1 The vision of Obadiah.
Edom Will Be Humbled
Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom:
We have heard a report from the LORD,
and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”
Obadiah 1 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The shortest book of the Old Testament, Obadiah’s words go out against Edom, blood relatives of Israel from Esau. The Edomites were a force to be reckoned with as they were rugged, fierce warriors who made their home in the cleft of the rocks. As they were relatives, they did not like Israel to which they never came to help them when they found themselves in wars with other nations. If anything they gloated over Judah’s problems. Spiritually, they were indifferent to God, full of pride because of their earthly wisdom, political alliances and even how their city was made of rock. All of these things were called out where judgment was promised to come.
From the beginning of Esau and Jacob wrestling within the womb of Rebekah and ultimate splitting as older brothers, the tension between the two clans never went away. When Israel came out of Egypt and need passage through their territory, the Edomites refused. They opposed Saul but were conquered under David and then Solomon. They joined with enemies against King Jehoshaphat of Judah but God fought for them to their defeat.
Yet, they were still a presence. They rebelled against King Jehoram, King Amaziah, and King Ahaz. In an interesting side note – Herod the Great was an Edomite. The last this tribe is ever heard of is found in historical records that for the first time they fought side by side with the Jews against Rome in 66-70 AD and were crushed. They disappeared off the map forever and Obadiah’s words were proven to be true.
With this short book having nothing but prophecy against Edom, one thing not spoken but written between the lines is what it is like to be God’s child. He still cared for Judah through all their rebellion. They were His children. He still loved these people and knew when oppressors came against them, even distant family. They were His children. He would bring justice in His timing because they were His children. He feels the same for you.
Obadiah 1 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Obadiah is unique in the sense that he one of the only minor prophets to address a nation other than Israel or Judah. Most likely being a contemporary of Elijah and Elisha, He would call out Edom for their sins against God’s people.
Who Were The Edomites?
- Descendants from Esau, they settled in the area of Mount Seir
- In Numbers 20, they wouldn’t allow the Israelites through their land to enter the Promised Land
- In 1 & 2 Samuel, they opposed King Saul but were conquered by King David
- In 2 Chronicles, they joined with Moab and Ammon and attacked Judah
- In 2 Kings, they rebelled against Judah’s King Jehoram
- In the New Testament, Herod the Great was an Edomite
As you can see, these people had a long history of rebellion against God’s people dating all the way back to the tension between Jacob and Esau.
Backstory & Judgment
At the time of this prophecy, Edom was safe and secure on their mountain while Israel had just been scattered into exile. When the Babylonians came, Edom not only didn’t help their relatives, they handed them over to be slaughtered. Edom even murdered some of the refugees and proceeded to plunder Jerusalem. Obadiah would bring a message of judgment to their continual disobedience.
“Since we know not how soon we may be called upon to suffer, we should feel compassion for rather than exultation in the sufferings of others. Malice harbored in any form contains the seed of future suffering. The great day of God is at hand, Oba 1:15, which shall bring retribution to all who have set themselves against the kingdom of God.”F.B Meyer