We're not talking about the famous ones (Esther, Jonah, James) We’re talking about the TINY ones. The ones rarely quoted in sermons. And when they are, it takes you twice as long to find them, because they're only 1 to 15 pages long. Squashed between longer books, what's in these itty bitty books, and what's so important about them that they're in the Bible?
Welcome to the newest Bible Study Series: Tiny Books Of The Bible! We're going SO tiny, obscure book like Nehemiah (OT, 13 chapters, 21 pages) is TOO BIG. It's practically Moby Dick compared to the ones we're looking at.
Here’s our first case study – Obadiah!
IT’S SO SMALL! I CAN’T FIND IT! WHERE IS IT?
Obadiah is in the Old Testament, between Amos and Jonah. Both of those are tiny books too, so it’s between Daniel and… the end of the Old Testament.
HOW SMALL IS IT?
It’s one chapter. 2 pages. TINY TINY TINY! So tiny it is indeed the shortest book in the Old Testament.
WHO WROTE IT?
Obadiah was a minor prophet. And we seriously don’t know much personal information about him other than that.
WHAT’S THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT?
So there’s a bad guy. Well, a bad nation. They’re called Edom, or the Edomites. They’re the descendents of “I’m The Red Hairy Brother” Esau, twin brother of Jacob. And they helped the Babylonians sack Judah and its city Jerusalem somewhere around 586 B.C. Or rather, they let the Babylonians do most of the heavy lifting in terms of conquering, and then they zoomed in to plunder and scavenge and generally act like rats.
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?
Obadiah, the minor prophet is lamenting the fact that the nation of Edom are ratty people who scavenged Judah and its city Jerusalem after the city fell. And he’s warning them that everything they did to Jerusalem (ransacked, hidden treasures pillaged, handing over survivors, drinking on the holy hill.) will be done back onto them when “the day of the Lord” approaches. Which it eventually did; Edom no longer existed as a nation by 1st century A.D.
ANYTHING INTERESTING OR QUOTABLE?
It’s all about God’s wrath. There’s no “repent before it’s too late.” According to Obadiah, there’s no chance for repentance, it’s all done, and they’re all doomed.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN? WHY DO YOU THINK IT WAS IN HERE?
Possibly Obadiah is in there to back up bigger prophet Jeremiah, who also talked about what God was gonna do to Edom for sacking Jerusalem (Jeremiah 49: 7-22). But basically, in the Old Testament, if you do bad things against the Lord’s people, bad things will eventually happen to you. Obadiah, in just two pages, says so.