Thursday Evening Bible Study

April 27, 2006


Date: There are several theories as to the date of the writing of this book. The book describes the behavior of the Edomites during an invasion of Jerusalem. There were four invasions up to and including the fall to the Babylonians. But it seems to me that the best scenario is that the book was written after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. That would make Obadiah a contemporary of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel and put the writing of the book some time after 586 BC.

The Situation: Jerusalem and the nation of Judah were conquered and hauled off into captivity by the Babylonians. While the nation was being conquered, the Edomites had been sitting on the sidelines cheering for the Babylonians. Some have suggested that the Edomites had even infiltrated Jerusalem and actually aided with the eventual fall of the city.

It is thought that Psalm 79 was written around this time as well:

(Psa 79:1-4 NKJV) O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; Your holy temple they have defiled; They have laid Jerusalem in heaps. {2} The dead bodies of Your servants They have given as food for the birds of the heavens, The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth. {3} Their blood they have shed like water all around Jerusalem, And there was no one to bury them. {4} We have become a reproach to our neighbors, A scorn and derision to those who are around us.

The neighbors included the Edomites.

Also Psalm 137:

(Psa 137:7 NKJV) Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, "Raze it, raze it, To its very foundation!"

Ezekiel also wrote about these events:

(Ezek 25:12-14 NKJV) 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because of what Edom did against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has greatly offended by avenging itself on them," {13} 'therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "I will also stretch out My hand against Edom, cut off man and beast from it, and make it desolate from Teman; Dedan shall fall by the sword. {14} "I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel, that they may do in Edom according to My anger and according to My fury; and they shall know My vengeance," says the Lord GOD.

Jeremiah had a similar prophecy to Obadiah’s, and even some of the same ideas and phrases. Could Jeremiah or Obadiah have copied some from each other?

(Jer 49:7-10 NKJV) Against Edom. Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Is wisdom no more in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished? (similar ideas to Obadiah 1:8) {8} Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths, O inhabitants of Dedan! For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, The time that I will punish him. {9} If grape-gatherers came to you, Would they not leave some gleaning grapes? If thieves by night, Would they not destroy until they have enough? (similar to Obadiah 1:5) {10} But I have made Esau bare; I have uncovered his secret places, And he shall not be able to hide himself. His descendants are plundered, His brethren and his neighbors, And he is no more…


:1-9 A coming judgment for Edom

:1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom (We have heard a report from the LORD, And a messenger has been sent among the nations, saying, "Arise, and let us rise up against her for battle"):

Obadiah – his name means “servant of Yahweh”

Edom – the descendants of Esau, the twin brother to Jacob (the father of the nation of Israel)

The Edomites never got along with the Israelites.

They rejected Moses' request to pass through their land (Num. 20:14-20)
They opposed King Saul (1 Sam. 14:47)
They fought against David (1 Kings 11:14-17)
They opposed Solomon (1 Kings 11:14-25) and Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:22)
They rebelled against Jehoram (2 Chron. 21:8)

For a long time the Edomites lived in Mount Seir, south of the Dead Sea. Their territory was full of mountains and deep canyons. If you’ve seen “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, you’ve seen one of those canyons where they rode their horses to the secret “temple” which was really the ancient treasury at Petra, one of the main cities of the Edomites.

During the fifth century B.C., the Nabataeans dislodged the Edomites from their territory, causing them to withdraw to Idumea in southern Palestine. Herod the Great was an Edomite.

:2 "Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You shall be greatly despised.

:3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?'

:4 Though you ascend as high as the eagle, And though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down," says the LORD.

(Je 49:16 NLT) 16 You are proud that you inspire fear in others. And you are proud because you live in a rock fortress and hide high in the mountains. But don’t fool yourselves! Though you live among the peaks with the eagles, I will bring you crashing down,” says the Lord.

There were places in Edom where the nation had built cities high in the cliffs. The city of Petra (Sela) was like that surrounded by cliffs that were 2,000 ft. high. They thought they were impervious to attack. They could easily defend themselves against all attackers.


Deceived by Pride

Pride tells me that “I’m okay”. Pride tells me I don’t need anyone’s help.
Jesus wrote a stern warning to the church at Laodicea:

(Rev 3:14-18 NKJV) "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: {15} "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. {16} "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. {17} "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'; and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; {18} "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

The problem is that as strong as I may be, I always need help.


When Harry Truman was thrust into the presidency, by the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Sam Rayburn took him aside. “From here on out, you’re going to have lots of people around you. They’ll try to put up a wall around you and cut you off from any ideas but theirs. They’ll tell you what a great man you are, Harry. But you and I both know you ain’t.”


Charles Spurgeon writes,

There was once in London a club of small men, whose qualification for membership lay in their not exceeding five feet in height. These dwarves held, or pretended to hold, the opinion that they were nearer the perfection of manhood than others, for they argued that primeval man had been far more gigantic than the present race, and consequently that the way of progress was to grow less and less, and that the human race as it perfected itself would become as diminutive as themselves. Such a club of Christians might be established in most cities, and without any difficulty might attain an enormously numerous membership. For the notion is common that our dwarfish Christianity is, after all, the standard, and many even imagine that nobler Christians are enthusiasts, fanatical and hot-blooded, while they themselves are cool because they are wise, and indifferent because they are intelligent.

When we think we’re “something”, we’re probably much smaller than we can see.

The pride of the Edomites would lead to their downfall.  Pride leads to misery

I received a little printed form the other day with a rather intriguing title: How to Be Perfectly Miserable. And it goes on to list a few things you can do that will not only make you perfectly miserable but also keep you that way.

 1. Think about yourself.

 2. Talk about yourself.

 3. Use the personal pronoun "I" as often as possible in your conversation.

 4. Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others.

 5. Listen greedily to what people say about you.

 6. Insist on consideration and respect.

 7. Demand agreement with your own views on everything.

 8. Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them.

 9. Never forget a service you may have rendered.

 10. Expect to be appreciated.

 11. Be suspicious.

 12. Be sensitive to slights.

 13. Be jealous and envious.

 14. Never forget a criticism.

 15. Trust nobody but yourself. I need God’s help.


C. S. Lewis called pride “spiritual cancer,” which eats up love and contentment. It is actually a sign of our own insecurity and feelings of inferiority. Spurgeon poetically warned us not to be proud of race, face, or place.

Jesus said,
(Mat 16:24 NKJV)  Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

:5 "If thieves had come to you, If robbers by night; Oh, how you will be cut off!; Would they not have stolen till they had enough? If grape-gatherers had come to you, Would they not have left some gleanings?

Look how similar this is to:

(Jer 49:9 NKJV) If grape-gatherers came to you, Would they not leave some gleaning grapes? If thieves by night, Would they not destroy until they have enough?

The idea is that normal thieves leave some things behind. Grape pickers don’t pick all the grapes but leave “gleanings”. But Edom will be wiped clean.

:6 "Oh, how Esau shall be searched out! How his hidden treasures shall be sought after!

:7 All the men in your confederacy Shall force you to the border; The men at peace with you Shall deceive you and prevail against you. Those who eat your bread shall lay a trap for you. No one is aware of it.

Even the people that Edom had counted as allies would betray it.

:8 "Will I not in that day," says the LORD, "Even destroy the wise men from Edom, And understanding from the mountains of Esau?

There is some evidence that the Edomites had a reputation for wisdom.

We believe that the book of Job takes place among the Edomites.

Job himself is thought to be identified under the genealogy of Esau as one of it’s “kings”
(Gen 36:31-34 NKJV) Now these were the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the children of Israel… when Bela died, Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his place
Note some of the other names associated with the line of Esau,
(Gen 36:10 NKJV) These were the names of Esau's sons: Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, and Reuel the son of Basemath the wife of Esau.
(Gen 36:11 NKJV) And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz.

(Zepho, wasn’t he related to Harpo, Chico, and Groucho?)

Remember Job’s friends? Look at some of their names:
(Job 2:11 NKJV) Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him.
Job was known as:
(Job 1:3 NKJV) …the greatest of all the people of the East.
At one point, Job gets a little sarcastic with his “friends” because they apparently came to give Job some of their wisdom:
(Job 12:2 NKJV) "No doubt you are the people, And wisdom will die with you!


Losing your wisdom

We might even think of it as “losing your mind”

A psychiatrist was making his rounds at the state hospital one day when he entered a patient’s room. He found patient #1 sitting on the floor, pretending to saw a piece of wood in half. Patient #2 was hanging from the ceiling by his feet. The doctor asked patient #1 what he was doing. The patient replied, “Can’t you see? I’m sawing this piece of wood in half.” The doctor inquired of patient #1 what patient #2 was doing hanging upside down from the ceiling. “Oh, he’s my friend,” #1 said, “but he’s a little crazy. He thinks he’s a light bulb.” The doctor looked up and noticed that patient #2’s face was turning red. The doctor asked patient #1, “If he’s your friend, you should get him down from there before he hurts himself.” #1 replied, “What? And work in the dark?”

Paul tells us how people can lose their “wisdom”.
(Rom 1:18-32 NKJV) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, {19} because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. {20} For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

No matter how much people argue, it’s really quite obvious that there is a God. Just open your eyes and look around you.

{21} because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. {22} Professing to be wise, they became fools, {23} and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man; and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. {24} Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, {25} who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. {26} For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. {27} Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. {28} And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; {29} being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, {30} backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, {31} undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; {32} who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

There is quite a moral slip-n-slide that takes place when men refuse to acknowledge God. It all sounds so very much like today.

There’s a connection between wisdom and fearing God. When you stop honoring God, you lose your real perspective in life.
Getting your “mind” back involves getting things right with God.
Job, the Edomite, knew about wisdom:
(Job 28:28 NKJV) And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.'"
Wisdom comes when we get things right with God.
Got questions?  Are you looking for answers? Are you looking for wisdom? 
Make sure you have things right with God.
Then ask:

(James 1:5-8 NKJV)  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. {6} But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. {7} For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; {8} he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

:9 Then your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, To the end that everyone from the mountains of Esau May be cut off by slaughter.

Teman – one of the chief cities of the Edomites, also the home of Job’s friend Eliphaz.

:10-16 Reasons for judgment – crimes against Israel

:10 "For violence against your brother Jacob, Shame shall cover you, And you shall be cut off forever.

brother – Jacob and Esau were twins. Esau fathered the Edomites, Jacob fathered the Israelites.

You ought to be nice to a brother. Before going into the Promised Land, Israel was commanded:

(Deu 23:7 NKJV) "You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land.

But the Edomites didn’t return the favor.

:11 In the day that you stood on the other side; In the day that strangers carried captive his forces, When foreigners entered his gates And cast lots for Jerusalem; Even you were as one of them.

:12 But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother In the day of his captivity; Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah In the day of their destruction; Nor should you have spoken proudly In the day of distress.

They were happy at their enemy’s distress.

:13 You should not have entered the gate of My people In the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction In the day of their calamity, Nor laid hands on their substance In the day of their calamity.

They actually contributed to the collapse of the nation of Judah.

:14 You should not have stood at the crossroads To cut off those among them who escaped; Nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained In the day of distress.


Loving your enemies

God has always been serious about how we treat our enemies.
(Prov 24:17-18 NKJV) Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; {18} Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.
Jesus said,
(Mat 5:43-48 NKJV) "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' {44} "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, {45} "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. {46} "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? {47} "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? {48} "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Dear Preacher,

I heard you say to love our enemies.  I am only six and do not have any yet. I hope to have some when I am seven. Your friend, Love, Amy

I guess most of us don’t have that problem, do we?
Thomas Merton writes,

Do not be too quick to assume that your enemy is a savage just because he is your enemy.  Perhaps he is your enemy because he thinks you are a savage.  Or perhaps he is afraid of you because he feels you are afraid of him.  And perhaps if he believed you were capable of loving him he would no longer be your enemy.

Do not be too quick to assume that your enemy is an enemy of God just because he is your enemy.  Perhaps he is your enemy precisely because he can find nothing in you that gives glory to God. Perhaps he fears you because he can find nothing in you of God's love and God's kindness and God's patience and mercy and understanding of the weakness of men.

Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God.  For it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice and mediocrity and materialism and sensuality and selfishness that have killed his faith.

Corrie Ten Boom shares this true story in her book, The Hiding Place:

It was a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck.  He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time.  And suddenly it was all there—the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain-blanched face.  He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,” he said.  “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!”  His hand was thrust out to shake mine.  And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.  Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them.  Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more?  Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.  I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand.  I could not.  I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity.  And so again I breathed a silent prayer.  Jesus, I cannot forgive him.  Give me Your forgiveness.  As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened.  From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.  And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His.  When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.

:15 "For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.


Reaping and Sowing

They got what they gave.
This is a standard of how God will judge people:
(Rev 16:4-7 NKJV) Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. {5} And I heard the angel of the waters saying: "You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things. {6} For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due." {7} And I heard another from the altar saying, "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments."
Paul wrote,
(Gal 6:7-9 NKJV) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. {8} For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. {9} And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Jesus said,
(Mat 7:1-2 NKJV) "Judge not, that you be not judged. {2} "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
(Luke 6:31 NKJV) "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

This even works in our own relationships


Dale Carnegie once said, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one."

G.K. Chesterton used to say, "The truly great person is the one who makes every person feel great."

The following illustration reveals the accuracy of the above listed statements.

In Queen Victoria's time, a young woman had the good fortune of being escorted to dinner by William E. Gladstone, who was considered one of the most brilliant statesmen of the 19th century.  On the following evening, the same young lady was escorted by Benjamin Disraeli, novelist, statesman and twice prime minister of Great Britain.

When asked for her impression of these two great rivals, she replied, "After an evening with Gladstone, I thought he was the most brilliant man I'd ever met.  After an evening with Disraeli, I thought myself to be the most fascinating woman in the world!"

(Prov 18:24 NKJV)  A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

:16 For as you drank on my holy mountain, So shall all the nations drink continually; Yes, they shall drink, and swallow, And they shall be as though they had never been.

Isaiah also prophesied concerning this:

(Isa 34:5-8 NKJV) "For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; Indeed it shall come down on Edom, And on the people of My curse, for judgment. {6} The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, It is made overflowing with fatness, With the blood of lambs and goats, With the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, And a great slaughter in the land of Edom. {7} The wild oxen shall come down with them, And the young bulls with the mighty bulls; Their land shall be soaked with blood, And their dust saturated with fatness." {8} For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, The year of recompense for the cause of Zion.

:17-21 Israel is coming back

:17 "But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, And there shall be holiness; The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

I think this is talking about when Jesus comes back.

:18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire, And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau shall be stubble; They shall kindle them and devour them, And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau," For the LORD has spoken.

By the time of Jesus, the Edomites were practically non-existent. The only known Edomites we know of were the Herods, who were called “Idumeans”.

:19 The South shall possess the mountains of Esau, And the Lowland shall possess Philistia. They shall possess the fields of Ephraim And the fields of Samaria. Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

This talks about the new boundaries for Israel.

South – the southern area of Judea will extend eastward to include the mountains south of the Dead Sea (in modern Jordan)

Lowland – this is the area west of Jerusalem, next to the Mediterranean Sea. Philistia includes the coastal towns now occupied by the Palestinians.

Ephraim … Samaria – the area of central Israel, areas that had been abandoned after the Assyrians had conquered the northern kingdom in 722 BC.

BenjaminGilead is the area to the east of the Galilee, currently occupied by Syria and Jordan.

Today’s Israel does not quite fit these boundaries yet.

:20 And the captives of this host of the children of Israel Shall possess the land of the Canaanites As far as Zarephath. The captives of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad Shall possess the cities of the South.

Zarephath – a city located between Tyre and Sidon in modern Lebanon. Elijah hung out there (1Ki. 17) where a widow took care of him during the famine of his day.

Sepharad – an unknown city

:21 Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion To judge the mountains of Esau, And the kingdom shall be the Lord's.

Perhaps this is talking about judges coming out of Jerusalem who will help rule over the area of ancient Edom during the Millennial reign of Jesus on the earth.