Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
Were there any prophets from the descendants of Esau?
(5 November 2017, 15 Heshbon, 5778)
The illustration depicts the death of King Ahab the king of Israel in Samaria. Carved ivory plaques have been found from the Palace of Ahab in Samaria. Obadiah was the servant of King Ahab and was believed to have also been his mentor (Midrash Agadat Breishit, BM 23;4 Hasida p. 315). Obadiah however was righteous whereas Ahab was not.
The Book of Obadiah is in the section of Minor Prophets in the Bible.
It is believed to have been written by Obadiah the servant of King Ahab of Israel.
The story of Obadiah is found in the Book of Kings:
1 And it came to pass after many days that the word of the LORD came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, 'Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.'
2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria. 3 And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly. 4 For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.) 5 And Ahab had said to Obadiah, 'Go into the land to all the springs of water and to all the brooks; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, so that we will not have to kill any livestock.' 6 So they divided the land between them to explore it; Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.
7 Now as Obadiah was on his way, suddenly Elijah met him; and he recognized him, and fell on his face, and said, 'Is that you, my lord Elijah?'
8 And he answered him, 'It is I. Go, tell your master, 'Elijah is here.''
9 So he said, 'How have I sinned, that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? 10 As the LORD your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you; and when they said, 'He is not here,' he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you. 11 And now you say, 'Go, tell your master,'Elijah is here'! 12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of the LORD will carry you to a place I do not know; so when I go and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will kill me. But I your servant have feared the LORD from my youth. 13 Was it not reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the LORD, how I hid one hundred men of the LORD's prophets, fifty to a cave, and fed them with bread and water? 14 And now you say,'Go, tell your master, 'Elijah is here.' 'He will kill me!'
15 Then Elijah said, 'As the LORD of Hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today.'
16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.
We see here the at Obadiah was a God-fearing man and that he had risked his own life to save the prophets of God.
According to tradition Obadiah was a convert from Edom (Talmud 39).
He wrote the Book of Obadiah which is a prophecy against Edom:
"Since he came from Edom it was fitting that all his Prophecy be about Edom" (Midrash HaGadol 25;28).
In principle a prophet needed to be a pure-blood Israelite. Obadiah was an exception.
Since Obadiah knew Esau (i.e. Edom) from inside he was able to more fully understand the fate of Esau (Zohar).