Obadiah 1:6
How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!
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1:1-16 This prophecy is against Edom. Its destruction seems to have been typical, as their father Esau's rejection; and to refer to the destruction of the enemies of the gospel church. See the prediction of the success of that war; Edom shall be spoiled, and brought down. All the enemies of God's church shall be disappointed in the things they stay themselves on. God can easily lay those low who magnify and exalt themselves; and will do it. Carnal security ripens men for ruin, and makes the ruin worse when it comes. Treasures on earth cannot be so safely laid up but that thieves may break through and steal; it is therefore our wisdom to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Those that make flesh their trust, arm it against themselves. The God of our covenant will never deceive us: but if we trust men with whom we join ourselves, it may prove to us a wound and dishonour. God will justly deny those understanding to keep out of danger, who will not use their understandings to keep out of sin. All violence, all unrighteousness, is sin; but it makes the violence far worse, if it be done against any of God's people. Their barbarous conduct towards Judah and Jerusalem, is charged upon them. In reflecting on ourselves, it is good to consider what we should have done; to compare our practice with the Scripture rule. Sin, thus looked upon in the glass of the commandment, will appear exceedingly sinful. Those have a great deal to answer for, who are idle spectators of the troubles of their neighbours, when able to be active helpers. Those make themselves poor, who think to make themselves rich by the ruin of the people of God; and those deceive themselves, who call all that their own on which they can lay their hands in a day of calamity. Though judgment begins at the house of God, it shall not end there. Let sorrowful believers and insolent oppressors know, that the troubles of the righteous will soon end, but those of the wicked will be eternal.How are the things of Esau searched out! - literally, "How are Esau, out searched!" i. e., Esau, as a whole and in all its parts and in all its belongings, all its people and all its property, one and all. The name "Esau" speaks of them as a whole; the plural verb, "are outsearched," represents all its parts. The word signifies a diligent search and tracking out, as in Zephaniah ZEphesians 1:12, "I will search out Jerusalem with candles," as a man holdeth a light in every dark corner, in seeking diligently some small thing which has been lost. "The hidden things," i. e., his hidden treasures, "are sought up." The enemy who should come upon him, should make no passing foray, but should abide there, seeking out of their holes in the rocks, themselves and their treasures. Petra, through its rocky ramparts, was well suited, as Nineveh in the huge circuit of its massive walls was well built, to be the receptacle of rapine.

And now it was gathered, as rapine is, first or last, for the spoiler. It was safe stored up there, to be had for the seeking. No exit, no way of escape. Edom, lately so full of malicious energy, so proud, should lie at the proud foot of its conqueror, passive as the sheep in this large shamble, or as the inanimate hoards which they had laid up and which were now "tracked out." Soon after Obadiah's prophecy, Judah, under Ahaz, lost again to Syria, Elath 2 Kings 14:6, which it had now under Uzziah recovered 2 Kings 14:22. The Jews were replaced, it is uncertain whether by Edomites or by some tribe of Syrians. If Syrians, they were then friendly; if Edomites, Elath itself must, on the nearby captivity of Syria, have become the absolute possession of Edom. Either way, commerce again poured its wealth into Edom. To what end? To be possessed and to aggrandize Edom, thought her wealthy and her wise men; to be searched out and plundered, said the word of God. And it was so.

6. How are the things of Esau searched out!—by hostile soldiers seeking booty. Compare with Ob 5, 6 here, Jer 49:9, 10.

hidden things—or "places." Edom abounded in such hiding-places, as caves, clefts in the rock, &c. None of these would be left unexplored by the foe.

Esau; the father of this people, and here put for his posterity. All that the Edomites had laid up in the most secret places, in unsearchable caves, and deep abysses of hollow rocks, how are all his treasures found out, seized, and brought forth a prey to greedy soldiers! How durst they adventure here?

How are the things of Esau searched out!.... Or how are the Esauites, the posterity of Esau, sought out! though they dwelt in the clefts of the rocks, and hid themselves in caves and dens, yet their enemies searched them, and found there, and plucked them out from thence, so that none escaped:

how are his hid things sought up! his riches, wealth and treasure, hid in fortresses, in rocks and caves, where they were thought to be safe, and judged inaccessible; or that an enemy would not have ventured in search of them there; and yet these should be sought after and found by the greedy, and diligent, and venturous soldier, and carried off; which was the case of the Edomites by the Chaldeans, and will be of the antichristian states by the kings of the earth, Revelation 17:16; see Jeremiah 49:10.

How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!
6. the things of Esau] lit. how are they searched out, Esau; i. e. everything, people and property alike, that belongs to Esau.

his hidden things] rather places; his treasure-houses and receptacles hewn in the secret places of the rocks, and inaccessible as he thought them. Comp. Jeremiah 49:10. Hidden treasures, R.V.

Verse 6. - Obadiah contemplates Eden's ruin, in retribution of her plundering Jerusalem, and speaks of it as past. How are the things of Esau searched out! literally, how are the things searched out, Esau! i.e. the people and property that belong to Esau. The enemy leave no place unexamined. So in Zephaniah 1:12 the Lord says, "I will search Jerusalem with candles." (For "Esau" as equivalent to "Eden," see Genesis 25:30.) His hidden things (matspon, ἅπαξ λεγόμενον); hidden treasures; Septuagint, τὰ κεκρυμμένα αὐτοῦ. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 49:10) gives, "secret places." Keil notes that Petra was a great emporium of the trade between Arabia and Syria, and that in it great treasures were stored (Diod. Sic., 19:95). Obadiah 1:6The prophet sees this overthrow of Edom from its lofty height as something that has already happened, and he now depicts the utter devastation of Edom through the medium of the enemies whom Jehovah has summoned against it. Obadiah 1:5. "If thieves had come to thee, if robbers by night, alas, how art thou destroyed! would they not steal their sufficiency? If vine-dressers had come to thee, would they not leave gleanings? Obadiah 1:6. How have the things of Esau been explored, his hidden treasures desired! Obadiah 1:7. Even to the border have all the men of thy covenant sent thee: the men of thy peace have deceived thee, overpowered thee. They make thy bread a wound under thee. There is no understanding in him." In order to exhibit the more vividly the complete clearing out of Edom, Obadiah supposes two cases of plundering in which there is still something left (Obadiah 1:5), and then shows that the enemies in Edom will act much worse than this. אם with the perfect supposes a case to have already occurred, when, although it does not as yet exist in reality, it does so in imagination. גּנּבים are common thieves, and שׁדדי לילה robbers by night, who carry off another's property by force. With this second expression, the verb בּאוּ לך must be repeated. "To thee," i.e., to do thee harm; it is actually equivalent to "upon thee." The following words איך נדמיתה cannot form the apodosis to the two previous clauses, because nidmēthâh is too strong a term for the injury inflicted by thieves or robbers, but chiefly because the following expression הלוא יגנבוּ וגו is irreconcilable with such an explanation, the thought that thieves steal דּיּם being quite opposed to nidmâh, or being destroyed. The clause "how art thou destroyed" must rather be taken as pointing far beyond the contents of Obadiah 1:5 and Obadiah 1:6. It is more fully explained in Obadiah 1:9, and is thereby proved to be a thought thrown in parenthetically, with which the prophet anticipates the principal fact in his lively description, in the form of an exclamation of amazement. The apodosis to 'im gannâghı̄m (if robbers, etc.) follows in the words "do they not steal" ( equals they surely steal) dayyâm, i.e., their sufficiency (see Delitzsch on Isaiah 40:16); that is to say, as much as they need, or can use, or find lying open before them. The picture of the grape-gatherers says the same thing. They also do not take away all, even to the very last, but leave some gleanings behind, not only if they fear God, according to Leviticus 19:10; Deuteronomy 24:21, as Hitzig supposes, but even if they do not trouble themselves about God's commandments at all, because many a bunch escapes their notice which is only discovered on careful gleaning. Edom, on the contrary, is completely cleared out. In Deuteronomy 24:6 the address to Edom passes over into words concerning him. עשׂו is construed as a collective with the plural. איך is a question of amazement. Châphas, to search through, to explore (cf. Zephaniah 1:12-13). Bâ‛âh (nibh‛ū), to beg, to ask; here in the niphal to be desired. Matspōn, ἁπ. λεγ. from tsâphan, does not mean a secret place, but a hidden thing or treasure (τὰ κεκρυμμένα αὐτοῦ, lxx). Obadiah mentions the plundering first, because Petra, the capital of Edom, was a great emporium of the Syrio-Arabian trade, where many valuables were stored (vid., Diod. Sic. xix. 95), and because with the loss of these riches the prosperity and power of Edom were destroyed.

(Note: Jeremiah (Jeremiah 49:9) has greatly altered the words of Obadiah, dropping the comparison of the enemy to thieves and grape-gatherers, and representing the enemy as being themselves grape-gatherers who leave no gleaning, and thieves who waste till they have enough; and thereby considerably weakening the poetical picture.)

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