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The Book of Obadiah

Time period of 2nd Kings 8-12

840 -830 BC

Discover the inspiring message behind the Day of the Lord and the Kingdom of God in this little book. It uncovers the meaningful relationship between Edom and Israel, represented by Esau and Jacob, throughout the history of redemption.

Despite being brothers, Edom, the nation descended from Esau, often opposed Israel. Numerous prophets, including Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Malachi, conveyed messages of condemnation directed towards Edom. They highlighted Edom’s self-sufficiency and pride as the root of its sins. In Obadiah, the prophet foretells the terrible fulfilment of the prophecy against Edom with just retribution (vv. lb-4 and phrases within vv. 5-9).

Obadiah connects this specific doom to the judgment of all nations on the imminent Day of the Lord. The escaped remnant of Israel will be the sphere of redemption and the instrument of the Lord’s rule over all nations. Though brief, this prophecy outlines the foundational truths of Biblical revelation: the sovereign rule of God, which will be universally acknowledged (v. 21); the election to blessing of Israel, the people of God (v. 17b); the election fulfilled through a remnant (v. 17a) who will be the arm of God’s strength from Mount Zion. The culmination of God’s purposes will occur on “the Day of the Lord.” This day, while bringing vindication to His own and a proper enjoyment of their promised land of rest, will bring condemnation to the enemy and the oppressor, of whom Edom typifies (v. 15).

The Book of Obadiah is one of many prophetic utterances concerning Edom. However, it serves as a focal point for all the Old Testament references to Edom, which we can’t explore in detail in this commentary. We have listed the main historical and prophetic references to Edom below:

Historical: Genesis 25 to 36 (Jacob and Esau); Numbers 20.14- 2, Deuteronomy 2.1- 8 (the Exodus period); 1 Samuel 14.47 (under Saul); 2 Samuel .14 (under David); 2 Kings 8.20- 22 (under Jehoram); 2 Chronicles 20.10- 23 (under Jehoshaphat); 2 Kings 14.7, 2 Chronicles 25.11-13 (under Amaziah); 2 Chronicles 28:17 (under Ahaz); Psalm 137.7, Lamentations 4.22 (fall of Jerusalem); Psalm 83.1-6 (general).

Prophecies: Isaiah 11.14; 34; 63.1- 6; Jeremiah 49.7-22, Ezekiel 25.12-14; 35; Joel 3. 19; Amos 1.11-12; Malachi 1.2-5.

The Authur

The author of the shortest book in the Old Testament remains unknown and the time period of writing is uncertain. However, while some conservative scholars date the prophecy to before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., the description of the city’s destruction in verses 11 to 14 aligns more closely with the destruction carried out by Nebuchadrezzar, during which the Edomites participated. Further, Obadiah describes a disaster to Edom after the fall of Jerusalem, likely the first in a series of attacks on Mount Seir which dispossessed the Edomites between the sixth and fourth centuries. The prophecy is therefore believed to have originated during or soon after the Exile.

Only one chapter in this book

Chapter 1