Obadiah (day 889) 7 June 2012
1-4: Welcome to the shortest book in the Old Testament. Not much is known about Obadiah, but the subject of his book would indicate that he was a prophet in Jerusalem during the time of the Babylonian invasion. The name means “worshiper of God” and some think it should not be taken as an individual’s name at all. The book of Obadiah is a prophecy against Edom. We have already read a number of pronouncements against Israel’s neighbors, Edom included (as in Isaiah 21:11-12, Jeremiah 49:7-22, Ezekiel 25:12-14 and Amos 1:11-12), but the entire book of Obadiah is dedicated to the destruction of those folks over yonder across the Jordan who were enemies of Israel (and Judah) since the time of Moses (see Numbers 20:14-21).
5-9: God’s vengeance against Edom will be awful indeed, with such destruction that nothing worth having will be left. The reference to Esau hearkens back to the tradition that Edom was settled by Jacob’s brother (Genesis 36:8). Teman was a region and a town in Edom, though not the capital. It is mentioned here because Teman was also the name of Esau’s grandson (Genesis 36:11), so the familial bond between Judah and Edom are emphasized. The name “Mount Esau” only occurs in Obadiah, and is likely not a place name but an acknowledgement of the ancient kinship and enmity between Esau/Edom and Jacob/Judah.
10-14: The rape of Jerusalem is recounted, with Edom’s participation in the sacking of the city after the Babylonians destroyed it.
15-16: The “Day of the LORD” is seen by Obadiah as the time when God will take vengeance on the nations that took part in Judah’s destruction.
17-21: Jerusalem will be restored, and those who return to Jerusalem shall rule over Edom in the future. Here the prophecy widens a bit to have Judah ruling over more territory after their restoration than was the case before their destruction. Not only Edom but also Philistia will be subject to Jerusalem, as well as Samaria, Gilead, Phoenicia and the Negeb.