Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read the entire book. Orientation Obadiah is book #31 of 39 in the Old Testament, and the fourth book of the Minor Prophets. For more information see the Bible Overview page.
Synopsis The nation of Edom (Judah's southern neighbor) is arrogant (3) because of its secure location in a rock-surrounded high area. This is Obadiah's prophecy: Judah, the southern nation of the Jews, is invaded. Edom, rejoices in this (10-14). Some Jews flee into Edom, where they are promptly arrested and turned back over to the Edomites. Edom then raids into Judah to plunder anything left behind. Obadiah promises Edom will be destroyed in retaliation, while Judah will be restored.
This is the result of a long-running feud. The Jews and the Edomites are related - the Jews descended from Jacob, while the Edomites descended from his twin brother, Esau. The two tribes never got along well after they went their separate ways (Genesis 27 and 36); particularly when the Edomites refused to let the Israelites cross their land on their way to Canaan. See Numbers 20: 14-21 and Deuteronomy 2: 1-6 for background, and Joel 3:19 and Isaiah 34:5 for prophecy of the coming judgement of Edom.
Discussion points Consider the situation of Edom (3). Is there a rock-like structure upon which you base your own security? Insurance, investments, church, inheritance? Does "pride of the heart" deceive you?
Edom was judged for not supporting the Jews - their related tribe of Jacob - in their time of need. Are there those in need whom we are not helping as we should?
Connections Compare Obadiah 1-9 with Jeremiah 49: 7-22. Most of the content is identical, although not in the same order. Apparently Obadiah was drawing from Jeremiah's writings.
Compare Obadiah 15 to Matthew 7:12; for the same concept expressed in two different ways - one negative, one positive.
For source citations see the home page. Revised April 9 2014
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