What a jewel the little book of Obadiah is! Even though it is the shortest book in the Old Testament, it is packed with powerful messages about the justice of God and His righteousness.
Who was Obadiah? He give no details of his personal life nor any facts that reveal dates of the ruling kings. But his prophecy "Edom is doomed to destruction" is from God.
Why was this to happen to this nation of people? It all goes back to Genesis 25:22. There we learn of a struggle ensued in Rebekah's womb. She sought the Lord concerning this struggle. The Lord said, "Two nations are in thy womb and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and one people shall be stronger than the other people, and the elder shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:22-23)/ When the time came for birth, Rebekah indeed bore twin sons. The first son was very red at birth and very hairy. He was named Esau. The other son was born with his hand grasping Esau's heel. So he was called Jacob (a supplanter).
The struggle between the two continued as time moved on. Both men's descendents became nations. Genesis 36:1 tells us Esau is Edom and dwelt in Mount Seir which today is southern Jordan.
Scripture tells us Esau became a man after the flesh and cared nothing for spiritual things. His descendents became a godless nation that turned its back upon God.
On the other hand, Jacob/Israel has been mightily used of God through the centuries. Israel has produced Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David and on down the line to Jesus Christ.
Slowly and patiently God fulfilled Edom's doom through the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 49:7 ff and Ezekiel 35) who left a remnant. This remnant was absorbed by the Nabatean Arabs in the late sixth of early fifth century B.C. The Nabeteans then expelled this Edomite remnant who subsequently settled in southern Judah. Here they were called Idumeans and John Hyrcarius, a Maccabean, forced them to become followers of Judaism. (Interestingly, Herod the Great was an Idumean.)
The Idumeans joined the Jews in a rebellion against Rome in 70 A.D. A few escaped the siege of Titus, the Roman general. But the Idumeans/Edomites then faded from history just as God's Word predicted.
This little book has the explanation of why God said, "Yet Jacob I have loved. But Esau I have hated." (Malachi 1:2)
Also the reader is left with an awesome sense of God's immutability, omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. Indeed, He was the ONE in complete control then and is today.