We return to Obadiah and continue to march through his prophecy. Today we begin with verse 9:
“And your mighty men, O Teman, will be dismayed with the end that/to the end that every person may be cut off from the mountains of Esau through slaughter.”
Several of these words invite consideration. We begin with “mighty man/hero” (גִּבּוֹר, gibor). We have Nimrod as a “mighty (gibor) hunter” (צַיִד, tsayid) before the Lord (Gen 10:9). This could lead us on a nice trip through the world and vocabulary of hunting, but let’s confine ourselves to the verb: צוּד (tsud). Only one instance. In the Jacob and Esau story we have the line about how Esau went out into the field (שָׂדֶה, sadeh) to hunt (tsud) game (tsayid). Of course the specific forms of nouns and verbs must also be learned, but if the basic vocabulary is firmly fixed in mind, those tasks become less daunting.
Returning then to gibor. One passage in Deut. gives us an attractive threefold catalogue of names: “great” (gadol, which we have seen), the “mighty” (gibor) and he “awesome/terrible (norah, from yare’, which we have seen). From Obadiah 9 we learn that the “mighty men” will be “dismayed” (חָתַת, chathath). The verb chathath is an incredibly rich verb in Hebrew, often appearing in hendiadys with yare’ (“be afraid”), but once place where it appears, in Josh. 1:9 we have “do not be afraid” using a different verb (עָרַץ, arats). I find the language quite accessible if one adds words “one at a time.” Now we have three verbs for fearing/trembling and they are really easy to learn (yare’, chathath, arats) .
But we can say a little more about Josh. 1:9, because it gives us four rich verbs in quick succession:
“Have I not commanded (צָוָה, tsavah) you? Be strong (חָזַק, chazak) and of good courage (אָמַץ, amets). Don’t be afraid/tremble (arats) nor be dismayed (chathath), because the Lord your God (אֱלהִים, elohim) is with you wherever you go.”
Though our focus is on the verbs for fearing, we pause on the command “Be strong and of good courage.” These are wonderfully attractive words to learn. “Be strong” is chazak, which we will no doubt return to in other contexts; 'have courage” is amets, which may be translated many ways, including “be stout, strong, bold, alert, courageous.” And all of this is put in the context of God’s “command” with tsavah as the verb; All of these words will invite us back on other occasions, I am sure. One other example with “dismayed,” lest we get carried away. We can also have dismay connected with “shame,” such as in II Kings 19:26, where chathath appears with בּוּשׁ (boosh/bush, “to be confounded/shamed”). If you were going to follow the thread of a Hebrew verb, you now have about six or seven you could follow.
We will claim “Teman” in passing (תֵּימָן) before moving to “for the purpose of/to the end of” and “cut off.” In the case of Obadiah 9 it is so that “everyone” (ish, which we have seen) is “cut off” (כָּרַת, karath) from the mountain (har, which we have seen) of Esau. The word “so that” or “to the end that” is מַעַן (maan). Though maan appears frequently, my focus here will be on the immensely attractive verb karath. We have previously seen that one can “make” (karath) a covenant (berith); here is just one example from the hundreds that can be given: in Ex. 12:15 we have a people eating (akal, which we have seen) unleavened bread (מַצָּה, matsthah, which you actually can easily buy in the store today) for seven days (שֶׁבַע, sheba). A person (in this case נפש, nephesh) who makes a mistake and actually ends up eating leavened bread (חָמֵץ, chamets) will be cut off (karath) from the people. Lots of rich and useful words.
Back to Obadiah 9. Recall the people of Edom are being clobbered. They are being cut off, but one final word should be mentioned that ends the verse. It is rare: קֶטֶל (qetel, “slaughter”). They are going to be cut off by slaughter. Qetel is an OT hapax; its verb form, appearing 3x, is קָטַל, qatal, the most famous of its appearances is in Job 13:15….the controversial verse speaking about God’s possible slaying of Job.
This gives us about 20 new words for the day. A good start for our morning. What is really exciting, however, is that we are building a scope of knowledge hat means that w increasingly run into words with which we are familiar. We are getting there!
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