Study of Obadiah


Obadiah is named after the prophet, Obadiah, about whom nothing is known except the meaning of his name (servant or worshiper of the Lord).

The date of Obadiah is also uncertain and conservatives tend to date

it either as one of the earliest of the writing prophets 848-841 B.C. during the reign of Jehoram, the Son of Jehoshaphat, or about 585 B.C. the year after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Those who accept the later date believe that verses 11-14 refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. whereas, those who accept the earlier date suggest that verses 11-14 refer to events during the reign of Jehoram when the Philistines and Arabians invaded Judah (II Chron. 21:16-17). In favor of the earlier date is the fact that Jeremiah might well have been familiar with Obadiah's work (cf. Jeremiah 49:7-22 and Obadiah 1-9).

Regarding the date, the Ryrie Study Bible states,

The question of date relates to which battle against Jerusalem the Edomites were associated with (vv. 11-14). There were four significant invasions of Jerusalem in Old Testament times: (1) by Shishak, king of Egypt, during Rehoboam's reign, in 926 B.C. (1 Kings 14:25-26); (2) by the Philistines and Arabians during the reign of Jehoram from 848-841 (2 Chron. 21:16-17); (3) by King Jehoash of Israel during the reign of Amaziah in 790 (2 Kings 14:13-14); (4) by Babylon during the years 605-586 (2 Kings 24-25). Obadiah prophesied against Edom either in connection with invasion #2 or #4. If the first, this book is the earliest of the writing prophets (see 2 Kings 8:20 and 2 Chron: 21:16-17; then see Joel 3:3-6 compared with Obad. 11-12 and the use of Obad. 1-9 in the extended passage in Jer. 49:7-22 as support for the earlier date).

The theme of Obadiah is the judgment upon Edom because of Edom's actions against Judah.

The following helpful outline is from Gleason L. Archer's, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 287:

I. The Coming Destruction of Edom, 1-9

A. The downfall of impregnable Sela, 1-4

B. The city to be plundered, devastated, and forsaken, 5-9

II. The Cause of Edom's Judgment: Her Malice Against Israel, 10-14

III. The Coming Day of the Lord, 15-21

A. The impending judgment upon Edom and the rest of the heathen, 15, 16

B. The future deliverance of Israel, 17-20

C. The ultimate Messianic Kingdom , 2l