The Book Of Obadiah

J. Deering,

The prophetical books belong to the dark ages of God's chosen people.

The prophets were men whom God raised up during the dark days of Israel's history. They were the evangelists of the day, the religious patriots of the hour.

2 Kings 17:13-20
13 The LORD warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: "Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets." 14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in the LORD their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, "Do not do as they do," and they did the things the LORD had forbidden them to do. 16 They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 18 So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, 19 and even Judah did not keep the commands of the LORD their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced. 20 Therefore the LORD rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.

The office of the prophet was instituted in Samuel's time. When the kingdom was divided and Judah and Israel were established as separate monarchies, the great prophets appeared. There were four major and twelve minor prophets.

The captivities of Israel (the northern kingdom) and of Judah (the southern kingdom) are largely the theme of the Old Testament prophets. The record of thesis found in 2 Kings 17:1-23 and 24:11-25:21. These are called the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. Some of the prophets served before the exile and some afterwards. These are call pre-exilic and post-exilic prophets.

The Pre-Exilic Prophets
The prophets during the exile (or "pre-exilic") in order of their writing were: Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Jeremiah.

The prophets of Israel during this period were Jonah, Amos, and Hosea

The prophets of Judah during this period were Obadiah, Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Jeremiah.

The Exilic Prophets
The prophets during the exile (or captivity in Babylon) were Ezekiel and Daniel. They prophesied to all the Israelites. Jeremiah extended for a while into this period.

Those who prophesied after the exile were Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Special Messages were given to certain prophets

3 to Israel - Amos, Hosea, Ezekiel

2 to Nineveh, Assyria - Jonah, Nahum

1 to Babylon - Daniel

1 to Edom - Obadiah

9 to Judah - Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi


The 4 Messages of the Prophets
The prophet's chief duty was to deal with the moral and religious life of his own people during his day. The prophet was never sent while the nation was walking in obedience to God. All of the writings are rebukes because of the bad condition that existed at that very time. There was nothing general about the prophet's denunciations.

The prophet was always a Hebrew. He not only spoke of judgment that would come to pass to the people because of their sin but he was also a foreteller of future events. The events which he spoke concerned the nation of Israel in the main. Other peoples were mentioned only as they came in contact with Israel.

1. The dispersion and captivity of God's chosen people

2. The coming of the Messiah

3. The restoration of the chosen people to their own land under the coming Messiah, David's greater son

4. The reign of the Messiah over the whole earth


Literal Fulfillment
"That it might be fulfilled," When you read the Gospels, you find this phrase constantly. We find in examining these passages that God fulfills prophecy literally. Learn to interpret the meaning of the words of the prophets in a literal, natural way. Do not force a spiritual interpretation and read out all the real meaning. There are figurative passages, of course. But you will find that as soon as you determine the meaning of the figure that that, too will have its literal fulfillment. This makes the study of the prophets a simple one. Remember, the Church is not in the prophets at all. This is the "mystery" that God kept until He wished it to be revealed (Ephesians 3:3, 3:11-12.

The prophets speak only of the earthly ministry of Christ and say nothing of His called-out ones (ecclesia - the Church). This was announced by Jesus Himself (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 3:3-10).

Jesus had this to say about the relationship of Himself to the message of the prophets:

25 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself (Luke 24:25-27).

Eastons Bible Dictionary
(Used by Permission, Parson's Technology, 2002)

Consists of one chapter, "concerning Edom," its impending doom (Obed. 1-16), and the restoration of Israel (Obed. 17-21). This is the shortest book of the Old Testament.

There are on record the account of four captures of Jerusalem,

(1.) by Shishak in the reign of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:25);

(2.) by the Philistines and Arabians in the reign of Jehoram (2 Chr. 21:16);

(3.) by Joash, the king of Israel, in the reign of Amaziah (2 Kings 14:13); and

(4.) by the Babylonians, when Jerusalem was taken and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (586 B.C.). Obadiah (Obed. 11-14) speaks of this capture as a thing past. He sees the calamity as having already come on Jerusalem, and the Edomites as joining their forces with those of the Chaldeans in bringing about the degradation and ruin of Israel. We do not indeed read that the Edomites actually took part with the Chaldeans, but the probabilities are that they did so, and this explains the words of Obadiah in denouncing against Edom the judgments of God. The date of his prophecies was thus in or about the year of the destruction of Jerusalem.

Edom is the type of Israel's and of God's last foe (Isa. 63:1-4). These will finally all be vanquished, and the kingdom will be the Lord's (Compare Ps. 22:28).

Holman's bible Dictionary
(Used by Permission, Parson's Technology, 2002)

Obadiah (uh buh di' uh) The Prophet: As to the person and circumstances of Obadiah nothing certain is known. No source outside his book mentions Obadiah. "Obadiah" is a common name in the Old Testament. Meaning "servant of Yahweh," it reflects his parents' faith and spiritual ambitions for their child. The title "The vision of Obadiah" turns attention to the divine author, "vision" being a technical term for a prophetic revelation received from God.

Obadiah (oh buh di' uh) The shortest book of the Minor Prophets, preserving the message of Obadiah, the prophet.

The Situation Historically
The book belongs to the early post-exilic period, at the end of the sixth century B.C.

Its central section, verses 10-14, deals with the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586 B.C., concentrating on the part the Edomites played in that tragic event. Edom was a state to the southeast of Judah. Despite treaty ties ("brother," v. 10) the Edomites, along with others, had failed to come to Judah's aid and had even helped Babylon by looting Jerusalem and handing over refugees. Moreover, the Edomites filled the vacuum caused by Judah's Exile by moving west and annexing the Negev to the south of Judah and even its southern territory (compare v. 19).

Judah reacted with a strong sense of grievance. Obadiah's oracle responded to an underlying impassioned prayer of lament, like Psalms 74, 79, or 137, in which Judah appealed to God to act as providential trial Judge and Savior to set right the situation.

The Message
The response begins with a prophetic messenger formula which reinforces the thrust of the title, that God is behind the message. Verses 2-9 give the divine verdict. Addressing Edom, God promised to defeat those supermen and topple the mountain capital which reflected their lofty self-conceit. Their allies would let them down, and neither their framed wisdom nor their warriors would be able to save them. This seems to look fearfully ahead to the Nabateans' infiltration from the eastern desert and their eventual takeover of Edom's traditional territory. The end of verse 1 appears to be a report from the prophet that already a coalition of neighboring groups was planning to attack Edom.

The catalog of Edom's crimes (vv. 10-14) functions as the accusation which warranted God's verdict of punishment. Repetition raises "day" to center stage. The underlying thought is that Judah had been the victim of "the day of the Lord" when God intervened in judgment, and had drunk the cup of God's wrath (vv. 15, 16; compare Lam. 1:12; 2:21). In Old Testament theology the concept of the day of the Lord embraces not only God's people but their no-less-wicked neighbors. This wider dimension is reflected in verses 15-16 (compare Lam. 1:21). The fall of Edom was a trigger this eschatological event in which order would be restored to an unruly world. Then would come the vindication of God's people, not for their own sakes but as earthly witnesses to His glory; and so "the kingdom shall be the Lord's" (v. 21).

The Meaning
Like the Book of Revelation, which proclaims the downfall of the persecuting Roman Empire, the aim of Obadiah is to sustain faith in God's moral government and hope in the eventual triumph of His just will. It brings a pastoral message to aching hearts, that God is on the throne and cares for His own.

The Outline
Unger (Unger's Bible Dictionary, Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago, 1976, p. 802)

I. Prophecy of Edom's Decimation 1:1-9

A. Fall of her impregnable fortifications 1:2-4
B. Edom's complete plundering 1;5-9

II. Edom's Destruction Accounted For 1:10-14

A. Violence against Jacob 1:10-14

III. Prophecy of the Day of Jehovah 1:15-21

A. Edom and all nations judged 1:15-16
B. House of Jacob saved 1;17-20
C. The Millennial Kingdom established 1:21


Edom: Name given to Esau after he bartered his birthright for a mess of red pottage (Genesis 25:30) Edom, Edomites, Idumaea: the descendants of Esau, who settled in the south of Palestine.

During the wilderness wandering (following the Exodus) Edom would not let the nation of Israel pass through its lands. King Saul (1 Samuel 14:47) attacked and defeated them in battle. Forty years later David overthrew their army in the "Valley of Salt," and his general, Joab, following the victory destroyed nearly the whole male population (1 Kings 11:15-16), and placed Jewish garrisons in all the strongholds of Edom (2 Samuel 8:13-14). Hadad, a member of the royal family of Edom, eventually went on to Syria, where he became one of Solomon's greatest enemies (1 Kings 11:14-23). When Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem the Edomites joined him, and took an active part in the plunder of the city and the slaughter of the Jews. Much later they were conquered and forced by the Maccabees to conform to Jewish laws and rites and submit to the government of Jewish prefects. They effectively became members of the nation of Israel. In 70 a.d., Just before the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, 20,000 Idumaeans were admitted to the Holy City, which they filled with robbery and bloodshed. From this time, the Edomites, as a separate people, disappear from the pages of history.


-1000 David becomes Full King
-970 Solomon becomes King
-966 Temple Started
-965 The book: Song of Songs by Solomon
-950 The book of Proverbs by Solomon and others
-940 The book of Psalms (some very early most in 900's) David & others
-935 The book of Ecclesiastes by Solomon
-931 The Kingdom Is Divided
-931 JUDAH



Jeroboam 1

-931 Rehoboam becomes King of Judah
-930 Book of 1 Samuel by Samuel and others
-920 Abijam becomes King of Judah

Nadab becomes king of Israel

-915 Asa becomes King of Judah

Baasha becomes king of Israel


Elah Zimri becomes king of Israel


Tibni becomes king of Israel


Omri becomes king of Israel


Ahab becomes king of Israel


Elijah begins prophetic ministry

-860 Jehoshophat becomes King of Judah

Ahaziah becomes king of Israel


Joram becomes King of Israel

-850 Jehoram becomes King of Judah

Elisha begins prophetic ministry


Jehu becomes King of Israel


Obadiah begins prophetic ministry


The book of Obadiah, writes to Israel

-830 Athaliah

Jehoahaz becomes King of Israel

-830 Joash (Jehoash)
-825 Joel begins prophetic ministry
-825 Joel Writes to Judah
-800 Assyria Comes to Power
-795 Amaziah

Jehoash becomes King of Israel


Jeroboam II becomes King of Israel


Joash becomes King of Judah

-782 Shalmaneser IV becomes King of Assyria
-780 Uzziah becomes King of Judah

Jonah begins prophetic ministry


Jonah writes to Nineveh


Zechariah / Shallum becomes King of Israel

-755 Amos begins prophetic ministry
-755 The book of Amos by Amos
-755 Jotham
-755 Zedekiah becomes King of Judah

Hosea begins prophetic ministry


The book of Hosea by Hosea


Menahem becomes 1/2 King of Israel


Pekah becomes 1/2 King of Israel


Pekahiah becomes 1/2 King of Israel

-738 Ahaz becomes King of Judah

Hoshea becomes King of Israel


Pekah becomes full King of Israel


Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria invades Israel

-730 Micah begins prophetic ministry
-730 The book of Micah by Micah
-725 Hezekiah becomes King of Judah

Israel taken into Captivity by Assyria


Senacherib of Assyria surrounds Jerusalem

-700 Isaiah begins prophetic ministry
-700 The book of Isaiah by Isaiah
-695 Manasseh becomes King of Judah
-650 Amon
-645 Josiah becomes King of Judah
-645 The book of Zephaniah by Zephaniah
-640 Josiah becomes King of Judah
-625 Nahum writes to Judah
-620 Habakkuk begins prophetic ministry
-620 The book of Habakkuk by Habakkuk
-612 Assyrian Capital of Nineveh sacked by Babylonians
-612 Jehoahaz
-612 Neco of Egypt kills King Josiah in Battle
-610 Jehoikim becomes King of Judah
-605 Judah begins being taken into Babylonian Captivity
-605 Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon victorious over Assyria
-595 Zedekiah becomes King of Judah
-592 The book of Ezekiel by Ezekiel
-590 Jeremiah begins prophetic ministry
-590 Jeremiah writes to Judah
-586 Jeremiah taken to Egypt
-586 Judah taken into Captivity by Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon)
-586 The book of Lamentations by Jeremiah
-580 1 Jerusalem Falls to Babylon
-580 2 Temple Destroyed by Babylon
-580 3 Babylonian Captivity Complete
-580 Judah 70 Years in Babylonian Captivity begins
-560 Babylon King Merodach
-555 Babylon King Labashi-Marduk
-550 1 The book of 1 Kings by Jeremiah
-550 2 The book of 2 Kings by Jeremiah
-550 Babylon King Nabonidus
-540 Babylon King Belshazzar
-539 Cyrus of Persia conquers Babylon
-538 Cyrus of Persia decrees return of Jews
-537 The book of Daniel by Daniel
-536 The 1st Delivery from Babylon (360 Jews)
-535 Temple Construction Begins
-530 Temple Construction Halted
-521 Darius I becomes King of Persia
-520 Haggai begins prophetic ministry
-520 The book of Haggai by Haggai
-515 Temple Completed
-510 The book of Zechariah by Zechariah
-510 Zechariah begins prophetic ministry
-480 Xerxes becomes King of Persia
-475 Esther becomes Queen of Persia
-470 Book of Esther, author unknown
-460 Artaxerxes becomes King of Persia
-460 Book of Ezra By Ezra
-458 Ezra returned to Jerusalem
-458 Second Delivery from Babylon
-450 1 Chronicles (Ezra)
-450 2 Chronicles (Ezra)
-450 The book of Malachi by Malachi
-445 The book of Nehemiah by Nehemiah
-444 Nehemiah (as Governor) goes to Jerusalem
-443 Walls of Jerusalem Rebuilt
-430 Malachi begins prophetic ministry
-425 Xerxes II becomes King of Persia
-420 Darius II becomes King of Persia
-410 Artaxerxes II becomes King of Persia
-355 Artaxerxes III becomes King of Persia
-330 Arses becomes King of Persia
-330 Greek Empire - Egypt, Judea, Syria
-330 Third Delivery from Babylon
-328 Darius III becomes King of Persia
-326 Alexander the Great (Greece) Conquers Persia
-320 Alexander Dies at age 32, Judea under Ptolemy of Egypt
-275 Judah Governs itself under Ptolemies
-240 Septuagint Translated from Hebrew to Greek
-220 Antiochus III comes to power in Syria
-200 Syria takes Judea from Egypt (Greek Empire)
-175 Priesthood Sold under Seleucus IV
-170 The Abomination of Desolation - end of priesthood
-165 The Maccabean Revolt
-130 Roman Empire Develops into World Power
-90 Judea Civil War under Antiochus 11
-65 Pompey Captures Judea and Syria (Roman Empire)
-60 Julius Caesar
-48 Herod (King of the Jews) under Octavian Augustus of Rome
-48 Marc Antony rules Syria
-4 John the Bapties is Born
-3.5 Jesus is Born
26.1 John the Baptist's Public Ministry
26.2 Solomon becomes King
26.5 Jesus Baptized
26.6 40 Days in Wilderness - The 3 Temptations
27 Jesus First Miracle - Cana
27.25 The Cleansing of the Temple
28.5 Chooses 12 Apostles
28.6 Sermon on the Mount
29 John The Baptist beheaded
29.25 The Feeding of the 5000
29.5 The Feeding of the 4000
29.75 The Transfiguration (Summer)
30.25 Lazarus Raised from the Dead
30.33 The Last Week - Triumphal Entry
30.34 Jesus Dies on the Cross
30.35 Jesus is Buried
30.36 Jesus is Resurrected
30.4 The Ascension
30.41 Pentecost