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Old Testament Overview - Obadiah

God's judgment on Edom!

Key Events:  Introduction: God predicts that the time will come when the nations will attack Edom (1)  (This book may have been written when Israel was being attacked, since Edom was enjoying it.  Another possibility is that it was written after Israel was attacked. See 11-12)  (We know nothing more about Obadiah other than that he wrote this prophecy against Edom.)  (The people of Edom were descendents of Esau, the brother of Jacob and the son of Isaac.  "Edom" means "red."  The name may have come from the red stew for which Esau gave up his birthright.  "Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, 'Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!' (That is why he was also called Edom.)" (Genesis 25:29-30 See also Gen. 25-25)  (The region where the Edomites lived was called Mt. Seir.  It was actually "not just one mountain, but a mountainous region extending from the south of the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Akabah." J. Sidlow Baxter, Explore the Book. See Gen. 36:6-9; Deut. 2:12, 22  Compare Obadiah with Jer. 49:7-22)

The reason for the judgment: Edom's arrogant, self-sufficiency (2-9)  (1) God will bring Edom down from their proud perch in the rocks. (2-4)  (God says that even if you make your home "among the stars," "I will bring you down." 4)  (Because the Edomites were the masters of their rocky home, they felt that they were invincible to attack; but there is no defense against God's judgment.)  ("The phrase 'you who live in the clefts of the rock' describes the capital of Edom, now known as Petra, which is a valley plateau accessible only through a long narrow ravine, containing within it huge temples carved out of the living rock.  The Edomites, therefore, felt themselves to be impregnable." Ray Stedman, Highlights of the Bible.)  (2) Edom's own friends will rob them and strip them cleaner than a thief empties a house of its valuables or a grape picker strips a vine of its grapes. (5-7)  (Thieves take only what they want and grape pickers leave some grapes to be gleaned, but Edom's friends will turn on them and strip them clean of everything.)  ("History records that some five years after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., the Edomites were forced out of Petra by the Nabataeans, an Arab tribe which was encouraged to the attack by Nebuchadnezzar, and settled ultimately in southern Palestine in an area which the Greeks later called Idumaea.  During the Roman conquest of of Palestine, the Idumaeans joined the rebellion against the Romans in A.D. 70 and were entirely exterminated during the siege of Jerusalem in the third century A.D.  Origen, one of the early church fathers, spoke of them as a people whose name and language had perished." Ray Stedman, Highlights of the Bible.)  (Today, all that is left of Edom is the rocks that they lived in and the ruins of their city in the rocks. See also Jer. 27:3-6 and Mal. 1:2-4)  (The king Herods of the Gospels and the book of Acts were Idumeans or Edomites.  (3) God, Himself, will be the One behind their destruction. (8-9)  ("Teman means 'south,' and the name probably refers to Edom as the southland." NIV Study Bible note.)

The reason for the judgment: Edom's coldhearted indifference to, enjoyment of, and participation in Israel's suffering. (10-14)  (We see in these verses how pride and self-sufficiency can lead to cold-heartedness and cruelty.  All of us at one time or another have felt the hard-hearted cruelty of the proud and self-sufficient.  Here, we see Edom's cruelty toward Israel when Israel was being mercilessly attacked.)  (1) Edom's indifference (10-11)  (Edom watched without compassion as Israel was stripped clean.  "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen. 4:9)  (2) Their enjoyment of Israel's suffering (12)  (Like the perverted enjoyment of the Romans who were entertained by the suffering and death in their arenas, the Edomites enjoyed the suffering of the Jews.)  (3) They participated in the cruelty toward Israel. (13)  (They took advantage of Israel's weakened state to loot them.)  (4) They cut off Israel's escape to Egypt. (14)  (Because Edom stood at "the crossroads" between Israel and Egypt, they were easily able to prevent them from escaping to Egypt.  Instead of helping them, they captured them and handed them over to their enemies.)

God's judgment on Edom (15-21)  (1) On the Day of the Lord, Edom will receive the same treatment that they gave to Israel. (15-16)  (Notice: Edom plundered Israel and would be slaughtered themselves. 9)  (For more about Edom's role in the Day of the Lord, see Isa. 34, 63:1-6; Jer. 49:7-22(2) But in the last days, Israel or Jacob will receive their promised inheritance and will defeat Edom or Esau. 17-18)  (Jacob and Esau were the forefathers of the nations of Israel and Edom; therefore, the names of Jacob and Esau are symbolic names for the two nations. See Prov. 24:11-12 for a short description of God's poetic justice.)  (Israel's inheritance 17)  (In the future, Jerusalem will no longer be a place for looting and destruction, but it will be transformed into a holy and secure home for the people of Israel.)  (Israel's future victory over Edom 18)  (Israel will burn Edom like stubble. See Zech 12:6)  (Possibly, this prophecy refers to modern-day Jordan, the country that now occupies the territory that once was Edom.)
(3) In the last days, Israel will possess the land of Israel and the lands surrounding Israel. (19-21)  (Israel is described in many ways in these verses—"Negev," "people from the foothills," "Benjamin," "this company of Israelites," etc.)  (Israel will occupy "Esau"—modern-day Jordan; "the land of the Philistine"—Gaza strip; "Ephraim and Samaria"—modern-day Israel; "Gilead"—modern-day Jordan east of the Jordan River; and "Zarephath"—modern-day Lebanon. See Luke 4:42) (Where is "Sepharad"?  Feinberg says, "It has never been satisfactorily identified.")  ("And the kingdom will be the Lord's." "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)

Key Verses:  3-4, 11-12, 15, 19-21

Key Teaching  Do not be proud like Edom was. (3-4,11-12)  Do not look down on other's misfortune or misfortune will come down on you. 11-12, 15)  Israel's final restoration. (17-21)

Old Testament Overview Studies

Old Testament Overview
Table of Contents
Old Testament Overview Outline
Old Testament Overview Genesis
Old Testament Overview Exodus to Deuteronomy
Old Testament Overview Furniture of the Tabernacle
Old Testament Overview Dress of Priests and High Priest
Old Testament Overview Dress of High Priest
Old Testament Overview Canaan: What Can it Teach Us?
Old Testament Overview Israel, God's Kingdom
Old Testament Overview Moses—Failure the Backdoor to Success
Old Testament Overview The Mosaic Covenant
Old Testament Overview The Ten Commandments
Old Testament Overview The Offerings
Old Testament Overview Uncleanness
Old Testament Overview The Priesthood
Old Testament Overview The Festivals
Old Testament Overview The Nazirite Vow
Old Testament Overview Joshua to Ruth
Old Testament Overview Prophecies of the Redeemer—Genesis to Ruth
Old Testament Overview I and II Samuel
Old Testament Overview Saul and David Compared
Old Testament Overview Jonathan and David Compared
Old Testament Overview The Davidic Covenant
Old Testament Overview I And II Kings
Old Testament Overview Israel's and Judah's Kings
Old Testament Overview Divided Kings who Divided
Old Testament Overview Criticisms of God's Actions in the Old Testament
Old Testament Overview Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther
Old Testament Overview Ruth and Esther Compared
Old Testament Overview Job to Song of Solomon
Old Testament Overview Proverbs: Wise Man or Fool?
Old Testament Overview Isaiah
Old Testament Overview Jeremiah
Old Testament Overview Daniel
Old Testament Overview Hosea
Old Testament Overview Joel
Old Testament Overview Amos
Old Testament Overview Obadiah
Old Testament Overview Jonah
Old Testament Overview Micah
Old Testament Overview Nahum
Old Testament Overview Habakkuk
Old Testament Overview Zephaniah
Old Testament Overview Haggai
Old Testament Overview Zechariah
Old Testament Overview Malachi