The title of this Book, in the Hebrew copies, is usually "Sepher
Obadiah", the Book of Obadiah: the Vulgate Latin version calls it the
Prophecy of Obadiah; and so the Arabic version: and in the Syriac
version it is, the Prophecy of the Prophet Obadiah. His name signifies
a "servant" or "worshipper of the Lord". Who he was, what his
parentage, and in what age he lived, are things uncertain. The Seder
Olam Zuta {a} places him in the reign of Jehoshaphat: and he is thought
by some to be that Obadiah that was one of the princes he sent to teach
the people, \\#2Ch 17:7\\. The ancient Jewish Rabbins take him to be the
same with him that lived in the times of Ahab, and in his court, who
hid the prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them, \\#1Ki 18:3,4\\; to
which Aben Ezra objects, because he is not called a prophet, only one
that feared the Lord; whereas to be a prophet is something greater.
They also say he was an Edomite by birth, but was proselyted to the
Jewish religion, and so a fit person to be employed in prophesying
against Edom; and it is a tradition with them that his widow is the
woman whose cruse of oil Elisha multiplied, \\#2Ki 4:1\\. Some have been of
opinion that he was the captain of the third fifty, whose life Elijah
spared in the times of Ahaziah; and who upon that left the king's
service, and followed the prophet, and became a disciple of his; so
Pseudo-Epiphanius {b}, and Isidorus Hispalensis {c}, who say that he
was of Sychem, a city of Samaria, and of the field of Bethachamar, or
Bethaccaron. Others would have him to be one of the overseers of the
workmen in the house of the Lord, in the times of Josiah, \\#2Ch 34:12\\;
to which Mr. Lively {d} inclines; though others, going according to the
order of the books in the canon of Scripture, which is not to be
depended on, place him earlier, and make him contemporary with Hosea,
Joel, and Amos, as Grotius {e}, Huetius {f}, and Lightfoot {g}: but he
seems rather to be contemporary with Jeremiah and Ezekiel, with whose
prophecies this agrees, as may be observed by comparing it with
\\#Jer 49:1-39 Eze 25:1-17\\; and to have lived and prophesied after the
destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; in which the Edomites,
against whom he prophesies, had a concern; see \\#Ob 1:11-14 Ps 137:7\\;
though Dr. Lightfoot thinks these prophecies refer either to the
sacking of Jerusalem by Shishak king of Egypt, \\#1Ki 14:25\\; or by the
Philistines and Arabians, \\#2Ch 21:16,17\\; or by Joash king of Israel,
\\#2Ch 25:21\\; so that, upon the whole, it is not certain; and, as Aben
Ezra and Kimchi own, it is not known in what age this prophet lived:
Bishop Usher {h} places his prophecy in the twelfth year of Jeconiah's
captivity. However, there is no doubt to be made of the authenticity of
the prophecy; as may be concluded, not only from the title of it, and
the solemn manner in which it begins; but from the matter of it, and
the accomplishment of what is contained in it; as well as from the
testimony borne to it in the New Testament, in which not only the book
of the minor prophets, in which this stands, is quoted, \\#Ac 7:42\\; but a
passage in it, \\#Ob 1:8\\; is referred to in \\#1Co 1:19\\; as is thought
by some learned men. I have only to observe, that, according to
Pseudo-Epiphanius {i}, he died in Bethachamar, where he is said to be
born, and was buried in the sepulchre of his ancestors; but, according
to Jerom {k} and Isidore {l}, his sepulchre is in Sebaste or Samaria;
which remained to the times of Jerom, near those of the Prophet Elisha
and John the Baptist. Monsieur Thevenot {m} says that John Baptist here
lies buried between the Prophets Elisha and Abdias.

{a} P. 103.
{b} De Prophet. Vid. c. 15.
{c} De Vita & Mort. Sanct. c, 44.
{d} In loc.
{e} In loc.
{f} Demonstrat. Evangel. Prop. 4. p. 290.
{g} Works, vol. 1. p. 96.
{h} Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3417 or 587 B.C.
{i} Ut supra. (De Prophet. Vid. c. 15.)
{k} Comment. in loc. & in Epitaph. Paulae, fol. 59. M.
{l} Ut supra. (De Vita & Mort. Sanct. c, 44.)
{m} Travels, par. 1. B. 1. ch. 56. p. 216.


This prophecy of Obadiah is the least of the minor prophets, consisting
but of one chapter; the subject of it is Edom, whose destruction is
foretold, and is to be considered as a type of the enemies of Christ
and his kingdom, and especially of the Roman antichrist. After the
preface, the rumour of war, and preparation for it, which would issue
in the ruin of Edom, are observed, \\#Ob 1:1,2\\; because of their pride,
confidence, and security, \\#Ob 1:3,4\\; which should be complete and
entire, \\#Ob 1:5,6\\; notwithstanding their allies, who would deceive
them; and the wisdom of their wise men, which should be destroyed; and
the strength of their mighty men, who would be dismayed, \\#Ob 1:7-9\\; and
this should come upon them, chiefly because of their ill usage of the
Jews at the time of Jerusalem's destruction, which is enlarged upon,
\\#Ob 1:10-14\\; and this would be when all the nations round about them
would be destroyed, \\#Ob 1:15,16\\; and then deliverance is promised to
the Jews, who should not only enjoy their own possessions, but the land
of the Edomites, wasted by them, \\#Ob 1:17-20\\; and the book is concluded
with a glorious prophecy of the kingdom of the Messiah, \\#Ob 1:21\\.