OBADIAH Minor Prophet? ‘The Day of the Lord’ (@minidvr)


Obadiah is the shortest book in the bible. Only 21 verses, notable for its short length, but more notable for its content. Obadiah lived in the Assyrian period, following the conquest and sacking of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar II in 597 BC, and the people of Judah were carried off into exile.  The remnant governed by a vassal King, under Nebuchadnezzar’s thumb.  Little is known about Obadiah, apart from his name, which he writes in the first verse [1] of the book.  However, the context of the writing and historic events point towards this period. (There is evidence that a prophet or person named Obadiah met Elijah (earlier time period [2]) but other evidence points to him being a contemporary of Jeremiah as Obadiah’s (v.1-9) appear, nearly verbatim in Jeremiah [3].  These details help to place Obadiah in the right timeline

The Assyrians were helped in overcoming Judah by Edom, a Kingdom founded by Jacob’s elder brother Esau, hence the references by Obadiah to ‘The Violence done to your Brother Jacob [4], the people of Israel were descended from Jacob’s line.  No mention of Jacob’s cheating Esau out of his inheritance? [5]), albeit, it was at God’s will, not Jacob’s.  ‘Blood should be thicker than water’ and the Edomites have betrayed that very blood they shared from Jacob’s blood line, and the descent direct from Abraham.

Obadiah prophesied around 590 BC, 7 years after the sacking of Jerusalem. In a ‘nut shell’ Obadiah’s prophecy concerns God’s judgement on Edom. They would be completely destroyed, their lands possessed by their enemies, and that ‘not one remnant’ would remain [6].   It also predicts that the children of Jacob will return and repossess the lands that they lost into perpetuity – the end of time and the coming again of the Messiah to make all things new.  One of the abiding terms from Obadiah is ‘The Day of the Lord [7]’ taken and used by other prophets, apostles and disciples in the old [8] and new [9] testaments.

So, what is this all about?   For me, it’s about ‘actions have consequences’ particularly if they affect or harm God’s people (and in this context I think about all of God’s creation).   The Edomites supported actions by a foreign power, which destroyed the Holy City of Jerusalem, and the Temple, God’s home here on earth.  The drove the people of God (the Sons of Jacob) into exile and dispossess them of their Promised Land.  While the Israelites were complicit in their own destruction by their disobedience to God as warned by Jeremiah, they, remained God’s people and Edom should have supported ‘blood relatives’ in preference to an enemy.  I suspect that we’re aware that actions have consequences; I wonder how often we consider that before we act without thinking? Taking it wider, God’s creation is precious and we squander its resources at our peril. ‘Actions have Consequences’, in the same way, inaction also has consequences and we may have to accept responsibility for that all in time.

[1]Obadiah 1:1
[2]1 Kings 18:1-6.
[3]Jeremiah 49:7-22.
[4]Obadiah 1:10
[5]Genesis 27:1-29
[6]Obadiah 1:18.
[7]Obadiah 1:15
[8] Isaiah 2, 13, 34, 58, Jeremiah 46:10, Lamentations 2:22, Ezekiel 13:5, Joel 1, 2, 3, Amos 5:18, 20, Zephaniah 1, 2,  Zechariah 14:1, Malachi 4:5
[9]1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10, Acts 2:20, 1 Corinthians 5:5, 2 Corinthians 1:14

About Ernie Feasey

Anglican, Ex-Officer, trying to discern a vocation to Ordained Ministry