Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah


Edom denies Israel right of passage through her land. Numbers 24:18 .... In other words, to get the full message of Jonah, we have to read it .... chr...

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Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah Surprising Reversals

Approaching Obadiah •

Who was Obadiah and what were his times?



What are the structure and themes in Obadiah?



How does Obadiah point us forward to Jesus and the NT?

Approaching Obadiah •

Who was Obadiah and what were his times? •

We have no idea who Obadiah is (1:1). •

His name means “servant of the Lord.”



There are a dozen Obadiahs in the Bible (1 Ki 18:3; 1 Chron 3:21, 7:3, 8:38, 9:16, 12:9, 27:19; 2 Chron 17:7, 34:12; Neh 8:9; Ezra 8:9)



None of these would necessarily be identified with the biblical prophet.

Approaching Obadiah •

Who was Obadiah and what were his times? •

We also aren't exactly sure when he prophesied: •

Early date: there are some who believe that he prophesied in mid-9th century BC



Late date: most scholars believe that he prophesied after the fall of Jerusalem but before Babylon’s campaign against Edom (between 586-553 BC)



The question turns on when vv. 11-14 happened (cf. Psalm 137:7; Lam 4:21-22).

Approaching Obadiah •

Who was Obadiah and what were his times?



Obadiah’s prophecy focuses on Israel/Judah’s relationship with Edom.



Israel has had a long association with Edom all the way back to Jacob and Esau (see chart)



Obadiah’s book is unusual because while other prophets have oracles against the nation, his book contains an oracle against a single nation, Edom.

Jacob and Esau/Israel and Edom Genesis 36:1, 9

Edomites are described as descendents of Esau

Num 20:14-21, Judg 11:17-18

Edom denies Israel right of passage through her land

Numbers 24:18

Baalam predicts Edom will be conquered

1 Sam 14:47; 2 Sam 8:13-14;

The United Kingdom fought and subdued the Edomites 1 Kings 9:26-28, 11:14-22 2 Chronicles 20

Edom allies with Moab & Ammon in raid against Judah

2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Chron 21:8-10

Edom rebelled against Jehoram and achieved freedom from Israelite domination for 40 years

2 Kings 14:7; 2 Chron 25:11-12

Amaziah (Judah) reconquered Edom, inflicted heavy casualties

2 Chron 28:17

During Ahaz’s reign, Edom able to launch raids against Judah and take captives

Jeremiah 27

Edom joins with Judah in plans to rebel against Babylon

Approaching Obadiah •

What are the themes and structure in Obadiah? •

God the Sovereign King over the Nations: God rules on Mount Zion over the nations (15, 21)



The Day of the Lord (15-18): When the Day of the Lord is referenced, it is the “day” of judgment and salvation, a time when God will intervene powerfully and decisively in human history to bring about his saving plan.

Approaching Obadiah •

What are the themes and structure in Obadiah?



Reversal: the plunders will be plundered (1-7)



There are significant parallels between these verses and Jeremiah 49:7-22.



Edom has become proud because of the apparent security of “the clefts of the rock” (3-4)



However, the plunderers will be plundered by their former allies (6-7)

Approaching Obadiah •

What are the themes and structure in Obadiah? •

Retaliation: those who gloated will be destroyed (8-18) •

Edom gloated (12, 13) over the violence done to Judah as it pillaged it: •



They stood to the aside when enemies plundered Judah (11); cast lots for Israel’s possessions (11); gloated over Judah’s demise (12); looted the land (13); captured fleeing fugitives (14); delivered them up to the slave trade (14).

Edom will have the same thing happen in return (15)

Approaching Obadiah •

What are the themes and structure in Obadiah? •

Retaliation: those who gloated will be destroyed (8-18) •

Edom gloated (12, 13) over the violence done to Judah as it pillaged it: •



They stood to the aside when enemies plundered Judah (11); cast lots for Israel’s possessions (11); gloated over Judah’s demise (12); looted the land (13); captured fleeing fugitives (14); delivered them up to the slave trade (14).

Edom will have the same thing happen in return (15) along with the nations (16): there will be no survivors (18).

Approaching Obadiah •

What are the themes and structure in Obadiah? •

Restoration: Those who were dispossessed will possess again (19-21) •

All of these geographic references are to areas in Israel/ Judah: Negeb, Shepelah, Ephriam, Benjamin (19)



Verse 20 is more explicit: “the exiles of this host of the people of Israel shall possess the land”



Israel’s king shall rule Edom (21): “the kingdom shall be the Lord’s”

Approaching Obadiah •

How does Obadiah point us forward to Jesus and the NT? •

Edom’s continued attack on Israel: Matthew 2 •



Herod the Great was an Idumean and a descendent of Edom; as he seeks to destroy Jesus at his birth and destroys Bethlehemite boys under two years of age, it represents the continued Edomite attack on Israel.

“The Kingdom will be the Lord’s”: Revelation 11:15 •

The Savior (deliverer) shall go upon Mount Zion and rule the nations (cf. Psalm 2).

Approaching Jonah •

Who was Jonah and what were his times?



What are the structure and themes in Jonah?



How does Jonah point us forward to Jesus and the NT?

Approaching Jonah •

Who was Jonah and what were his times? •

One of the important things to say is that this book is anonymous; it is about Jonah, but it doesn’t identify Jonah as the author (no superscription)



That said, it is likely that the historical “Jonah the son of Amittai” was the author of the book (1:1). •

2 Kings 14:25 tells us that Jonah prophesied in Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II (that’s important for understanding the book).

Approaching Jonah •

Who was Jonah and what were his times?



Jonah is directed to Nineveh, the capital of the developing Assyrian empire



Remember, Jeroboam II was Israel’s king from 782-753 BC—right on the edge of Assyria’s ascendency as an empire.



Jeroboam II extended the borders of Israel to their furthest extent, beyond Damascus, abutting Assyria’s regional control.



It will not be until Tiglath-pileser (745-727 BC) gains control in Assyria that they would dominate the region again.

Approaching Jonah •

Who was Jonah and what were his times? •

The biggest question is whether Jonah was a historical figure and whether this book should be read as prophetic narrative. I think they should for several reasons: •

The book opens with a phrase (“the word of the Lord came to”) that occurs in 1 Kings with Elijah, who is clearly a historical figure and whose account is historical narrative (1 Kings 17:2, 8)



The accounting of Jonah is true to life with the ups and downs one would expect



Jesus clearly recognized Jonah and his story as historical (Matt 12:40-41)

Approaching Jonah •

What are the structure and themes in Jonah? •



While scholars are right to recognize that God cares for the nations, there is an implicit appeal to Israel throughout the book: •

If God has compassion upon Nineveh when they repent, won’t he have compassion upon Israel (the northern ten tribes) if they repent?



In other words, to get the full message of Jonah, we have to read it in connection with Hosea—it is an appeal to Israel to return to God and to fulfill their purpose as his prophetic people to the world.

God is the main actor in the book—at each point, he calls (1:1-2; 3:1-2), judges (1:4), saves (1:17, 2:10), relents (3:10), appeals (4:4, 9-11)

Approaching Jonah •

What are the structure and themes in Jonah? •

The Lord deals with Jonah, his rebellious prophet (1) •

God’s Word came to Jonah—he was to preach repentance to Nineveh, the “great” city (great is a key word in Jonah—appears 7 times; 1:2. 4. 14, 17; 3:2, 3; 4:11).



He ran in the opposite direction—Tarshish is traditionally identified with Spain; repeated three times to stress that he running from God’s word.



The Lord (notice its YHWH) brought the wind upon the sea—his judgment upon the prophet.



He was “fleeing from the presence of the Lord” (10), but not really— see, wind, storm, “great fish”

Approaching Jonah •

What are the structure and themes in Jonah? •

The Lord deals with Jonah, his rescued prophet (2) •

Strictly speaking this section begins with 1:17: the Lord appoints the great fish; in 2:10, he speaks to the great fish and it spits Jonah out on dry land



Jonah sings a song of thanksgiving to the Lord, that draws from the Psalms—it is thanksgiving because he has been saved, rescued by the great fish.

Approaching Jonah •

What are the structure and themes in Jonah? •



The Lord deals with Assyria, a repentant people (3) •

The commission comes again to Jonah and he obeys this time. The message doesn’t mention God, but calls for repentance.



The people are affected, even “the king of Nineveh” (6)—they fast and “turned from their evil way” (10) and so God relents from the proposed disaster.

The Lord deals with Jonah, his reluctant prophet (4) •

Jonah’s disappointed that God relented—but he knew God’s character (4:2; cf. Ex 34:6)



God appeals to him to have compassion for Nineveh like he has (10-11).

Approaching Jonah •

How does Jonah point us forward to Jesus and the NT? •

Jesus refers to the “sign of Jonah” as an appeal to the Pharisees to repent and believe (Matt 12:38-41; cf. Matt 16:4)



Jonah also tells us about God’s compassion to the Gentiles and so sets the stage for their inclusion in God’s people (Acts 10-11)

Approaching Micah •

Who was Micah and what were his times?



What are the structure and themes in Micah?



How does Micah point us forward to Jesus and the NT?

Approaching Micah •

Who was Micah and what were his times?



Micah was identified not by his father or family, but by his town: Moresheth-Gath, which was about 22-25 miles southwest of Jerusalem in the Shephelah region.



While he does not relate a “call” to prophetic ministry, he identifies his prophecy with the Spirit of the Lord (3:8).



His name means, “Who is like Yahweh?” The book ends on the same note (7:18)

Approaching Micah •

Who was Micah and what were his times? •



He tells us that he prophesies during the reigns of Jotham (750-735 BC). Ahaz (735-715), and Hezekiah (715-687 BC), kings of Judah (1:1). •

That means he was a contemporary of Isaiah.



His words were influential on Hezekiah: Jeremiah 26:17-19 quoting Micah 3:12

He prophesies in Judah, but against Samaria and Jerusalem (1:1), which means that his prophecies likely were given prior to 722 BC.

Approaching Micah •

What are the structure and themes in Micah? •

We have to remember that Micah did not speak these oracles at the same time. Rather, this is an anthology of prophetic statements that were not necessarily chronological.



The prophecies are structure around alternating words of judgment and hope. Salvation serves as a reversal of judgment, demonstrating that there is not a god like Israel’s God (7:18).

Approaching Micah •

What are the structure and themes in Micah? •

The announcement of judgment on and hope for Israel and Judah (1:1-2:13) •

This section stresses judgment more than hope. •



The judgment was for idolatry (1:6-7) and social injustice (2:1-2) along with seizure of property (2:9).

There is a fascinating play on words that doesn’t come through well in our regular English versions in 1:10-16 (see chart). These cities were the ones that Sennacherib would take in 701 BC as he came to lay siege to Jerusalem.

Don’t gossip about this in Telltown. Don’t waste your tears. In Dustville, roll in the dust. In Alarmtown, the alarm is sounded. The citizens of Exitburgh will never get out alive. Lament, Last-Stand City: There’s nothing in you left standing. The villagers of Bittertown wait in vain for sweet peace. Harsh judgment has come from God and entered Peace City. All you who live in Chariotville, get in your chariots for flight. You led the daughter of Zion into trusting not God but chariots. Similar sins in Israel also got their start in you. Go ahead and give your good-bye gifts to Good-byeville. Miragetown beckoned but disappointed Israel’s kings. Inheritance City has lost its inheritance. Glory town has seen its last of glory. Shave your heads in mourning over the loss of your precious towns. Go bald as a goose egg—they’ve gone into exile and aren’t coming back.

Micah 1:10-16 The Message

Approaching Micah •

What are the structure and themes in Micah? •

The present injustice and future justice in Jerusalem (3:1-5:15) •

The present injustice was typified in the civil (3:1-3) and religious leadership (3:5-6, 11)—when leaders say and do whatever is necessary in order to get paid, God’s judgment will come upon the nation.



But God promises justice: •

The mountain of the Lord will be a place of justice (4:1-13): note the “in that day” and “in the last days” language (Day of the Lord). Also, cf. Isaiah 2:1-4).



The Shepherd of the Lord (5:2-4) will come to gather his remnant and destroy the enemies of the Lord (5:7-15)

Approaching Micah •

What are the structure and themes in Micah? •

The Lord’s indictment and restoration of his people (6:1-7:20) •

God indicts Israel for violating his covenant (6:1-8)—verse 8 is a summary of the covenant demands of Deuteronomy. Love does justice, mercy, and faithfulness. But Israel has failed to do this.



As a result, Israel knows guilt, punishment and misery (6:9-7:7)



But God doesn’t abandon his people—rather, he shows mercy and grace that enables them rise and restores them (7:8-20).

Approaching Micah •

How does Micah point us forward to Jesus and the NT? •

Jesus the Great Shepherd born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2-4; Matt 2:1-12)



The promise of the nations flowing into the mountain of the Lord in the Day of the Lord (Micah 4:1-5; Acts 2)



The God of grace and forgiveness who casts sins into the depths of the sea through Jesus (Micah 7:18-20).