Obadiah 1:11
On the day you stood aloof while strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gate and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were just like one of them.
Edom as BabylonA.C. Thiselton Obadiah 1:11
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

Even thou wast as one of them. Edom, although claiming Abraham and Isaac for his forefathers, was so unfraternal to Israel that when Jerusalem was captured by the Babylonians, he shared in the hostility. His cry was, "Rase it, rase it, even to the ground!" To this our text makes reference, "Even thou wast as one of them." And what Obadiah thus says to Edom, he might often stand and say to some of us. How many who have been nursed in privileges and taken a place as servants of the God of Abraham, have been found, like Balaam, amongst the enemies of the Lord! "Even thou wast as one of them." How often the inquiry might come to those who ought to be bearing holy witness for God, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" The words may well convey a warning to us, for even the most godly have often fallen from their steadfastness. Let us note some examples by way of fixing this warning upon our hearts.

I. WE ALL DENOUNCE DRUNKENNESS. We all sadly mourn the condition of inebriates. Alas! there was a time when Obadiah might have stood in attitude of condemnation before the Patriarch Noah, and said, "Even thou wast as one of them."

II. WE SCORN THE LIAR. But there was a time when Abraham became untruthful. Obadiah might have appeared before him, and said, "Even thou wast as one of them."

III. WE ABOMINATE IMPURITY. But there was a time when Obadiah might have stood before David, as did the Prophet Nathan, and said, "Thou art the man!" "Even thou wast as one of them."

IV. WE DEPLORE RASH SPEAKING AND HOT AND HASTY WORDS. Time was when Obadiah might have come to the meek and holy Moses, and said, "Even thou wast as one of them."

V. WE OFTEN LOOK WITH FEELINGS OF DISDAIN UPON THE PROUD. And yet there was a time when Obadiah might have said to the good King Hezekiah, "Even thou wast as one of them."

VI. WE ARE EVER READY TO ADMIT THE TURPITUDE OF DENYING CHRIST. But see Obadiah standing before Simon Peter, and we catch his awful words, "Even thou wast as one of them."

VII. CONTENTION AMONGST BRETHREN IS ANOTHER EVIL WHICH WE DEPRECATE. Obadiah might have pointed to Barnabas, the "son of consolation," and said to him, "Even thou wast as one of them."

VIII. THE SIN OF UNBELIEF IS ANOTHER FEARFUL EVIL. But all the early disciples fell for a time into this sin. Obadiah might have said first to one, then another, "Even thou wast as one of them."

IX. A MURMURING SPIRIT IS ANOTHER EVIL WHICH THE CHRISTIAN SHOULD AVOID. St. Paul learned in whatsoever state he was, therewith to be content. The psalmist says his soul was as a weaned child. But we turn to the prophet of fire. We find the great Elijah under a juniper tree, murmuring at his lot. "Even thou wast as one of them." Enough. We see plainly that the Scriptures warn us of the frailty of our nature and the deceitfulness of our hearts. And, if we reflect at all, we must see that repeatedly Christian professors lack consistency. Christian principle and Christian practice should never be at variance. But what is the fact? How often the Christian in business walks so unworthy of his high calling that our prophet seems to speak to him, "Even thou wast as one of them." Or we look into society, and we find in some Christians so much worldly conformity, that to one after another Obadiah might come, and exclaim, "Even thou wast as one of them" Let me ask those Christians who spend several afternoons in the week in visiting, and yet scarcely ever drop a word for their Lord and Master - Do you think that Obadiah's expostulation is not for you: "Even thou wast as one of them"? Let us learn, therefore, these three lessons.

1. First, to live watchfully, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Snares and dangers will beset us as long as we are in the world. What some may call only the shadows upon the mountains may prove conquering foes (Judges 9:36). We all need the restraining grace of Christ. "Hold thou me up in my goings, that my footsteps slip not."

2. Secondly, to be careful about companionship. Edom's unfraternal antagonism was fed by the company he kept, till he was even "as one of them." Those who "mingle with the heathen" will not be slow to "learn their works." "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly... but his delight is in the Law of the Lord."

3. Lastly, to walk holily before God. St. Peter's exhortation should be kept in mind, "Giving all diligence, add to your faith [faith is the root - add to the root] heroic, manly courage; and to courage knowledge [self-knowledge, Bible knowledge, the knowledge of Christ; for knowledge is power for working and for waiting, for doing and for suffering]; and to knowledge temperance [temperance, or self-control, is an urgently needed grace]; and to temperance patience [we are all called to endure; we must not expect that we can be Christians without any trouble; Christ's soldiers must learn to endure hardness]; and to patience godliness [piety, devotion]; and to godliness brotherly kindness [Edom knew nothing of brotherly kindness; this brotherly kindness is love to the brethren - love to the godly]." And one more grace is enjoined, "Add to brotherly kindness charity [love to everybody]." Thus, in walking holily before God, we shall, by the power of his Spirit, keep from the sin of Edom, "Even thou wast as one of them " - one of the Babylonians; and all will take knowledge of us that we are the God-Man's disciples. The ointment of the right hand bewrayeth itself. We are Christ's. His we are, and him we serve. He was as one of us (sin only excepted), that we might be one with him forever. - 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
Aloof, Captive, Carried, Cast, Chance, Decision, Doors, Entered, Fate, Force, Forces, Foreigners, Gate, Gates, Goods, Jerusalem, Lands, Lot, Lots, Over-against, Stand, Standing, Stood, Stoodest, Stoodst, Strange, Strangers, Substance, Taking, Wast, Watching, Wealth
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

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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