We are in the Exile Stream reading the entire book of Obadiah from the New King James Version.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord, may we learn from these illustrations today – there is no hope for those who fight your Word, your Way, your Chosen Path and People. Teach us to be a blessing as we follow you. Amen.
This is a judgment prophecy against Edom. The Edomites were descendants of Esau; brother of Jacob who sold off his birthright for a bowl of soup, lost the blessing and was bitter toward Esau the remainder of his days. Whenever Esaus’ descendants have a clear shot and can be of trouble to Jacob’s family, it happens, and we hear about it usually live from Jerusalem.
The Edomite people that Obadiah is addressing occupied about a 2,000 square mile region south of the Dead Sea; 100 mi X 20 mi. It is a rocky range of mountains. It was well watered in biblical days. The capital then is an area today known as Petra. You have seen this rock face city as a befabled place used in modern movies. The famous final city entered in Indiana Jones /The Last Crusade 1989 was filmed in Petra…and can still be visited today. This was home to the Edomites. The conflict between Esau and Jacob is explained in Genesis 25:23 & 27:41 The hatred was still in full operation 1300 years or so later. Edomites made a habit of raiding caravans passing through and upon cities they could reach. They would then escape back to their homes in the treacherous terrain they were familiar with. They were obstreperous in their denying passage to Moses in Numbers 20.
Edom raided Jerusalem over the centuries so there were not warm feelings for them among the Jews. Between 850 and 586 B.C. the Edomites notably raided Jerusalem four times: II Chr. 21 / 25 / 28 / 36. The one during II Chr. 36 was when Zedekiah was king and for several other reasons, Obadiah’s prophecy likely follows this fourth raid.
In Obadiah we hear of Edom being destroyed forever – and of Judah’s remnant being saved.
The end of their kingdom proper was after 550 B.C. when the Neo-Babylonians stormed through. The Nabateans took over this territory and their prominent centuries were 200 B.C. – 200 A.D. It was the Nabateans who were prolific traders. They welcomed commerce and visitors and prominent souls. Three who came through were Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior; learned men who counseled Kings and revered the Hebrew scriptures. They were enroute to see a newborn baby in Bethlehem that was prophesied to be God’s Son, found under a star. … ‘do you wish YOU were in on that journey?! This is all what became of the Edomite Kingdom. Flushed out by Babylonians, kept out by Nabateans, some Edomites remained and were basically quarantined in the south of Judea. They were rabble that remained hostile to Jews and Jewish culture. In 126 B.C. one of the Maccabean Rulers beat them down for rebellion. They were absorbed into the Jewish state as what remained of these “cousins” of 17-18 centuries could be overlooked – though they weren’t altogether accepted. The Herods were direct descendants of these Edomites and thus they were particularly assigned to rule over Jews after Rome assumed control in 63 B.C. We all know of the tension that existed between authentic Jews and the Herods (all four of them). This was the finale~ of the Edomite people and their lording/harassing of the Jews. In A.D. 70 Rome destroyed Jerusalem and there was nothing for any Herod to exercise control over. They died out. The last of the Edomites and they were then swept onto the dustbin of history. Vv. 10,16,18 came true: “you shall be cut off forever / they shall be as though they had never been / no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau. Just like God said, “poof” they are gone.