- This article is about the prophet attributed to being the author of the Book of Obadiah.
Obadiah (pronounced //, Hebrew: עבדיה ʿObhadyah or in Modern Hebrew Ovadyah) is a Biblical theophorical name, meaning "servant of Yahweh" or "worshipper of Yahweh." It is related to "Abdeel", "servant of God", which is also cognate to the Arabic name "Abdullah". Turkish name Abdil or Abdi. The form of Obadiah's name used in the Septuagint is Obdios; in Latin it is Abdias. The Bishops' Bible has it as Abdi.
According to the Talmud, Obadiah is said to have been a convert to Judaism from Edom, a descendant of Eliphaz, the friend of Job. He is identified with the Obadiah who was the servant of Ahab, and it is said that he was chosen to prophesy against Edom because he was himself an Edomite. Moreover, having lived with two such godless persons as Ahab and Jezebel without learning to act as they did, he seemed the most suitable person to prophesy against Esau (Edom), who, having been brought up by two pious persons, Isaac and Rebekah, had not learned to imitate their good deeds.
Obadiah is supposed to have received the gift of prophecy for having hidden the hundred () prophets from the persecution of Jezebel. He hid the prophets in two caves, so that if those in one cave should be discovered those in the other might yet escape (1 Kings 18:3-4).
Talmud Sanhedrin 39b
R. Isaac said: Why did Obadiah attain29 the gift of prophecy? — Because he hid a hundred prophets in caves, as it is written, For it was so when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord that Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them, fifty in a cave.30 Why just fifty? — R. Eleazar said: He learnt this lesson from Jacob,31 as it is written, 'Then the camp which is left shall escape.32 R. Abbahu said: It was because the one cave could not hold more than fifty.
Obadiah was very rich, but all his wealth was expended in feeding the poor prophets, until, in order to be able to continue to support them, finally he had to borrow money at interest from Ahab's son Jehoram. Obadiah's fear of God was one degree higher than that of Abraham; and if the house of Ahab had been capable of being blessed, it would have been blessed for Obadiah's sake.
In some Christian traditions he is said to have been born in "Sychem" (Shechem), and to have been the third centurion sent out by Ahaziah against Elijah. The date of his ministry is unclear due to certain historical ambiguities in the book bearing his name, but is believed to be around 586 B.C.
He is regarded as a saint by several Catholic churches. His feast day is celebrated on January 10 in the Coptic Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite celebrate his memory on November 19 (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, November 19 currently falls on December 2 of the modern Gregorian Calendar). He is celebrated on February 28 in the Syriac and Malankara Churches, and with the other Minor prophets in the Calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 31.
According to an old tradition, Obadiah is buried in Samaria.
Miscellaneous Obadiahs in the Old Testament
Other individuals named Obadiah in the Old Testament are listed as:
- the servant of king Ahab of Israel (1 Kings 18:3). According to both rabbinic tradition and the tradition of the Orthodox Church, this is the same individual as the prophet.
- the son of Hananiah, a descendant of king David of Israel through Solomon (1 Chronicles 3:21)
- the son of Uzzi, a descendant of the Hebrew patriarch Issachar (1 Chronicles 7:3)
- the son of Azel, a descendant of king Saul of Israel through Jonathan (1 Chronicles 8:38)
- the son of Shemaiah, a descendant of the Hebrew patriarch Levi (1 Chronicles 9:16)
- a warrior of the Tribe of Gad who served King David (1 Chronicles 12:9)
- the father of Ishmaiah, governor of the tribe of Zebulun during the reign of king David (1 Chronicles 27:19)
- a prince of the southern kingdom of Judah during the reign of king Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:7)
- a Levite, overseer of the reconstruction efforts during the reforms of king Josiah of Judah (2 Chronicles 34:12)
- the son of Joab, one of the individuals who returned from the Babylonian captivity with the priestly scribe Ezra, and possibly the Levite mentioned in (Nehemiah 8:9) as a porter of Jerusalem's gates after the city's reconstruction under Nehemiah (Ezra 8:9)
- ^ New Bible Dictionary, second edition. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL, USA.
- ^ a b "Tract Sanhedrin, Volume VIII, XVI, Part II (Haggada), Chapter XI", The Babylonian Talmud, Boston: The Talmud Society, p. 376, http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/t08/t0814.htm Translated by Michael L. Rodkinson
- ^ Midrash Exodus Rabbah xxxi. 3
- ^ Sanh. loc. cit.
- ^ 2 Kings 1
- ^ a b The Lives of the Holy Prophets, Buena Vista CO: Holy Apostles Convent, 1998, p. 4, ISBN 0-944359-12-4
- Holweck, F. G., A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints. St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1924.
Prophets in the Hebrew Bible Pre-Patriarchs (Bible) Patriarchs and Matriarchs Israelite prophets
in the Torah
in the Former Prophets
Major Prophets Minor Prophets Noahide prophets Other prophetsItalics denote that the status as a prophet is not universally accepted. · rl are articles dealing with the prophet within Rabbinic Literature.
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Obadiah — noun 1. a Hebrew minor prophet • Syn: ↑Abdias • Instance Hypernyms: ↑prophet 2. an Old Testament book telling Obadiah s prophecies; the shortest book in the Christian Bible • Syn: ↑Abdias, ↑Book of Obadiah … Useful english dictionary
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