The Book of Obadiah

Lesson 34


A struggle that began in the womb between twin brothers, Esau and Jacob, finally comes out in a struggle between their respective descendants, the Edomites and the Israelites. For the Edomites stubborn refusal to aid Israel, first during the time of wilderness wandering (Numbers 20:14-21) and later during a time of Invasion, they are roundly condemned by Obadiah. This little-known prophet describes their crimes, tries their case, and pronounces their judgment: total destruction. The Hebrew name Obadiah means “Worshiper of Yahweh” or “Servant of Yahweh.” The Book of Obadiah is the shortest Book of the Old Testament (21 verses).

The Central Message:

Pride deceives a person or nation (V.3) and “As thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee” (V.15).


The Structure of the Book:


  • The Destruction of Edom- V. 1-16

    • The name Edom means “Red”. It is the name given to Jacob’s brother, Esau, because he sold his birthright for red pottage-Genesis 25:30.

    • The Edomites, therefore, came from Esau (Genesis 36:1) and they lived in Mount Seir, a mountainous region south of the Dead Sea. It is in what we know as Jordan today. Seir means “hairy, rugged” and Esau was a hairy man (Genesis 27:11).


  • The Restoration of Israel- V. 17-21

    • These verses teach God’s protective mercy for his people. No one who fights God’s covenant people ever prospered but paid dearly. Edom had perished but Israel flourishes.


  • When we look at the two brothers Esau and Jacob, we see two nation at war with each others. One was chosen (Jacob), the other an outcast. Esau was Edom, Earthly, Proud and Rebellious. On the other hand, was Jacob, Israel, heavenly, chosen and set apart.


  • History tells us that Edom fell to the Babylonians five years after they helped Babylon destroy Jerusalem, as indicated in verse 13. Thereafter the Nabatheans, an Arabian tribe, occupied Edom’s capital, Petra. By the third century even the language of Edom ceased.

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