Servant of the Lord.
(1.) An Israelite who was chief in the household of King Ahab (1 Kings 18:3). Amid great spiritual degeneracy he maintained his fidelity to God, and interposed to protect The Lord's prophets, an hundred of whom he hid at great personal risk in a cave (4, 13). Ahab seems to have held Obadiah in great honour, although he had no sympathy with his piety (5, 6, 7). The last notice of him is his bringing back tidings to Ahab that Elijah, whom he had so long sought for, was at hand (9-16). "Go," said Elijah to him, when he met him in the way, "go tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here."
(2.) A chief of the tribe of Issachar (1 Chronicles 7:3).
(3.) A descendant of Saul (1 Chronicles 8:38).
(4.) A Levite, after the Captivity (1 Chronicles 9:16).
(5.) A Gadite who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chronicles 12:9).
(6.) A prince of Zebulun in the time of David (1 Chronicles 27:19).
(7.) One of the princes sent by Jehoshaphat to instruct the people in the law (2 Chronicles 17:7).
(8.) A Levite who superintended the repairs of the temple under Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:12).
(9.) One who accompanied Ezra on the return from Babylon (Ezra 8:9).
(10.) A prophet, fourth of the minor prophets in the Hebrew canon, and fifth in the LXX. He was probably contemporary with Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Of his personal history nothing is known.
Obadiah, Book of
Consists of one chapter, "concerning Edom," its impending doom (1:1-16), and the restoration of Israel (1:17-21). This is the shortest book of the Old Testament.
There are on record the account of four captures of Jerusalem, (1) by Shishak in the reign of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:25); (2) by the Philistines and Arabians in the reign of Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:16); (3) by Joash, the king of Israel, in the reign of Amaziah (2 Kings 14:13); and (4) by the Babylonians, when Jerusalem was taken and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 586). Obadiah (1:11-14) speaks of this capture as a thing past. He sees the calamity as having already come on Jerusalem, and the Edomites as joining their forces with those of the Chaldeans in bringing about the degradation and ruin of Israel. We do not indeed read that the Edomites actually took part with the Chaldeans, but the probabilities are that they did so, and this explains the words of Obadiah in denouncing against Edom the judgments of God. The date of his prophecies was thus in or about the year of the destruction of Jerusalem.
Edom is the type of Israel's and of God's last foe (Isaiah 63:1-4). These will finally all be vanquished, and the kingdom will be the Lord's (Comp. Psalm 22:28).