The Prophets: Obadiah
Obadiah, from the Hebrew name variously pronounced oh-bawd-yah or oh-bawd-yaw-hoo, meaning servant of the LORD (see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD) was a prophet of the LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') primarily to Edom, the nation named after Esau, the brother of Jacob (the LORD changed Jacob's name to Israel - see The Origin Of 'Israel').
"25:21 And Isaac [see also The Birth Of Isaac] entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. 25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. 25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them." (Genesis 25:20-26 KJV)
Esau came to be called Edom as a result of the well-known incident involving a bowl of stew:
"25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. 25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
25:29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
25:31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
25:32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
25:33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright." (Genesis 25:27-34 KJV)
"Neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction"
In the time of Obadiah, the nation of Edom (i.e. nations originate from families; they are native to their nativity), which was located to the southeast of the land of Israel (see the map), had allied themselves with the Babylonians against their cousins of Israel and Judah (as documented in the Scriptures quoted above, the people of Edom/Esau are as much descended from Abraham and Isaac as the people of Israel are).
"1:1 The vision of Obadiah.
Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. 1:2 Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. 1:3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? 1:4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD." (Obadiah 1:1-4 KJV)
Edom was going to experience upon themselves, from foreign armies, what they had conspired with foreign armies to do to Israel.
"1:6 How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!
1:7 All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him.
1:8 Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? 1:9 And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. 1:10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.
1:11 In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. 1:12 But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 1:13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; 1:14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress." (Obadiah 1:6-14 KJV)
The prophecy to Edom was actually a lesson to all nations of all time to not take opportunistic advantage of something that does not involve them i.e. "neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction" (verse 12 above). The LORD was soon to bring about the destruction of Judah by the Babylonians, because of Judah's corruption (see The Southern Kingdom), but Edom was "riding the coat tails" of the Babylonians for their own spite against Israel (perhaps going all the way back to the "stew" incident with Jacob and Esau).
Obadiah concludes his prophecy with a view of the time after the return of Jesus Christ when "Zion" will be secure from attack or conspiracy.
"1:15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.
1:16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.
1:17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 1:18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.
1:19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. 1:20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. 1:21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S." (Obadiah 1:15-21 KJV)
Fact Finder: What was the origin of "Zion"? What is the ultimate purpose of "Zion"?