This book is the first in the exciting new Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament series. Likely the short length of Obadiah brought it to press first. It is written by the general editor of the entire series, Daniel Block. Mr. Block has a sterling reputation in producing commentaries on books of the Old Testament. I personally use to great benefit his two-volume set on Ezekiel in NICOT and his volume on Judges and Ruth in NAC. This ZECOT series provides a discourse analysis approach in its commentaries. That means basically that it makes the primary emphasis on following the flow of the narrative. This volume succeeds in that aim.
The Introduction to Obadiah is enlightening. Since there is a greater variety of opinions about the date of Obadiah compared to the other Minor Prophets, all the known options are laid out clearly. I fully agree with his conclusion that Obadiah is best dated 586 BC when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians. He well surveys the archaeological evidence to support his conclusions as well. In his section on Obadiah’s rhetorical aims and strategy, he surveys the speaker and audience of the book. He describes the message of Obadiah as: a) divine justice will prevail, and b) divine fidelity will prevail. When he discusses the rhetorical strategy, he works through a few of the more unlikely possibilities and argues against them before he draws out what he believes. Personally, like most scholars, I feel he overplays the significance of the similarities between Obadiah and Jeremiah. He ends the Introduction with a fine discussion on the structure of Obadiah including an exceptional chart to help you visualize his conclusions.
The commentary itself is ideal. Every unit is given a main idea of the passage, a discussion of literary context, a discussion of structure and literary form, followed by explanatory commentary. As you read the commentary you will see that you are in the hands of a seasoned commentator. Anywhere you find Hebrew in the commentary you will find English beside it making this commentary accessible to all. Don’t miss the final chapter, which in most books would have been in the Introduction, on the canonical and practical significance.
I’ve had opportunity to do very in-depth study of the book of Obadiah and have read almost all the major commentaries on it. As an exegetical commentary, Mr. Block has surpassed them all with this book. I highly recommend it as the definitive exegetical commentary on Obadiah.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
I’ve written an expositional work on Obadiah that you can check out here.