The name Obadiah means “servant of Jehovah.”
Nothing more is known about this prophet than this short book containing his prophecy.
Obadiah is a book of prophecy against the nation of Edom. This country had invaded and plundered Jerusalem at least four times, so Obadiah announced God’s judgement against them and prophesied that their kingdom would be destroyed.
The Edomites are heard of no more after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. – Taken from NIV Introduction to the Book of Obadiah.
This book is the shortest in the Old Testament. It contains only twenty-one verses, but it includes two important themes—the doom of the proud and rebellious and the deliverance of the meek and humble.
It is directly spoken to Edom and Zion and represents Esau and Jacob, the two sons of Isaac. But it appeals to us all with our two natures—the earthly represented by Esau on one side, so proud and bold, and the spiritual by Jacob, chosen and set apart by God. The story of the bitter family feud that takes us back to the days of the two brothers, Jacob and Esau unfolds before us.
–Taken from What the Bible Is All About by Dr. Henrietta C. Mears.
II A Couple of Practical Lessons
i The Pride of Edom brought about its downfall. Their city was at a great height up the mountains. It was almost inaccessible to others. It was perched like an “eagle’s nest” (v. 4). But God said, “The pride of your heart has deceived you” (v. 3). God further told Edom that He will bring them down from their place of security in the heights. Dear friend, is pride your necklace? Remember God always brings down the proud.
ii Being unconcerned was one of Edom’s sins. Edom “stood aloof while strangers carried off his [Jacob’s] wealth” (v. 11). So the warning is that “You should not look down on your brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice . . . in their destruction, nor boast so much in the day of their trouble. You should not march through the gates of my people in the day of their disaster, nor seize their wealth . . . You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble.” What lesson do you learn from this warning? What did God command the Israelites concerning the Edomites (Deuteronomy 23:7) and how did the Edomites respond (see Psalm 137:7)? Interestingly, five years later Edom fell before the same Babylon she had helped!
III The Two Recurring Themes
The day of the Lord is referred to by Obadiah too. He says that this day is near for all nations (v. 15).
Obadiah also closes with a Messianic expectation: “And the kingdom will be the LORD’s” [emphasis added] Comment: The Bible often refers to God’s rule over men in terms of “kingship” or a “kingdom,” and makes it clear that this rule is centred in Christ.
–Taken from The Bible in Outline published by Scripture Union.