Obadiah

From Academic Kids

See also Book of Obadiah
For the Khazar ruler, see Obadiah (Khazar)

Obadiah (עֹבַדְיָה "Servant of the LORD", Standard Hebrew ʿOvadya, Tiberian Hebrew ʿŌḇaḏyāh, Vulgate Abdias) is the name of many people mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament.


  • An Israelite who was chief in the household of King Ahab (1 Kings 18:3). Amid a climate of spiritual degeneracy, Obadiah maintained his fidelity to God, and interposed to protect God's prophets, an hundred of whom he hid at great personal risk in a cave (4, 13). Ahab seems to have held Obadiah in great honour, although he had no sympathy with his piety (5, 6, 7). During the great famine he was sent by Ahab to search for food. He met the prophet Elijah, and brought Ahab the message that the famine was at an end (ib. 6 et seq.).
  • One of the grandchildren of the last king, Jeconiah (1 Chron. iii. 21).
  • A descendant of the tribe of Issachar, and one of David's heroes (Chron. vii. 3).
  • A chief of the tribe of Issachar (1 Chron. 7:3).
  • A Gadite, the second in the list of David's heroes who joined him in the desert before the capture of Ziklag (Chron. xii. 9).
  • A descendant of Saul (1 Chron. 8:38).
  • A Levite, after the Captivity, a descendant of Jeduthun (1 Chron. 9:16).
  • A Gadite who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chron. 12:9).
  • Father of Ishmaiah, who was appointed representative of the tribe of Zebulun, under David (Chron. xxvii. 19)
  • One of the officers sent by Jehoshaphat to teach in the different towns of Judea (II Chron. xvii. 7).
  • A Levite who superintended the repairs of the Temple in Jerusalem under Josiah (2 Chron. 34:12).
  • Son of Jehiel; chief of 218 men who returned with Ezra to Palestine from Babylon. (Ezra 8:9).
  • One of those who signed, with Nehemiah, the covenant to live according to the doctrines of the law of Moses (Nehemiah x. 6).

Prophet Obadiah in rabbinic tradition

According to the Talmud, Obadiah was a proselyte of Edomite origin (Tracate Sanhedrin 39b), and is said to have been a descendant of Eliphaz, the friend of Job. He is identified with the Obadiah who prophesied against Edom. 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.

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 (Midrash Exodus Rabbah xxxi. 3). 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 (Sanh. l.c.)

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