Lesson 3 of 5
In Progress

Background of Obadiah

Obadiah 11-14 establishes the background for the book in the events of 587 B.C.E., when the Babylonians captured Jerusalem and took its people into exile. Though the Babylonians are not mentioned by name in Obadiah, the description of the “day of their calamity” (v. 13) matches the events of Jerusalem’s destruction. Obadiah implicates the Edomites as partners in that destruction. This identification of Edom as an accomplice of Babylon is echoed in other biblical texts (Psalm 137; Lamentations 4:21-22; Ezekiel 25:12-14; 35:5 [Mount Seir is in Edom]). The actions of the Edomites are viewed as particularly wicked because of the fraternal relationship that existed between Israel and Edom; Israel traced its ancestry to Jacob, Edom to his brother Esau (Genesis 36). This brief prophetic book was written, then, after 587 B.C.E., both to condemn the Edomites and to announce the coming restoration of Judah and Israel.