The fourth in the traditional listing by CHAZAL of the group of Prophets known as the “Trei-Asar,” the “Twelve”
The Prophet Ovadiah was a convert from the religion practiced in Edom. He lived at the time of Eliyahu HaNavi and his disciple, Elisha, and is identified as the Administrator in Achav’s and Izevel’s Palace (“Melachim”/Kings I, 18:3). He is described there as “fearing the L-rd greatly.”
Ovadiah’s great merit was that he risked his life to maintain 100 prophets in a cave, providing them with all their needs, at a time that the Prophets were under tremendous pressure and great danger from the Palace.
Ovadiah was chosen as the Prophet to deliver the message of Edom’s doom; perhaps because he grew up there and was intimately knowledgeable concerning the conspiracies and evils of the royal, the political and the military complex.
The Book of Ovadiah consists of only one Chapter.
Edom had relied on its location to guarantee its protection from attack. But HaShem says through Ovadiah,
“The wickedness of your heart enticed you,
Who dwell in the clefts of the rock,
Whose habitation is on high and who says,
‘Who will bring me down to earth?’ ”
“If you ascend as an eagle,
And if you place your nest among the stars,
From there I will bring you down, says the L-rd.” (Ovadiah 1:3-4)
Ovadiah relates the demise of Edom to the hatred and hateful acts perpetrated by Esav/Edom against Yaakov/Yisrael from the beginning of their relationship.
“Shame shall cover you,
And you will be cut off forever.” (Ovadiah 1:10)
And the ones who will bring Esav down will be the descendants of your brother, Yaakov.
“And the house of Yaakov shall be a fire,
And the House of Yoseph a flame,
And the House of Esav shall be as stubble,
And they shall ignite them and consume them,
And the House of Esav shall have no survivors,
For the L-rd has spoken.” (Ovadiah 1:18)
And ultimately, the returning Jewish population from all over the world will displace Esav, and the L-rd’s Kingdom shall prevail.
“And the returning host of the Congregation of Israel,
Who are with the Canaanites as far as ‘Tzorfas’/France,
And the Exile of Jerusalem from as far as “Sepharad”/Spain,
Shall inherit the cities of the Negev;
And saviors shall ascend Mt. Zion,
To judge the mountain of Esav,
And the L-rd shall have the Kingdom.” (Ovadiah 1:20-21)