Obadiah (Ovadyah) The
Servant of Elohim!
Studies - A Look at Eliyahu - Elijah
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Shemot - Exodus 3:15.
Ovadyah - Obadiah.
the Servant of Elohim
With Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham
On this site I will
mostly use a version based on the Jewish Publication
Society Tanakh (JPS).
Please Note: For non Jewish readers and
those who have little Hebrew knowledge, I have used Hebrew names
in this study, and translated them, mostly on the first time they
are used, and occasionally I will do so again later.
A Big Message can be found in
a Very Small Book:
Indeed, Ovadyah - Obadiah is one of the
smallest books in the Tanakh (the Five Books of Moshe - Moses and
all of the Prophets, the Psalms and the writings, etc). Ovadyah
has just one chapter with 21 verses, but when it comes to the
man, amazingly nothing much is known about him, except that he
quotes Yirmyahu - Jeremiah chapter 49. From that, we may take
that he lived around the time Yerushalayim - Jerusalem was taken
captive. Yet to understand this book we will have to go much
further back in time. But the truth is that it is a Book that has
a Big and a Powerful Message!
The truth is the story began way back in time
in a mothers womb; she was the wife of a wandering
shepherd, and she was with child at the time. But she discovered
that she was about to have twins, for she could feel them
struggling in her womb. Elohim, blessed be He, told her about the
two boys that would soon be born, and that they would struggle
with one another. However, what she was not told was that the
battle and struggle was going to last for centuries. The question
is of course, who were these boys?
I am sure you will realise, they were Yaaqov
- Jacob and Esov - Esau. Thus let us now look at the writings in
Bereshis - Genesis chapter 25.
Yitzchak - Isaac was forty years old when he took Rivkah -
Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean, of Paddan-Aram, the
sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. And Yitzchak
entreated for his wife, because she was barren; and
Himself be entreated of him, and Rivkah his wife conceived. And
the children struggled together within her; and she said:
If it be so, wherefore do I live? And she went to
inquire of . And said unto her: Two nations
are in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy
bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other
people; and the elder shall serve the younger. And when her days
to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her
womb. And the first came forth ruddy, all over like a hairy
mantle; and they called his name Esov - Esau. And after that came
forth his brother, and his hand had hold on Esovs heel; and
his name was called Yaaqov. And Yitzchak was threescore
years old when she bore them. And the boys grew; and Esov was a
cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Yaaqov was a quiet
man dwelling in tents. Now Yitzchak loved Esov because he did eat
of his venison; and Rivkah loved Yaaqov Bereshis -
Genesis 25:20-28 (JPS).
Esov was born first, and Yaaqov was born
clutching the foot of this firstborn brother. This would be their
relationship in the future. They were not exactly two peas in a
pod. Esov was the rugged outdoor kind of a Hunter, constantly
living for today the good times, and plenty of food. Thus he was
the practical one who lived for what he could see, touch, and
Yaaqov on the other hand was more of what
you may say, a mothers boy. If he had lived today, he would
have been the studious one in other words a bookworm. Yaaqov
looked for the future, rather than the present, and he planned
He waited this time and took his opportunity on
that day when Esov was desperately hungry and Yaaqov gave
him a plate of lentil soup, in return for his birthright. Just as
Yaaqov was seizing his brothers foot at birth, so he
was seizing him now.
Esov sold himself, for the truth is that he was
not interested in the future, but was interested in the now, the
I, me and myself. Like much of the world today, Live now
and pay later.
Esov told Yaaqov, You are to be
regarded as the elder son and heir All this, just for a
plate of soup. What a message we find in this incredible story.
Many christian theologians believe that; Yaaqov
got his name so dirty, that Elohim had to give him another,
and believe me that is a hideous lie!
Contrary to the accusations of some, Yaaqov
did not steal his birthright, but legally purchased it
from his brother who despised it and that was why Elohim,
blessed be His Sanctified Name, despised Esov - Esau.
Notice that Elohim also changed
Esovs name , from Esov, meaning hairy, to Edom meaning
Red, because he sold the precious things of Elohim
for a bowl of red stew.
The name Yaaqov is said to mean
surpplanter, however, as I have already stated some
from the other faiths will vilify Yaaqov, yet they
know nothing about his Hebrew name! The truth is, this word does
not denigrate Yaaqovs wonderful name, for it
literally means Good following after evil. It
is also translated as tripper up of the heel.
Thus, when we consider whose heel Yaaqov actually tripped
up, a totally different light is shed upon its meaning. For Elohim,
blessed be His Sanctified Name, clearly states;
of the word of to Israel by Malochi - Malachi. I have
loved you, saith . Yet ye say: Wherein hast Thou loved
us? Was not Esov Yaaqovs brother? saith ; Yet I
loved Yaaqov; but Esov I hated Malochi - Malachi
From these two men came two nations. Yaaqov
being the father of the nation of Israel. And from Esov came the
nation known as the Edomites, the land of Edom.
What the brothers were to each other, the two
nations the resentment and the hatred would be passed on to
generation after generation.
Now, this is what the book of
Obadiah is all about.
A small book with a big story.
Edom occupied a stretch of land, which was
barren, but there was a special place known as the
Kings Highway. Edomites tended to live in
the now, and the I, me, and myself; therefore, they were
traders and not producers. Just like Esov, they were only after
the bowl of soup and thus did not plan for its provision.
The land geographically was situated on the
eastern side of the Jordan, stretching from the Dead Sea to the
northern tip of the Red Sea, near Aqaba, east of Eilat, on the Gulf
Bamidbar - Numbers 20:14 to
Kadesh, Moses - Moshe sent messengers to the king of Edom:
Thus says your brother Israel: You know all the hardships
that have befallen us; that our ancestors went down to Egypt,
that we dwelt in Egypt a long time, and that the Egyptians dealt
harshly with us and our ancestors. We cried to and
He heard our plea, and He sent a messenger who freed us from Egypt.
Now we are in Kadesh, the town on the border of your territory.
Allow us, then, to cross your country. We will not pass through
fields or vineyards, and we will not drink water from wells. We
will follow the kings highway, turning off neither to the
right nor to the left until we have crossed your territory.
But Edom answered him, You shall not pass through us, else
we will go out against you with the sword. We will keep to the
beaten track, the Israelites said to them, and if we
or our cattle drink your water, we will pay for it. We ask only
for passage on foot it is but a small matter. But they
replied, You shall not pass through! And Edom went
out against them in heavy force, strongly armed. So Edom would
not let Israel cross their territory, and Israel turned away from
them (JPS version of the Tanakh).
When Israel asked Edom, (during the wilderness
experience), if they could travel via this road, they were
refused. The struggle was still on, thus Israel had to go via the
much longer route. In due course Israel entered the promised land,
and received the land of milk and honey, then known as Canaan.
Elohim, blessed be He, said the land would be
theirs as long as they kept His covenant. in His Word really
said, Break your wedding vow with Me, and I will punish
you. But sadly, due to eventually becoming a sinful nation,
blessed be His Sanctified Name, He had to discipline His people,
thus in due course sadly we were carried away into Assyria, and
When King Sennacherib took Jerusalem, the
Edomites heard of it, and they laughed and gloated, they actually
boasted against their brother nation.
against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem's fall; how they cried,
"Strip her, strip her to her very foundations!
Tehillim - Psalms. 137:7 (JPS version of the Tanakh).
See who is the heir now? they were
singing. Soon as Jerusalem had fallen, the Edomites entered the
Holy City of Elohim and looted it. What a dreadful act to carry
out against their brother nation. They even took the refugees of Jerusalem
and turned them in, into the hand of the enemy. And that was that
brother nation called Edom.
Somehow, a man named Obadiah escaped from being
taken into slavery. He was the only man left in Yerushalayim
speaking the Word of Elohim during the years Israel was in exile.
This is the Prophecy. It may be short but it is
very much to the point.
Obadiah says has a word for you Edom.
We do not know how He spoke these words to them, as no details
are given. But be assured, it is a letter from Elohim Himself,
delivered to the nation of Edom.
Now let us examine and analyse the prophecy of
Obadiah. The book of Obadiah is divided into five parts.
Part One. Verses 1 to 4 speak
of the PRIDE of man!
The vision of Ovadyah - Obadiah. Thus
saith Elohim concerning Edom: We have
heard a message from , and an ambassador is sent among the nations:
Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.
Behold, I make thee small among the nations; thou art greatly
despised. The pride of thy heart hath beguiled thee, O thou that
dwellest in the clefts of the rock, thy habitation on high; that
sayest in thy heart: Who shall bring me down to the ground?'
Though thou make thy nest as high as the eagle, and though thou
set it among the stars, I will bring thee down from thence, saith
Ovadyah - Obadiah 1:1-4 (JPS).
In simple words it actually stated, because of
the pride of your heart, Elohim would humble you, and
He would bring him down.
The Edomites lived high on the mountain, being Mount
Seir. They felt that no one could even bring them down. A proud
nation that thinks it is invincible, has forgotten that Elohim is
the King of the world, and of all nations.
He is able to humble even the greatest and
bring them down to dust. Just look at Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Greece
and Rome, Germany, the UK, U.S.A and Russia. All have attempted
to bring Israel down. But Israel is still here today and it will
be tomorrow! In fact, it would be Edom that would be brought down
If you look up a map today, there is no mention
of Edom. But, Israel is there thousands of years later. When Israel
and Judah were removed from the map by its invaders, Edom was
gloating. But Elohim said, dont ever laugh at My
people for I will remove you from the map and I will restore Israel.
The Ammonites were destroyed because they
laughed and danced and mocked Israel, as they were taken. But was
it really Israel that they were mocking? No it was not, it was
the Elohim of Israel they were mocking. To find out the details
let us read Yechezkel - Ezekiel chapter 25 verses 1 to 7.
And the word of came unto me,
saying: Son of man, set thy face toward the children of
Ammon, and prophesy against them; and say unto the children of
Ammon: Hear the word of : Thus saith : Because thou saidst:
Aha! against My sanctuary, when it was profaned, and
against the land of Israel, when it was made desolate, and
against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity;
therefore, behold, I will deliver thee to the children of the
east for a possession, and they shall set their encampments in
thee, and make their dwellings in thee; they shall eat thy fruit,
and they shall drink thy milk. And I will make Rabbah a pasture
for camels, and the children of Ammon a couching-place for
flocks; and ye shall know that I am . For thus saith Elohim:
Because thou hast clapped thy hands, and stamped with the feet,
and rejoiced with all the disdain of thy soul against the land of
Israel; therefore, behold, I stretch out My hand upon thee, and
will deliver thee for a spoil to the nations; and I will cut thee
off from the peoples, and I will cause thee to perish out of the
countries; I will destroy thee, and thou shalt know that I am
Yechezkel - Ezekiel chapter 25 verses 1-7 (JPS).
Yes Elohim would destroy Edom and restore Israel,
and nothing could ever stop that.
Part One. Vs 1 to 4 speaks of Edoms utter destruction.
The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith Elohim
concerning Edom: We have heard a message from , and
an ambassador is sent among the nations: 'Arise ye, and let us
rise up against her in battle. Behold, I make thee small
among the nations; thou art greatly despised. The pride of thy
heart hath beguiled thee, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of
the rock, thy habitation on high; that sayest in thy heart: 'Who
shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou make thy nest as
high as the eagle, and though thou set it among the stars, I will
bring thee down from thence, saith . If thieves came to
thee, if robbers by night, how art thou cut off! Would they not
steal till they had enough? If grape-gatherers came to thee,
would they not leave some gleaning grapes?
We are told that because of their evil against Israel,
Edom would be plucked clean and then be wiped off the earth!
Part Two. Vs 5 to 9 speaks of
Says Elohim, you took the opportunity to loot My Holy City,
when My people were carried away to be disciplined. You came in
and you robbed them. Now I say, you are going to be robbed.
Verse 5 may seem puzzling to you, as it speaks
of A thief who leaves nothing. Elohim says, that in
the case of Edom nothing will be left, everything will go, as if
it has never been.
Part 3. Vs 10 to 14 the
stands accused. Elohim says, on the day of your brothers
nation being hurt, you stood aloft, and you gloated on the day of
the misfortune, and rejoiced in the misery. You should not have
done that, you treated those refugees badly. I can punish My
children, but you cannot. You stand accused before Me!
Part 4.Vs 15 and 16 speaks of
verses describes the punishment that must come. But now not only
to Edom, but also to all nations that share in Edoms
dreadful acts and crimes against Israel. Verses 15 says,
As you have done unto Israel, so will be done unto you.
Alternatively, it could also be read What you sow you
will reap. Elohim says to Edom and too all the world as
well as individuals, you simply cannot get away with
doing wrong unto others. Indeed terrorists will be
terrorists. But Elohim says, You are responsible for what
you are doing. I will do unto you what you have done to My
people. The day of reckoning is coming. As Edom
was drunk on My city you will be drunk and stagger and you will
be wiped out. Blotted from the face of the earth. You will be, as
you have never ever existed.
Part Five. Verse 17 to 21
In this book, the key word is possess.
It comes three times in verses 17 and 19, and twice in verse 20.
And the house of Yaaqov shall possess their
possessions. But I find it rather sad that our people
have forgotten today who actually holds the title deeds to all
the nations including Yisroel, and it is of course Elohim,
blessed be His Sanctified Name!
There is no such thing as freehold
title on the earth, we are sojourners. The
earth is s and fullness thereof. And Elohim
will give parts of His earth to whom He will give it for He holds
the title deeds of all lands as well as that of the land of Israel
and He has given it to BNei Yisroel. No matter who has been
there, it will be restored to His chosen sojourners. And
we will take hold of their possession. And in that day Yaaqov
shall be a fire and Esau for stubble. Yaaqov will
consume Esau. The nation of Israel, which came back, would
swallow them up, and wipe out that nation, which had taken over
their land, whilst they were carried away in Babylon.
The last phrase of verse 18 is important.
For has spoken. The world should
tremble, for Elohim will wipe out those who come against His
people. Do not think of those who have not actually come against Israel,
will miss out. Elohim will ask, did you remember my
Why does say and the kingdom
shall be s in verse 21? Was that in order
that Israel would have a kingdom? No, that Elohim might have been
speaking of a kingdom that is still to come. The Kingdom shall be
Elohims, in that day all flesh shall know that I am
thy Saviour, and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Yaaqov
Yeshayahu - Isaiah 49:26.
But whatever happened to Edom after Ovadyah
spoke these words? The prophecy of Ovadyah was fulfilled over a
period of 500 years. Elohim has time
Remember Yirmyahu - Jeremiah
continued to speak the Word of Elohim for twenty three years,
right up to the destruction of Jerusalem. This shows
Elohims great love for His people. He gave them the
opportunity, to Return to Him! Elohim has time. If Elohim has
spoken and it shall be done.
Fifty years after Ovadyah had spoken, Israel
had returned to the land from their exile. Israel was on the map
once again. Even though it was small, they rebuilt Jerusalem with
their hands even in troubled times.
But the Edomites were now also living in the
land, possessing much of the land of Elohim. At that time, around
538 BC, something else was happening. The Arabs, Ishmaels
descendants called the Nebetiums were beginning to expand
and they pressed hard against Edom. By the year 450 BC, Edom had
lost their land, Edom had gone. Only at the fortress of Mt Seir,
and in the southern part of Judah could they live. They had lost
control of the kings highway, thus they had lost their main
source of income.
130 years later, in 312 BCE, Mt Seir also fell.
The Arabs finished it off, and it now lay desolate. Then in
125BCE, the Arabs attacked the Edomites in the south of Judah,
and the Edomites as a distinct people almost died out. They had
become, what many Arabs are today in a modern Israel. Israeli
However, this is not the end of the story.
Later the Romans built a small town on the fort of Mt Seir, yet
this was also soon ruined. For Elohim had said, the place would
be desolate. With the Romans now in control of the Land, they
decided not to govern it with a Roman governor. Instead they
placed a Puppet King on the throne.
For this they picked none other than an Edomite
who lived in the land of Judea. The mans name was Herod. He
with all the pride of the Edomite, called himself Herod the
Great. He thinks to himself now I will lord
over these people, who think they are the true heirs, who
purchased it so long ago, for a bowl of lentil soup.
The warning is out, terrorists will be
terrorists but Elohim has clearly said, Touch My people
and I will touch you. The question we should ask
ourselves about some gentiles and those who are openly
anti-Semites is where do they stand, with Esau or with Yaaqov.
The answer is obvious, but know this, unless they repent, they
will receive what Elohim, blessed be He handed out to Esau!
I trust the above has given you an insight into
those who live for the self, the I, me and
myself, just like Esau, they will never get anywhere
and will always suffer in the end. Thus if any of us live a life
like that, obviously not being like that evil Esau, but selfish
and always desiring more, then get back to this Word in Yirmyahu
- Jeremiah 3:1 - yet return to Me? saith
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