The origin and history of the nation of Edom and its opposition to Israel must be understood as background to God’s declaration of judgment. Obadiah’s vision combines what will take place in the near term with reference to Edom for her pride and arrogance with the eschatological judgment and destruction of all the godless nations in preparation for the glorious restoration of Israel. The establishment of God’s eternal kingdom will turn the tables once and for all on the arrogance and false security of Edom.
Self Righteous Piling On by Arrogant Boasters is Doomed to Destruction by the God Who Fulfills His Promise of a Righteous Kingdom
Obadiah 15 “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you.
Your dealings will return on your own head.”
I. (:1-9) ARROGANCE AND FALSE SECURITY WILL BE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN BY COMPLETE DESTRUCTION
II. (:10-14) THE TABLES WILL BE TURNED ON THEIR MALICE AND ALOOFNESS AND GLOATING AND EXPLOITATION
III. (:15-21) THE RIGHTEOUS KINGDOM OF GOD WILL REPLACE THE TEMPORARY DOMINION OF THE EDOMITES
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
• To expose the sin of Pride with all of its deception and all of its various forms of expression
• To demonstrate the divine principle of judgment called poetic justice where God turns the tables on sin. His justice is strict and fair with the punishment corresponding to the sin.
• To assure God’s people of their ultimate triumph despite the temporary domination of hostile enemy nations
• To condemn all human arrogance and boasting by pointing to the final word that will be had by the Judge of all the earth
Ray Stedman: God has taken these two men [Jacob and Esau] and the subsequent nations that came from them and used them through the Bible as a consistent picture of the conflict between the flesh and the spirit. . .
The trouble with Esau is Pride. Pride is the root of all human evil, and pride is the basic characteristic of what the Bible calls the flesh that lusts against, wars against, the Spirit. The flesh is a principle that stands athwart God’s purposes in human life and continually defies what God is trying to accomplish. Each of us has this struggle within us if we are Christians, and its basic characteristic is revealed here as Pride. That is the number one identifying mark of the flesh. . . Pride shows itself in different forms:
– Self-sufficiency (:3, 4):
– Violence (:10):
– Indifference (:11)
– Gloating (:12-13)
– Exploitation (:14)
Hampton Keathley: The hostility began in an argument over the birthright, but during the time of Obadiah it centered around trade routes. The Kings Highway ran all the way from Damascus to Egypt. Whoever controlled the highway, controlled the flow of goods and became wealthy.
David Guzik: The Edomites boasted in their natural defenses. The ancient city of Petra – once the capital city of Edom, known as Sela – had amazing defenses. It is a city carved into the rock, accessible by a narrow canyon almost a mile long. At the end of the canyon there is a spectacular city carved in stone, and seemingly incapable of being conquered by any army.
The Edomites boasted in their wisdom. The men of Edom – especially of the city Teman – were noted for their wisdom. The phrase men of the East in the Old Testament often refers to men from Edom, and passages like 1 Kings 4:30 declare the great wisdom of the men of the East. As well, Jeremiah 49:7 says of Edom: Is wisdom no more in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished? This was another source of pride for the Edomites.
The Edomites boasted in their alliances and trusted in their allies – their confederacy, the men at peace with you (Obadiah 1:7). They thought that their alliances made them strong, and they were proud because of that strength.
J. Sidlow Baxter: Here, in this particular prophecy about Edom, we are meant to learn emphatically that there is a principle of “poetic justice” operative in the Divine government of the earth’s peoples. This is the distinctive contribution of this Edom prophecy. Obadiah, let us remember it well, is the prophet of poetic justice.
See how this truth is amplified by the context. Edom had indulged in treachery against Judah (verse 11, 12); therefore Edom should perish through the treachery of confederates (verse 7). Edom had seized the chance to rob Judah (verse 13); therefore Edom should be robbed even till his hidden things, or treasure, were searched out (verses 5, 6). Edom had lifted the sword and shown violence against Judah (verse 10); therefore Edom should perish by slaughter (verse 9). Edom had sought the utter destruction of Judah (verses 12-14); therefore Edom should be utterly destroyed (verses 10, 18). Edom had even sought to hand over and dispossess the remnant of the invaded Jerusalem (verse 14); therefore, in the end, the remnant of Jacob should possess the land of Edom (verse 19). Yes, poetic justice! – the penalty corresponding to the iniquity as one line of poetry corresponds to another!
Chuck Swindoll: That God sent a man named “worshipper of Yahweh” to the people of Edom was no mistake. Edom had been found guilty of pride before the Lord (Obadiah 1:3). They had thought themselves greater than they actually were; great enough to mock, steal from, and even harm God’s chosen people. But the “Lord GOD,” a name Obadiah used to stress God’s sovereign power over the nations, will not stand idly by and let His people suffer forever (1:1). Through Obadiah, God reminded Edom of their poor treatment of His people (1:12–14) and promised redemption, not to the Edomites but to the people of Judah (1:17–18). The nation of Edom, which eventually disappeared into history, remains one of the prime examples of the truth found in Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, / And a haughty spirit before stumbling.”
Biblestudytools.com: There is no compelling reason to doubt the unity of this brief prophecy, the shortest book in the OT. Its theme is that Edom, proud over her own security, has gloated over Israel’s devastation by foreign powers. However, Edom’s participation in that disaster will bring on God’s wrath. She herself will be destroyed, but Mount Zion and Israel will be delivered, and God’s kingdom will triumph.
Edom’s hostile activities have spanned the centuries of Israel’s existence. The following Biblical references are helpful in understanding the relation of Israel and Edom: Ge 27:41-45; 32:1-21; 33; 36; Ex 15:15; Nu 20:14-21; Dt 2:1-6; 23:7-8; 1Sa 22 with Ps 52; 2Sa 8:13-14; 2Ki 8:20-22; 14:7; Ps 83; Eze 35; Joel 3:18-19; Am 1:11-12; 9:11-12. Since the Edomites are related to the Israelites (v. 10), their hostility is all the more reprehensible. Edom is fully responsible for her failure to assist Israel and for her open aggression. The fact that God rejected Esau (Ge 25:23; Mal 1:3; Ro 9:13) in no way exonerates the Edomites. Edom, smug in its mountain strongholds, will be dislodged and sacked. But Israel will prosper because God is with her.
Bruce Hurt: Tracing the stages of Edom’s decline is a valuable study.
– First, the prophet accused them of standing aloof (Obadiah 1:11). In every conflict between right and wrong, the person who remains neutral does much of the damage.
– Second, they actually saw the destruction and distress of Jerusalem with their own eyes (Obadiah 12). What a terrible thing to refuse to help the Lord’s people! In the present Jewish situation, we would do well to consider the fact that God’s attitude has not changed toward His chosen people. Oh, I know that one may argue the craftiness of the Jews, pointing out that they are still supplanters. Even so, we must not join those who would condemn them. I fear for any nation that causes grief to Israel. [cp. Ge 12:1-3]
– Third, the Edomites gloated when Israel fell (Obadiah 1:12).
– Fourth, they spoke proudly; they had what we call the ”pharisaical attitude.” Edom stood by and said, ”That’s all right; they probably deserved it.”
– Fifth, not only were the Edomites guilty of wicked indifference, they eventually became actively involved in Israel’s distress (Obadiah 1:13).
– Sixth, Edom took advantage of Judah’s trouble by plundering some of their wealth (Obadiah 1:3).Sin is never the sudden outburst of a moment. (Note carefully the steps these relatives of Israel had taken in their downfall.)
– Seventh, they gave open assistance to the enemy (Obadiah 1:14). When the Israelites escaped and tried to flee, the Edomites cut them off from their defenses and handed them over to their pursuers.