Although Obadiah does not say when he was called to prophesy, verses 11-13 show that it was the time of the Fall of Jerusalem in 587-586 BC
Obadiah was not sent to prophesy to Israel or Judah, but to their relatives the Edomites (descendents of Jacob's twin brother Esau) who lived in the mountains east of the Dead Sea. The Edomites thought that they were safe from all attack, because their city, which is now an archaeological site known as Petra, could only be reached by going through one long narrow defile between precipitous rocks. They sided with the Assyrians and the Babylonians against the Jews, and invaded Judah when Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem.
About 5 years after the Fall of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar attacked and defeated the Edomites. Their land was eventually invaded by the Arabs (5th century BC) and the Nabataeans (3rd century BC). Some of the surviving Edomites fled to southern Judah, where they were called "Idumeans" and were assimilated into the nation of Israel. The family of Herod the Great, who was appointed king of the Jews by the Romans, was Idumean.
Copyright © 1999 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved
Department of Religion
Portales, NM 88130
Last Updated: April 9, 2008