When Judah’s capital city of Jerusalem fell to the Babylonian army in 587/6 BC, those in the neighboring kingdom of Edom joined in looting the city. They intercepted fleeing Judeans and turned them over to the Babylonians to be executed or enslaved. They showed no compassion even though they were related to the Judeans. Edom was descended from Esau, the brother of Jacob, who was the ancestor of the Israelites.
The prophet Obadiah seems to have been among those who remained behind when the Judeans were taken into exile. His oracle first rebukes the Edomites for their ruthless treatment of their helpless neighbors and foretells their destruction. He then assures the people of his community that God would restore their fortunes. He assures Judah that in the end, the kingdom will be the Lord’s.