What is the theme of the book of Obadiah?


By BibleAsk Team

The Book of Obadiah

The book of Obadiah talks about God’s penalty that is to come upon Edom for its evil actions against Judah in a time of catastrophe. And it also describes the final victory of God’s people and their kingdom.

The Edomites

This group, which is mentioned on the book of Obadiah, were the offspring of Esau (Genesis 36:1), the brother of Jacob (Genesis 25:24–26). The enmity that existed between the Edomites and the Jews was mostly vicious, as is often the case with family feuds. This enmity that continued for ages, originated from the birthright dispute between the brothers. Esau despised and sold his birthright to Jacob for a meal of lentils (Genesis 25:29-34).

This hostility climaxed when the descendants of Esau refused to give permission to the children of Israel to pass through their land on the way to Canaan (Numbers 20:14–21). Later on, the hatred was seen in the battles that King Saul fought against them (1 Samuel 14:47). Also, King David treated the Edomites harshly, slaying “every male” and placing garrisons “throughout all Edom,” making them “servants” (2 Samuel 8:13, 14; 1 Kings 11:15).

This clash continued also in the reign of David’s Son, King Solomon (1 Kings 11:14–22). During the rule of King Jehoshaphat, the Edomites, were called “the children of Seir” (Genesis 32:3; 36:8; Deuteronomy 2:5). And they united with the Moabites and the Ammonites to attack Judah (2 Chronicles 20:22).

The freedom the Edomites lost under David, they reclaimed under Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:8–10). And the fight between Edom and the Israelites was resumed when Amaziah of Judah effectively attacked the Edomites, seizing their city, Sela, and killing many of its inhabitants (2 Kings 14:1, 7; 2 Chronicles 25:11, 12).

Partly overcome, the Edomites again invaded Judah in the time of King Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:17). And when the city of Jerusalem was ruined by Nebuchadnezzar, the Edomites celebrated the disaster that came upon Judah (Psalms 137:7).

The Restoration of Judah

The prophet Obadiah doesn’t end his book with this gloomy theme of hostility. He announces a divine promise of restoration for Israel after the return from exile. For he declared that the house of Jacob would again “possess their possessions” (Obadiah 1:17), and extend their borders (verses 19, 20). The promises of verses 17–21 were never fully fulfilled because of the failure of the Jews to carry on the spiritual revival needed to make it possible to receive the destiny God had intended for them.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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