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The Old Testament | The Books of the Minor Prophets


Things to know

Where does the book begin?

The book begins after Babylon took away the people of Judah from their land.

Places to go

Obadiah is the shortest book of the prophets*.
Read it all. It takes only a short time.

Where does the book end?

The book ends a short time later.

People to know


The Story of Obadiah

The book is one of the shortest books in the Bible. Obadiah wrote his book about the people of Edom. He told how God would punish them. He wrote this book after Babylon destroyed Judah.

The people of Edom were from the family of Esau. [1] Esau was the brother of Jacob. Edom did not worship* the true God. They followed false gods. They soon became the enemy of God’s people.

The word Edom is like the word for ‘nations’ in Obadiah’s language. That is why many people think the book is not just talking about Edom. It is talking about any nation that is the enemy of God’s people. God will judge all of the nations. He will punish them if they refuse to help his people.

Part one of the book says that God would punish Edom. They had not been kind to Judah. They were happy when Babylon came. [2] They did not help Judah. They watched the army do many bad things. [3] They even helped them carry away the things that belonged to Judah. They waited to catch the people who got away. Then they took them to the army. [4]

Because they did this, they were now God’s enemy. Now God would judge* them.

Part two of the book tells how God would rescue his people. They would be saved. Someone would come from Zion* to save them. God would bring them back to the land. They would go back to the land God promised them. They would have everything God promised them. They would defeat Edom on that day. On that day, the one who ruled on God’s mountain would also rule the mountains of Edom. God’s people would defeat all of the enemies. And ‘the kingdom* will be the Lord’s.*' [5]

When God’s king defeated a nation it became a part of God’s kingdom*. Some day, in the future, all of the nations will be under the rule of God.

God would judge Edom. And he would rule all of the nations. Obadiah was not the only prophet* who said this. Others said this as well.

Joel said, ‘Edom will be an empty place, because they were cruel to the people of Judah.’ [6]

Amos said, ‘This is what the Lord* says: I will punish Edom for their many crimes.’ [7]

Ezekiel says, ‘The people of Edom are like the nations. They are the enemies of God’s people.’ [8]

When you read the Bible, remember this. One book in the Bible will help you understand the other books. You will understand one book better when you know what the other books say.

Here is an example. How would God judge* the nations? If you read Obadiah, you learn that God would judge* the nations who turned against his people. When you read Jonah, you learn that God would bless* the nations who listened to his prophets*.


[1] Genesis 25:30

[2] Obadiah 12

[3] Obadiah 11

[4] Obadiah 14

[5] Obadiah 21

[6] Joel 3:19

[7] Amos 1:11

[8] Ezekiel 35:5

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