A vision was granted to Obadiah of the penalty to be meted out to Edom for his cruelty to his brother Israel. Instead of showing sympathy, the Edomites had feasted their eyes on the misery of their kinsfolk, eagerly watching for their destruction. See Num 20:14-21 and Psa 137:7. But the very calamities which had befallen Jacob would visit them.
Since we know not how soon we may be called upon to suffer, we should feel compassion for rather than exultation in, the sufferings of others. Malice harbored in any form contains the seed of future suffering. The great day of God is at hand, Oba 1:15, which shall bring retribution to all who have set themselves against the kingdom of God. “When our Lord returns He will bring redemption to His saints, and His people shall possess their possessions. This suggests the solemn inquiry whether as the heirs of God, we have yet entered upon our inheritance. O happy day, when the kingdom shall be the Lord’s and we shall reign with Him!
Owing to the brevity of this book, review questions are omitted.Fleeing from God and Duty
Jonah is mentioned in 2Ki 14:25. He was clearly very patriotic, and did not despair of his country in its darkest days. This commission to Nineveh was therefore not to his taste, because he had no desire to see the great heathen city brought to her knees. Another century would have to pass before Isaiah and Micah would proclaim that the heathen world would turn to God, Mic 4:1; Isa 2:2.
Rather than go upon this errand of mercy, Jonah hurried down to the one seaport, that he might escape his duty. Sin is always a descent; we always have to pay heavily in tolls and fares when we take our own way instead of God’s, and we must never reckon that opportunity implies permission.
Weary with excitement and travel, the prophet is oblivious to the weighing of the anchor. The disasters that block the way of disobedience are harder than our difficulties in performing God’s bidding. Note the divine agency in our lives: the word of the Lord came; the Lord hurled forth a great wind; the Lord prepared a great fish. There were, in these heathen sailors, beautiful traits which ought to have abashed the prophet. Their prayer to their idols and their endeavor to save this stranger Jew are as instructive as remarkable.