Apr 10 2009

Esau and Obadiah


In 587 BC, the Jews saw the city of Jerusalem fall to the Babylonians and the Temple, built by Solomon nearly 400 years before, destroyed. The experience of this devastating judgment was made all the more bitter because the Edomites, their brothers and next-door neighbours, not only did not come to the aid of the Jews but, far worse, rejoiced in their humiliation, mocked their pain, looted their goods, and handed over their survivors to the Babylonians. The book of Obadiah is a prophecy, probably given shortly after the fall of Jerusalem, which tells of the judgment of Edom and the restoration of God’s people…


The book of Obadiah does not mention the sins of Judah or the destruction of the Temple – it is emphatically not a “sanctuary” book about the relationship with the Father. Similarly, no mention is made of the Babylonians or of what to do in exile – Obadiah is not a “world” book about the relationship with the outsider. Rather, the book of Obadiah is all about the Edomites – about their pride and self-reliance and malice. This is a “land” book about relationship with the “brother”. But who is this “brother” (see vv.10, 12)? The whole book is spoken to or about Edom. But who is Edom?

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