Bible Fiber #12: Obadiah and the Edomites

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Obadiah is only twenty-one verses, the shortest book in all the Hebrew scripture. So, as part of our Bible reading challenge, the length of Obadiah is not the hard part to tackle. But the content of Obadiah requires a history lesson that goes well beyond the twenty-one verses. Obadiah is an oracle of judgement against Edom.

How did a short prophetic book written about the sins and punishment of one neighboring nation make it into the cannon? Well, Edom is not your average ancestral enemy. With this first Bible Fiber on Obadiah, I am going to give you a biblical timeline of the Edomites that stretches from the birth of Jacob and Esau to the birth of Jesus. And that way next week, we put Obadiah’s oracle which seems only to be focused on the Edomite problem in the bigger context it deserves.

Obadiah is rooted in the brotherly feud between Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. As told in Genesis 25, Rebekah understood even during her pregnancy that the two sons in her womb were at odds with each other. The Lord told her: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:23).

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