Commentary on the Book of Obediah
Father Tadros Y. Malaty
Introduction To Obadiah:
“Obadiah” is a Jewish word meaning "the servant of Jehovah". The Old Testament mentioned many people with this name; as in 1 Kings 18:3-6, 1 Chronicles 3:21, 7:3, 8:28,12:9, 27:19, 2 Chronicles 17:7-9, 34:12, Ezra 8:9, Nehemiah 10:5, 12:25. His
This Book refers to the alliance of the Edoms with Israel's enemies and their participation in plundering Jerusalem (Obadiah 10-14). Jerusalem had been previously plundered in the days of Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:16, 17) in the mid ninth century B.C. by the Philistines and the Arabs. However, most researchers believe that the book of Obadiah is concerned with the alliance of the Edoms and the Babylons - along with others - in the destruction of Jerusalem 587/586 B.C. Edom participated in plundering the city as they blocked the streets in the face of the escapees by arresting them and selling them as slaves to the enemies. In fact Edom did not act neutrally towards Israel, but rejoiced at the misfortune of his brother Israel and supported his enemy in destroying him by all means.
The Objective of this Book:
This prophecy is addressed to Edom, who rejoiced at his brother's -Israel misfortune; who has a stubborn heart and loves tyranny and oppression. Edom participated in destroying Israel in the day of captivating Jerusalem. In this respect, the prophecy assured an important spiritual principle that is applicable to all humanity: “…as you have done, it shall be done to you; your reward shall return upon your own head.” He reaps whatever evil, oppression and destruction he sought in his life. The book deals with both the haughty spirit living in lofty mountains that oppresses, destroys and rejoices in other’s misfortunes, as well as with Israel that fell cringingly and was exposed to cruelty by Edom and Babylon.
But God saves him, after He has strictly punished him. He also makes Mount Zion a source of spiritual salvation, in that it becomes holy, a spiritual flame that burns all evil and lights the heart with heavenly love. As a matter of fact, it is a message addressed to each and every heart that suffers punishment lest he should fall victim to despair, but instead it must realize God’s plan for its salvation.
The prophet ends his book by declaring: “…and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S”. This is the aim of God’s work: to reign over every heart and to set His throne in us!