Prophecy is pre-written history. Obadiah knew that a foreign foe was coming. Esau was the son of Isaac, just as Jacob was, but he cared more for the temporal things of the world than for his birthright (Genesis 25:27-34). His descendants were just like him. The message, therefore, is directed to those who have the opportunity to be spiritual, but who choose instead to be worldly.
When Israel was hard-pressed, Edom refused to help them. They took a neutral stance; they adopted a do-nothing policy. Finally, they engaged in open hostility against Israel.
No personal history of the man, Obadiah, is given. We do know that his name means ''worshiper'' or ''servant of Jehovah.'' His writings foresee the doom of the Edomites. Although the Edomites have lost their national identity among the existing nations [today], God will search them out in the last days. Obadiah's prediction, of the destruction about to befall them, is a picture of the judgment to come upon the nations.