Reading 0,04 - 1 Chapter - 21 verses - 670 words

Vital Statistics

 Purpose:  To show that God judges those who have harmed his people
 Author:  Obadiah. Very little is know about this man, whose name means "servant (or worshiper) or the Lord"  
 Original audience:  The Edomites and the Jews in Judah (the southern kingdom) 
 Date written:  Possibly during the reign of Jehoram in Judah, 855-840 B.C., or possibly during Jeremiah's ministry 627-586 B.C.
 Setting:  Historically. Edom had constantly harassed the Jews. Prior to the time this book was written, they had participated in attacks against Judah. Given the dates above, this prophecy came after the division of Israel into the northern and southern kingdoms and before the conquering of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.
 Key verse:  “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." (1:15)
 Key people:  The Edomites
 Key places:  Edom, Jerusalem
 Special feature:  The book of Obadiah uses vigorous poetic language and is written in the form of a dirge of doom 


    The author's name is Obadiah, which means "servant (or worshiper) of the Lord." "His was a common name (1Ki 18:3-16; 1Ch 3:21; 7:3; 8:38; 9:16; 12:9; 27:19; 2Ch 17:7; 34:12; Ez 8:9; Ne 10:5; 12:25). Neither his father's name nor the place of his birth is given. 

Date and Place of Writing

    The date and place of composition are disputed. Dating the prophecy is mainly a matter of relating vv. 11-14 to one of two specific events in Israel's history: 

    1. The rebellion of Edom against Judah during the reign of Jehoram (853-841 B.C.); 2 Ki 8:20-22; 2Ch 21:8-15. In this case, Obadiah would be a contemporary of Elisha. 

    2. The Babylonian attacks on Jerusalem (605-586). Obadiah would then be a contemporary of Jeremiah. This alternative seems more likely. 

    The striking parallels between Ob 1-6 and Jer 49:9-10,14-16 have caused many to suggest some kind of interdependence between Obadiah and Jeremiah, but it may be that both prophets were drawing on a common source not otherwise known to us.    

Unity and Theme

    There is no compelling reason to doubt the unity of this brief prophecy, the shortest book on the OT. Its theme is that Edom, proud over her own security, has gloated over Israel's devastation by foreign powers. However. Edom's participation in that disaster will bring on God's wrath. She herself will be destroyed, but Mount Zion and Israel will be delivered, and God's kingdom will triumph.  

    Edom's hostile activities have spanned the centuries of Israel's existence. The following Biblical references are helpful in understanding the relation of Israel and Edom: Ge 27:41-45; 32:1-21; 33; 36; Ex 15:15; Nu 20:14-21; Dt 2:1-6; 23:7-8; 1Sa 22 with Ps 52; 2Sa 8:13-14; 2Ki 8:20-22; 14:7; Ps 83; Eze 35; Joel 3:18-19: Am 1:11-12: 9:11-12. 

    Since the Edom are related to the Israelites (v.10), their hostility is all the more reprehensible. Edom is fully responsible for her failure to assist Israel and for her open aggression. The fact that God rejected Esau (Ge 25:23; Mal 1:3; Ro 9:13) in no exonerates the Edomites. Edom, smug in its mountain strongholds, will be dislodged and sacked. But Israel will prosper because God is with her.   


The Rulers and Prophets of Obadiah's Time


 Kings of Israel

(Northern Kingdom)


874 Ahab 853

841    Jehu    814




Prophets to Israel

(Northern Kingdom)


876        Elijah        852

852           Elisha          796


Kings of Judah

(Southern Kingdom)

   873 Jehoshap 848Ahaziah 841     


 835 Joash (Jehoash) 796

      Q.Athaliah 841-835     

Obadiah and His Contemporary Prophets

(Southern Kingdom)


OBADIAH  841-825

Joel      825-809


Jahaziel 835-835


Obadiah Interpretive Challenges

The striking similarity between Ob 1-9 and Jer 49:7-22 brings up the questions: Who borrowed from whom? Assuming there was not a third common source, it appears that Jeremiah borrowed, where appropriate, from Obadiah, since the shared verses from one unit in Obadiah, while in Jeremiah they are scattered among other verses.


I. Title and Introduction (1)

II. Judgment on Edom (2-14)

A. Edom’s Destruction Announced (2-7)

  1. The humbling of her pride (2-4)

  2. The completeness of her destruction (5-7)

B. Edom’s Destruction Reaffirmed (8-14)

  1. Her shame and destruction (8-10)

  2. Her crimes against Israel (11-14)

III. The Day of the Lord (15-21)

  1. Judgment on the Nations but Deliverance for Zion (15-18)

  2. The Lord’s Kingdom Established (19-21)

Obadiah Horizontal

1:1a - The vision of Obadiah

Warnings of it’s


1:1b - Concerning Edom



1:5 - Thieves come to you

Completeness of its destruction

of Edom

1:10 - Slaughter + violence to Jacob

Reasons for Edom judgement

The behavior of Edom

1:15 - Day of Lord wear


The judgment

1:19 - Repossession of the Land


of the Nations

God's character in Obadiah

  1. God is judging - vv. 1-16
  2. God is restoring - vv. 17-21

Christ in Obadiah

    In Obadiah, Christ acts as both Judge over Israel's enemies (vv. 15, 16), and Saviour of His chosen nation (vv. 17-20). Israel's final triumph comes only through Christ Himself.