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Old Testament | Obadiah | Summary



  • Yahweh will punish Edom for "the slaughter and violence" which Edom has done to its "brother Jacob" (v. 10).
  • Edom's punishment will match the crime: "As you have done, it shall be done to you" (v. 15).
  • The people of Israel and Judah will be restored, not only recovering their former territories but also ruling the lands of their neighboring kingdoms, including Edom.


Obadiah is the shortest book of the Hebrew Bible, only 21 verses long. Its single prophetic oracle condemns Edom for participating in the destruction and looting of Jerusalem when it fell to Babylon in 586 BCE. Condemnation of Edom is found elsewhere in the prophets (e.g., Isaiah 34:5–17; 63:1–4; Jeremiah 49:7–22; Ezekiel 25:12–14; 35:1–15) and in Psalms (137:7) but receives its most specific explanation in Obadiah. The Edomites are said to be the descendants of Jacob's brother Esau, and some biblical texts reflect a continued idea of kinship between the two nations (e.g., Deuteronomy 23:7). Obadiah emphasizes that this kinship makes Edom's crime all the more odious. While Obadiah envisions a glorious restoration for the people of Israel, Edom faces total elimination.

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