After Micah, come four prophets who were contemporaries: Obadiah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Nahum
All four of these prophets spoke forth the Word of the Lord during the time of Judah’s destruction, at the end of the seventh and beginning of the sixth centuries BC. Although some theologians tentatively place Obadiah during the reign of Jehoram, in 848-841 BC, Jewish scholars place Obadiah, Habakkuk and Zephaniah as contemporaries of Jeremiah and Ezekiel during the reigns of the evil kings Jehoiakim and Joiachin in Judah, reigning from 608-597 BC. Nahum, prophet to the northern kingdom, had already been dragged into captivity by the Assyrians, along with the rest of Israel.
Obadiah saved the wrath of God for the people of Edom, who joined in on the looting and destruction of Jerusalem.
Habakkuk focused on the social injustice now rampant in Judah and predicted total destruction by the Babylonians.
Zephaniah, on the other hand, spoke of the complete transformation God would bring about in his people, from sin-filled and sin-loving to purified and glorified, from earth-bound to heaven-bound.
For Nahum, God likened the Assyrians to cruel lions, strangling and dragging their prey into their bloody city. Now the righteous lion, the lion of Judah, would put right all the wrong that Assyria had committed.
Obadiah perhaps can be best remembered as the eagle with which he opened his book. Though lofty in its flight, God would bring the soaring eagle of Edom down.
Habakkuk evokes the deer which nimbly “tread upon the heights,” escaping, in the end, the trampling horses of Babylon.
Zephaniah is associated with the butterfly, iconic for the transformation of God’s people.
Nahum has been likened to the lion, symbol of Judah.
I decided to study these prophets in the order above, so we’ll begin with Obadiah!
As I mentioned, the dating of Obadiah is difficult, and virtually nothing is known about this prophet either. Here is the extent of what I can tell you, after researching him. His name means “Servant of the Lord” (a form of YHWH is in the ending of his name).
That is all I have.
Some think he might be one of the earlier prophets, since he never says a thing about the destruction of the temple, or about Judah’s deportation. On the other hand, the way he portrayed Edom’s behavior, it sure seems to depict the day Babylon sacked Jerusalem. But either way, his message is clear.
With many thanks to a really wonderful resource on YouTube called “The Bible Project,” let’s begin our study of Obadiah with this overview.
[Edom | Needpix.com]