After the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, the kingdom of Edom was sitting pretty. They had remained unscathed during a very tumultuous time. Would they continue in prosperity and avoid God's wrath?
Mirror-Reading Obadiah Gives Us A Better Understanding
As the shortest book in the Bible, Obadiah doesn't give us much material to work with. Weighing in at only 21 verses, we can only gain some basic information from mirror-reading.
When the Babylonians had conquered Jerusalem, the Edomites had taken advantage of the situation, scavenging on the remains of the southern kingdom of Judah. The Jews started to wonder if the kingdom of Edom was just too strong for God to deal with or perhaps felt He had to reason to punish the Edomites. The kingdom of Edom had 4 great strengths: allies, well fortified cities, wealth and wisdom. Obadiah responds by showing how these strengths are no match for God, and to let the Jewish people know that Edom wouldn't fly under the radar forever.
How Obadiah Showed That Edom Would Get What They Had Coming To Them.
Edomite cities were naturally well fortified because of the rocky terrain in which they inhabited. But these fortifications would be no match for God:
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rock,
in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
“Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
though your nest is set among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,
declares the Lord.
Next, Obadiah explained that God would destroy them so completely that they would have no wealth left:
If thieves came to you,
if plunderers came by night—
how you have been destroyed!—
would they not steal only enough for themselves?
If grape gatherers came to you,
would they not leave gleanings?
How Esau has been pillaged,
his treasures sought out!
And the allies of the Edomites would turn against them:
All your allies have driven you to your border;
those at peace with you have deceived you;
they have prevailed against you;
those who eat your bread have set a trap beneath you—
you have no understanding.
Finally, God would rid them of their wisdom:
Will I not on that day, declares the Lord,
destroy the wise men out of Edom,
and understanding out of Mount Esau?
And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,
so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.
Obadiah also let the Jewish people know that God had good reason to bring destruction on Edom:
Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
shame shall cover you,
and you shall be cut off forever.
On the day that you stood aloof,
on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you were like one of them.
But do not gloat over the day of your brother
in the day of his misfortune;
do not rejoice over the people of Judah
in the day of their ruin;
do not boast
in the day of distress.
Do not enter the gate of my people
in the day of their calamity;
do not gloat over his disaster
in the day of his calamity;
do not loot his wealth
in the day of his calamity.
Do not stand at the crossroads
to cut off his fugitives;
do not hand over his survivors
in the day of distress.
For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
your deeds shall return on your own head.
In the end, the Jewish people would be restored and will rule over the kingdom of Edom:
Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion
to rule Mount Esau,
and the kingdom shall be the Lord's.