The Book of Obadiah
Obadiah or The Book of Obadiah is a canonical text that forms a part of the Minor Prophets section of Nevi’im in the Hebrew Bible Tanakh. In the Christian Bible, it is included in the Minor Prophet section of the Prophetic texts. The book of Obadiah presents itself as an oracle that deals with the divine judgment meted out to Edom as well as the eventual restoration of Israel. The Book of Obadiah is only a single chapter consisting of 21 verses, which makes it the shortest entry in the Jewish Bible. The author of the book of Obadiah, Obadiah himself, is a man who lived during the times of Assyrian Period. His name Obadiah literally denotes the meaning “servant of Yahweh” and he served as a prophet.
The mainstay of the Book of Obadiah concerns a prophetic vision that the author had about the fall and destruction of Edom, a mountainous nation located along the southern fringes of Judea and Dead Sea. Obadiah has a direct encounter with God who then spoke of Edom’s arrogant behavior and charges them as guilty for committing acts of violence against House of Jacob, their brother nation. The prophecy of Book of Obadiah goes on to say that although the Edomites might feel powerful and untouchable by residing in their mountainous home, they are still under the sway of God’s great power. The people of Edom felt as if they were truly exalted beings who literally lived in the middle of the stars and had the power to soar like majestic eagles. However, their betrayal and treacherous behavior is not unknown to God who still holds the power to destroy them. God promises to carry out his judgment and says that he will not just treat the unfair people of Edom with light punishment but make sure that his judgment is absolute.
The next few lines of the Book of Obadiah go on to say the extent to what Edom will be ransacked by the looters. It is customary for thieves to steal only goods that they need to steal or can carry. Even grape pickers might leave a few grapes here and there while they loot the place. However, on the day Edom will face its doom, nothing will be left of what it once was. The ruthless invaders who will attack the land of Esau on this day will even ransack possessions that are otherwise considered mundane. Even all forms of hidden treasures are going to get pillaged.
In these troubled times, Edom will also be betrayed by its friends, who will consume their bread, and yet use deception to trap them. Even the wise men of the land will meet their doom. Their pride has led them to harbor false ideas of security, and this will lead to their downfall. Even Edom’s brave warriors will be of no help as they will be terrified and eventually slaughtered. With a noticeable withdrawal of wisdom, sound judgment and discernment, the brave warriors will lose their courage. Edom’s heroes will thus fall into despair. They will even lack the good fortune of teaming up with Judah as they once celebrated and rejoiced on the occasion of Judah’s despair.