Theme: God Will Judge Edom and Restore Israel; Key Verse Obadiah 15-17
Obadiah Bible Walk
Theme: God Will Judge Edom and Restore Israel
- God Will Judge Edom and Restore Israel. God judges Edom because Edom treated Israel, his brother nation, out of hate, envy, and revenge. Israel will be restored because God promised that he would fulfill his covenants to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- Obadiah 15-17, 15
- “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head. 16 “Because just as you drank on My holy mountain, All the nations will drink continually. They will drink and swallow And become as if they had never existed. 17 “But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape, And it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions.
- Obadiah is an unknown person. His name means “servant of the Lord.” hydb[ ‘obadyah.
- There are 13 people named Obadiah in the Bible. Although there is some disagreement whether this is his name or simply a title, it is most natural to accept Obadiah as the name of a prophet of God. Since the other writing prophets begin their prophecies with their names, why would Obadiah be an exception? His purpose was to communicate the Lord God’s message about God’s judgment on Edom (Obadiah 1).
- Edom and Israel had a long history of conflict.
- This began with the birth of Esau and Jacob to Isaac and Rebekah as recorded in Genesis 25:21-28. Esau was born first. His skin was reddish color and he was hairy. Later on, Esau traded his birthright to Jacob for a pot of red colored stew. Still later, Esau moved southeast of the Dead Sea, to a place called Seir. Esau’s people defeated and drove out the Horites (Genesis 36:8-9; Deuteronomy 2:12, 22).
- When Israel was traveling from Egypt to Canaan, Edom refused Israel passage through their land (Numbers 20:13-21). Do you remember Balaam’s oracle (Numbers 24:18)? Israel and Edom were hostile to each other from then on. Saul (1 Samuel 14:47), David (2 Samuel 8:13-14), and Solomon (1Kings 11:17-22) contended with Edom. Furthermore, the Edomites urged on the Babylonians in their destruction of Jerusalem (Psalm 137:7). The animosity between Edom and Israel continued throughout history until the time of Christ.
- Edom was attacked and defeated many times. The Assyrians took control of Edom about 735 BC. The Arabs took control of Edom in the 400s. The Nabateans (Petra) around 300 BC defeated the Edomites and drove them out of Edom. Some Edomites remained and became part of the Nabatean kingdom. The Edomites who left settled in Idumea. John Hyrcanus, of the Maccabean family, defeated the Idumeans (Edomites) around 120 BC. Herod the Great, the brilliant but evil king of Judea, was an Idumean (Edomite). The Idumaeans joined in the Jewish rebellion against Rome, and like the Jews were defeated in AD 70. From that time on they passed out of history. Many Scripture references predict Edom’s judgment by God. Examples include Jeremiah 49:10, which refers to a judgment future to Jeremiah’s time, probably by the Nabateans. Ezekiel 35 is another prophecy about a future destruction of Edom, as does Amos 1:11 and Joel 3:19.
- The time of the prophet Obadiah is uncertain. The two most favored dates are the time of King Jehoram of Judah (Joram), Son of Jehoshaphat, husband of Athaliah (848-841 BC), or soon after Babylon destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC. Though neither date changes the message of Obadiah, the earlier date seems to fit all the evidence better. During the reign of Jehoram, Edom and Libnah revolted against and invaded Judah (2 Chronicles 21:8-20). Libnah was a Canaanite city, located in the area that came to be Judah, which Joshua defeated. Also during this time, the Philistine and Arabian invasions of Judah took place (2 Chronicles 21:12-20). The city of Jerusalem was not destroyed during these raids as it was by Nebuchadnezzar.
- Obadiah the prophet. The author of this prophecy. Nothing is known of him outside of the Old Testament book that bears his name. Because of the subject of his prophecy, he may be a native of Judah. He was probably a contemporary of Elijah.
Key Words and Phrases
- There are many place names, people names, and technical terms in this short book. See The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary and Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary.
- Edom. Obadiah 1, 8. The land southeast of the Dead sea. Also called the land or mountain of Seir. It was named from Edom, another name for Esau, Jacob’s brother. Esau’s descendents settled there (Genesis 25:30; Numbers 20:14-21; Deuteronomy 23:7).
- Esau. Obadiah 6, 8, 9, 18, 19, 21. The oldest son of Isaac and Rebekah and brother of Jacob. His father’s favorite. He was also named Edom. Esau was a man of the desert who roamed and objected to restraint (Genesis 25:21-30). He married two Canaanite women Adah, also called Basemath and Oholibamah (Genesis 36:2 and 26:34). His third wife was also named Basemath (Mahalath), the daughter of his uncle Ishmael (Genesis 28:9 and 36:3).
- Teman. Obadiah 9. The southern part of Edom and was also called the stronghold of Edom.
- Jacob. Obadiah 10, 17, 18. The second born of twins to Isaac and Jacob. His brother was Esau. His mother’s favorite (Genesis 25:21-34).
- Jerusalem. Obadiah 11, 20. The central city and holy city of Israel. Founded by Amorites and Hittites (Ezekiel 16:3, 44-46).
- Judah. Obadiah 12. The fourth son of Jacob and Leah. Judah advised that they sell Joseph and not kill him. Jacob’s blessing made Judah the ruling line. Also the name of the Southern Kingdom (Genesis 49:8-12).
- Day of the Lord. Obadiah 15. The day of the Lord is a phrase used by God’s prophets in the Old Testament to identify God’s soon (historic) or future (prophetic) overthrow of ungodly powers and to further his kingdom. The prophetic day of the Lord embraces the Tribulation, Second Advent of Christ, Millennial Kingdom, and the final renovation of the earth (Joel 1:15).
- Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002). 10:244 say regarding Obadiah 15, “The day of Jehovah” has been explained at Joel 1:15. The expression was first formed by Obadiah, not by Joel; and Joel, Isaiah, and the prophets that follow, adopted it from Obadiah. The primary meaning is not the day of judgment, but the day on which Jehovah reveals His majesty and omnipotence in a glorious manner, to overthrow all ungodly powers, and to complete His kingdom. It was this which gave rise to the idea of the day of judgment and retribution which predominates in the prophetic announcements, but which simply forms one side of the revelation of the glory of God, as our passage at once shows; inasmuch as it describes Jehovah as not only judging all nations and regarding them according to their deeds (cf. vv. 15b, and 16), but as providing deliverance upon Zion (v. 17), and setting up His kingdom (v. 21).
- Mount Zion. Obadiah 17, 21. Originally the ridge between the Kidron and the Tyropeoean valleys of Jerusalem. Later on it referred to the whole western ridge of Jerusalem and then later it designated the city.
- House of Jacob. Obadiah 17, 18. Jacob was in the line of Abraham, Isaac, and then Jacob. The twelve tribes of Israel came from him. In Obadiah it refers to all Israel in contrast to Edom.
- House of Joseph. Obadiah 18. Joseph, listed as Jacob’s eleventh son in the Genesis 49 blessing, was part of the northern ten tribes. He is mentioned here to confirm that all Israel will participate in the future re-gathering and blessing from God for Israel (Genesis 49:22-26)
- House of Esau. Obadiah 18. This refers to the entire Edom peoples. They came from Esau and will be completely judged. The Edomites disappeared from history after the siege of Titus on Jerusalem in AD 70.
- Negev. Obadiah 19, 20. The south, or southern wilderness part of Judea. It is about 4500 square miles.
- Mountain of Esau. Obadiah 8, 9, 19, 21. This is Mount Seir which is the central mountain in Edom. Jews will take control of all of this area in the future. Sela (Petra) is the capital. See Ezekiel 35:15.
- Shephelah. Obadiah 19. This is in the southern part of Canaan between south of the Dead Sea and the Philistine Plain on the Mediterranean Sea. The cities of Lachish, Debir, Libnah, and Seth-shemesh were in the Shephelah.
- Philistine Plain. Obadiah 19. This plain is in the southwest area of Canaan. Philistines probably originated in Crete and the Aegean Islands. Their culture is connected with the Mycenae culture (southern Greece). They are probably one of the “Sea Peoples.” They adopted the Canaanite language and culture. They lived in this area from as early as the patriarchal age to about 1000 BC. The Judges and David fought the Philistines. The name Philistine is the source of the name Palestine. Palestine and Palestinians have nothing to do with Arab people or Islam.
- Territory of Ephraim. Obadiah 19. This territory is in central Israel between the Jordon River and the Mediterranean Sea. Ephraim was the second son of Joseph and brother of Manasseh (Genesis 46:20). Both were born in Egypt.
- Samaria. Obadiah 19. Samaria is in central Israel to the north of Ephraim. The city was the capital of the Northern Kingdom. It was an idolatrous city. The area included the geography of the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom.
- Benjamin. Obadiah 19. This is the land that is between Ephraim and Judah. Benjamin was the twelfth son of Jacob (Genesis 49:27).
- Zarephath. Obadiah 20. This was the hometown of Elijah. It was owned by Sidon or was near Sidon. Zarephath was on the Mediterranean cost north of Tyre.
- Sepharad. Obadiah 20. Some think that this may have been in Asia Minor. We do not know.
- Mount Zion. Obadiah 17, 21. This was the natural stronghold of the Jebusites that David captured when he took Jerusalem.
- Kingdom. Obadiah 21. This refers to all the territory of Israel. The Lord will reclaim it for his people and set up his millennial kingdom.
- God will judge Edom, Obadiah 1-18.
- God will restore Israel, Obadiah 19-21.
- Obadiah—God will judge Edom and will restore Israel.
Trace the Theme of Obadiah. God Will Judge Edom and Restore Israel.
- God judges Edom because Edom treated Israel, his brother nation, out of hate, envy, and revenge (Obadiah). God will restore Israel because he promised covenant blessings to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he will fulfill those covenants (Genesis 12; 13:14-18; 15:18; 17:19-21; 35:2; 50:24; Exodus 33:1; Deuteronomy 29:13; 34:4; 2 Kings 13:23 and many others).
- Obadiah has a vision from the Lord God (Obadiah 1). The vision is about Edom. The Lord will bring nations against Edom and will make her small among the nations (Obadiah 2). Edom thinks that she is unbeatable because her nation is perched in the rock city of Petra (Obadiah 3-4). Petra was about 50 miles south of the Dead Sea. It was probably the Old Testament city of Sela, a pagan city. Edom will not just be robbed; she will be ruined, ransacked, betrayed, and destroyed. The whole nation, including the wise men will be slaughtered (Obadiah 5-9).The reason for Edom’s destruction was her treatment of Jacob, Esau’s (Edom) brother (Obadiah 10). Edom stood by while Jerusalem was invaded (Obadiah 11). Edom rejoiced at the destruction of Judah (Obadiah 11). Edom looted Jerusalem (Obadiah 12-13). When residents of Judah were escaping, Edom imprisoned some and killed others (Obadiah 14). The prophet goes on to say that the overwhelming prophetic day of the Lord draws near. Yet Edom will come under God’s wrath in its own day of the Lord even before the day comes upon all the nations that challenge the Lord (Obadiah 15). Like Edom drank (ravaged Israel) at Zion, nations of the world will also ravage Israel, but the nations’ attacks will turn into the nations’ destruction in the future day of the Lord (Obadiah 16). At that future time known as Jacob’s trouble, some of Israel will escape and they will then soon possess all that God promised them (Obadiah 17). This will come about through the Messiah’s second coming to earth. Israel (Jacob and Joseph) will be a fire and burn the few returned Edomites (Obadiah 18). The nation of Israel will return from wherever they have been and they will possess the land God long ago promised to them (Obadiah 19-20). The Lord will now reign in his earthly millennial kingdom (Obadiah 21).
- Abrahamic Covenant
- Day of the Lord
- Messianic Kingdom
- Rejection of God and God’s word
- Sin has consequences
Lessons for Us
- God honors his covenant to Abraham. Obadiah prophecies about all four parts of the covenant: the land, nation, blessing, and cursing. God also keeps his word to us. We can depend upon what he has revealed in the Bible.
- Israel will, in the future, possess their God given land and blessings. The wars and rumors of wars will continue until Jesus Christ returns to restore Israel in the land he promised to them. Regardless of the political situation today or at any time, Israel’s future is secure within God’s plan.
- God will judge anti-Semitic nations. This is a warning to nations even today. Those nations and people who want to destroy Israel are outside of God’s will, and he will judge them for their anti-Semitism.
- Israel will return to her land, and her kingdom will be the Lord’s kingdom. Future history has Israel in her promised land and under the reign and protection of Messiah, Jesus.