Amongst the Old Testament prophets, the book of Obadiah stands out as the shortest book of the Old Testament, with only 21 verses. While we don’t know much about Obadiah, it’s believed that he was a contemporary of Jeremiah. In the book of Obadiah, he prophesies the destruction of Edom. In Obadiah’s prophecy, these verses stand out.

The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Sovereign Lord says about Edom— We have heard a message from the Lord: An envoy was sent to the nations to say, “Rise, let us go against her for battle”- “See, I will make you small among the nations; you will be utterly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord. “If thieves came to you, if robbers in the night— oh, what a disaster awaits you!— would they not steal only as much as they wanted? If grape pickers came to you, would they not leave a few grapes?”

Obadiah 1:1-5 (NIV)

This passage stands out because it’s very similar to Jeremiah’s prophecy about Edom in Jeremiah 49.

I have heard a message from the Lord; an envoy was sent to the nations to say, “Assemble yourselves to attack it! Rise up for battle!” “Now I will make you small among the nations, despised by mankind. The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks, who occupy the heights of the hill. Though you build your nest as high as the eagle’s, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 49:14-16 (NIV)

If grape pickers came to you, would they not leave a few grapes? If thieves came during the night, would they not steal only as much as they wanted?

Jeremiah 49:9 (NIV)

When I read Obadiah 1:5 about the grape pickers and thieves, it stood out to me because it seemed like I had recently read it. Sure enough, there it was in Jeremiah. Since I was curious about the similarity of these verses, I delved further into Obadiah and Jeremiah, discovering that some people think that Jeremiah “borrowed” from Obadiah or Obadiah “borrowed” from Jeremiah. Others say there was a third source that both prophets pulled from. Hence, the similarity in verses.

As I’ve said, we don’t know much about Obadiah, so some say he came before Jeremiah and is the earliest writing prophet.

As I continued my research into Obadiah 1:5, I discovered, as shown above, other passages similar to Jeremiah. However, what stood out was not the similarity of the passages but the general consensus that these prophets “borrowed” the text from somewhere else.

I’m aware of the Gospels and the idea that certain Gospels influenced others, but Obadiah and Jeremiah were prophets. Both of whom received a prophecy concerning Edom from the Lord. Doesn’t it make sense if the Lord gave both men a prophecy about Edom that, it would be similar? Like the Gospels that present slightly different views of the same events, thus legitimizing these accounts, I see two prophets using similar words to deliver a prophecy from God as confirmation that the warning came from God and not from their own heads. This, I think, is really cool.