1. Author

a. a “vision,” a prophetic revelation from God spoken through his prophet “Obadiah”

b. only thing known about this prophet is his name (a common one in the OT), which means “one who serves Yahweh

c. no date, readers can infer only the approximate time of the prophet from the book’s contents.

2. Theme

a. Edom, together with all other nations that oppose Israel’s God and his people, will experience God’s judgment.

b. God’s own covenant people, who have already experienced God’s judgment, will receive restoration from their God.

c. The book ends with the promise of the kingdom of God.

3. Background

a. The Jerusalemites experienced God’s judgment (Obad. 16a) when enemies invaded and “cast lots for Jerusalem” (v. 11).

b. The Edomites, the descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau and one of Israel’s neighbors directly to the east, should have assisted their brothers during the Babylonian crisis. Instead they sided with the foreign invaders and even took advantage of Israel’s misfortune (vv. 10–14).

c. God’s people were put to public shame. Edom felt secure in spite of its complicity

d. From all appearances, Edom and the foreign nations were in charge, ruling over the future of Israel.

e. Will Edom and the hostile nations triumph? Is God indifferent to all of this?

4. Part 1

a. Into this situation the prophet Obadiah proclaimed the word of Yahweh.

b. The first half of Obadiah (vv. 1–15) addresses Edom with “you” singular.

c. The prophet announces coming judgment against Edom and warns Edom to stop persecuting Judah before it is too late, before “the day of the Lord” comes against “all the nations” (v. 15).

d. The standard of the judgment will be strict retributive justice (v. 15).

5. Part 2

a. The second half (vv. 16–21) addresses the people of Jerusalem with “you” plural in verse 16: “you … on my holy mountain.”

b. The prophet gives hope to God’s people with the good news of the future great reversal.

c. On the terrible day of the Lord the hostile nations will receive God’s judgment, but those in Zion will be saved, and Zion will be holy (vv. 16–17a).

d. All Israel will be reunited and given the Promised Land and victory over Edom (vv. 17b–20).

e. The last line expresses God’s ultimate goal: to establish his kingly reign over all the earth (v. 21).


Key Themes

1. Nahum proclaims that the Lord is slow to anger and long-suffering, a jealous God (for his own honor, and for his people), wrathful and avenging (against his enemies), the one who controls nations and history, just, righteous, the majestic ruler of nature, good, merciful, gracious, loving, faithful, and the deliverer and protector of those who trust in him.

2. God had used Assyria as his scourge on unfaithful Israel (both northern and southern kingdoms), but he in turn brought well-deserved judgment on Assyria, according to his timetable and method.

3. Nineveh fell not because it was a large, wealthy, Gentile commercial city, but because it was a godless and idolatrous city, a city of violence, lust, and greed.

4. The Lord of history is a “stronghold” for “those who take refuge in him” (1:7). He can handle any and all problems in their individual lives. He has defeated powers far greater than Assyria. He grants to his own the ultimate deliverance and vindication.


1. An oracle concerning Ninevah (1:1)

2. A Psalm Praising the Lord (1:2–8)

a. The Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries (1:2–3a)

b. The Lord rules creation in majesty, and no one can stand before his wrath (1:3b–6)

c. The Lord delivers those who take refuge in him (1:7)

d. The Lord destroys his adversaries (1:8)

3. The Lord’s Coming Judgment on Nineveh and Deliverance of Judah (1:9–15)

a. The destruction of Nineveh (1:9–12a)

b. Judah is freed from Assyrian bondage (1:12b–13)

c. The end of idolatrous Nineveh (1:14)

d. Peace and deliverance for Judah (1:15)

4. The Lord’s Coming Judgment on Ninevah (2:1–13)

a. The beginning of the attack on Nineveh (2:1)

b. Reasons for judgment (2:2)

c. Attacking soldiers and military action (2:3–5)

d. The fall and plundering of Nineveh (2:6–9)

e. A song of Ninevah’s destruction (2:10–12)

f. The Lord speaks a word of judgment (2:13)

5. Another announcement Lord’s Coming Judgment on Ninevah (3:1–19)

a. Reasons for judgment: the violence, lying, and greed of Nineveh (3:1)

b. Military action at Nineveh and slaughter of the Assyrians (3:2–3)

c. The wickedness of Nineveh (3:4)

d. The Lord speaks a word of judgment (3:5–7)

e. Comparison with the conquest of Thebes (3:8–11)

f. A song of judgment against the evil of Ninevah (3:12–19)