Edom, Ammon, and Moab were the permanent enemies of Israel. They exchanged control of the area as one rose in power and the other fell. When Israel and Judah had hard times, Edom would align themselves with Israel’s enemies and enjoy a season of victory. This seems to have been part of the story of the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah especially. God would send prophets against them when they abused the two nations of God’s people. Obadiah is the prophet God sent to Edom. I always remember that because of the little saying, “Edom was bad, so God sent Obadiah.” There was something about Edom that caused them to be the more disliked nation in the area. It was probably because of Obadiah’s word from God about them. Obadiah 1:2, speaking for God, says, “Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised.” They were boastful and arrogant, and God wanted them to know that He would humble them. They lived in a very safe environment and thought nothing and no one could reach them.

Edom was an ancient people group that inhabited the land south of Judah and the Dead Sea. The Edomites, also called Idumeans, descended from Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. They were of great historical importance as descendants of both Isaac and Abraham. The word Edom in Hebrew means “red,” a reference to Esau’s reddish look at birth and possibly the “red” stew that he traded his blessing for. Yet, despite their shared ancestry, the Edomites and Israelites lived in almost perpetual conflict. In Genesis, we learn that while Israel was a slave in Egypt, Edom established a nation of its own and became a force in its own right. The prominent city in Edom was Petra. This city, accessible only through a narrow canyon within cavernous mountain walls, was featured in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. God’s prophecy against Edom came as a result of their constant hatred of Israel during the time Israel came back from Egypt. They had prospered while Israel was gone and had no intention of letting them come back from Egypt and take over the promised land. In the fifth century B.C., a people called the Nabateans defeated the Edomites and removed them from Petra. The Edomites were forced to move south of Israel to an area that would become known as Idumea. In the New Testament, Herod the Great, who commanded the murder of all boys two years old and younger in Bethlehem was an Idumean. He is the last of the Edomites to be mentioned in history.

Proverbs 16:18-19 give us some great advice. The Edomites might have survived had they paid heed to it. It says, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Talking about this passage in Proverbs, a web blogger says, “The Edomites serve as a classic example of the adage, ‘pride goes before a fall.’ Because of the arrogance of heart, Edom fell never to rise again: ‘The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, who can bring me down to the ground?’ Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down declares the LORD” (See Obadiah 1:3–4). Many biblical prophets echo this theme: ‘The proud one shall stumble and fall, with none to raise him up’ (Jeremiah 50:32, ESV; see also Isaiah 28:3Ezekiel 31:10–12Zephaniah 3:11Zechariah 10:11).”[1]

[1] https://www.gotquestions.org/pride-goes-before-a-fall.html