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Icons of the Bible: The Prophet Obediah

Updated: Jan 26

prophet obediah
The Prophet Obediah

Summary of the Book of Obadiah

"Author: Obadiah verse 1 identifies the author of the Book of Obadiah as the Prophet Obadiah.

Date of Writing: The Book of Obadiah was likely written between 848 and 840 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: Obadiah, the shortest book in the Old Testament, is only 21 verses long. Obadiah is a prophet of God who uses this opportunity to condemn Edom for sins against both God and Israel. The Edomites are descendants of Esau and the Israelites are descendants of his twin brother, Jacob. A quarrel between the brothers has affected their descendants for over 1,000 years. This division caused the Edomites to forbid Israel to cross their land during the Israelites' Exodus from Egypt. Edom’s sins of pride now require a strong word of judgment from the Lord.

Key Verses:

Obadiah verse 4, "'Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,' declares the LORD."

Obadiah verse 12, "You should not look down on your brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction, nor boast so much in the day of their trouble."

Obadiah verse 15, "The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head."

Brief Summary: Obadiah’s message is final and it is sure: the kingdom of Edom will be destroyed completely. Edom has been arrogant, gloating over Israel’s misfortunes, and when enemy armies attack Israel and the Israelites ask for help, the Edomites refuse and choose to fight against them, not for them. These sins of pride can be overlooked no longer. The book ends with the promise of the fulfillment and deliverance of Zion in the Last Days when the land will be restored to God’s people as He rules over them.

Foreshadowings: Verse 21 of the Book of Obadiah contains a foreshadowing of Christ and His Church. “Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, And the kingdom shall be the LORD’s” (NKJV). These “saviors” (also called “deliverers” in several versions) are the apostles of Christ, ministers of the word, and especially the preachers of the Gospel in these latter days. They are called "saviors," not because they obtain our salvation, but because they preach salvation through the Gospel of Christ and show us the way to obtain that salvation. They, and the Word preached by them, are the means by which the good news of salvation is delivered to all men. While Christ is the only Savior who alone came to purchase salvation, and is the author of it, saviors and deliverers of the Gospel will be more and more in evidence as the end of the age draws near.

Practical Application: God will overcome in our behalf if we will stay true to Him. Unlike Edom, we must be willing to help others in times of need. Pride is sin. We have nothing to be proud of except Jesus Christ and what He has done for us." from the article: Summary of the Book of Obadiah

What Do We Know about the Edomites in the Bible?

It is rare (maybe not so rare) that a group of people represent family and foe at the same time. This, however, is exactly who the Edomites are in the Bible. You will see they came from the same family tree as the Israelites, but their end was quite different. Let's take a look.

Who Were the Edomites in the Bible?

We learn from the book of Genesis that the father of the Edomites was Esau, the same Esau that was Jacob's brother. This is the familial connection between the Edomites and the Israelites. The recognition of this family tie was not lost even many years and generations later, which we will look at in a moment.

When you investigate Genesis, you will discover that Esau was referred to as Edom, where we get the name Edomites. He was also known as the father of the Edomites. Consider these verses in Genesis:

"Esau took his wives and sons and daughters and all the members of his household, as well as his livestock and all his other animals and all the goods he had acquired in Canaan, and moved to a land some distance from his brother Jacob. Their possessions were too great for them to remain together; the land where they were staying could not support them both because of their livestock. So Esau (that is, Edom) settled in the hill country of Seir. This is the account of the family line of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir." - Genesis 36:6-9.." from the article: What Do We Know about the Edomites in the Bible?


By: Emil G. Hirsch, Schulim Ochser, Executive Committee of the Editorial Board., Jacob Zallel Lauterbach

"The name of thirteen different persons mentioned in the Bible. As vocalized in the Masoretic text, it means "worshiper of Yhwh." 1. Head steward to King Ahab of Israel. At the time of the persecution of the prophets of Yhwh by Jezebel, Obadiah succeeded in concealing one hundred of them in caves (I Kings xviii. 4-6). During the great famine he was sent by Ahab to search for food. He met the prophet Elijah, and brought Ahab the message that the famine was at an end (ib. 6 et seq.). 2. A descendant of Jeduthun (I Chron. ix. 16). 3. One of the grandchildren of the last king, Jeconiah (ib. iii. 21). 4. A descendant of the tribe of Issachar, and one of David's heroes (ib. vii. 3). 5. A descendant of Saul (ib. viii. 38, ix. 44). 6. A Gadite, the second in the list of David's heroes who joined him in the desert before the capture of Ziklag (ib. xii. 9). 7. Father of Ishmaiah, who was appointed representative of the tribe of Zebulun, under David (ib. xxvii. 19). 8. One of the officers sent by Jehoshaphat to teach in the different towns of Judea (II Chron. xvii. 7). 9. A Levite, who, during the reign of Josiah, was placed over the workmen repairing the Temple (ib. xxxiv. 12). 10. Son of Jehiel; chief of 218 men who returned with Ezra to Palestine (Ezra viii. 9). 11. One of those who signed, with Nehemiah, the covenant to live according to the doctrines of the law of Moses (Neh. x. 6). 12. One of the porters of the gates in the porticoes of the new Temple (ib. xii. 25). 13. A prophet who lived probably about 587 B.C. (Ob. 1).

—In Rabbinical Literature:

Obadiah was a proselyte of Edomite origin (Sanh. 39b), and is said to have been a descendant of Eliphaz, the friend of Job (Yalḳ. ii. 549). He is identified with the Obadiah who prophesied against Edom (Ob. 1). It is said that he was chosen to prophesy against Edom because he was himself an Edomite. Moreover, having lived with two such godless persons as Ahab and Jezebel without learning to act as they did, he seemed the most suitable person to prophesy against Esau (Edom), who, having been brought up by two pious persons, Isaac and Rebekah, had not learned to imitate their good deeds.." from the Jewish Encyclopedia


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