Obadiah ~ “Servant of Yahweh”


Likely Obadiah (vs. 1). Depending on the date of the writing, this may be the same prophet mentioned in 1 Kings 18:1-16.

Date and Context

Due to the lack of biographical references, the primary clues as to the date when Obadiah was written come from the events described in the book. There are two primary dates that would fit the invasion of Jerusalem as described in the later part of verse 11.

  1. The first would be around 853 - 841 B.C. when the Arabs and Philistines invaded Jerusalem (see 2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Chronicles 21:8-20). This would mean that the author of this book would likely be the same prophet mentioned in 1 Kings 18:1-16 as a contemporary of Elijah.

  2. The second date would be the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (see Lamentations, Jeremiah 52). This is the most popular view among scholars today. Many scholars who support this view cite the similarities between Obadiah and Jeremiah 49:1-22 as evidence.


  • God’s Faithfulness in Judgement. With Esau/Edom’s rebellion and violence toward Israel, a key question is whether or not God is faithful to His promises to Jacob/Israel and Esau/Edom. Is God faithful? Is He powerful enough to be faithful? This book makes it clear that God’s faithfulness and power are both demonstrated through His judgement. Those who oppose God will not have the final say.


I. God’s Coming Judgement Against Esau/Edom [1:1-9]

  • God proclaims the extent and completeness of His judgement against Esau/Edom.

II. Esau/Edom’s Actions in Israel’s Day of Distress [1:10-14]

  • God describes the violence done by Esau/Edom to Jacob/Israel and retroactively pleas with Esau/Edom not to do what they have already done.

III. God’s Actions in The Nations’ Day of Distress (the Day Of Yahweh) [1:15-21]

  • Esau/Edom’s actions in the day of Israel’s distress will be repaid by God in the day of distress brought upon all nations.


  • Esau/Edom’s rebellion is rebellion against God (see Gen. 25:23 and 2 Chron. 21). That is, the very faithfulness of God is challenged by Esau/Edom’s rebellion.

  • The first verse is interesting: “the Vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord Yahweh concerning Edom” (emphases added).

  • If Obadiah was written at the earlier of the possible dates (853 - 841 B.C.), this would mean that Obadiah was (one of) the earliest of the minor prophets to write. This is significant because he introduces the concept of the "Day of Yahweh/the LORD" which is a central theme for many of the prophets.

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