Welcome to our Bible Study Series on the Minor Prophets.
This is – –Obadiah, Edom’s Judgement
Click on the link above for the study session. Find the notes below.
Obadiah, Edom’s Judgement:
- So Hosea & Joel served around the same time but in different kingdoms. Hosea was a prophet in the North with the message of loyal love, and Joel in the South with the message on the Day of the Lord.
- Then Amos, who was from the South, was a prophet to the North with a message of the Lord’s Justice on the various injustices of Israel and the surrounding nations.
- Now tonight, we’re looking at Obadiah and Edom’s judgement because of their opposition against Judah.
1. Obadiah’s Setting:
- Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament and it deals with the bitter rivalry between Edom, which are the descendants of Jacob’s twin brother Esau, and the people of Israel. In an hour of need when Israel’s enemies were knocking at the gates of Jerusalem, the Edomites came to the aid of the enemy.
- For their unwillingness to serve as their brother’s keeper, the Edomites would one day become extinct. Obadiah, whose name means “Worshiper of Yahweh” or “Servant of Yahweh,” pronounces condemnation against Edom and prophesies their total destruction because of their persistent opposition to God’s chosen people.
- Now there are several views regarding the date of the book. Edom’s cooperation with foreigners in sacking Jerusalem (vv. 10–14), which forms the historical background to the prophecy, could refer to a number of incidents, of which two are more likely. It may have occurred 850 B.C. in the reign of Jehoram (see 2 Chr. 21:8–10, 16, 17) during a period of revolt by Edom when Judah was also threatened by invading Philistines and Arabians.
- Also possible is a reference to Edomite involvement in the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. According to Psalm 137:7, the Edomites applauded the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. The case for this later date is also strengthened by the fact that Obadiah appears to quote from Jeremiah 49. Thus, possible dates for the composition of Obadiah are c. 840 B.C., or between the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and the fall of Babylon to Cyrus in 539 B.C.
2. Obadiah’s Purpose:
- Through Obadiah God reminded the world of His promise to curse those who curse His chosen people and to humble those who are full of pride. So why would Edom be punished, Obadiah 13-14. Obadiah shows God’s justice in the face of treachery and that His way wins in the end (verse 21).
- Obadiah carries one of the strongest messages of judgment. Because of her long history of opposing God’s people, Edom’s fate is sealed, and there is no possibility of deliverance. God will bring total destruction upon Edom, and there will be no remnant.
- The book of Obadiah portrays Edom’s day in the divine court, complete with prosecution, accusation, and sentence. This prophet of poetic justice describes how the Judge of the earth will overthrow the pride of Edom and restore the house of Jacob. The two sections of this short book are the judgment of Edom (vv.-1–8) and the restoration of Israel (vv.-19–21).
3. Obadiah’s Message:
- The conflict between Israel and Edom dates back to the biblical account of Esau and Jacob. Although many years have since passed the ancestral relationship between Edom and Judah cannot be forgotten. Obadiah accused Edom for gloating over the day of his brother’s misfortune – v.12. There is always an “if.” If only they could live in peace, history might have looked differently.
- Therefore the most prominent theological teaching in the book of Obadiah is the justice of God. The wrath of God is poured out on the nations because of their injustice towards each other. On other occasions God used other nations to punish His own – Israel, but in this instance it was different. Edom did it of her own. Therefore God’s judgement stands: “As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.” – v.15.
- Apart from repentance and divine grace, that was the principle to which all offenders must surrender. The justice of God in this short prophecy took the form of the Day of the Lord for Edom and the nations – vv. 15-16. When justice is distributed, it should not suggest hate and greed from the bystanders, but compassion.
- That was Edom’s sin: He had not shown compassion in the day of his brother’s distress. As in the prophecy of Joel, this climactic day brings both judgment and deliverance. For Edom, this is a pronouncement of doom (vv. 15, 16), but for Judah it will bring deliverance as they experience blessing and restoration to their land (vv. 17–21)
4. The Book’s Application:
- The books application is that God will judge the nations for their treatment of Israel. God hates pride and knows how to humble the arrogant. God curses those who curse His people. God hates pride and arrogance. God is able to humble the proud. It is sin to rejoice over the misfortune of others. Fortresses cannot stand before God. Pride is at the heart of sin.
- And this leads us to how we can interpret the NT application. Christ is seen in Obadiah as the Judge of the nations – vv. 15-16. He is the Saviour of Israel – vv. 17-20. He is the Possessor of the Kingdom – v.21.