Obadiah 1:10
Because of the violence against your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame and cut off forever.
Social Cruelty Against a BrotherD. Thomas Obadiah 1:10, 11
An Old SinHomilistObadiah 1:10-14
An Old SinD. Thomas Obadiah 1:10-14
Edom's CrueltyA.C. Thiselton Obadiah 1:10-14
Social CrueltyHomilistObadiah 1:10-14
Social Cruelty: 1. a Sin Against the CreatorD. Thomas Obadiah 1:10-16

Here one of the great sins of Edom is denounced in very forcible language. Notice the succession of pointed sentences. "Thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother." The eyes were in the transgression. Hagar, we read, could not look upon Ishmael in his distress. But Edom could look on afflicted Jacob. "Thou shouldest not have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction." The emotions were in the transgression. "Love rejoiceth not in iniquity." "Thou shouldest not have spoken proudly in the day of distress." The tongue was in the transgression. We are told in Psalm 137, how the children of Edom cried, "Down with it, down with it, even to the ground!" "Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity." Their feet were in the transgression. Like those whose picture the psalmist drew, "their feet were swift to shed blood." And as their thoughts, their emotions, and their words were evil, so were their deeds. They were all wrong. "Thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction. Thou shouldest not have laid hand on their substance. Thou shouldest not have stood in the crossway, to cut off their escape. Thou shouldest not have delivered up thy brother a captive to his enemies." A solemn series of charges. One unbrotherly act after another. "Thou shouldest not;" "Thou shouldest not;" "Thou shouldest not." Contrast all these condemning words, "Thou shouldest not;" "Thou shouldest not," with the reiterated words of St. John in his First Epistle, "Let us love one another, for love is of God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." We must surely feel that we want more of the spirit that St. John inculcates. Love does not flourish in the Church's garden as it ought. Envy, hatred, and malice are ever springing up, marring the plants of the Lord's own planting. What shall we think of the elder brother whose character is described in Luke 15.? Is not that unfraternal, unsympathetic, unloving elder brother yet alive? Or the priest and Levite of Luke 10., are they not still amongst us? And where wounded misery lies bleeding, are not the priest and Levite found passing away on the other side? Nay, is not Edom - Edom red with blood, Edom cruel as the grave, Edom fierce and untamed as a leopard - is not Edom still alive? Who will say that the religion of Christ would not make more progress in heathendom were the whole of Christendom more under its beneficent power? We read in Numbers 20. of Edom withstanding Israel in their march to Canaan. There is much of this antagonism to the progress of truth now. Then comes the reminder of relationship, and its consequent obligations: "Thus saith thy brother Israel, Let us pass to Canaan through thy borders." But Edom opposes: "Thou shalt not pass through." Hatred instead of good will, resistance instead of assistance, antipathy instead of sympathy, the spirit of Edom instead of the spirit of love, - these are the baleful hindrances to the Church's progress. Contrast this character of Edom with that of Christ. In Hebrews 4:15 we are told of the fraternal sympathy of our High Priest - sympathy with our infirmities, sympathy with our sorrows, sympathy with our conflicts, sympathy with our struggles, loving, tender, brotherly sympathy. In Proverbs 17. he is called "the Brother born for adversity" - born for it. The gospel is throughout a story of a Brother born to sympathize with adversity. Young man, he has sympathy with you. Child of poverty, he has sympathy with you. Bereaved one, he has sympathy with you. Tempted one, he has sympathy with you. He is the great Sympathizer. In the ages past he was "afflicted in all their afflictions;" and now we have not a High Priest who cannot sympathize with us. See how he is presented to us in the Gospels. See him going about doing good; see him drying the widows' tears; see him healing poor lepers; see him blessing little children; see him opening blind eyes; see him raising the fallen; see him feeding the hungry; see him teaching the ignorant; see him casting out devils; see him blessing the wretched; see him saving the lost. Oh, what sympathy! Oh, what a "Brother born for adversity"! Let us follow in his steps. It must not be enough that we are unlike Nero, who sent Christians to the lions. It must not be enough that we are unlike Edom, who hated his brother Jacob. It must not be enough that we are unlike persecuting Rome in the time when God's faithful martyrs were made to seal their testimony in fire and blood. We are to be Christ-like. We are to take as our example the loving, the forgiving, the tender, the compassionate, the meek, the long suffering Christ. instead of being like Edom, whose every power went out in unfraternal cruelty, we must bring our powers, our faculties, our emotions, our hearts, our lives, to be sanctified, controlled, and governed by the Holy Spirit of Christ. - A.C.T.

For thy violence against thy brother Jacob.
In two aspects.

I. WORKING IN THE HISTORY OF POSTERITY. "For thy violence against thy brother Jacob." The spirit of envy that was kindled in the heart of Esau towards his brother Jacob glowed and flamed with more or less intensity for ages in the soul of Edom towards the descendants of Jacob. It was shown in the unbrotherly refusal of the request of Moses to allow the children of Israel to pass through the land (Numbers 20:14-21). Edom continued to be the inveterate foe of Israel. Neither a man's sinful passion nor deed stops with himself. Like a spring from the mountain, it runs down posterity, often gathering volume as it proceeds. No sinner liveth to himself. One man's sins may vibrate in the soul of another a thousand ages on. This fact should —

1. Impress us with the awfulness of our existence. It is true that in one sense we are little beings, occupying but a small space in the universe, and soon pass away and are forgotten; still, there goes forth from us an influence that shall never end. We throw seed into the mind of the world that will germinate, grow, and multiply indefinitely, and yield harvests of misery or joy. This fact should —

2. Impress us with the duty of every lover of the universe to protest against sin in individuals. A man may say, What does it matter to you that I sin? My reply is, It does matter to me as a benevolent citizen of the universe. Its pernicious influence on the universe is inconceivably great and calamitous.

II. Here is an old sin REPROBATED BY GOD in the history of posterity. God's eye traced it from Esau down. How does He treat it? He reprobates it. Delitzsch renders the words, "Look not at the day of thy brother," and regards verses 12 to 14 as a prohibition; but we see not the authority for that. These Edomites, it would seem from the words, did stand on the other side without rendering help in the day when the stranger entered Jerusalem; they did "rejoice" over the children of Judah at that period; they did "speak proudly" in the day of distress; they did "enter into the gate" of God's people in the "day of calamity"; they did lay "hands on their substance" on that day; they did stand on the "crossway" and "cut" those off "that did escape." The Omniscient eye saw all this. The Jews appeal to Him for an account of the cruelty of these Edomites. "Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation thereof" (Psalm 137:7). For all this God says shame should come on them, and shame did come. It may be asked, if it were the envy of Esau that thus came down from age to age in his posterity, and worked these deeds of crime, where is the justice of God in reprobating them? They only inherit the iniquities of their fathers. We answer —(1) Sin is essentially abhorrent to Jehovah. It is the "abominable thing" which He hates.(2) The very essence of sin is its freeness. Sin is not a forced act; no deed performed by a man against his will has any moral character, or can in a moral sense be either good or bad. The posterity of Esau were not compelled to cherish and develop the envy of their great progenitor. Each one could have quenched it.


I. AS A SIN AGAINST THE CREATOR. The truth of this will appear from —

1. The constitution of the human soul.

(1)The existence of social love.

(2)The instinctive condemnation of cruel acts.

(3)Innate craving for social approbation.

2. The common relation of all to God. He is the Father of all men.

3. The common interest of Christ in the race.

4. The universal teaching of the Bible. The man who injures his fellow-creature is a rebel against the government of the universe.

II. AS PERPETUATED AGAINST A BROTHER (vers. 10, 11). Why specially offensive?

1. Because the obligation to love is stronger.

2. Because the chief human institution is outraged.

3. Because the tenderest human loves are wounded.


1. Some forms are —

(1)The lack of sympathy when Judah was in distress.

(2)Positive rejoicing when Judah was in distress.

(3)Participation in the work of their enemies.

2. Omniscience observes it in all its forms. God's eye was on the Edomites. Sin, in all its operations, is evermore under the eye of Omniscience. If we realise it, it will —

(1)Stimulate to great and spiritual activity.

(2)Restrain from the commission of sin.

(3)Excite the desire for pardon.

(4)Brace the soul in the performance of duty.

3. A just and terrible retribution awaits it in all its forms. Retribution is a settled law in the material universe.


Benjamin, Canaanites, Esau, Jacob, Joseph, Obadiah, Teman
Edom, Esau, Gilead, Jerusalem, Mount Esau, Mount Zion, Negeb, Samaria, Sepharad, Shephelah, Teman, Zarephath
Age, Behaviour, Brother, Cause, Cover, Covered, Cruel, Cut, Death, Destroyed, Forever, Hast, Jacob, Shame, Slaughter, Violence, Violent
1. The destruction of Edom,
3. for their pride,
10. and for their wrong unto Jacob.
17. The salvation and victory of Jacob.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Obadiah 1:1-21

     5263   communication

Obadiah 1:8-10

     5879   humiliation

The book of Obadiah--shortest of all the prophetic books--is occupied, in the main, as the superscription suggests, with the fate of Edom. Her people have been humbled, the high and rocky fastnesses in which they trusted have not been able to save them. Neighbouring Arab tribes have successfully attacked them and driven them from their home (vv, 1-7).[1] This is the divine penalty for their cruel and unbrotherly treatment of the Jews after the siege of Jerusalem, vv. 10-14, 15b. Nay, a day
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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