|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:1-16 The severest judgments, of themselves, will not humble or change the hearts of sinners; nothing, except the blood of Jesus Christ, can atone for the guilt of sin; nothing, except the sanctifying Spirit of God, can purge away its pollution. The priests and the Levites were gone to Judah and Jerusalem, 2Ch 11:13,14, but instead of them God raised up prophets, who read and expounded the word. They probably were from the schools of the prophets, first set up by Samuel. They had not the spirit of prophecy as Elijah, but taught the people to keep close to the God of Israel. These Jezebel sought to destroy. The few that escaped death were forced to hide themselves. God has his remnant among all sorts, high and low; and that faith, fear, and love of his name, which are the fruits of the Holy Spirit, will be accepted through the Redeemer. See how wonderfully God raises up friends for his ministers and people, for their shelter in difficult times. Bread and water were now scarce, yet Obadiah will find enough for God's prophets, to keep them alive. Ahab's care was not to lose all the beasts; but he took no care about his soul, not to lose that. He took pains to seek grass, but none to seek the favour of God; fencing against the effect, but not inquiring how to remove the cause. But it bodes well with a people, when God calls his ministers to stand forth, and show themselves. And we may the better endure the bread of affliction, while our eyes see our teachers.
Verse 3. - And Ahab called [Rather, had called. "The verbs וַיְּהִי וַיּקְרָא etc. (vers. 3, 4, 5, 6), carry on the circumstantial clauses" (Keil).] Obadiah [This name is almost as remarkable as Elijah's, or would be, if it were not more common. It means "servant of Jehovah." Compare the modern Arabic Abdallah. Although borne by one who "feared the Lord greatly" (ver. 3), and "from his youth" (ver. 12), it occurs too frequently (1 Chronicles 3:21; 1 Chronicles 7:3; 1 Chronicles 8:38; 1 Chronicles 9:16; 2 Chronicles 17:7; 2 Chronicles 34:12; Ezra 8:9; Obadiah 1:1, etc.) to justify the belief that it was assumed or bestowed as an indication of his character (Rawlinson)], which was the governor of his [Heb. over the] house. [See note on 1 Kings 4:6, and cf. 1 Kings 16:9. Rawlinson says it "tells in favour of the monarch's tolerance that he should have maintained an adherent of the old religion in so important an office." But it is just as probable that it was because of his religion that he occupied this post of trust. Ahab could depend on his fidelity and conscientiousness]. (Now Obadiah [here begins a second parenthesis within the first] feared [Heb. was fearing] the Lord greatly.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house,.... Perhaps his steward: the Jews (m) take him to be Obadiah the prophet, who wrote the small prophecy that goes by his name:
(now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly:) who, though he did not go up to Jerusalem to worship, which ceremonial service was dispensed with in him, yet he did not worship the calves, nor Baal, but served the Lord in a spiritual manner.
(m) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 39. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. Obadiah feared the Lord greatly—Although he did not follow the course taken by the Levites and the majority of pious Israelites at that time of emigration into Judah (2Ch 11:13-16), he was a secret and sincere worshipper. He probably considered the violent character of the government, and his power of doing some good to the persecuted people of God as a sufficient excuse for his not going to worship in Jerusalem.
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