Obadiah, Book of

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There is nothing in this prophecy to fix its date. The whole of it relates to Edom or the Edomites. Edom (Esau) is characterized in scripture by his deadly hatred to his “brother Jacob” (Obad. 1:1010For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. (Obadiah 10)). His pride is spoken of, exalting himself as the eagle, setting his nest in the firmament of heaven, and seeking his safety in the high caves of the rocks, which well answers to their habitations in Idumea.
Part of the prophecy may refer to the time when Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon. In Psalm 137:7-87Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. 8O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. (Psalm 137:7‑8), Edom is associated with Babylon as against Jerusalem. Obadiah 1:12-1412But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 13Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; 14Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. (Obadiah 12‑14) of the prophecy exactly describe the manner of a people like the Arabs when a city was captured. There are seven reproaches against them: they helped to pillage the place, stood in by-places to cut off any that escaped, and delivered them up to their enemies. These intimations of their assisting in the destruction of Jerusalem have led to the prophecy being usually dated B.C. 587, the year following the destruction.
The prophecy, however, probably looks onward to the last days, when Israel, restored to their land, will be attacked by Edom, and kindred nations (Psa. 83). Idumea will be their rendezvous, and the sword of the Lord will be filled with blood (Isa. 34:5-65For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. 6The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. (Isaiah 34:5‑6)). Obadiah depicts the Jews themselves as God’s instruments for the destruction of Esau; which agrees with Isaiah 11:1414But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. (Isaiah 11:14) and Daniel 11:4141He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. (Daniel 11:41). “Upon mount Zion shall be deliverance....the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble” (Obad. 1:17-1817But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 18And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it. (Obadiah 17‑18)). The destruction shall be complete: “every one of the mount of Esau” shall be cut off by slaughter; “there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau” (Obad. 1: 9,18). Their land shall be possessed by Israel, for God’s ways are retributive. The prophecy ends with “the kingdom shall be Jehovah’s.”