Obadiah 1:7
All the men allied with you will drive you to the border; the men at peace with you will deceive and overpower you. Those who eat your bread will set a trap for you without your awareness of it.
Unholy AlliancesA.C. Thiselton Obadiah 1:7
God in RetributionHomilistObadiah 1:6-9
God in RetributionD. Thomas Obadiah 1:6-9
Hidden Things Searched OutJ. Reid Howatt.Obadiah 1:6-9

All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee. Companionship is of Divine appointment. The Lord God chose it in his wisdom for himself, and so created angels and men. He might have lived in majestic solitude, in all the sublimity of his one eternal presence; but no, he created angels that excel in strength, hearkening to the voice of his word, and he made man in his own likeness. Companionship, then, is after the Divine mind. Of the first Adam God said, "It is not good for man to be alone." Of the second Adam it is written, "Of him the whole family in heaven and earth is named." So with wideness of meaning the psalmist declares that "he setteth the solitary in families." We know the value of association. Individuals make up households, households linked together make up kingdoms, and kingdoms united are a bulwark of society. But there are two kinds of companionship. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." Our text tells us of Edom's unholy alliance, which was probably with Arabian tribes. "The men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee;... they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee." The marginal reading is more exact, "the men of thy peace.., the men of thy bread." Here, then, was a confederacy ruinous to Edom. "All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men of thy peace have deceived thee; the men of thy bread have laid a wound under thee." Edom in extremity expected help, but, instead of that, the allies send his ambassadors back to the frontier, as much as to say, "Shift for yourselves. We are not going to help you. Look within your own borders." And thus, too late, Edom sees the folly of confederacy with Arab tribes. Now he is held up to us as a beacon of warning, assuring us of the disappointing character of worldly confederacy. "Cursed is the man that trusteth in man. and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord" (Jeremiah 17:5). Esau had been like's weak clematis clinging to a broken reed. In the time of the storm the feebleness of the support was manifest. They only are safe who can say, "The Lord is my Stay." Esau had rejected the Lord, and therefore, although exalted amongst the stars, was brought down to the ground. The men of his peace had deceived him. The men of his bread had laid a wound under him. Would that nations and individuals acknowledged in life and practice that salvation is of the Lord! All human alliances are poor and inadequate. In the time of our greatest need this will most be seen. Recall the dying words of Julius Caesar to Brutus, whose wound had been the worst of all. Recall the Earl of Strafford's words, when he found the king (after many assurances that he would never do so) had signed his death warrant, "Put not your trust in princes, nor in any of the sons of men." Recall Cardinal Wolsey's last words, "Had I but served God as faithfully as I have served my king, he would not, in mine old age, have abandoned me to my enemies;" "The men of thy peace," says the prophet, "have deceived thee; the men of thy bread have laid a wound under thee." Men who refuse the help and succour of the everlasting arms, of everlasting Love, and everlasting Strength, will find that wherein they trusted a festering wound, bringing pain, and anguish, stud dishonour, and shame. True union is strength, but it must be with right characters and on right principles. The ungodly are described in Proverbs 1:14 as saying, "Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse." They allure to a false confederacy. Better have no purse at all than be allied to the ungodly. Look at the lonely Elijah. How sternly, how heroically, isolated! He refuses to share in the one purse of evildoer. He will trust God for food. He who feeds the ravens can make even the ravens feed his prophet. Elijah will not come into the secret of the wicked. Unflinching champion, he knows that the purse of the ungodly is a bag with holes, and their cisterns hold no water, and their hopes are bounded by time, and their joys are gilded and unreal; and beyond death all is darkness, darkness - densest, deepest darkness. True wealth, true joy, true greatness, true glory, are for those who are heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ. "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help... to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!" There are many who do so; but what is God's message to Edom? "All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men of thy peace have deceived thee; the men of thy bread have laid a wound under thee." How truly has even a heathen moralist, as well as an inspired apostle, warned us that "evil communications corrupt good manners"! In the Book of Kings we read of Jehoshaphat allying himself to Ahab in battle. It nearly cost Jehoshaphat his life. But afterwards we see that he had profited by the dear-bought experience. When he built ships to go to Ophir for gold, Ahaziah the son of Ahab said, "Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships," and Jehoshaphat would not. If we have been amongst those who have had worldly associates, let us learn wisdom. Let us walk with the wise. Let us choose for companions those who fear the Lord, and speak often one to another, to whom the Lord hearkens, and concerning whom he says, "They shall be mine in that day when I make up my jewels." In Acts 4. we read that the apostles, being released from prison, went to their own company. Their absence from the godly was by restraint. Prison walls and chains kept them. As won as ever they were free to choose they went to "their own company." That company was characterized by love to Christ. It was formed of the disciples of the Crucified. Men "took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." That company had common hopes and joys and interests Their home was heaven. Their heritage was glory. Their Father was God. The company of the Lord's people here on earth are destined to inherit everlasting felicity. The child of God, when he is set free from the last ties that bind him to earth, goes to his "own company;" he goes to heaven, where Christ is gathering to himself those who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice. Let us ask ourselves about the companions of our life's pathway. Let us remember the folly of Edom, and let us remember the inspired counsel, "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." Let us remember, too, the feast at Enrogel. In 1 Kings 1 we read of the splendid entertainment given by Adonijah to his distinguished guests. Amongst those present were some who held the highest positions, military and ecclesiastical. Very merry was the gathering; very loud were the flatteries; very gratifying was everything to the prince. Surely with Joab, Abiathar, and many others on his side, he would soon wear the crown. But the banqueting is suddenly stopped. A messenger in breathless haste makes an announcement. Those who had just been shouting, "God save King Adonijah!" now undergo a change of feeling. They all rise to their feet and hasten away. The prince is left alone. His so called friends think not of his safety, but only of their own. They all disappear. Adonijah, a short time before admired, praised, flattered, crowned, the centre of a thousand hopes, is now alone. His guests had no true affection for him They had no bond of love to bind them. The confederacy was for their selfish ends. They fawned for place. Now they see the prince cannot help them, and so they pass away. The Banquet hall is deserted; one solitary man is riveted to the spot. The men of his confederacy have deceived him; the men of his bread have laid a wound under him. Adonijah learns too late the folly and disappointment of worldly alliances. May we all profit by the Spirit's warning! Let us resolve to follow Jesus, and unite our interests with those who are his. Once there came one to the Saviour, asking, "Master, where dwellest thou?" Jesus answered, "Come and see." Let us make for Christ's home in glory. Let us cast in our lot with his people, who through grace "come up from the wilderness, clear as the sun, fair as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners."

"Come, let us join our friends above
That have obtained the prize,
And on the eagle wings of love
To joy celestial rise.

"E'en now by faith we join our hands
With those that went before,
And greet the blood-besprinkled bands
On that eternal shore.

"Oh that we now might grasp our Guide!
Oh that the word were given!
Come, Lord of hosts, the waves divide,
And land us all in heaven."

(C. Wesley.) 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
Alliance, Allied, Allies, Ambush, Beguiled, Border, Bread, Conducted, Confederacy, Confederates, Deceive, Deceived, Detect, Discernment, Driven, Driving, Eat, Edge, Force, Forgotten, Forth, Friends, Heritage, Laid, Lay, None, Overcome, Overpower, Peace, Prevailed, Pushed, Snare, Trap, Trusted, Understanding, United, Wound
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 1:7

     5205   alliance
     5589   trap
     5692   friends, bad

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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