Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett

in The Bible: Authorized King James Version

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780192835253
Published online April 2009 |

Series: Oxford World's Classics


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Obadiah (meaning ‘servant of YHWH’) is the shortest book in the Hebrew Bible. In a visionary oracle, Edom, which is seen as a brother nation to Israel, is denounced for its participation in the violation of Jerusalem when it was invaded by foreigners (v. 11). Jacob and his brother Esau are seen in the Bible as the ancestors of Israel and Edom (Gen. 27–36), so according to Obadiah, Edom was expected to assist rather than take sides against Jerusalem when it was threatened. Edom now had to face retribution: ‘as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee’ (v. 15). As with many of the prophetic books, Obadiah's vision relates to the day of YHWH. In Obadiah, however, that topos is not Amos's transvalued day when Israelite optimistic expectations will be reversed, but the opposite. For Obadiah, as for Joel, the day of YHWH meant the vindication of Jerusalem and the destruction of all its enemies: ‘And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it’ (v. 18).

Chapter.  215 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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