Introducing the Book of Obadiah
The book is referred to as “the vision of Obadiah” (see compare prophetic headings). Obadiah is not identified with any of the biblical persons of the same name. The name Obadiah means “servant of Yahweh,” and may be a derived name (like Malachi) to identify the book within the book of Twelve.
General Structure of the Book of Obadiah
Who will celebrate the downfall of the people of God and not be damned?
I The day of
nations will gather against
15b seems to proverbially close the section preceding it (2-14), and 15a seems to introduce the latter part of the book (16-21). Thus, verse 15 may be an editor’s splicing together of these prophetic oracles to make the book of Obadiah.
II The day of Yahweh for all nations—judgment and salvation (15a, 16-21)
C The nations will be drunk with judgment (16-18)
D The remnant of God’s people will be established in his kingdom (19-21)The oracles in the book of Obadiah have significant parallels elsewhere in the Hebrew scriptures. The book, like these other contexts, is rooted upon
Remember, O Yahweh, against the Edomites
the day of
how they said, “Tear it down! Tear it down!
Down to its foundations!” (Ps 137:7 NRSV).
Rejoice and be glad, O daughter
you that live in the
but to you also the cup shall pass;
you shall become drunk and strip yourself bare.
The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter
he will keep you in exile no longer;
but your iniquity, O daughter
he will uncover your sins (Lam -22 NRSV).
Thus says the Lord GOD: Because Edom acted revengefully against the house of Judah and has grievously offended in taking vengeance upon them, therefore thus says the Lord GOD, I will stretch out my hand against Edom, and cut off from it humans and animals, and I will make it desolate; from Teman even to Dedan they shall fall by the sword. I will lay my vengeance upon
Because you [
Also see Isaiah 34:8-17; Jer 49:16; Ezek 36:1-7; Joel 3:19; Amos 1:6, 9, 11-12 (for similar talk of other nations, on Tyre see Ezek 26:1-2; on Ammon and Moab see Zeph 2:8-10).
Among the most significant parallels are between Jeremiah’s oracle against
It is possible, as many scholars think, that Obadiah serves
as a basis for Jeremiah 49. It is also possible that Obadiah is based, in part,
on Jeremiah’s oracle. Or, perhaps Jeremiah and Obadiah were working from a
common source. In any event the importance is not which came first, by the
interconnection of a common message of condemnation against
Whereas Jeremiah 49 places the oracle against
 See James M. Kennedy, “Obadiah,” ABD, 1: 1-2.
 Based on my own reading and indebted to Childs, Introduction; Peter R. Ackroyd, “Obadiah, Book of,” ABD 5: 2-4.
 Notice the reoccurring theme of arrogance and delight over the downfall of the people of God (Obad 3, 11, 12, 13, 14).
 See Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, 413; Ackroyd, 5: 2.
 See Childs, 412-13, 416; Ackroyd, 5: 3.
 Compare Jer 49:22 “Look, he [Yahweh] shall mount up and swoop down like an eagle, and spread his wings against Bozrah, and the heart of the warriors of Edom in that day shall be like the heart of a woman in labor.”
 Also compare: Obad 16 “For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, all the nations around you shall drink; they shall drink and gulp down, and shall be as though they had never been” = Jer 49:12 “12 For thus says the Lord: If those who do not deserve to drink the cup still have to drink it, shall you be the one to go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished; you must drink it”; and Obad 18 “The house of Jacob shall be a fire, the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble; they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor of the house of Esau; for the Lord has spoken” = Jer 49:18 “As when Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors were overthrown, says the Lord, no one shall live there, nor shall anyone settle in it.”
Also see introduction to the prophets, and see bibliography on the prophets.
Copyright © 2011