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!
1:1 The vision of Obadiah.
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!”
Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
you shall be utterly despised.
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rock,
in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
“Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
though your nest is set among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,
declares the LORD.
If thieves came to you,
if plunderers came by night—
how you have been destroyed!—
would they not steal only enough for themselves?
If grape gatherers came to you,
would they not leave gleanings?
How Esau has been pillaged,
his treasures sought out!
All your allies have driven you to your border;
those at peace with you have deceived you;
they have prevailed against you;
those who eat your bread have set a trap beneath you—
you have no understanding.
Will I not on that day, declares the LORD,
destroy the wise men out of Edom,
and understanding out of Mount Esau?
And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,
so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.
Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
shame shall cover you,
and you shall be cut off forever.
On the day that you stood aloof,
on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you were like one of them.
But do not gloat over the day of your brother
in the day of his misfortune;
do not rejoice over the people of Judah
in the day of their ruin;
do not boast
in the day of distress.
Do not enter the gate of my people
in the day of their calamity;
do not gloat over his disaster
in the day of his calamity;
do not loot his wealth
in the day of his calamity.
Do not stand at the crossroads
to cut off his fugitives;
do not hand over his survivors
in the day of distress.
For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
your deeds shall return on your own head.
For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
so all the nations shall drink continually;
they shall drink and swallow,
and shall be as though they had never been.
But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,
and it shall be holy,
and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.
The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
and the house of Joseph a flame,
and the house of Esau stubble;
they shall burn them and consume them,
and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for the LORD has spoken.
Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,
and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;
they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,
and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
The exiles of this host of the people of Israel
shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,
and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
shall possess the cities of the Negeb.
Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion
to rule Mount Esau,
and the kingdom shall be the LORD's.