Book of Obadiah Summary

Main Idea

The prophet Obadiah warns the violent Edomites about their pride, declaring they are deceived (Obad. 3, 10) and will be punished (Obad. 15, 18), but the house of Jacob will be delivered and blessed (Obad. 17, 20).

Explanation of Main Idea

Obadiah is a given a message by the Lord to tell the Edomites that they will be made “small among the nations and uterlly despised” (Obad. 2). Because of their home in the area of Petra, they felt that they could not be conquered (Obad. 3). But the Lord, through Obadiah, declared that He would “bring (them) down” (Obad. 4). They would experience disaster, deception, and theft (Obad. 5-7). The Lord will destroy their wise men and warriors (Obad. 8-9); and in fact every Edomite “will be destroyed forever” (Obad. 10).

The reason for this destruction can be traced to the relationship the Edomites had with their “brother Judah” (Obad. 10-14). They were violent (Obad. 10, 14), negligent (Obad. 11), cocky (Obad. 12-13), boastful (Obad. 12), and abusive (Obad. 13-14). Because of this, Obadiah says “As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head” (Obad. 15). 

On the other hand, the house of Judah will be delivered and will receive an inheritance (Obad. 17). In fact, they will be a fire that will turn “the house of Esau (Edom)…to stubble” (Obad. 18). Edom’s land will be filled with those from Jerusalem, and the “kingdom will be the Lord’s (Obad. 19-20).

Purpose

The book of Obadiah was written to show the dangers and devastation of pride, the judgment and complete destruction of Edom, and the future blessing and restoration of Israel. God punishes Edom decisively for their history of terrible treatment of Jacob. He promises that Israel will ultimately be delivered and be part of the Lord’s future and forever Kingdom! 

Leading Themes

  • Pride and it’s Results

The book of Obadiah “presents a case-study in pride”. It is “another chapter in the long story of strife which existed between the descendants of Esau and Jacob (Gen. 25:29-34, Num. 20:14-21, 1 Sam. 14:47, Psa. 137:7)”. Pride proved to be Esau’s downfall, as it was the root of the violence and abuse in this volatile relationship. 

  • Accountability to God

“As you have done, it will be done to you” (Obad. 15) provides a sense of “divine payback” for rebellion and sin. Because of how Edom treated “his brother” Israel, they now have to face the consequences. Their violence results in violence done to them; their destruction of others, will lead to their ultimate and final destruction. Human actions are not done without repercussion. As Obadiah communicates to the Edomites, “your deeds will return upon your own head” (Obad. 15).

  • Israel’s Future

God proclaims through Obadiah that Mount Zion will experience deliverance and be holy (Obad. 17). While there will be no survivors from the house of Esau, the “company of Israelite exiles who are in Canaan will possess the land” (Obad. 20) and “occupy the field” (Obad. 19). Eventually, they will be part of the kingdom that the Lord will establish forever (Obad. 21)

How Does This Relate To Us?

Pride is a common issue for every human being—we think we are something else! Let unhindered, pride will lead to a devastating fall. The words of Proverbs 16:18 ring true, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before before a fall.” We must reign in our pride and seek to be humble. Otherwise, we may go the way of the Edomites!

An old saying is “What goes around comes around.” This is Biblical! Obadiah told the Edomites that what they had done to others would be done to them (Obad. 15). This is consistent with the words of Jesus, “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12). Every act of kindness and love will not be overlooked by the Lord. This is a precious reminder and encouragement for us to love people well.

Finally, we must remember that God has a plan for His people Israel. There is coming a day when they will be restored to their land of Canaan in a glorious future kingdom. 

Study Questions

Textual Questions

  1. How is the Lord described in verse one? How does this impact the message of Obadiah?
  2. What are the effects of pride described in verses three to fifteen? List as many as you can?
  3. Look at verse 17-21. What are some differences between the house of Jacob and the house of Esau? What reasons, if any, are given in the text for the favor enjoyed by the house of Jacob.

Life Application Questions

  1. Obadiah mentions that one of the reasons the Edomites were filled with pride is because the had a very impressive and protective home “in the clefts of the rocks”. What is there in your life that give you security but might be a source of pride?
  2. Based on Obadiah 12, one symptom of pride seems to be looking down at other peoples misfortunes. What type of people in your community are looked down upon? How can you change your own thinking about them, if necessary?
  3. Read verse 21. What do you see in your mind’s eye when you think about “the kingdom will be the Lord’s”? What are you excited about regarding heaven?

By Velocity Design

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