The Book of Amos The Book of Jonah


Who was this prophet? where born? of what country? at what time did he prophesy? who were his parents? when and where did he die? are questions which have been asked from the remotest antiquity; and which, to this day, have received no answer worthy of recording. There is a multitude of opinions concerning these points; and their multitude and discrepancy are the strongest proofs of their uncertainty. All that seems probable is, that, as he prophesied concerning the destruction of Edom, he flourished a little before, or a little after, the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, which happened about five hundred and eighty-eight years before Christ; and the destruction of Idumea by the same monarch, which took place a short time after; probably between 588 BC and 575 BC, in the interval of the thirteen years which Nebuchadnezzar employed in the siege of Tyre, which he undertook immediately after the capture of Jerusalem.

Obadiah foretells the subduction of the Idumeans by the Chaldeans, and finally by the Jews, whom they had used most cruelly when brought low by other enemies. These prophecies have been literally fulfilled for the Idumeans, as a nation, are totally extinct.

Whoever will be at the trouble to collate this short prophecy with the forty-ninth chapter of Jeremiah, will find a remarkable similarity, not only in the sentiments and words, but also in whole verses. In the above chapter Jeremiah predicts the destruction of the Idumeans. Whether he copied Obadiah, or Obadiah copied him, cannot be determined; but it would be very strange if two prophets, unacquainted with each other, should speak of the same event precisely in the same terms.

Who Was Obadiah?

Obadiah was a seer who was privileged to see in vision the salvation of Israel and other important events of the latter days. His book is the shortest of those of the prophets and, indeed, of all the books of the Old Testament. Nothing more is known about him than what is in the book. A man named Obadiah protected the Lord's prophets during Ahab's reign (see 1 Kings 18), but it is not likely he was the author of this book. The book of Obadiah is included with Jeremiah's writings because he prophesied of the destruction of Edom in ways similar to Jeremiah.

Obadiah 1:1. What and Where Was Edom?

Edom is another name for Esau, Jacob's brother. The Greek form of the word Edom is Idumea. Those who settled in Edom were close kin to the residents of Judah. Sidney B. Sperry said: "The history of the relations between Israel and Edom is from the beginning fraught with envy and hate. In Gen. 36:1 we have the following statement: 'Now these are the generations of Esau -- the same is Edom.' This recalls to us the struggle for supremacy from birth, or even before, of Esau and his younger brother Jacob (Israel) ... Esau sold his birthright to his brother for a mess of pottage and finally the holy patriarchal inheritance also. Esau, it will be recalled, married among the Canaanites, which fact was a great trial to his parents." (The Voice of Israel's Prophets, pp. 318-19)

Because of their wickedness and lasting hatred for Israel, Edom, like Babylon, became a symbol of the world (see D&C 1:36).

Obadiah 1:1-9. What did Obadiah prophesy?

Obadiah 1:3-9. Edomites Lived in False Security

The world famous ruins of Petræa, in modern Jordan, are remarkable. A whole city was carved out of rock cliffs. It could be entered only through a narrow gorge. From the high cliffs, the Edomites could protect of Esau" will be stubble, fit only to be burned. The "house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame ... and they shall kindle in them [Esau], and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau" (v. 18). Eventually, "saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's" (v. 21).

Obadiah 1:21, 21a. Who would stand upon Mount Zion? (See Obadiah 1:21a)

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