Prophet - One who utters divinely inspired revelations

That is how the word prophet is defined in Webster?s dictionary, but a prophet is much more. A prophet is someone who is chosen by God to convey his message to the people; a middleman between God and his people. A prophet is someone who God selects as the embodiment of himself. Someone that people will listen to. Someone with a presence. Now the prophets did not all lead perfect lives, but they all had a bond with the Lord that could not be matched. The Prophets were holy people but they were in no way God-like. They were humble people that gladly served their God. This summary of a prophet is what most people believe the prophet Obadiah was like.

Obadiah, the shortest book in the Old Testament consisting of only one chapter, is the pronouncement of doom against an ancient and long-forgotten nation, the land of Edom. It was written in 587 B.C.E, after the destruction of Jerusalem. But there is more to this book than that. The Scriptures have that ability of appearing to be one thing on the surface, but on a deeper level, yielding rich and mighty treasures. This is definitely true for the short, but meaningful book of Obadiah.

We know very little about Obadiah except that he was one of the minor prophets. There is a reference to a prophet Obadiah in the days of Elijah and Elisha and there is some thought that perhaps he is the same man. The name Obadiah was a very common name among the Hebrews though, and it is very likely this is not the same prophet, for in this book Obadiah mentions the day when Jerusalem was destroyed, captured by the alien armies, and that occurs long after the time of Elijah and Elisha. So most Bible commentators believe the author of this book was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, the last of the prophets before Israel went into captivity.

The name Obadiah means "the servant of Jehovah;" He fulfills the position of a servant. He comes and does his work and fades into the background; he delivers his message and he is gone. That is about all we know about the man behind this book.

The book of Obadiah tells the story of two nations, the nation of Israel and the nation of Edom, the country to the south of Israel that is now usually referred to as the Negeb. Through this ancient land of Edom the Israelites marched as they came into the land of Israel out of the captivity and slavery of Egypt. As they came into the land they had difficulty with the Edomites; they were enemies of Israel from its very beginning.

I have come up with what I think is a very adequate and meaningful theory about this book. I think this is a story about these two nations, but behind that is a story about two men. Every nation in the Bible is a lengthened shadow of its founder, and the two men behind the nations Israel and Edom were twin brothers from Genesis, Jacob and Esau. Jacob was the father of Israel, and Esau, his twin brother, became the Father of the Edomites. In the story of these nations you also have the extended story of these two men, Jacob and Esau. God, in a sense, has made these two into the size of nations. As the prophet discusses this you can see that the story of these two men continues; Israel is still Jacob and Edom is still Esau.

Jacob and Esau were in constant conflict. We read in the book of Genesis that even before they were born, they struggled together in their mother\'s womb. That conflict marked the lives of these two men, and the lives of their descendants, the two nations of Israel and Edom.

In Genesis, Jacob was Mother\'s favorite and Esau was Dad?s favorite, and there was one unending conflict between these two men, which did not end with their deaths. The nations carried on this same conflict, and all the way from Genesis through Malachi there is the threat of struggle and unbroken conflict between them. In the book of Malachi (Genesis records the beginning of these nations), the last book of the Old Testament, God says, "I have loved Jacob but I have hated Esau." (Mal. 1:2)