The Book of Obadiah

The canonical Book of Obadiah (servant of Yahveh), is an oracle concerning the divine judgment of Edom and the restoration of Israel. The text consists of a single chapter, divided into 21 verses, making it the shortest book in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism and Christianity, its authorship is attributed to a prophet who lived in the Assyrian Period, Obadiah, whose name means “servant or worshipper of Yahveh”. In Christianity, the book of Obadiah is classified as a minor prophet of the Old Testament, due to its short length. In Judaism, Obadiah is considered a “later prophet” and this Masoretic Text is chronologically placed in the Tanakh under the section Nevi'im in the last category called The Twelve Prophets.

The book of Obadiah is based on a prophetic vision concerning the fall of Edom, a mountain dwelling nation whose Founding Father was Esau. Obadiah describes an encounter with God who addresses Edom’s arrogance and charges them for their violent actions against their brother nation, the House of Jacob. The vision then embraces the fall of Jerusalem to the hands of foreign invaders and God’s anger against Edom for taking advantage of the Jews of Judah during their plight, thus sealing their doom. In the final aspect of the vision, Israel’s restoration, as a holy place, is declared in contrast to the Edomite lineage that shall end. Obadiah’s prophecy also includes a reminder that God’s judgment will be upon all nations. “For the day of the Lord upon all the nations is near… But, on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance.” The prophecy of Obadiah is undated; but, it was certainly subsequent to the captivity of Jehoiachin (489 B.C.), or to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and the end of Judah. This would bring it to either (482 B.C. or 472 B.C.).

Obadiah 1

Oba 1:1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. A vision from the Lord to Obadiah concerning the land of Edom. An ambassador was sent to the nations to say: Lets assemble our armies and attack Edom. (Isaiah 63:1-6 Jeremiah 6:4-5). Edom comes form the descendants of Esau, the twin brother to Jacob. The Edomites never got along with the Israelites. The Edomites lived in Mount Seir, south of the dead sea. Their territory was full of mountains and deep canyons. (Joel 3:19, Malachi 1:3-4), Later they lived in southern Palestine.  

Oba 1:2 Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. The Lord says to Edom: "I will cut you down to size among the nations and you will be despised by everyone. (Numbers 24:18). 

Oba 1:3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Edom has been deceived by their own pride because they live in a rock fortress high in the mountains. No one can touch us they say. Remember that pride was Satan's downfall.

Oba 1:4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. Build your fortresses in the high places, but the Lord will bring you down. (Jeremiah 49:16). 

Oba 1:5 If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes? The analogy here is that if a thief robs you at night they usually do not take everything. Those who harvest grapes always leave a few for the poor. But, the enemies of Edom will wipe you out completely. (Jeremiah 49:9).

Oba 1:6 How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up! Every part of Edom will be searched out and looted and every treasure will be taken. Stripped bare! (Jeremiah 49:10).

Oba 1:7 All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him. All your allies will turn against you. They will help chase you from the land. They will promise you peace, but will be plotting against you. "Even your friends will turn against you and you won't even know it." Have you ever had friends like that? "Christ did." (Psalm 41:9, John 13:8).

Oba 1:8 Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? In that day, not a single wise person will be left in the land of Edom. I will destroy everyone who has understanding. (Isaiah 63:1-6, Jeremiah 49:7).

Oba 1:9 And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. Their mightiest warriors of Teman (Jeremiah 49:7), will be terrified and everyone on the mountains of Edom will be cut down in the slaughter. (Ezekiel 25:13). 

Oba 1:10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. You will be destroyed because of what you did to your close relatives in Israel. (Genesis 27:41-44).

Oba 1:11 In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. When Israel was invaded, you stood aloof and refused to help them. You acted like one of Israel's enemies. (Psalm 137:7).

Oba 1:12 But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. You should not have gloated when your relatives were exiled to distant lands, or rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. Then you even spoke arrogantly in that time of trouble. (Ezekiel 35:13).  

Oba 1:13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity. You should not have plundered the land of Israel when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have gloated over their destruction and you should not have seized their wealth. How can this relate to us today? I am sure you have heard this before. "Never kick a good man when he is down." "And never take advantage of someone when they are having bad times." I remember plenty of bad times in my life. There were times when I had to sell things to get by when I was broke and out of work. It never failed that when I tried to sell things to friends, they were always looking for the best deal. They didn't care about my situation, they were just thinking of themselves and how they could take advantage of the situation. "I was treated better when I sold stuff to strangers."

Oba 1:14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. You should not have stood in the crossroads, killing those who tried to escape. You should not have not have captured the survivors and handed them over in their time of trouble. 

Oba 1:15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. The Lord's day is near, He will judge all the godless nations. What they have done to Israel, will be done to them. "You reap what you sow." (Isaiah 2:11, Matthew 7:2), The old saying. What goes around, comes around. Others will treat you as you treat them.

Oba 1:16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. Just as you swallowed up My people on My holy mountain, you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. The evil nations time is coming. For the deeper student, this applies to preachers and teachers of the Word. "They swallow up the people with false doctrines and traditions of men." Remember judgment begins at the pulpit. (I Peter 4:17). Judgment is near, and it begins with God's household. (We are all equal in God's eyes when doing His word). But, just think what lies for those who ignore the Word of God.

Oba 1:17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape, and it will be a holy place. The people of Israel will return to reclaim their inheritance. (Isaiah 46:13, Joel 2:32), this takes place at Christ's return at the second advent to His favorite place, Mount Zion.

Oba 1:18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it. The people of Israel will be like a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble. The descendants of Joseph will be like a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything. No survivors in Edom. (Isaiah 63:1-6, Jeremiah 49:7-22). 

Oba 1:19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. My people living in the Negev will occupy the mountains of Edom. They will possess the Philistine plains and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria. The people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead.

Oba 1:20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath. (A city located between Tyre and Sidon in modern Lebanon).

Oba 1:21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S. The survivors will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem and rule over the mountains of Edom. "The Lord Himself will be King." (Psalm 22:28, Daniel 2:44, 7:14, Zechariah 14:9, Revelation 11:15).

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