Lesson 4 of 5
In Progress

Introductory Issues in Obadiah

Judah/Jacob and Edom/Esau

Obadiah condemns Edom for collaborating with Babylon in the destruction of Jerusalem. Edom’s actions are condemned in the harshest terms because they are understood as the betrayal of a fraternal relationship between the two nations. Traditionally, Judah and Edom understood themselves as kindred nations, descended from the twin brothers Jacob and Esau. In the oracle against Edom, Obadiah therefore refers to Judah as “your brother” or “Jacob” (vv. 10, 12), and refers to Edom as “Esau” (verses 6, 9, 18, 19).

Obadiah’s relationship to Jeremiah

Obadiah 1-6 echoes significant portions of Jeremiah 49:9-16. These similarities indicate literary dependence of one text on the other. Scholars disagree as to which way the dependence runs, however. Some argue that Jeremiah is dependent on Obadiah; others argue the reverse. A third possibility is that both prophetic books are quoting an earlier prophetic oracle against Edom.