In the Book of Obadiah, a feud between the Israelites (who were the descendants of Jacob) and the Edomites (who were the descendants of Esau) comes to a head. The book centers on the judgment that God pronounces against Edom for their continued hostile actions against Israel. In this article, you will learn more about the shortest book of the Old Testament.
Obadiah most likely lived in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, which is the author of the Book, which was most likely written between 848 and 840 BC. It is different from all the other books because it is only 21 verses long and only one chapter – making it the shortest book in the Old Testament. When Obadiah prophesizes that Edom will be condemned by God for the sins they have committed against Israel and Him. The Edomites are descendants of Esau, while the Israelites are descendants of his twin brother, Jacob. When the two brothers got into an argument, the aftermath affected their descendants for more than 1,000 years.
The separation between the two descendent lines led to the Edomites forbidding Israel to cross into their land during the Israelites' Exodus from Egypt. The sins of pride that Edom displays led to a strong judgment from the Lord.
The Edomites descended from Esau, and were part of Edom, which referred to the color of the stew that Esau traded his birthright for – "red." The Edomites resided in the mountainous region of Seir, which is south of the Dead Sea. They were true enemies of the Jews, and their history is filled with opposition and rebellions. Edom refused Moses' request to permit the Israelites to pass through their land on their way to Canaan. They also opposed Saul but were put into their place by David. In the history of their existence, they fought against Jehoshaphat, rebelled against Jehoram, and eventually became under the control of Assyria and Babylon.
About the Book of Obadiah
When Obadiah spread his message, it was drenched in finality – the kingdom of Edom would be completely destroyed. The arrogance of Edom and their insensitive approach to the misfortunes of Israel will lead to their downfall. For example, when enemy armies attack Israel and the Israelites ask for assistance – the Edomites decline and choose to fight against them instead of with and for them. This act of pride is the last straw. While many Books of the Old Testament mention kings, interestingly, the Book of Obadiah does not.
Passages of Book of Obadiah
Obadiah spoke of a prophesy that Edom would be 'cut off forever.' 'And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau." Some of the passages mentioned in the Book of Obadiah includes:
"Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down," declares the LORD." (Verse 4)
"You should not look down on your brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction, nor boast so much in the day of their trouble." (Verse 12)
"The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head." (Verse 15)
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