Summary of the Book of Obadiah
The key personalities are the Edomites. The purpose of Obadiah is to show that God will judge all those who are against His children, His chosen people; Edom is used as the example of this truth.
Obadiah is only one chapter (the shortest book in the Old Testament) yet it tells of God’s prophet Obadiah as he announces God’s powerful and authoritative judgment on the nation of Edom.
This is the fateful end of the nation of Edom. They had been in conflict with Israel since ancient times, in reality Edom is the descendants of Esau, Jacobs’s brother.
Verses 1-9 – Obadiah declares the wickedness of the Edomites and gives examples of their pride:
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? (3).
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? (8).
Verses 10-14 – tell of the transgressions and offenses of Edom. Implying that they should have acted like a brother who would stand for them, since they descended from the brothers; Jacob and Esau.
For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever (10).
Verses 15-21 – we read about the victory of Israel in the end:
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 (18).
Edom was utterly nonexistent by the 1st century A.D.
Obadiah, which means “Servant of Yah”, made his predictions sometime after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., and before the conquest of Edom.
His book is the shortest book in the Old Testament, consisting of only one chapter with 21 verses. It concerns the destruction of Edom, a nation who participated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
The Edomites were descendants of Esau, while the Israelites were the descendants of Jacob. (Jacob and Esau were brothers).
It is for this violence of brother Edom against brother Israel, that Edom is condemned. Rather than help Israel when the nation was being attacked, Edom helped the attackers and took part in the plundering of Israel.
The subject of this little book is that the judgment of God does not overlook the wrongs done by evil men or nations but visits them with retribution.
The Bible’s book of Obadiah is the fourth of the twelve Minor Prophets.