The Doom of Edom


Edom was the rocky range of mountains east of the Arabah, stretching about 100 miles north and south, and about 20 miles east and west. It was well watered, with abundant Pasturage. Sela (Petra), carved high in a perpendicular cliff, overlooking a valley of marvelous beauty, far back in the mountain canyons, was the capital. Edomites would go out on raiding expeditions, and then retreat to their impregnable strongholds high up in the rocky gorges.

Edomites were descendants of Esau; but were always bitter enemies of the Jews, perpetuating the enmity of Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:23; 27:41). They refused passage to Moses (Numbers 20:14-21); and were always ready to aid an attacking army.

Date of This Prophecy

It was called forth by a plunder of Jerusalem, in which the Edomites participated, There were four such plunderings:

  1. In reign of Jehoram, 850-843 B.C. (II Chronicles 21:8, 16, 17; Amos 1:6).

  2. In reign of Amaziah, 803-775 B.C. (II Chronicles 25:11, 12, 23, 24).

  3. In reign of Ahaz, 741-726 B.C. (II Chronicles 28 16-21).

  4. In reign of Zedekiah, 597-586 B.C. (II Chronicles 36:11-21; Psalm 137:7).

There are various opinions as to which of these Obadiah belongs. Inasmuch as the "destruction" of Judah is mentioned (11-12), the prophecy is generally assigned to reign of Zedekiah, when Jerusalem was burnt by the Babylonians (586 B.C.).

Other Scriptures which foretell Edom's doom are: Isaiah 34:5-15; Jeremiah 19:7-15, Ezekiel 25:12-14; 35: 1-15; Amos 1:11-12.

Fulfillment of the Prophecy

Obadiah predicted that the Edomites would be "cut off forever," and "be as though

they had not been" (10, 16, 18); and that a remnant of Judah would be saved, and that the kingdom of Judah's God would yet prevail (17, 19, 21).

Within 4 years after Jerusalem was burned, Edom was raided and desolated (582 B.C.), by the very same Babylonians whom they had aided against Jerusalem. Nabathaeans took over Edom. The few Edomites that were left were confined to a region in south Judea, where for four centuries they continued to exist, as active enemies of the Jews. In 126 B.C. they were subdued by John Hyrcanus, one of the Maccabean rulers, and were absorbed into the Jewish state. When Palestine was conquered by Romans (63 B.C.), the Herods, an Edomite (Idumean) family, were placed in control of Judah. This was the last of the Edomites. With the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D 70), they disappeared from history.

Yunas Mound, "Tomb of Jonah," near Nineveh