Obadiah 1:6
But how Esau will be pillaged, his hidden treasures sought out!
The Things of Esau Searched OutA.C. Thiselton Obadiah 1:6
God in RetributionHomilistObadiah 1:6-9
God in RetributionD. Thomas Obadiah 1:6-9
Hidden Things Searched OutJ. Reid Howatt.Obadiah 1:6-9

How are the things of Esau searched out!

I. We may consider ESAU AS THE TYPE OF THE SELF-CONFIDENT. Lifted up, dwelling amongst the stars, wise in his own eyes, he knows not his perilous condition. There are thousands and thousands like this. They say, in the language of Laodicea, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." They little see themselves as God sees them. They are blind, and know not that they are miserable and poor; but God searches them out. "I know thy works." No one can elude the all-seeing gaze of the Omniscient. "Adam, where art thou?" Thus the Judge of all men comes making manifest the secrets of the heart. Hiding like Adam in the trees of the garden, or dwelling like Edom in the rocks, is only self-delusion. Shall not God search it out? There are many, like Saul, who are so self-complacent that they say, "I have kept the commandment of the Lord." When the stern prophet asks,"What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?" Some may remind us of the young man who, on hearing the commandments, said he had kept them all; but when Christ searched him through and through, he left Christ's presence, preferring his earthly possessions to heavenly riches. His heart was as a great stone, which, when disturbed, revealed numberless creeping things which at once shrank from the light and hastened away into new darkness. How are the things of Esau searched out! The disclosure must come. It is inevitable. "There is nothing, covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known." It may not be in this world, it may not be until the day - the great day - of judgment, but it must come. The things of Esau must be searched out, the folly of self-confidence must be made manifest.

II. In the next place, we may consider ESAU AS THE TYPE OF THE WORLDLY. We know how the first of the race bartered his birthright for a mess of pottage. And the race yet lives. There are yet multitudes carnally minded, who reject joint kinship with Christ for the sake of some mess of pottage, or some cup of pleasure, or some glittering toy, or the incense of human honour. How many are ready to exclaim, when we offer them the religion of Christ, that it would endanger their success in the world! So Demetrius, the silversmith, alarmed his fellow craftsman by telling them that Christianity would jeopardize their profits. "Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth." The world so fills the vision of such persons that they have no eyes for Christ, no eyes for heaven, no eyes for the coming glory, no eyes for immortality. They have eyes and see not; ears have they, and hear not. Like the raven in the Flood, they prefer the dead carcases to the security of the ark. Like Ishmael, they are ready to mock at those who differ from them. They ridicule the walk of faith. The cross of Christ is to them foolishness. Shall not God visit for these things? To be carnally minded is death. They are like the fabled vessel drawing nigh to the loadstone rock. They get nearer and nearer, when, lo! every bolt and nail is drawn out to the magnet, and the ship is an utter wreck. "How are the things of Esau searched out!" The worldly policy of multitudes may seem for a while to prosper, but the end of these things is death. Some years ago a woman was executed for murder. The fatal deed had been committed to obtain a five-pound note. When the coveted note was gained it was found to be only a pretence. It was called a five-pound "Bank of Elegance" note. Yet for this poor sham the miserable young woman risked her life and took the life of another. What an illustration of Esau's barter - a birthright for a mess of pottage! An inheritance incorruptible is forfeited for some gilded toy. "The wages of sin is death." "How are the things of Esau searched out!"

III. In the next place, we may consider ESAU AS THE TYPE OF THE UNSYMPATHIZING AND CRUEL In ver. 10 the prophet says, "For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever." This unsympathizing, hard-hearted, cruel spirit is directly opposite to that of Christ. The laws of the king dora call to gentleness, meekness, brotherly kindness, charity. Christ hath left us an example, that we should follow his steps. He is the gentle Jesus. He is the tender Shepherd. He is the Brother born for adversity. He gave himself for us. His mercy is everlasting. He is the sympathizing High Priest. It is clear, then, that the sin of Esau was very great. Jacob from his dying couch denounced the cruelty of Simeon and Levi, although by grace the latter was called to high privileges in Israel. "Instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united!" And in a little while he adds, "Cursed be their anger, for it was great, and their wrath, for it was cruel." But here we have the inveterate cruelty of centuries. The hatred of Esau against Israel had survived many generations An unyielding, deadly, cruel antagonism to the Jews had been a leading characteristic of Edom. Esau's cruelty was of a most unnatural type. And it had grown worse and worse. The prophet tells us he first looked on Jacob's calamity, then laughed, then insulted, then plundered, and then imprisoned and murdered. We have, then, in Esau. a type of the unsympathizing and cruel. And is not the red hand of Esau, the cruel, blood dyed hand of Esau, at work in our own day? What are the fearful atrocities, the horrible cruelties, the maimings, the murders, the hellish plots, the demon-like machinations? What mean the heartrending tears and sorrows of widows and orphans? What mean the distress and poverty of multitudes of ladies - Ireland's matrons and daughters? What mean the blight and ruin so common in the land? O my soul, come not thou into the secret! Esau's cruelty and blood guiltiness were never so bad as the crimes, unpunished and undetected, of our own day. And shall not God search them out? "Verily there is a God that judgeth the earth." Let us for ourselves pray to be kept from the beginnings of all hatred, malice, and uncharitableness. God is love. May we have his mind! May we show ourselves the children of him who maketh his sun to shine on the just and on the unjust! "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?... Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." - A.C.T.

How are the things of Esau searched out!
All that any test or trial can do is to show what was in us already. In many places of the East there is the horrible disease called leprosy. When a man is feeling ill they have a curious way of discovering whether he has leprosy or not. They light a candle and put salt on the wick, and the face of every one who has not leprosy is white or pale, but if leprosy is in any one's blood, crimson spots appear on his face. The same thing can be done by the camera; a photograph will reveal the spots when the natural eye cannot see them. You sometimes do what, a moment before, you never thought you possibly could have done, and mother says she could not have believed it of you; yet it has been done. How's that? Simply because it was in your heart before, and only wanted the opportunity to come out.

(J. Reid Howatt.)

Man's sin is, that he puts his confidence on objects unworthy and unsafe. The Edomites trusted to the insecure.

I. DID THEY TRUST TO THEIR MATERIAL DEFENCES? These are worthless. The cities of Edom consisted of houses mostly cut in the rocks, Nations may trust to their material defences, their armies, navies, fortifications; but they are as stubble to the raging fire when justice begins its work. Individuals may trust to their wealth, to material science and medical skill, to preserve their bodily lives; but when justice sends forth its emissary — death, what are these defences? Nothing; less than nothing, vanity.

II. Did they trust to their PLEDGED CONFEDERATES: these were worthless "All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the borders." etc. Those confederates were probably Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon, with whom the Edomites joined in resisting Nebuchadnezzar; but these failed them, probably turned against them: and even their friends who were at peace with them and ate their bread deceived them in their hour of trial. "To no quarter could the Idumeans look for aid. Their allies, their neighbours, their very dependants, so far from assisting them, would act treacherously towards them, and employ every means both of an open and covert nature to effect their ruin." How often it happens that, when men get into adverse circumstances, their old allies, professed friends, those who have often partaken of their hospitality, not only fail them but turn against them. "Cursed is the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm."

III. Did they trust to the WISDOM OF THEIR GREAT MEN; this was worthless. "Shall I not in that day, saith the Lord, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau?" "The Idumeans confided not only in the natural strength of their country, but in the superiority of their intellectual talent. That they excelled in the arts and sciences is abundantly proved by the numerous traces of them in the Book of Job, which wins undoubtedly written in their country. They were indeed proverbial for their philosophy, for the cultivation of which their intercourse with Babylon and Egypt was exceedingly favourable, as were likewise their means of acquiring information from the numerous caravans whose route lay through, their country, thus forming a chain of communication between Europe and India." — Henderson. Yet what is the wisdom, of man to trust in"? "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."

IV. Did they trust to the POWER OF THEIR MIGHTY MEN: this was worthless. "And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter." Delitzsch renders this, "And thy heroes despair, O Teman." Teman was the proper name of the southern portion of Idumea, called so after Tema, a grandson of Esau. Men trust in their heroes. A false confidence this also! God, by a breath of pestilence, can wither all the armies of Europe in an instant. Men who trust in anything short of God are like the man who in a thunderstorm takes shelter under a tree, whose tall branches attract the lightning which scorches him to ashes.


Benjamin, Canaanites, Esau, Jacob, Joseph, Obadiah, Teman
Edom, Esau, Gilead, Jerusalem, Mount Esau, Mount Zion, Negeb, Samaria, Sepharad, Shephelah, Teman, Zarephath
Esau, Flowed, Hidden, O, Pillaged, Places, Ransacked, Searched, Secret, Sought, Stores, Treasures
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 1:6

     5591   treasure

Obadiah 1:1-21

     5263   communication

Obadiah 1:5-6

     5555   stealing

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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