- THE END IS NEAR FOR EDOM: OBADIAH - Essay File Pages 1 - 15 - Text Version | FlipHTML5
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- 40. The Book of Obadiah
The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Those who find their safety and security in the things under the sun will finally be destroyed, along with the things in which they trusted.
THE END IS NEAR FOR EDOM: OBADIAH - Essay File Pages 1 - 15 - Text Version | FlipHTML5
But those who find their safety and security in the Eternal God will never be shaken. This is the central message of the Bible so clearly presented in the little book penned by an ancient prophet named Obadiah. The shortest book in the Old Testament and among all the writing prophets, Obadiah provides an overview of the message presented in each of the writing prophets: God's judgment on the unbelieving Gentiles who opposed God's chosen people Israel, and God's grace and ultimate deliverance of the believing Israel. This double thread is woven throughout every prophetic book in the Old Testament.
There are 12 other men with this same name in the Old Testament, none of whom can be identified with the author of this book.
We do not know anything about this man except that he must have lived in Judah since he prophesies in relation to Jerusalem. Both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles tell of the war and rebellion of Edom in the days of Jehoram when Edom, after a fierce struggle, threw off the yoke of Judah 2 Kings ; 2 Chronicles Shortly after that revolt of Edom, according to 2 Chronicles ff, the Philistines and Arabians broke into Judah and,. Not a son was left to him except Ahaziah Jehoahaz , the youngest 2 Chronicles This best fits the statements in Obadiah, chapters When the Philistines, Arabians, and Edomites entered Jerusalem, they cast lots to decide which portions of the city would be granted to each contingent for the purpose of plunder.
The animosity between the Edomites and the Israelites is one of the oldest examples of a discord in human relationships. Then, for a bowl of red stew, Esau readily traded his birthright to his younger brother Jacob Genesis He has deceived me these two times: he took my birthright, and now he has taken my blessing!
Then Esau moved to the land of Seir Genesis , the red sandstone area southeast of the Dead Sea. However, the animosity continued for centuries, and the Edomites harbored hostility against Israel Ezekial. The enmity between the seed of Jacob and the seed of Esau is seen even in the New Testament incident.
Edom was later controlled by Assyria and Babylon, and in the Fifth century B. This was the king who attempted to murder Jesus by ordering that all the babies under two years of age be killed. Obadiah, the oldest of all the writing prophets, takes up here the topic of the doom of Edom.
What was so wrong about Edom that God was so upset with him and made him the object of His supreme wrath? The basic reasons were his pride and self-sufficiency. The book gives five reasons for this pride and self-sufficiency:.
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Pride because of their safety and security. Obadiah writes :. Edom found her security in the clefts and the rocks. The deep terrifying gorges kept the enemy away.
Edom found her safety and security in her surroundings. However, there is something more involved in the high peaks and lofty clefts. The prophet speaks about her soaring like the eagle and making her nest among the stars. That reminds us of someone else who thought to himself:. I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; will make myself like the Most High Isaiah Pride because of her hidden treasures. Obadiah talks about Edom's hidden treasures verses , for which Edom was proud. Pride because of her allies. Edom was proud of her allies and friends and their political alliances verse 7. Pride because of wisdom and wise men. Edom was known for her wise men and sages. Her location on a major highway provided intellectual exchange with distant nations. Pride because of her military power.
However, a few years later the Edomites didsucceed in their rebellion against Jehoshaphat's son, king Jehoram. After Babylon conquered Jerusalem in BC and carried the people ofJudah into captivity, a contingent of Edomites took control of the city of Hebron and thesurrounding area. This contingent of Edomites became the ancestors of the inter-testamental nationof Idumaea.
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Meanwhile, an Arab tribe known18 as the Nabateans took control of the historic land ofEdom, including Selah Petra , its capital. The first prophet to do so isMoses in Exodus chapter The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia. Thechiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people of Canaan will meltaway. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth.
Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong. A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city. The fact that this prophecy occurs shortly after Edom'srefusal to allow Israel to pass through their land is striking. This refusal was the first of Edom's manyunbrotherly acts towards their brother Israel throughout their history. Unfortunately, the later generationsof Edomites would show themselves to be no less unbrotherly towards the Israelites than their ancestors.
And as each generation of Edomites showed themselves to be just as unbrotherly towards their brotherIsraelites as their ancestors, the LORD caused the literary prophets of each generation to continue tocondemn them for their actions, even to the extent of using them as Balaam did; as a prophetic type of theenemies of God, his Messiah, and his people. King David writes in such a way in Psalm 52; not regarding the nation of Edom as a whole, butregarding one particular Edomite named Doeg, who was King Saul's head shepherd.
Doeg had falselyaccused David and Ahimelech the priest of treason and treachery against Saul. Doeg's false accusationled to the death of 85 priests at Nob, as well as to an increase in Saul's suspicion and hatred for David. As will be seen later, this is the same chief sin that Obadiah condemns the entire nation ofEdomites for in his book of prophecy. Jeremiah express the same sentiments as Isaiah, but in many more words. Generally speaking, just as the Edomites of Moses time acted in an unbrotherly manner towards theirbrother Israelites, so did the Edomites of David's time Obadiah's time as well.
A quick reading of the twenty-one verses of Obadiah's book of prophecyshows that the Edomites of his time were no less unbrotherly towards their brother Israelites than theirancestors or their descendants. But the question that biblical scholars have debated ad nauseam is The reason for this debate is because the book of Obadiah is one ofonly two prophetic books in the Old Testament in which absolutely no biographical or chronologicalinformation is given at the beginning of the book.
Forthis reason, Obadiah is among the most difficult books in the Old Testament to assign a date to. However, it is evident from the content of the book that Obadiah was written after a time whenforeigners invaded Jerusalem. Because of the lack of chronological information, some scholars29 including Luther conclude that Obadiah was written after the most obvious and destructiveinvasion of Jerusalem - that of the Babylonians in BC.
The main argument for this theory is thatthis invasion, being the most devastating in Jerusalem's history, was the most worthy occasion forObadiah's message. An often-mentioned corollary argument in this theory is the striking similaritybetween Obadiah verses and Jeremiah Some commentators argue that since these sectionsare so similar, Obadiah and Jeremiah must have been contemporaries. The mostcompelling one has to do with where the Jews placed Obadiah in the scroll of the twelve minorprophets.
If Obadiah was indeed written after the fall of Jerusalem, then why did the Jews groupit with Joel, Amos, and Jonah - all Pre-Assyrian and Assyrian era prophets - as they arranged theorder of the Twelve? Grouping a prophet with other prophets from a different era was not their standardpractice. Baker pg. Baker, pg.
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See Keil, pp. Laetsch, pg. Keil mentions another intriguing argument for an early date of composition; he points out thatJoel could very likely be a direct quote of Obadiah verse Was there, however, an earlier foreign invasion of Jerusalem which could have served as theoccasion for Obadiah's book of prophecy?
A careful analysis of the biblical record reveals that thereindeed was a foreign invasion of Jerusalem that would allow for an Assyrian-period date for the book ofObadiah. As was mentioned earlier, 2 Chronicles chapter 21 says that during the reign of king Jehoram ca. Since this invasion wassuccessful enough to loot the king's palace in Jerusalem, it certainly was a big enough event to warranta prophetic message. At the same time, it was not so devastating an invasion that Obadiah wouldlament about it on the scale that Jeremiah did upon seeing the Babylonians utterly destroy Jerusalemand the temple in BC.
Closely related to the question of when exactly Obadiah wrote his book is the question of who exactlyObadiah is. Here too, because of the book's lack of biographical and chronological information,scholars have debated as well about the identity of the writer of Obadiah. Perhaps the mostwell-known of these Obadiahs is the Obadiah who had the official position of being in charge ofKing Ahab's palace.
Jerome was of the opinion that God granted this particular Obadiah the gift of prophecy as a resultof this act of devotion, and that therefore he must be the Obadiah who wrote the book of prophecy bythe same name.get link
40. The Book of Obadiah
Keil, pg. If a case is to be made for a different Obadiah mentioned in Scripture to be the author of the book ofprophecy by the same name, the only other logical conclusion - again, because of the lack ofinformation - is the Obadiah spoken of in 2 Chronicles chapter This Obadiah was an official ofking Jehoshaphat of Judah.
Our own Professor Cyril Spaude is of the opinion that this particular Obadiah was the author of thebook of prophecy that bears the same name. However, perhaps at the sametime God was using him to prophetically foretell how the Edomites would rejoice in a similar mannerwhen Jerusalem would be invaded and pillaged by a group of foreigners once again in the future; thatis, when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in BC. Thus, Psalm is inspiredevidence that Obadiah's prophecy was fulfilled. Of all the options suggested by commentators, thisone seems to be the most plausible.
It combines the strengths of each option while excluding the gaps,and at the same time displays a high view of predictive prophecy. In the end, though, we cannot know for sure who Obadiah was and when he wrote. But, ultimatelythese things are immaterial; because no matter who wrote this book of prophecy or when it waswritten, what is most important is to consider the message which this inspired book of the OldTestament proclaims.
Not surprisingly, the message of Obadiah is consistent with the rest of theprophets, the rest of the Old Testament, as well as the rest of Scripture. Obadiah proclaims a sternmessage of law to the nation of Edom because they had consistently mistreated their brother nation ofIsrael throughout their history. But Obadiah also proclaims a comforting message of deliverance toGod's faithful people who had suffered through all the mistreatment and scorn. Spaude, pg. Using this general outline, what follows is a brief isagogical summary of the content of Obadiah's bookof prophecy.