God appearing to Obadiah in his dream (France, 13th century).
|Feast||November 19 (Catholic, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox churches)|
Tobi 15 (Coptic)
|Attributes||Prophet with his index finger of his right hand pointing upward|
|Major works||Book of Obadiah|
Obadiah (//; Hebrew: עֹבַדְיָה – ʿŌḇaḏyāh or עֹבַדְיָהוּ – ʿŌḇaḏyāhū; "servant of the Lord") is a Biblical theophorical name, meaning "servant or slave of God" or "worshiper of Yahweh." The form of Obadiah's name used in the Septuagint is Obdios. In Latin it is translated as Abdias while in Arabic it is عبد الله ʿAbdullah. The Bishops' Bible refers to the prophet as Abdi.
The political situation implied in the prophecy points to a time after the Exile, probably in the mid-fifth century B.C. No value can be attributed to traditions identifying this prophet with King Ahab's steward (... so Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 39b) or with King Ahaziah's captain (... so Pseudo-Epiphanius...).
- — The Interpreters' Bible
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).
Obadiah is supposed to have received the gift of prophecy for having hidden the "hundred prophets" (1 Kings 18:4) 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).
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 captain 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 Eastern churches. His feast day is celebrated on the 15th day of the Coptic Month Tobi (January 23/24) in the Coptic Orthodox 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.)
Some of Obadiah's main teachings are:
Other individuals named Obadiah in the Old Testament are listed as: