What Is the Shortest Book in the Old Testament?


(Photo: The Christian Post)

A vision from a minor prophet about the complete destruction of the nation Edom is described in 21 verses, and concludes with promises of God’s restoration.

This is the shortest book in the Old Testament: Obadiah. Obadiah means “servant of Jehovah” and “worshiper of Yahweh.”

Sandwiched between the prophetic utterances of Amos, a farmer, and Jonah, who was sent by God to speak to the Ninevites but refused and ended up spending a few nights in the belly of a fish before obeying, Obadiah speaks of an bitter squabble between two peoples with common ancestral roots.

The short book was likely written between 848 and 840 B.C. and in it he condemns Edom for sins against both God and his people Israel.

The Edomites descended from Jacob’s elder brother Esau. The nation of Edom bordered the nation of Israel on the other side of the Dead Sea.

The Edomites still held a grudge for what Jacob did 1,000 years ago, when he conspired with his mother, Rebekah, to take away the blessing from his father that was intended for the firstborn son, Esau, as is described in Genesis 27.

Esau’s nation despised the Israelites and refused to help them in their need, sold them as slaves, plundered their cities, and even abused them while they were exiled to Babylon. Elsewhere in the Old Testament God avenges his people when other nations do violence against them and Obadiah declares on God’s behalf that He will do similarly for Edom.

The specific accusations against the Edomites are listed in the first 14 verses, where the prophet decries their pride and proclaims that they will be brought…

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