Geographical Context of Obadiah

This is the fourth lesson in a series of lessons on the book of Obadiah. In this lesson I talk about the geographical context of Obadiah.

Watch the video or scroll down to read a transcript.


Thanks for visiting Bible Mountain. This is the fourth lesson in a series of lessons on the book of Obadiah. In this lesson, I’m going to talk about the geographical context. 

In the first lesson I talked about why Obadiah is in the Bible. Obadiah was originally written to pronounce judgment upon the Edomites because of how they treated the Israelites. That’s an example for you and I to learn from. In the second lesson I talked about the biblical context. I showed where Obadiah fits in the Bible. In the third lesson I talked about the historical context. I talked about where Obadiah fits on a timeline of world history. In this lesson I’m going to talk about the geographical context. I’m going to show on a map where the events of Obadiah took place. 

This is a map of the world. On the left is North and South America. Off to the right is Asia and Australia. In the middle is Europe and Africa. The area where Europe, Asia, and Africa meet each other is what is known as the Middle East. 

This is a map of the Middle East. Right in the middle are the nations of Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon. That is where most of the events in the Bible took place. To the lower left, southwest of Israel, is the country of Egypt. Multiple events in the Bible took place in Egypt. Off to the right is Iraq and Iran. Multiple events in the Bible took place in that area. Across the top is Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Events in the New Testament took place in that era. 

The first couple chapters of the Bible cannot be placed on a map. The first event that can be placed on a map is the Great Flood when Noah and his sons landed in the ark. The general consensus is Noah’s Ark probably landed somewhere in modern Turkey. 

After Noah and the Ark we read about the Tower of Babel. That probably took place in the Mesopotamian Valley, the valley that is formed by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. That’s an area known today as Iraq. 

After the Tower of Babel we read about Abram. Abram was born in the lower end of the Mesopotamian Valley.

God told Abram to move to a different land, so Abram and his family moved to Haran. Later they moved to the promised land. At that time that area was known as the land of Canaan. We call it the land of Israel. 

While in this land, God promised Abram that he would have many descendants and that his descendant would be a blessing to the whole earth. Abram was also told his descendants would inherit the land that he was living in. 

Abram had a son named Isaac. Those promises were passed on to Isaac. Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. The promises that had been given to Abram and then Isaac were passed on to Jacob. Esau did not receive those promises. Jacob stayed in the land where Abraham and Isaac had live. Esau moved southeast into an area known today as the country of Jordan. 

Near the end of Jacob’s life, he and his descendants moved to Egypt because of a famine. They were there for several hundred years. During that time, the descendants of Jacob became the Israelites and the descendants of Esau became the Edomites. 

While they lived in Egypt for several hundred years, the Israelites became slaves.

Eventually, Moses led the Israelites out of slavery into the wilderness. He took them to Mount Sinai and gave them the Mosaic Law. Then he led them to the promised land. Moses wanted to lead the Israelites through Edom, but Edom did not allow them to go through.

The Israelites had to go around Edom in order to get to the promised land. 

The Israelites lived in the promised land for several hundred years without a king. Every man did what was right in his own eyes. Eventually, they received a king and David became king.

David established Jerusalem as his capital. During David’s reign, he gained authority over the Edomites and so the Edomites began serving the Israelites. When David died, his son Solomon became king. 

After Solomon died, the Kingdom split into two. There was the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom. The northern kingdom was called Israel. The southern kingdom was called Judah. The descendants of David and Solomon ruled over the southern kingdom called Judah. 

During those years, the Edomites gained their independence from Israel and did not serve the Israelites anymore. During those years, various countries came and attacked the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. It was during those attacks that Edom stood back and did not help the Israelites. In fact, the Edomites helped to plunder the Israelites. It was in response to that, that the book of Obadiah was written.

That is the geographical context. Now I will review why Obadiah is in the Bible, and why you and I should study it. We find this in 1 Corinthians. 

1Cor. 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

That verse was written in general about the entire Old Testament. Obadiah is part of the Old Testament, so it applies to the book of Obadiah. What we read about in Obadiah is an example for us to learn from, and it was written for our instruction. Just as we should read the entire Bible, we should read and study the book of Obadiah so we know what happened to the Edomites, what they did to bring about their destruction and punishment, and what we need to do to make sure we don’t make the same mistake the Edomites made. 

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Scripture quotations from Obadiah taken from a translation by Bible Mountain.

“All other Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,
1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission.” (

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