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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

Obadiah - Introduction

The book of Obadiah is unique among the prophetic * books because it contains only a single speech, and that speech is directed not against Israel or Judah but against a neighboring nation, Edom. Central to Obadiah's speech is a sense of betrayal, expressed most directly in vv. 8–14, which describe the Edomites entering Jerusalem, looting it, and mistreating its people, all the while gloating over Jersualem's misfortunes. God's judgment of Edom, predicted in the verses that precede and follow, is viewed as fair punishment for the Edomites' disloyalty to their Israelite neighbors. Though relations between the Israelites and Edomites were often marked by conflict over the years (2 Kings 8.20–22; 14.7 ), Israel believed the two peoples were closely related as descendants of the two brothers, Jacob and Esau (Gen 25–33 ). While rivalry is already present in these stories of their ancestors, it is resolved by reconciliation rather than revenge and betrayal (Gen 33 ).

Though this speech is not dated by reference to particular kings or events, it appears to have been composed sometime after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BCE. Following Jerusalem's fall, the Edomites moved in and took advantage of Judah's weakness, taking booty and betraying its survivors (vv. 11, 14; Ps 137.7 ). The parallel themes of Edom's fall and Judah's rise with which the book ends (vv. 15–21) anticipate the return of the Judean exiles from Babylon and their resettlement of Judah and the surrounding areas.

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