This article is about the prophet attributed to being the author of the Book of Obadiah.

Obadiah (pronounced /ˌbəˈd.ə/, Hebrew: עבדיהʿObhadyah or in Modern Hebrew Ovadyah) is a Biblical theophorical name, meaning "servant of Yahweh" or "worshipper of Yahweh."[1] 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.


Prophet Obadiah

Rabbinic tradition

According to the Talmud, Obadiah is said to have been a convert to Judaism from Edom,[2] 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.[2] 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.[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.[4]

Christian Tradition

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.[5][6] 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.


Russian icon of Prophets Amos and Obadiah, 18th century.

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:



  1. ^ New Bible Dictionary, second edition. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL, USA.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Midrash Exodus Rabbah xxxi. 3
  4. ^ Sanh. loc. cit.
  5. ^ 2 Kings 1
  6. ^ 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.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Obadiah — 1 …   The King James version of the Bible

  • OBADIAH — OBADIAH, king of the Khazars, a descendant of Būlān, and collateral ancestor of joseph according to the Reply of Joseph (see khazars ). Obadiah is mentioned in the correspondence as a reformer in Khazaria who renewed the state, established the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Obadiah — m English: from a biblical name meaning ‘servant of God’ in Hebrew (cf. Arabic Abdullah, which has the same meaning). This was the name of a prophet who gave his name to one of the shorter books of the Bible, and of two other minor biblical… …   First names dictionary

  • Obadiah — masc. proper name, fourth of the Twelve Prophets of the Old Testament, from Hebrew Obhadyah, lit. servant of the Lord, from abhadh he served, worshipped, related to Arabic abada he served, abd slave, worshipper …   Etymology dictionary

  • Obadiah — [ō΄bə dī′ə] n. [ult. < Heb ʼ ōbhadhyāh, lit., servant of the Lord] 1. a masculine name 2. a) Bible a Hebrew prophet b) the book of his prophecies: abbrev. Ob or Obad …   English World dictionary

  • Obadiah — /oh beuh duy euh/, n. 1. a Minor Prophet. 2. a book of the Bible bearing his name. Abbr.: Obad. * * * flourished between the 9th and 6th century BC One of the 12 Minor Prophets in the Bible, traditional author of the book of Obadiah. The shortest …   Universalium

  • Obadiah — (late 11–12th century)    Convert from Catholicism. Among the material discovered in the Cairo Geniza in the early 20 century were documents relating to a certain Obadiah born in the late 11 century in Italy. The documents included an… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • 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

  • Obadiah — noun a) A book of the Old Testament of the Bible, and of the Tanakh. The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up… …   Wiktionary

  • Obadiah —    Servant of the Lord.    1) An Israelite who was chief in the household of King Ahab (1 Kings 18:3). Amid great spiritual degeneracy he maintained his fidelity to God, and interposed to protect The Lord s prophets, an hundred of whom he hid at… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

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