Obadiah vs 1-4
The prophecy was likely delivered to the Jewish survivors of Jerusalem’s destruction. It should have been a great encouragement to know that Edom’s treachery against them would not go unpunished. In fact, all the enemies of God and His people would receive justice. Also, what seemed to be the end for God’s people would not be the end after all.
after the preface (v. 1). I. Threatenings against Edom, 1. That their pride should be humbled (v. 2–4). 2. That their wealth should be plundered (v. 5–7). 3. That their wisdom should be infatuated (v. 8, 9). 4. That their spiteful behaviour towards God’s Israel should be avenged (v. 10–16). II. Gracious promises to Israel; that they shall be restored and reformed, and shall be victorious over the Edomites, and become masters of their land and the lands of others of their neighbours (v. 17–20), and that the kingdom of the Messiah shall be set up by the bringing in of the great salvation (v. 21).
The book of Obadiah is the smallest in the Old Testament, but it packs a very big punch. Its impact is that God will punish the nation of Edom for the part she played at the downfall of Jerusalem. Indeed, a day is coming when all the nations of the earth will be judged
The country of Edom lies south of the Dead Sea, and to the south-east of Judah. Its people are descended from Esau, just as the Israelites are descendants of Jacob. Esau and Jacob were twins. Esau was the elder brother and the rightful heir of the promises God made to his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham. However, Esau never took God seriously. Jacob, on the other hand, was determined to supplant Esau, and succeeded in cheating him of his inheritance. The story of Esau and Jacob is told in Genesis 25–36.
Centuries later, when the Israelites asked Edom’s permission to use the ‘King’s Highway’ (the most direct route from Egypt to Canaan), they were refused. A long running enmity was established between Israel and Edom, which features frequently in the Old Testament story. Edom becomes a typical example of people who are insensitive to God and oppose his plans
At the time of Obadiah’s prophecy, Edom sits proud and strong in her high mountain setting. Her main cities are Bozrah and Sela (which means ‘rocks’). Petra is just such a city (although built later, in the 4th century BC) and is a favourite with tourists today. Obadiah warns Edom that nowhere is too high for God to reach. In fact Edom is about to be brought down to earth very decisively indeed. Her treasures will be ransacked, her allies will betray her, her wise people will be powerless and her warriors will be destroyed.
This catastrophe is to overtake Edom because she looked on and cheered when Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC. Family ties should have drawn Edom to help Judah, but in the event she sided with Babylon. Psalm 137 records the appalling betrayal:
Edom behaved in a hostile manner toward their Judahite brothers. B. C. Cresson lists six such events: (1) Absalom’s revolt, (2) Shishak’s invasion, (3) the Philistine-Arabian invasion, (4) the Israelite invasion, (5) Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion in 597 B.C., and (6) Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion in 587 B.C. The last event is the most likely. A short time after the fall of Judah to the Babylonians (587 B.C.) fits the situation
The first oracle concerns the pride of Edom and God’s vow to bring the nation down (vv. 1c–4)