The book of Obadiah.

Counted among the prophets.


Attributed author(s).
Obadiah.

Text(s) available.
On site: Obadiah 1 (Hebrew only).
CCEL: Obadiah (Hebrew only).
Swete LXX (Greek only).
Bible Gateway (English only).
HTML Bible: Obadiah 1 (Hebrew and English).
HTML Bible: Obadiah 1 (Latin Vulgate only).
Zhubert (Greek and English).
Kata Pi BHS: Obadiah 1 (Hebrew and English).
Kata Pi LXX: Obadiah 1 (Greek and English).
Sacred Texts: Obadiah 1 (polyglot).

Useful links.
Obadiah at the OT Gateway.
Obadiah in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
EJW (Peter Kirby).
Obadiah at Kata Pi (Oesterly and Robinson).
Obadiah from the Plymouth Brethren.
Introduction to Obadiah (David Malick).
Outline of Obadiah (David Malick).

The book of Obadiah ranks among the latter prophets in the Jewish scriptures.

The book was originally written in Hebrew, but the ancient Greek translation known as the Septuagint (abbreviated LXX) is also a very important witness to the text.


Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).

Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on the book of Obadiah:

Douglas Stuart writes: "In Obadiah the Edomites, who have seized Judean lands in the wake of Babylon's elimination of Judean military and political powers, are excoriated for their enmity to Yahweh and his people. The fate of the Edomites, like that of other nations that occupied Israelite territory, is sealed. They will die out as a sovereign people and the Israelites will repossess the promised land under Yahweh's blessing. The present incapacitation of God's people may provide a temporary hope for Edom. But the eventual and final fate of Edom is the fate of all the wicked—death. And the eventual and final reward of God's people is life abundant." (Hosea-Jonah, p. 408)

Michael H. Floyd writes: "The book thus has integrity with respect to both form and content, but the close similarity between parts of it and parts of another anti-Edomite prophecy suggests that the author may have drawn on previously existing oracular materials (cf. vv. 1-5; Jer. 49:7, 9, 14-16). There is no consensus among modern interpreters, however, regarding any earlier stages, and since nothing biographical is known about the prophet for whom the book is named, there is no telling whether any certain parts of it or the whole should be attributed to him. In any case, the book in its final form is not so much a collection of prophecies, each occasioned by a particular event, as it is a critical reflection on the type of hitsorical process represented by a whole period of Israelite-Edomite relations. The book's retrospective viewpoint presupposes both the Edomites' participation in the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in the sixth century B.C. (Ps. 137:7) and a subsequent attack on Edom by former allies, which cannot be as precisely dated. Such considerations would put the final composition sometime in the postexilic period, probably in the sixth or fifth century B.C." (Harper's Bible Commentary, p. 726)

Geoffrey F. Wood writes: "Edom had other enemies. Arabian pressure increased during the 6th cent.; ca. 500-450, Edom was dislodged from its seemingly impregnable highlands S of the Dead Sea (Mal 1:3; Bright, Hist. 361). Diodorus Siculus (19.94-98) informs us that the Nabateans were living in Petra, the former Edomite capital, in 312 (F. M. Abel, RB 46 [1937] 373-91). This situation probably prompted Obadiah to revive a pre-exilic oracle against Edom (vv. 1-9) and blend into it references to the present debacle. Note how Jer absorbs the same oracle (cf. Ob 1b,2,3a,4,5a,5b,6,8 with Jer 49:14,15,16a,16b,9b,9a,10,7, respectively). Therefore we may date vv. 1-14 and 15b ca. 475-450, although the borrowed base oracle paraphrased through vv. 1-9 would have originated before 600 (see Bewer, op. cit., 7; Bentzen, IOT 2, 143; Pfieffer, Introd. 586). Because of the quality of vv. 10-14, other authorities prefer a date closer to 586 (Eissfeldt, OTI 402-3, 492; Wiser, OT 248)." (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 444)

Jay G. Williams writes: "Like many of the prophets Obadiah predicts that Judah will eventually conquer and that Edom will be destroyed. In Obadiah, however, there seems to be no eschatological hope. His vision of the future is limited to a restoration of the old Davidic Empire and to the defeat of its perennial enemies. Certainly the last verse which is translated 'Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's,' ought not to be taken in an eschatological sense. The word for Saviors used here is 'Messiahs,' i.e., men who are anointed—the kings." (Understanding the Old Testament, p. 245)