A. Author: The author of the book of Obadiah cannot be identified with any of the other 12 persons with the same name. The man and his personality, home, etc., "lies in a deep shadow." The prophet's name means "servant of the Lord."


B. Background:

     1.  The occasion of the book is some recent sack of Jerusalem in which the Edomites aided and abetted.

     2.  The question of date relates to identifying the sack of Jerusalem the Edomites were associated with (vv. 11-15), Various invaders:

          a.  Shishak of Egypt, during Rehoboam's reign in 926 BC I Kings 14:25, 26; 2 Chronicles 12:1-13

          b.  Philistines & Arabians during the reign of Jehoram. c. 845 BC 2 Chron. 21:16,17 2 Kings 8:20

          c.  Jehoash of Israel during reign of Amaziah, c. 800 BC Kings 14:8-14; 2 Chronicles 28:6-8; 25:17-24

d. Invaders during the reign of Ahaz (736-728 BC)

2 Kings 16:6-8; 2 Chronicles 28:6-8, 17, 18

e. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, 605-586 BC

2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 36

     3.  If invasion (b.) then this book is the earliest of the writing prophets, about 845 B.C.

     4.  The Edomites were descendants of Esau, Jacob's twin brother, and were in constant conflict with Israel.

          a.  Gen. 25:19, 21-34; Gen. 27:40

          b.  They rejected Moses' request to pass through their land.

(Numbers 20:14-20).

          c.  They opposed King Saul (I Samuel 14:47).

          d.  They fought against David (I Samuel 11:14-17).

          e.  They opposed Solomon (I Kings 11:14-25).

          f.  They joined forces with Moab and Ammon and opposed King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:22).

          g.  They rebelled against Jehoram and set up their own king,

(2 Chron. 21:8)


     5.  Edom was a narrow strip of mountainous country to the south of the Dead Sea. From the 13th to the 6th centuries B.C. they settled in Mt. Seir, of which Sela (Petra) was the capital. So rugged is the terrain that the valley in which Petra is located can only be reached through a narrow canyon guarded by towering mountain walls 200-500 feet high (v. 3-4). During the 5th century BC Nabateans dislodged the Edomites from their territory, causing them to withdraw to Idumea in southern Palestine. Herod the Great was an Edomite (Idumean).

          a.  Sela (Greek Petra, Arabic Betra) -- "the rose-red city half as old as time." "an Edomite Citadel" "a rich caravan city, a veritable crossroads of the ancient world."

          b.  "Situated in the heart of the Seir range, hardly more than one hundred miles southeast of Jerusalem, it was practically isolated and impregnable... a rock-city or mountain fortress."

          c.  "Seir" is another name for the same nation, Gen. 32:3.


C. Characteristics:


     1.  The smallest book in the Old Testament

          Obadiah       249 (H)        647 (English)

           2 John          244 (G)        299 (English)

           3 John          219 (G)        298 (English)


     2.  "The costly and most radiant gems are often strung on the shortest thread." Petrie, Israel's Prophets.

     3.  Most of the prophets tell of the Messianic Age. In a shortened prospective they sweep from the historic messianic age into the eternal (heavenly) age. Thus, when we come to the end of most of the prophetic books we are in heaven.


D. Design:


     1.  Theme: Edom stands judged, and her doom is certain, because of her pride in rejoicing over the misfortunes that befell Jerusalem.


     2.  Purpose:

          a.  To pronounce judgment upon Edom and other nations.

          b.  To bring comfort and hope to the children of Israel.

          c.  To emphasize the ultimate triumph of the Kingdom of God.


     3.  Brief Outline of OBADIAH


 I.       The Doom of Edom, 1-9

     A. The Certainty of It, 1-4

     B. The Completeness of It, 5-9

II. The Denunciation of Edom, 10-14

     A. For Unbrotherliness, 10

     B. For Aloofness, 11-12

     C. For Aggressiveness, 13-14

III.     The Destruction of Edom, 15-21

     A. The Time of the Destruction, 15-21

     B. Edom's Doom and the Exhalation of Zion 16-21

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 The Book of the Twelve -- The "minor" prophets stand as one whole, or as a unit in the Hebrew. The terms "major" and "minor" are not used in the sense of major and minor English poets, but the delineation is because of size, or bulk.

The Time spread of the "minor" prophets.


           ASSYRIAN          BABYLONIAN              PERSIAN

                                               612 BC                         539 BC

MINOR PROPHETS: H J A O J          M N H Z            H Z M

MAJOR PROPHETS:                                    I J    E D

- - - - - - - - - - -


1. v.11 Edom stood by while Jerusalem was invaded.

2. v.12 Edom rejoiced over the captivity of the sons of Judah.

3. v.13 Edom actively participated in looting Jerusalem.

4. v.14 Edom set up road blocks to prevent escape.


1. Cruelty of the feet, v. 11 "she stood afar off"

2. Cruelty of the eye, v.13 Looked on in his disaster & affliction

3. Cruelty of the heart, v.12 Rejoiced in Jerusalem’s destruction

4. Cruelty of the tongue, v.12 Spoke proudly

5. Cruelty of the hands, v.13 Laid hands on substance, cut off esc.

Highlights Of The Teaching of Obadiah

1.  The inevitable humiliation of the proud – v.3-9.

2.  The condemnation of unbrotherliness – v.10-14

3.  The nearness of the day of Yahweh – v. 15-16

4.  The Certainty of divine retribution on the ungodly - v.15-16.

5.  The futurity of the golden age – v. 17-21

6.  The ineffable truth that “the kingdom is the LORD’S” – v.21

Some Lessons From The Book of Obadiah

1.  Neither the highest rock nor the deepest cave is any defense against the Almighty.

2.  The book of Obadiah reveals the fact that there is no contrariety between God’s foreknowledge and human responsibility.

3.  False price dries up the milk of human kindness.

4.  Arrogance will be crushed under the hammer of Almighty God.

5.  Pride is deceptive. False pride is practical infidelity.

6.  The day of trouble reveals the quality of friendship – v.7

7.  The eye of faith sees the ultimate triumph even through the deepest gloom.

8.  It is a terrible sin to gloat over the misfortunes of a brother.

9.  Right is never abrogated.

10.     “Sin boomerangs” – v.15

11.     “The Message of Obadiah” – Certainty of Judgment – Causes of Judgment – Consummation of Judgment.

12.     “No exaltation of power can secure those whom God in honor is concerned to bring down.”

13.     “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city; and such contentions are like the bars of a castle.” – Proverbs 18:19.

Elemental Prophetic Themes Found in Obadiah

1.  The day of the LORD, v.15 

2.  Judgment, v. 15

3.  The remnant, v.17 

4.  Restoration, v.19

5.  Prosperity (Material prosperity was often typical of spiritual blessings), v. 17, 19, 20.

6.  The centrality of Mt. Zion, v. 17, v. 21

7.  Holiness, v. 17 

8.  Ultimate Triumph, v. 17-21

9.  The kingdom of the LORD, v. 21