Who was the author? The prophet Obadiah, whose name means "servant (or worshipper) of the Lord" is the presumed instrument of the Holy Spirit in recording the book.
What is the book? The book, the shortest in the Old Testament, contains prophecies of Obadiah.
Where was it written? Given Obadiah's focus on threats to Judah, the prophecy was likely recorded in that kingdom, if not its capital Jerusalem.
When was it written? Scholars connect the writing of Obadiah with one of three periods and events: a Philistine and Arab attack around 850 B.C., the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C., or Edomites' movement west into southern Judah due to Arab pressure on their territory around 450 B.C. Dr. Luther preferred the link to Nebuchadnezzar's threat, although Obadiah is not explicitly clear and the answer to the question ultimately does not matter.
Why? God's prophecy through Obadiah epitomizes many major themes of the prophets and makes a meaningful promise to the Christian Church.
How? The first part of Obadiah speaks judgment on Edom, and the second proclaims the Day of the Lord. Although, strictly speaking, there is no Messianic prophecy in the book, Zion and the Messiah, king and kingdom correlate.
For further reading on the book of Obadiah:
- Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume X: Minor Prophets , translated by James Martin and published as two volumes in one. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted March 1986. (There are some 42 pages on Obadiah.)
- Kretzmann, Paul E. Popular Commentary of the Bible: The Old Testament, Volume II, The Poetical and the Prophetical Books. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1924. (This volume, one that is in our Grace library, has 3 pages on Obadiah.)