The Book of Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament and was written to the people of Judah about the Edomites. Obadiah's name means "servant of Yahweh."
Edom had numerous high mountains, and many of its people lived "in the clefts of the rocks" (v. 3). The nation became prosperous through its control of the major north-south caravan route. The Edomites had no love for the Israelites. Conflict between the two nations dated back to the time of the patriarchs. The Edomites were descendants of Esau and the Israelites were descendants of Jacob.
Edom had invaded and plundered Jerusalem at least four times. When Jerusalem was invaded by its enemies and was at its lowest, the Edomites stood aloof and rejoiced over Jerusalem's calamity.
God's message to Edom in verses 12-13 is also a good reminder to us today. "'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. You should not march through the gates of my people in the day of their disaster, nor look down on them in their calamity.'"
Obadiah prophesies that Edom will be ransacked and its hidden treasures pillaged, and "people from the Negev will occupy the mountains of Esau" (v. 19).
In verse 15 the Lord says, "'As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.'" "'There will be no survivors from the house of Esau.' The Lord has spoken" (v. 18).
After the Romans destroyed Jerusalem ( a.d. 70), Edom disappeared from history. God always fulfills His word.
Fill in the blanks on the worksheet and on the "Go to the Word" sheet, and may God bless you as you study His Word.
NIV Archaeological Study Bible ( Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 1467.