Apparently very little is known about Obadiah, either concerning him, personally, or when and where he did his prophesying. It is said by some that this book was composed shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. And perhaps it was; but no one knows. The principal thing we do know about it is its content. It has only one chapter. The first seventeen verses of it concern Edom , the land of Esau . And the remainder concerns the restoration of Israel , and the judgment to be sent at that time upon Edom .


(Verses 1 and 2) The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumor from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised.


This introduces Obadiah’s vision. It is one of the downfall of Edom . As all Bible students know, Edom , or Esau, was the brother of Jacob. Their story is given in Genesis, Chapters 25 through 33. Esau joined the household of his uncle Ishmael; and from them most of the Arabs trace their descent. So this prophecy may very well include the Arabs in general. Of course, in the usual manner of consideration, there were, and are, only two divisions of people in the world. They are Jews, and Gentiles, or heathen. So the message is that the descendants of Esau, or Edom , are made small in the sight of the heathen, and greatly despised by them. This, of course awaits fulfillment. Even today the Arabs are considered in the eyes of the Gentiles as far more important than are the Jews. As is always the case in worldly affairs, “money talks.” And the Arabs, because of the oil deposits they control are far richer than the Jews. So they are still held in high esteem by the heathen. But the prophet says that there is a “rumor from the LORD,” and an ambassador has been sent among the heathen, calling for the heathen to rise up against Edom in battle. The LORD has cut Edom down greatly among the heathen, and has made them greatly despised. The fact that this is not yet fulfilled does not in the least deny that it will be done at the time selected by the LORD.


(Verses 3 through 9) The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? If the grape gatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes? How are the things of Esau searched out! How are his hidden things sought up! All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him. Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom , and understanding out of the mount of Esau? And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.


Men sometimes get the idea that, since the LORD does not always immediately bring to pass the things He declares that He will do, He did not mean what He said, and therefore we have to hunt some other explanation of His declaration. No doubt, many have this very idea concerning this prophecy. But, Make no mistake; what He has declared He will surely bring to pass just as He has ordered it. In verse 8, He says, “Shall I not in that day” bring these things to pass. Thus He signifies that it will not take place until the day He has chosen. Until then Edom will go on in the pride of their heart, thinking that they are so well established in the clefts of the rock that none can do anything against them. They have nothing but disdain for the idea that anyone, or anything, can bring them to the ground. But the LORD says that no matter how high they may exalt themselves, He will bring them down. Then He calls attention to the fact that, though they think themselves invincible, they are so completely exposed that if thieves came upon them, or if robbers came by night, they would steal all they wanted, with impunity. The things of Esau, even his hidden things are completely searched out, and brought to light. Even the very men that were at peace with Edom , and have been eating bread with him, are the ones that have deceived him. They have wounded him, and he does not understand this. As we have pointed out, this is the condition that will prevail in the day appointed by the LORD for its fulfillment. In that day, the Lord says, “And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.” This does not leave much room for guessing what shall be the outcome of that day.


(Verses 10 through 16) For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. But thou shouldest not have looked on thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of My people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. For as ye have drunk upon My holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.


This is simply a list of the things Edom did when Judah was being overrun by her enemies. Although Esau and Jacob were brothers, and therefore their descendants should have tried to help one another in time of distress. Edom had actually joined Judah ’s enemies instead of helping Judah . The LORD names several of the things Edom did against Judah at that time, and declares that because of these things He will bring them to utter destruction. Surely, this has not yet come to pass. But that, by no means, indicates that the LORD has forgotten His promise. It will come to pass exactly as He has said. But it will be at His appointed day. Man can neither hasten nor delay it. When it does, not only Edom , but all the heathen shall be brought down. They will never again arise against Israel .


(Verses 17 through 21) But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it. And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria : and Benjamin shall possess Gilead . And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zerepath; and the captivity of Jerusalem , which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.


All of these the LORD mentions as possessing the various parts of the land are those of Israel who have been brought back from the captivity in which they have for centuries been dispersed, and restored according to the promise of the LORD. All of this simply gives more detail of the great work the Lord has declared that He will make in the day when He restores Jerusalem , Judah , and Israel . It is in perfect harmony with the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah. In the final verse, the word, “saviours,” should, probably be understood as “judges.” Because they will come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau. “And the kingdom shall be the LORD’S” completely clinches the whole matter, and it fully agrees with the latter part of Zechariah 14, which tells us that the LORD will be the King, and what nations of the Gentiles that are left will come up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King.


Close Window