The Almighty Holy One (Hab 3:3-3:3)

“Elohim,

The Almighty One,

Came from Teman.

The Holy One

Came from Mount Paran.”

            Selah

Habakkuk has a series of names for Yahweh.  He was called Elohim, the Almighty One, and the Holy One.  This Almighty One was coming from Teman in Edom, the territory south of Judah.  Paran was a mountain in Edom.  Thus, Yahweh was going to enter Judah from the south.  Like in many of the psalms, there is an indication for a pause with the Selah.

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Edom and the day of Yahweh (Ob 1:8-1:9)

“Says Yahweh.

‘On that day,

I will destroy

The wise ones

Out of Edom.

I will destroy

The understanding ones

out of Mount Esau.

Your warriors

Shall be shattered!

O Teman!

Thus,

Every man

From Mount Esau

Will be cut off.’”

Yahweh, via the prophet Obadiah, said that he was going to destroy the wise and understanding people in Edom, because Edom was well known for its wise men and their wisdom.  He was going to destroy the warriors from Mount Esau, the name of the twin brother of Jacob.  The northern area of Teman would be shattered, so that the people from Mount Esau would be cut off from the rest of Edom.

Against Edom (Am 1:11-1:12)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Edom,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because he pursued

His brother

With the sword.

He cast off all pity.

He maintained

His anger perpetually.

He kept his wrath forever.

So,

I will send a fire

On Teman.

It shall devour

The strongholds of Bozrah.’”

Edom was southeast of Judah and south of the Dead Sea. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, and Tyre. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, like in Proverbs, chapter 30. Edom was considered a brother of Israel, because its founder was Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. Edom had tried to kill the Israelites with a sword. They had no pity, since they were perpetually angry. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire down on Teman, either a tribe or small village in Edom. He was also going to devour the fortress in Bozrah, the capital city of Edom, in present day Jordan.

The punishment of Edom (Ezek 25:13-25:14)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will stretch out

My hand

Against Edom.

I will cut off from it

Humans,

As well as animals.

I will make it desolate.

From Teman

Even to Dedan,

They shall fall

By the sword.

I will lay my vengeance

Upon Edom

By the hand

Of my people

Israel.

They shall act

In Edom

According to my anger.

They shall act

According to my wrath.

They shall know

My vengeance.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Unlike Moab and Ammon, Yahweh was going to destroy Edom with the Israelites, and not with the people from the East. Yahweh was going to stretch out his hand against Edom, so that it would be cut off from all humans and animals. He was going to make it a desolate place from Teman to Dedan. Teman was perhaps a tribal group in northern Edom, since Teman was the name of the grandson of Esau. Dedan was a tribe involved in commerce in the south of Edom. They would all fall by the sword or they would end up in captivity. However, this vengeance was to come at the hands of Yahweh’s people, Israel. They would carry out the anger and wrath of Yahweh. Thus the Edomites would know the vengeance of Yahweh God.

The lack of knowledge (Bar 3:20-3:23)

“Later generations

Have seen

The light of day.

They have lived

Upon this earth.

But they have

Not learned

The way to knowledge.

They have not

Understood her paths.

They have not

Laid hold of her.

Their descendants

Have strayed far

From her way.

She has not been heard of

In Canaan.

She has not been seen

In Teman.

The descendants of Hagar

Seek for understanding

On the earth.

The merchants of Merran,

With the merchants of Teman

Have not learned

The way to wisdom.

The story-tellers,

The seekers for understanding

Have not given thought

To her paths.”

The people living today on this earth have not learned the way to knowledge. They have not understood the various paths to get there. They are unable to grab knowledge. Their descendants have wandered far off the beaten path towards knowledge. Thus they cannot hear or see of knowledge in Canaan or Teman. Canaan was the old name for the land of Israel, while Teman was a city in Edom, south of Israel that was well known for its wisdom. The descendants of Hagar, the concubine of Abraham, or the Ishmaelites, were also seeking understanding. However, the merchants of Midian or Merran with the merchants of Teman in Edom have not learned the various paths to wisdom. The story-tellers and even those seeking understanding have not learned the way or path to wisdom. In fact, they have given little thought to this question.

The questions for Edom (Jer 49:7-49:9)

“Concerning Edom!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

‘Is there no longer wisdom

In Teman?

Has counsel perished

From the prudent?

Has their wisdom vanished?

Flee!

Turn back!

Get down low!

O inhabitants of Dedan!

I will bring

The calamity of Esau

Upon him,

Like the time

When I punished him.

If grape-gatherers

Came to you,

Would they not

Leave gleanings?

If thieves came

By night,

Would they not pillage

Only what they wanted?”

Edom was south of the Dead Sea, south of Moab and south of Judah. Its biblical origin was the place where Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, went to live in Genesis, chapter 36. Yahweh has a series of questions for Edom. What happened to their wisdom, especially at Teman, perhaps a tribal group in Edom, since Teman was the name of the grandson of Esau. One of Job’s friends Eliphaz was a Temanite. Obadiah, an almost unknown minor prophet, seemed to take some of this diatribe against Edom into most of his work. Something has happened to the counsel and prudence of Edom. Has all their wisdom vanished? Dedan was a tribe involved in commerce. Both grape gatherers and thieves would leave something behind. They would not take everything. Thus the grape pickers would leave some grapes for the later gleaners to come along and get some of these overlooked grapes. The same is true about nightly thieves who would only take what they needed.

The clans of Edom (1 Chr 1:51-1:54)

“The clans of Edom are Timna, Aliah, Jetheth, Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel, and Iram. These are the clans of Edom.”

These are the names of the eleven clans of Esau, so don’t say that Esau had no descendants. Incidentally a few are women, Timna and Oholibamah. Timna was the concubine of Eliphaz, the grandson of Esau. Oholibamah was the wife of Esau. Kenaz and Teman were the sons of Eliphaz. Aliah or Alvah in Genesis might have been a son of Shobal. However, we do not know much about the others mentioned here, Jetheth, Elah, Pinon, Mibzar, Magdiel, and Iram. This is almost the exact same as mentioned in Genesis, chapter 36.