OBADIAH (ō'ba-dī'a, Heb. ‘ōvadhyâh, servant of Jehovah). The name of several men in the OT:

1. The governor of Ahab’s household (1Kgs.18.3-1Kgs.18.16) who “feared the Lord greatly” (kjv), but who seemed to fear Ahab even more.

2. The head of a household of David’s descendants (1Chr.3.21).

3. A chief man of Issachar in David’s time (1Chr.7.3).

4. One of the six sons of Azel, a Benjamite (1Chr.8.38 copied in 1Chr.9.44).

5. A Levite who returned early from captivity (1Chr.9.16). He is called “Abda” in Neh.11.17.

6. One of the martial Gadites who joined David in the wilderness (1Chr.12.9).

7. Father of Ishmaiah, a prince of Zebulun in the days of David (1Chr.27.19).

8. One of five princes of Judah whom Jehoshaphat sent out to teach the people of Judah the Law of the Lord (2Chr.17.7).

9. A Levite of the Merarite family, whom Josiah made an overseer of repairing the temple (2Chr.34.12).

10. A Jew who led back 218 men in Ezra’s return from captivity (Ezra.8.9).

11. A priestly covenanter with Nehemiah (Neh.10.5).

12. A gatekeeper of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time (Neh.12.25).

13. The prophet who wrote the Book of Obadiah.

OBADIAH, ō’ bə dī’ ə (עֹֽבַדְיָ֑ה or עֹבַדְיָ֖הוּ, a slave or worshiper of Yahweh). This is one of the commonest names in the OT.

1. A descendant of Issachar (1 Chron 7:3).

2. One of the leaders of the Gadites who joined David at Ziklag (12:9).

3. A descendant of Saul and Jonathan (8:38; 9:44).

4. The father of Ishmaiah, whom David placed over the tribe of Zebulon (27:19).

5. Ahab’s royal chamberlain. He had risked his life to save a hundred of the prophets, when they were being hunted by Jezebel. The task allotted him by Ahab shows that his position was more important than his title suggests. Elijah met him on his way back from Zarephath (1 Kings 18:3-16). Jewish tradition (BT San. 39b) identifies him with the prophet Obadiah, but like most of these suggestions it is clearly valueless.

6. One of Jehoshaphat’s ministers of state (princes) entrusted with the task of teaching the law in Judah (2 Chron 17:7).

7. A Levite of the family of Merari, one of the overseers of the repair work in the Temple under Josiah (34:12).

8. The prophet (Obad 1). See Book of Obadiah.

9. A postexilic descendant of David and Jehoiachin (1 Chron 3:21).

10. A postexilic Levite, descendant of Jeduthun (1 Chron 9:16). He is commonly identified with Abda (Neh 11:17).

11. A family head who returned from Babylonia to Jerusalem with Ezra (Ezra 8:9).

12. One of the priests who signed the covenant with Nehemiah (Neh 10:5).

13. A Levitical gatekeeper in charge of the storehouses in the time of Nehemiah (Neh 12:25).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(`obhadhyah, more fully `obhadhyahu, "servant of Yahweh"):

(1) The steward or prime minister of Ahab, who did his best to protect the prophets of Yahweh against Jezebel’s persecution. He met Elijah on his return from Zarephath, and bore to Ahab the news of Elijah’s reappearance (1Ki 18:3-16).

(2) The prophet (Ob 1:1).

See Book of Obadiah.

(3) A descendant of David (1Ch 3:21).

(4) A chief of the tribe of Issachar (1Ch 7:3).

(5) A descendant of Saul (1Ch 8:38; 9:44).

(6) A Levite descended from Jeduthun (1Ch 9:16), identical with Abda (Ne 11:17).

(7) A chief of the Gadites (1Ch 12:9).

(8) A Zebulunite, father of the chief Ishmaiah (1Ch 27:19).

(9) One of the princes sent by Jehoshaphat to teach the law in Judah (2Ch 17:7).

(10) A Merarite employed by Josiah to oversee the workmen in repairing the temple (2Ch 34:12).

(11) The head of a family who went up with Ezra from Babylon (Ezr 8:9).

(12) One of the men who sealed the covenant with Nehemiah (Ne 10:5).

(13) A gate-keeper in the days of Nehemiah (Ne 12:25).

The name "Obadiah" was common in Israel from the days of David to the close of the Old Testament. An ancient Hebrew seal bears the inscription "Obadiah the servant of the King."