Edom shall be dispossessed; Seir also, his enemies, shall be dispossessed. Israel is doing valiantly. And one from Jacob shall exercise dominion and destroy the survivors of cities!” - Numbers 24:18-19
Date unknown, probably sometime after the exile.
Though Obadiah is a fairly common name in the genealogies, this Obadiah is probably unknown to us outside of this book. He has just one recorded oracle, against the kingdom of Edom.
You’ll remember that Edom was another name for Esau, Jacob’s older brother who traded his birthright and thus forfeited the promises of his grandfather Abraham. Esau’s descendants settled land south of the Dead Sea, and had maintained a fairly stable kingdom for over a thousand years. They had refused passage to Israel during the Exodus (which contributed to the above judgment), had paid tribute to David and Solomon, and, as we learned in Amos, had profited from foreign raids on Judah and Israel.
But the greatest charge brought against Edom, and the one for which they will be ultimately destroyed, is found in verses 10 through 14: “Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you…” Edom, we know from Ezekiel, had rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem and taken advantage of Babylon’s advance against it. But whereas Nebuchadnezzar had been promised God’s land and people, Edom had not.
Also remember that in the midst of God’s judgment upon Israel and Judah the executioners – Assyria and Babylon – were not exempt from condemnation. If those nations would be judged for their violence against Israel, how much more would it be with Edom? “As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return upon your own head.”
Many times you’ve seen the prophets conclude with a promise of the future restoration of Israel. Listen right up to the end today, as Obadiah looks into Edom’s future, and hear what’s in store for Jacob’s older brother.
Our verse for this week is Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
The Prophet Obadiah. Now let’s read it!
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.