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Minor Prophets - Obadiah

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An Overview of Obadiah



(1)    Obadiah’s name means “servant or worshipper of Jehovah.”

(a)    He is sometimes known as “the prophet of Edom’s doom.”

(b)    13 different men in the OT wore this name, but not much is known about this one who wrote the book.

(2)    The date of the book is hard to pin down.

(a)    Some suggest that the date is around 586 B.C. (i.e., the time of Babylonian captivity).

(b)    Others suggest that the date is around 845 B.C. (i.e., the time when the Philistines and theArabians attacked Jerusalem).

1.      During this time, the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah (2 Chronicles 21.5-20).

2.      There is an Obadiah mentioned around this time (2 Chronicles 17.7).

3.      Other factors to consider:

a.       Babylonian is not mentioned in the context.

b.      The captives were not taken to Babylon but to the west, Philistia (vv. 19-20).

(3)    Some facts about the book:

(a)    Shortest book of the OT

(b)    Not quoted in the NT


I.                   Who were the Edomites?

A.    Edom and Israel were related. [Esau – Jacob]

1.      The rivalry began in the womb of Rebecca (Gen. 25.22-26).

2.      God, in His providence, chose Jacob over Esau to be the spiritual and physical head over Israel (Rom. 9.10-13).

a.       This happened when Esau foolishly sold his birthright (Gen. 25).

b.      Also, Jacob, by deceit, received the blessing meant for Esau (Gen. 27).

c.       Esau planned to kill Jacob but the brothers were later reconciled (Gen. 32-33).

B.     Later, the history between the nations was filled with hatred.

1.      Edom refused Israel passage through their land when Israel was coming from Egypt on route to the Promised Land (Num. 20.14ff.).

2.      David later conquered Edom and made it subject to Israel (2 Sam. 8.13-14).

3.      Edom later revolted and eventually gained its independence (2 Kings 8.20-22).

II.                What did Obadiah have to say to the Edomites?

A.    Obadiah alleges that Edom assisted Judah’s enemies in gloating over Jerusalem’s condition instead of coming to their brethren’s aid (cf. Obadiah 12).

B.     Therefore, Edom would fall because of her pride and unbrotherly cruelty against Judah.

C.     The fulfillment of Obadiah’s prophecy is confirmed by Edom’s history.

1.      In its golden age, Sela (also known as Petra) was a flourishing city because it was on a trade route from east and west.

2.      In the 4th century BC, the Navateans Arabs conquered Edom and drove them from their own land.

3.      The Edomites settled in Southern Judah and became known as the Idumaeans.

4.      John Hyrcanus (120 BC) conquered the Idumaeans and forced them to be circumcised and incorporated them into Judah.

5.      They were later conquered by the Roman army in the Jewish War (67-73 AD) and disappeared from history.

III.             Lessons from Obadiah:

A.    Pride goes before destruction – Prov. 16.18

B.     Cruelty, Injustice, and Hatred will be punished – Obad. 10, 15, 16

C.     Whatever a man sows, that we will reap (Gal. 6.7-8)

D.    It is wrong to rejoice at the misfortunes of others (Obad. 12)

E.     Human defenses are useless when God sets His face against a nation (Obad. 3-4)

F.      God’s people will stand victorious in the end (Obad. 17-21)


(1)    Learn from the past – Help others, don’t mock others

(2)    Learn from the past – If you are suffering now for right, you will stand victorious in the end

(3)    Learn from the past – What God says will come to pass in His own time

(4)    Learn from the past – One can only stand in the end with God

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