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Book of Obadiah

Book of Obadiah
by Timothy Kenney, PhD

The Book of Obadiah is the shortest work in the Old Testament, containing only 21 verses. It is based on the vision of Edom, a country southwest of Judaea; the Edomites that inhabited it were related by blood to the Jews. Nothing is said about the prophet Obadiah neither in his book, nor in the rest of the Biblical writings. The book of Obadiah was written soon after Nebuchadrezzar destroyed Jerusalem, when the Edomites encouraged and gloated over the devastation of the city, instead of providing help or at least showing sympathy to their blood brothers. The grief of the Jews over this behavior of the Edomites was expressed in the following words from Psalm 137: "Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof." In his prophetic vision Obadiah saw the punishment of the Edomites for their cruelty. The prophet also foretold the return of the Jews from the captivity.

Narrative summary below.

The Holy Prophet Obadiah [or Abdia] is the fourth of the Twelve Minor Prophets, and he lived during the ninth century B.C. He was from the village of Betharam, near Sichem, and he served as steward of the impious Israelite King Ahab. In those days the whole of Israel had turned away from the true God and had begun to offer sacrifice to Baal, but Obadiah faithfully served the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in secret.

When Ahab's wife, the impious and dissolute Jezebel, hunted down all the prophets of the Lord (because of her quarrel with the Prophet Elias), Obadiah gave them shelter and food. Ahab's successor King Okhoziah (Ahaziah) sent three detachments of soldiers to arrest the holy Prophet Elias (July 20). One of these detachments was headed by Obadiah. Through the prayer of Elias, two of the detachments were consumed by heavenly fire, but Obadiah and his detachment were spared by the Lord.

From that moment Obadiah resigned from military service and became a follower of the Prophet Elias. Afterwards, he himself received the gift of prophecy. The God-inspired work of Obadiah is the fourth of the Books of the Twelve Minor Prophets in the Bible, and contains predictions about the New Testament Church. The holy Prophet Obadiah was buried in Samaria.

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Detailed outline below.

1:1-1:8 Proud Edom Will Be Brought Low
1:9-1:16 Pillage and Slaughter Will Repay Edom's Cruelty
1:17-1:21 Israel's Final Triumph.

We now turn to the Book of Jonas.

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