What does Obadiah, Book Of mean in the Bible?

Dictionary

Easton's Bible Dictionary - 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 (Compare Psalm 22:28 ).
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Obadiah, Book of
The book of Obadiah is largely an announcement of judgment upon Edom for its part in helping Babylon in the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC (Obadiah 1:10-14; cf. Psalms 137:7; Ezekiel 35:5; Ezekiel 35:12; Ezekiel 35:15). Edom, being descended from Esau, was a brother nation to Israel-Judah, and therefore should have helped Jerusalem in its final hour (cf. Genesis 25:23-26; Genesis 32:28; Genesis 36:1; Genesis 36:8-9). Instead the Edomites took the opportunity to plunder the helpless city (Obadiah 1:11; Obadiah 1:13). They even captured the fleeing Jerusalemites and sold them to the Babylonian conquerors (Obadiah 1:14; for map and other details see EDOM).
Contents of the book
Edom prided itself in the strength of its mountain defences and the cleverness of its political dealings. Neither, however, would save it from the divine judgment that would fall upon it because of its active cooperation in the destruction of Jerusalem (Obadiah 1:1-16).
But whereas God would destroy Edom totally, he would bring Judah out of captivity and back to its land, where it would rebuild its national life. It would even spread its power into former Edomite territory (Obadiah 1:17-21).
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Obadiah, Book of
OBADIAH, BOOK OF. The questions as to the origin and Interpretation of this, the shortest book of the OT, are numerous and difficult. The title describes the book as ‘a vision’ (cf. Isaiah 1:1 , Nahum 1:1 ) and ascribes it to Obadiah. Obadiah is one of the commonest of Hebrew names, and occurs both before and after the Exile: see preceding article. Some fruitless attempts have been made to identify the author of the book with one or other of the persons of the same name mentioned in the OT.
The book of Obadiah stands fourth in order (in the Greek version, fifth) of the prophets whose works were collected and edited in (probably) the 3rd cent. b.c.; the collection since the beginning of the 2nd cent. b.c. has been known as ‘The Twelve’ (see Canon of OT; cf. Micah [1], ad init .). By the place which he gave this small book in his collection the editor perhaps intended to indicate his belief that it was of early, i.e . pre-exilic, origin. But the belief of an editor of the 3rd cent. b.c. is not good evidence that a book was written earlier than the 6th century. The relative probabilities of the different theories of its origin must be judged by internal evidence; this, unfortunately, is itself uncertain on account of ambiguities of expression.
It will be convenient to state first what appears on the whole the most probable theory, and then to mention more briefly one or two others.
The book contains two themes: (1) a prophetic Interpretation of an overwhelming disaster which has already befallen Edom ( Obadiah 1:1-7 ; Obadiah 1:10-14 ; Obadiah 1:16 b); (2) a prediction of a universal judgment and specifically of judgment on Edom which is now imminent ( Obadiah 1:8-9 ; Obadiah 1:16 a, Obadiah 1:16-21 ).
1. The prophetic interpretation of Edom’s fall . The prophet describes the complete conquest of the Edomites and their expulsion from their land ( Obadiah 1:7 ) by a number of nations ( Obadiah 1:1 ) once their friends and allies ( Obadiah 1:7 ). In this calamity the writer sees Jahweh’s judgment on Edom for gloating over the fall of the Jews described as Edom’s brother ( Obadiah 1:12 ) and participating with foreign and alien enemies ( Obadiah 1:11 ) in the infliction of injuries on them. This interpretation is stated in simple and direct terms in Obadiah 1:10-11 , and dramatically in Obadiah 1:12-14 , where the writer, throwing himself back to the time of the Edomites’ ill-treatment of the Jews, adjures them not to do the things they actually did. The section closes with the effective assertion of the retributive character of the disasters that had befallen Edom and still affect it ‘As thou hast done, is it done unto thee; thy dealing returns upon thine own head’ ( Obadiah 1:15 b).
The verses thus summarized have these points in common: ( a ) the tenses are historical except in Obadiah 1:10 (‘shame doth cover thee, and thou art cut off for ever’) and Obadiah 1:15 b, which may be rendered as presents, and interpreted as at the end of the preceding paragraph; and ( b ) after Obadiah 1:1 , where Edom, in the present text, is spoken of in the 3rd person, Edom is throughout addressed in the 2nd pers. sing. Among these verses are now interspersed others, Obadiah 1:6 , which speaks of Esau (=Edom) in the 3rd person (pl. in clause a , sing, in b ) and which may be an aside in the midst of the address, but is more probably an Interpolation; and Obadiah 1:8-9 (together with the last clause of Obadiah 1:7 ), which speak of Edom in the 3rd person and unmistakably regard the disaster as still future: these verses are best regarded as an addition by an editor who wished the prophetic interpretation of past fact to be read as a prophetic description of the future.
If now Obadiah 1:1-7 (or Obadiah 1:1-5 ; Obadiah 1:7 ) Obadiah 1:10-15 b, which are held together by the common features just noticed, be a unity; the prophecy is later than b.c. 586; for Obadiah 1:11 cannot well be interpreted by any other disaster than the destruction of Jerusalem in that year. The prophecy also appears in Obadiah 1:5 ; Obadiah 1:7 to allude to the extrusion of the Edomites from ancient Edom owing to the northward movement of Arabs people who had often satisfied themselves with plundering expeditions (cf. Obadiah 1:5 ), but now permanently evicted settled populations from their lands (cf. Obadiah 1:7 ). This northward movement was already threatening at the beginning of the 6th cent. b.c. ( Ezekiel 25:4-5 ; Ezekiel 25:10 ); before b.c. 312, as we learn from Diodorus Siculus, Arabs had occupied Petra, the ancient capital of Edom. Between those two dates, perhaps in the first half of the 5th cent. b.c. (cf. Malachi 1:2-5 ), the prophecy appears to have been written.
2 . The prediction of universal judgment . In contrast with Obadiah 1:10-14 Obadiah 1:10-14 , the tenses in Obadiah 1:15-21 , are consistently imperfects (naturally suggesting the future), the persons addressed (2nd pl.) are Israelites, not Edomites, and Edom is referred to in the 3rd person. The prophecy predicts as imminent: ( a ) a universal judgment ( Obadiah 1:15 a, Obadiah 1:15 , in which the annihilation of Edom by the Jews (not [2] nations as in Obadiah 1:1 ; Obadiah 1:5 ; Obadiah 1:7 ) and Israelites forms an episode which is specially described ( Obadiah 1:18 ), and ( b ) the restoration of the exiles alike of the Northern and of the Southern Kingdom ( Obadiah 1:18 , cf. Obadiah 1:17 ), who are to re-occupy the whole of their ancient territory the Negeb in the S., the Shephçlah in the W., Ephraim to the N., Gilead in the E. ( Obadiah 1:19 , which after elimination of glosses reads, ‘And they shall possess the Negeb and the Shephçlah, and the field of Ephraim and Gilead’); in particular, the Israelites will re-occupy as far N. as Zarephath (near Tyre), and the Jews as far south as the Negeb ( Obadiah 1:20 ). The prophecy closes with the announcement of Jahweh’s reign from Zion ( Obadiah 1:21 ).
The prediction (Obadiah 1:15-21 ) scarcely appears to be the original and immediate continuation of the former part of the chapter, but is, like Obadiah 1:8-9 , a subsequent addition. The theory of the origin and interpretation of the book just described is substantially that of Wellhausen; it has been adopted in the main by Nowack and Marti; and, so far as the separation of Obadiah 1:15-21 (with Obadiah 1:15 b) from the rest of the chapter is concerned, and the assignment of the whole to a date after the Exile, by Cheyne ( EBi [3] ).
One fact has appeared to many scholars an insuperable difficulty in the way of assigning the whole book to a date after 586. It is admitted by all that the resemblances between Obadiah 1:1-5 ; Obadiah 1:5 ; Obadiah 1:8 and Jeremiah 49:14-15 ; Jeremiah 49:9-10 a, Obadiah 1:8-10 are so close as to imply the literary dependence of one of the two passages on the other; it is further admitted by most, and should be admitted, that the common matter is in its more original form in Obadiah, and that therefore so much at least of Obadiah is prior to Jeremiah 49:14-16 ; Jeremiah 49:9-10 a, Jeremiah 49:7 , and therefore prior to the year b.c. 604, if the theory that was commonly held with regard to the date of Jeremiah 46:1-28 ; Jeremiah 47:1-7 ; Jeremiah 48:1-47 ; Jeremiah 49:1-39 be admitted. But of recent years many have questioned whether Jeremiah 46:1-28 ; Jeremiah 47:1-7 ; Jeremiah 48:1-47 ; Jeremiah 49:1-39 , at least in its present form , is the work of Jeremiah at all, and consequently whether it was necessarily written before 586.
If the argument that Obadiah 1:1 ; Obadiah 1:6 ; Obadiah 1:8 is pre-exilic be accepted, it is necessary to account for what are now generally admitted to be the allusions to the events of 586 in Obadiah 1:10-14 . This has been done by assuming that Ob. and Jer. alike quote from a pre-exilic prophecy, but that Obadiah himself prophesied after b.c. 586. As to the amount of matter cited by Obadiah, scholars differ: e.g . Driver considers that Obadiah 1:1-9 is derived from the old prophecy; G. A. Smith, that Obadiah 1:1-5 ; Jeremiah 49:7 are quotations, but that Obadiah 1:7 , which he admits presupposes later conditions, is by Obadiah himself. The weakness of these theories lies in the fact that the distribution of the parts to the two authors does not follow the concrete differences of style indicated above, and that Obadiah 1:7 either receives no adequate interpretation, or is torn away from Obadiah 1:5 , with which it certainly seems closely connected. As to the more precise date of Obadiah 1:1-9 ( Obadiah 1:10 ) or so much of the verses as may be pre-exilic, no agreement has been reached among those who hold them to be pre-exilic; no known circumstances explain the allusions. It is also very uncertain whether any inference can safely be drawn from the allusion to Sepharad (wh. see) in Obadiah 1:20 .
For further discussion of many details, some of which have of necessity been left unmentioned here, and for an account of other theories as well as those described above, the English reader will best consult Driver, LOT [4] ; G. A. Smith, Book of the Twelve , ii. 163 184 (with a critical translation); Selbie’s art. in Hastings’ DB [5] , and Cheyne’s in EBi [3] .
G. B. Gray.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Obadiah, Book of
(oh buh di' uh) The shortest book of the Minor Prophets, preserving the message of Obadiah, the prophet.
The Prophet No source outside his book mentions Obadiah. “Obadiah” is a common name in the Old Testament. Meaning “servant of Yahweh,” it reflects his parents' faith and spiritual ambitions for their child. The title “The vision of Obadiah” turns attention to the divine author, “vision” being a technical term for a prophetic revelation received from God.
The Situation Historically, the book belongs to the early postexilic period, at the end of the sixth century B.C. Its central section, Obadiah 1:10-14 , deals with the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586 B.C., concentrating on the part the Edomites played in that tragic event. Edom was a state to the southeast of Judah. Despite treaty ties (“brother,” Obadiah 1:10 ) the Edomitea, along with others, had failed to come to Judah's aid and had even helped Babylon by looting Jerusalem and handing over refugees. Moreover, the Edomites filled the vacuum caused by Judah's Exile by moving west and annexing the Negeb to the south of Judah and even its southern territory (compare Obadiah 1:19 ).
Judah reacted with a strong sense of grievance. Obadiah's oracle responded to an underlying impassioned prayer of lament, like Psalm 74:1 , Psalm 79:1 , or 137, in which Judah appealed to God to act as providential trial Judge and Savior to set right the situation.
The Message The response begins with a prophetic messenger formula which reinforces the thrust of the title, that God is behind the message. Obadiah 1:2-9 give the divine verdict. Addressing Edom, God promised to defeat those supermen and topple the mountain capital which reflected their lofty self-conceit. Their allies would let them down, and neither their framed wisdom nor their warriors would be able to save them. This seems to look fearfully ahead to the Nabateans' infiltration from the eastern desert and their eventual takeover of Edom's traditional territory. The end of Obadiah 1:1 appears to be a report from the prophet that already a coalition of neighboring groups was planning to attack Edom.
The catalog of Edom's crimes (Obadiah 1:10-14 ) functions as the accusation which warranted God's verdict of punishment. Repetition raises “day” to center stage . The underlying thought is that Judah had been the victim of “the day of the Lord” when God intervened in judgment, and had drunk the cup of God's wrath (Obadiah 1:15-16 ; compare Lamentations 1:12 ; Lamentations 2:21 ). In Old Testament theology the concept of the day of the Lord embraces not only God's people but their no-less-wicked neighbors. This wider dimension is reflected in Obadiah 1:15-16 (compare Lamentations 1:21 ). The fall of Edom was to trigger this eschatological event in which order would be restored to an unruly world. Then would come the vindication of God's people, not for their own sakes but as earthly witnesses to His glory; and so “the kingdom shall be the Lord's” (Obadiah 1:21 ).
The Meaning Like the Book of Revelation, which proclaims the downfall of the persecuting Roman Empire, the aim of Obadiah is to sustain faith in God's moral government and hope in the eventual triumph of His just will. It brings a pastoral message to aching hearts, that God is on the throne and cares for His own.
Outline
I. God Knows and Will Judge the Sins of His People's Enemies (1–14).
A. Pride deceives people into thinking they can escape God's judgment. (1–4).
B. Deceitful people will be deceived by their “friends” (5–7).
C. Human wisdom cannot avoid divine judgment (8–9).
D. Conspiracy against “brothers” will not go unpunished (10–14).
II. The Day of the Lord Offers Judgment for the Nations but Deliverance for God's People (15–21).
A. Sinful peoples will receive just recompense (15–16).
B. God will deliver His people in holiness (17–18).
C. God's remnant will be restored (19–20)
D. The Kingdom belongs to God alone (21)
Leslie C. Allen
Morrish Bible Dictionary - Obadiah, Book of
There is nothing in this prophecy to fix its date. The whole of it relates to Edom or the Edomites. Edom (Esau) is characterised in scripture by his deadly hatred to his 'brother Jacob,' Obadiah 10 . His pride is spoken of, exalting himself as the eagle, setting his nest in the firmament of heaven, and seeking his safety in the high caves of the rocks, which well answers to their habitations in Idumea.
Part of the prophecy may refer to the time when Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon. In Psalm 137:7,8 , Edom is associated with Babylon as against Jerusalem. Obadiah 12 to 14 of the prophecy exactly describe the manner of a people like the Arabs when a city was captured. There are seven reproaches against them: they helped to pillage the place, stood in by-places to cut off any that escaped, and delivered them up to their enemies. These intimations of their assisting in the destruction of Jerusalem have led to the prophecy being usually dated B.C. 587, the year following the destruction.
The prophecy, however, probably looks onward to the last days, when Israel, restored to their land, will be attacked by Edom, and kindred nations. Psalm 83 . Idumea will be their rendezvous, and the sword of the Lord will be filled with blood. Isaiah 34:5,6 . Obadiah depicts the Jews themselves as God's instruments for the destruction of Esau; which agrees with Isaiah 11:14 ; Daniel 11:41 . "Upon mount Zion shall be deliverance . . . . the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble." Obadiah 17,18 . The destruction shall be complete: "every one of the mount of Esau" shall be cut off by slaughter; "there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau." Obadiah 9,18 . Their land shall be possessed by Israel, for God's ways are retributive. The prophecy ends with "the kingdom shall be Jehovah's."

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