THE MINOR PROPHETS
The name Obadiah means "Servant of Yahweh" (literally -- "One who serves or worships Jehovah"). This prophecy has the distinction of being the shortest book in the OT. There are twelve different individuals in the OT with this name (a very common name), but no indication that any of these other individuals are to be identified with this particular prophet.
Some have thought that this is the same Obadiah that was Ahab’s steward in 2 Chronicles 17:7, (17:7 In the third year of his reign he sent his officials Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah to teach in the cities of Judah. ) but that is historically improbable. 1 The name was common in the canonical period with about a dozen individuals having that name (1 Kings 18:3-16; l Chron. 3:21; 7:3; 8;38; 9:16; 12:9; 27;19; 2 Chron. 17:7; 34:12.) We know nothing about him other than his name.
Nothing is known about his life, background or personality except what little can be inferred from this prophecy. It is assumed that he was a native of Judah. Others feel he may also have been among the circle of prophets attached to the Jerusalem Temple. The Jewish Talmud states Obadiah was not Jewish, but rather an Edomite proselyte God used to rebuke his own people.
It is very difficult to know when Obadiah was written because there is nothing in the heading or introduction of the book to pinpoint the date. Therefore, we must look in the text of the book for historical clues that point to the date.
In addition to being the shortest book in the OT, Obadiah also "bears the distinction of being the most difficult of all the prophecies to date" (Gleason Archer). His work is ascribed to periods ranging from 845 to 400 BC. There are two major theories:
1. 585 BC --- This is the view held...