed, by what fire? how was 
this burning kindled? Even then "the house of Jacob and the house of 
Joseph were like afire and a flame". The cause of this ruin, it is 
true, did not immediately appear to the Idumeans: but we must here 
look to the purpose of God. Why did God with so much severity punish 
the Idemeans? Because he intended by this example to show how much 
he loved his Church. Since then their cruelty was the cause of ruin 
to the Idumeans, rightly does the prophet say, that the house of 
Jacob and the house of Joseph would be like a fire and a flame to 
consume the Idumeans. And it was not a small solace to the miserable 
exiles, when they understood, that they were still regarded by God 
in their depressed condition. Inasmuch then as they were exposed to 
the reproach and ridicule of all, it pleased God to testify that 
they were the objects of his care, and that he would, for their 
sake, destroy whole nations even those who then gloried in their 
power. We now then see why the Prophet adopted this figurative 
language. By the house of Joseph, he means as we have said elsewhere 
the kingdom of Israel; he mentions a part for the whole. It follows 
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] 
And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel [shall 
possess] that of the Canaanites, [even] unto Zarephath; and the 
captivity of Jerusalem, which [is] in Sepharad, shall possess the 
cities of the south. 
    The Prophet proceeds with the same subject, - that God would 
not only gather the remnants of his people from the Babylonian 
exile, but would restore the exiles, that they might rule far and 
wide, and that their condition might be better than it was before: 
for the Prophet, as I think, directs the attention to the first 
blessing of God, which had been deposited in the hand of Abraham. 
God had promised to the posterity of Abraham the whole land from 
Euphrates to the sea. Now this land had never been possessed by the 
children of Abraham. This happened, as it is well known, through 
their sloth and ingratitude. David in his time enlarged the borders; 
but yet he only made those tributaries whom God had commanded to be 
destroyed. So this blessing had never been fulfilled, because the 
people put a hindrance in the way. The Prophet now, speaking of the 
restoration of the Church, tells the people, who would return from 
exile, that they were to occupy the country which had been promised 
to their fathers as though he said, "There will come to you a full 
and complete inheritance." 
    Now it is certain that this prophecy has never been completed: 
we know that but a small portion of the land was possessed by the 
Jews. What then are we to understand by this prophecy? It does 
unquestionably appear that the Prophet speaks here of the kingdom of 
Christ; and we know that the Church was then really restored, and 
that the Jews not only recovered their former state from which they 
had fallen, but that their kingdom was increased: for how great 
became the splendor of the kingdom and of the temple under Christ? 
This then is what the Prophet now means, when he promises to the 
Jews the heritage which they had lost; yea, God then enlarged the 
borders of Judea. Hence he shows that they should not only be 
restored to their former condition, but that the kingdom would be 
increased in splendor and wealth, when Christ should come. Let us 
now run over the words. 
    "Possess then shall they the south of the mount of Esau". The 
space was no doubt great: even when David reigned, the Jews did not 
possess that part or south portion of mount Seir. Then the Prophet, 
as I have said, shows that the borders of the kingdom would be more 
extensive than they had been. "And the plain, he says, of the 
Philistines". On that side also the Lord would cause that the Jews 
would extend farther than their kingdom. And possess they shall the 
fields of Ephraim. Here I will not spend much labour in describing 
the land: but it is enough for us to understand that the design of 
the Prophet was to show, that the state of the people after their 
exile would be far more splendid than it had been before, even under 
the reign of David. What he means by Gilead is not very clear: but 
it is not probable that mount Gilead is referred to here, which was 
not far distant from the tribe of Benjamin, but rather that a town 
or some place distant from that part, and not included in their 
portion, is pointed out. 
    He afterwards adds, "And the migrations of this host of the 
children of Israel", &c. There is here an obscurity in the words. 
The Hebrews by Canaan mean the Illyrians as well as Germans, and 
also the Gauls: for they say, that the migration, which shall be 
dispersed in Gaul, and in Germany, and in these far regions, shall 
possess the southern cities. Now by Zarephath they understand Spain. 
But we know, as we have elsewhere said, that the Jews are very bold 
in their glosses: for they are not ashamed to trifle and to blend 
frivolous things; and they assert this as though it were evident 
from history, and easily found out. Thus they prattle about things 
unknown to them, and this they do without any reason or 
discrimination. The Prophet, I doubt not, means here that all those 
territories, which had been formerly promised to the children of 
Abraham, would come into their possession when the Lord would send 
his Christ, not only to restore what had fallen, but also to render 
the state of the people in every way blessed. The import of the 
whole then is, that the Jews shall not only recover what they had 
lost, but what had not hitherto been given them to possess: all this 
the Lord would bestow on them when Christ came. It follows - 
Obadiah 1:21 
And saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; 
and the kingdom shall be the LORD's. 
    Here the Prophet says, that there are in God's hand ministers, 
the labour of whom he employs to preserve his own people. He alludes 
here, I have no doubt, to the history of the judges. We indeed know 
that the people of Israel were often so distressed, that their 
deliverance was almost incredible; and that yet they were also 
delivered in such a way as to have made it evident that the hand of 
God had appeared from heaven. Since this then was well known to the 
Jews, the Prophet here reminds them that God had still in his hand 
redeemers, whenever it might please him to gather his people. God 
then shall send preservers, even as he did send them formerly to 
your fathers. They had indeed found true by experience what the 
Prophet says here, not only once, but more than ten times. This then 
ought to have served much to confirm this prophecy. 
    Ascend then shall they who will judge the mount of Esau, - who, 
being endued with the power of God and his authority, will execute 
judgment on mount Seir and on the whole nation, and will avenge the 
cruelty which Edom had exercised towards the children of Abraham. 
    But this passage shows, that Christ came not to be the minister 
of our deliverance and salvation in an ordinary way, but that he 
became our savior in a special manner; so that he stands alone in 
that capacity: and this is a very strong argument against the Jews. 
They confess that the Messiah would be the Redeemer of his people, 
but they ascribe this office to him in a general way, as they do to 
David and other kings. But it certainly appears from this passage, 
that the Messiah would not be of the common class, for saviors would 
be under him as his ministers. This the Jews dare not to deny, 
though they grumble: for it would be absurd that he should be one of 
their number. Since then he was sent to be a Redeemer and Savior in 
a way different from others, it follows that he is not man only, but 
that he is the Author of salvation. It would indeed be easy to 
reply, "Why do you speak to us of many redeemers? Do you not hope 
for one Savior? If God will commit this office to many in an equal 
degree, why are there so many glorious promises respecting the 
Messiah? Why are we ever reminded of him alone? Why is he alone set 
forth to us as the ground of our salvation?" It hence certainly 
appears that Christ is to be distinguished from all others, and that 
others are saviors under his authority; and such were the apostles, 
and such are all at this day, the labour and ministry of whom God 
employs to defend and support his Church. 
    Now he adds, "Jehovah's shall be the kingdom". But as it is 
certain, that it was God's purpose to rule among his people after 
having restored them, in no other way than by the power of Christ, 
the Prophet, by saying that the kingdom of Christ would be 
Jehovah's, means, that it would be really divine, and more 
illustrious than if he had employed the labour of men. But two 
things must be here observed by us, - that God himself really rules 
in the person of Christ, - and that it is the legitimate mode of 
ruling the Church, that God alone should preside, and hold alone the 
chief power. Hence it follows, that when God does not appear as the 
only King, all things are in confusion, without any order. Now God 
is not called a King by way of an empty distinction: but then only 
is he regarded a King in reality, when all submit themselves to him, 
when they are ruled by his word; in short, when all creatures become 
silent in his presence. To God then belongs the kingdom. We hence 
see that the Church has no existence, where the word of God does not 
so prevail in its authority, as to keep down whatever height there 
is in men, and to bring them under the yoke, so that all may depend 
on God alone, that all may look up to him, and that he may have all 
in subjection to himself. 
Grant, Almighty God, that as we are so scattered in our pilgrimage 
in this world, that even a dreadful spectacle is presented to our 
eyes, when we see thy Church so miserably rent asunder, O grant, 
that being endued with the real power of thy Spirit, and gathered 
into one, we may so cultivate brotherly kindness among ourselves, 
that each may strive to help another, and at the same time keep our 
eyes fixed on Christ Jesus; and though hard contests may await us, 
may we yet be under his care and protection, and so exercise 
patience, that having finished our warfare, we may at last enjoy 
that blessed rest, which thou hast promised to us, and which is laid 
up for us in heaven, and which has also been purchased for us by the 
blood of Christ thy Son, one Lord. Amen. 
End of the Commentaries on Obadiah.

Calvin, Commentary on Obadiah

(... conclusion, Calvin on Obadiah)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-04: cvobd-04.txt