The short book of Obadiah contains judgements uttered against the kingdom of Edom because of how it treated Judah and Jerusalem. It is set at the time of the exile and destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 BC and criticises Edom for looting Jerusalem when the city was at its lowest ebb. The book holds up a vision of a time when Judah’s enemies will be defeated and Judah will be restored once more. It is an unusual prophecy in that it defends Judah entirely and is not interested in anything that Judah might have done wrong in the run-up to the exile.
Not the kind of book to produce inspiring quotes.
The book focuses on revenge on a nation that has treated God’s people unfairly – revenge never makes easy reading.
Someone called Obadiah
Nothing at all – there is little evidence about him either in this book or elsewhere. All we know is that he lived at the time of the exile – though he had probably had not been taken to Babylon as he was still in Judah to see the aftermath – and protested at what the Edomites had done.
This book is set at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 587 BC.
The start of the exile was a time of desperate loss and bereavement. The anger in this book reflects that.
Jeremiah, Lamentations and Ezekiel
A very short book of prophecy, revealing the anger and resentment felt by the people of Judah that the Edomites, their near neighbours, were prepared to take advantage of them in their time of devastation.
1.5-9 Judgment on Edom is pronounced
1.10-14 How Edom sinned against Judah
1.15-18 The punishment that will happen on the day of the Lord
1.19-21 A vision of the restoration of Israel
There will be lots of names you will not know; don’t worry if you can’t place them all. The key ones are given below.
Edom, Mount Esau, Teman, Negeb, Shephelah, Phoenicia, Ephraim, Jerusalem, Judah, Mount Zion, Samaria, Zion
What in Obadiah’s opinion were Edom’s crimes against Judah?
Compare Obadiah 1.1–6 with Jeremiah 49.9–16 – why do you think the similarity is so great?
What do you think Obadiah’s vision of hope for Judah was?
Obadiah is one of the angry books of the Bible and, as with a number of the psalms, challenges us to think deeply about how we express our more negative emotions to God. Reflect on whether there is anything that you are deeply angry about that may need expressing in God’s presence.