Given the current circumstances in Israel, I find myself compelled to look to the prophets for insight. How can we understand current actions? As success is being reached by Israel against the terrorists attacking her, as America is moving strongly against terrorism, the government of Israel capitulates to the terrorist enemy? There is no doubt misunderstandings and bad judgements being made in good faith. But there is also no doubt there is pressure, arm twisting, and some very severe threats behind the scenes.
President Bush speaks words of strength, words from the bible. He acts with honor and conviction. He stands proud and tall (and alone) against terrorism, fighting in Afghanistan and attacking Iraq, and battling in other places around the world (ex. Phillipines). Yet at the same time the State Department and CIA are pressuring Israel to surrender and training the Palestinians (who then turn around and use those skills to kill Jews)?
Is there no justice? Will there be no divine result from such a twisted action?
In my reading of the prophet Ovadiah, it seems that there will be. It is with fear and trepidation that I undertake the task of translating the prophet in light of current events (majority taken from classic sources, any and all mistakes my own). I am not qualified; I am not a learned expert. However, perhaps my limited understanding allows me to place the translation in the context of events rather than properly understanding generations of interpretation and commentary.
I invite corrections from my masters and teachers and beg forgiveness for my ignorance and mistakes. I truly hope and pray that I am completely mistaken in what I am about to write.
The vision of Ovadiah: This is what G-d the Lord said concerning America. We heard a report from G-d, and a messenger has been sent to the nations. “Get up! Let’s wage war against her!”
1. Literally 'Edom', why do I write America?… This prophecy will only be fulfilled in the future. (Radak) Edom no longer exists, it’s attributes were assimilated by the Roman Empire. (Radak) References to Edom are understood as alluding to Rome and by extension to the entire Christian world. (Malbim) The Western-World, and certainly the leading power of the Western-World, America, are the spiritual and practical inheritors of the Roman Empire. Democracy (in a more limited fashion) and Materialism are original attributes of Rome and the driving attributes of America. (me)
2. So many nations will desire to wage war against America that it will seem as if they had sent messengers among them (Ibn Ezra). This verse refers to the war of Gog and Magog, between the descendants of Ishmael [Ishmael = the Arabs (me)] and America. (Malbim, more is written).
See how I’ve made you small among the nations. You are thoroughly despised. Your heart’s conceit has enticed you. You who makes the skyscrapers your lofty abode, who says to himself: “Who can bring me down to earth?” Even if you lift yourself high like an eagle, and even if you establish a space station, I will bring you down from there!” says G-d.
3. Although past tense, this speaks of the future when America will be destroyed. (Radak) Emphasizing world opinion of America, it's philosophy and lifestyle (me)
4. Current world opinion of America. (me)
5. Literally ‘mountain caves’.
6. An illusion, a hint, to the national symbol of America. (me)
7. Literally ‘even if you place it among the stars’. Note the same day Israeli government approved the withdrawal from Gaza, NASA announced a return to space with newly scheduled Space Shuttle launch dates [both occuring on Feb. 21, 2005]. (me)
How is it that you’ve remained silent? If thieves and robbers came to you in the night, wouldn't they have stolen only their fill? If grape gatherers came to you, wouldn't they have left behind gleanings?
8. Translation according to Targum.
9. Whereas, when they come to Israel they want everything [Abbas announced right after Israel announced a withdrawal that more more is required] (me)
10. More of the same? (me) or The hebrew for grape gatherers is the plural of Basra, the southern Iraqi city (see Isaiah 63:1, Amos 1:12, Daath Mikra), so this might also say: In Basra, all they will leave behind is gleanings. [a warning to America, and a tie in to other significant prophecies about Basra] (me)
How have Esav been searched and his hidden places found? All your allies accompanied you only to the border. Your comrades duped you. They got the better of you. Your friends set a trap under you. You lacked understanding.
11. Iraq was searched for years and years, the hidden places were known! (me)
12. They stood together in the U.N. Security Council, but would not go in! (me) A prophecy that America's allies will convince her to wage war and guarantee military support, but they do not fulfill their promise (Daath Mikra, one of several )
13. They set you up! They corroborated your intelligence reports (Russia, France) falsely! (me)
Surely on that day, says G-d, I will make the wise men disappear from America and understanding from the mountain of Esav. Your warriors will be broken, you who live in the south, so that the slaughter will wipe out every last man from the mountain of Esav.
14. A reference to the capital of America (Malbim) The men of wisdom leave the government before the disaster. Colin Powell [Sec. of State], John Ashcroft [Attorney General], Tom Ridge [Sec. of Homeland Security], among the majority of the cabinet that left with the start of President Bush's second term. (me) The mountain of Esav may refer to the British. While Bush's cabinet has changed, the British government hasn't changed any personnel, they'll just act without understanding when the time comes. (me)
15. If [14, last item], then..within Iraq, the British control the southern part of the country, including Basra. When the disaster occurs, the British contingent will be destroyed.
But why why why? What does the prophet say about why?
Because you oppressed your brother Yaakov, you will be covered in shame and you will be cut off forever. When you stood aside on the day that strangers confiscated his possessions and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots over Jerusalem. You too are like one of them (since you did nothing to help).
16. Yaakov means Israel (me)
17. President Bush, Feb. 17 2005 "And in that Israel is our ally, and we have made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if her security is threatened". Secretary of State Rice, Feb. 6: Well in fact I really do believe, and President Bush believes, that the disengagement plan is potentially of historic proportion, and that it is in fact one of the things that will help us to get back on to the Roadmap, perhaps even in a much accelerated fashion because the decision, I know very difficult decision, to disengage, to dismantle settlements in the Gaza and in the four West Bank cities creates a new dynamic on the ground. It gives to the Palestinians an opportunity to govern areas in which Israelis will no longer be. And so, we believe that the disengagement plan is actually helpful to moving forward on the Roadmap and ultimately then to the two-state solution. Secretary Rice: We do believe that unilateral steps in Jerusalem, particularly those that might appear to pre-judge future discussions, would be unhelpful at this time. It is essential that the parties who we really do believe now have a new opportunity to move forward toward peace, that everything be done to make the circumstances and the conditions as favorable as possible. And so, we would hope that the Palestinians and the Israelis, as well as the neighborhood, would consider all steps in the context of what will contribute most to sustaining a momentum toward peace.
Part 2 will follow, G-d willing, soon.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא