BibleAsk Team

Who was Obadiah in the Old Testament?


Obadiah was one of the 12 minor prophets of the Old Testament. This name means “servant of Yahweh.” References in his book to the southern kingdom of Judah indicate that he belonged to that nation. Obadiah does not identify the time in which he lived, therefore the date of his prophecy must be assumed from internal evidence.

Some Bible scholars say that because the prophet referred to the calamities that befell Judah at the time of the Babylonian invasions, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. this proves that he prophesied during that time frame. And the similarity of Obadiah’s denunciation of Edom to that of Jeremiah (Jer. 49:7–22) and that of Ezekiel (Eze. 25:12–14; 35; Ps. 137:7) also support that conclusion.

The prophet describes the punishment that was to come upon Edom for its cruel stand against Judah in a time of crisis. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau (Gen. 36:1), the brother of Jacob (Gen. 25:24–26). The hostility that existed between the Edomites and the Jews was especially bitter.

Following the pronouncement of doom upon Edom, the prophet turns to promises of restoration for Israel and the ultimate triumph of God’s people. Obadiah prophesied that the house of Jacob would again “possess their possessions” (v. 17), and extend their boundaries (vs. 19, 20).

Obadiah closes his prophecy on a triumphant note with the assurance of full and complete redemption for Zion. The, “Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the LORD’s” (v. 21).

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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