Word Study: Treasure of Darkness




Isaiah 45:3: “And I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of secret places that you will know that I, the Lord, who called you by your name am the God of Israel.”

Isaiah 45: 2 tells us that God is going to blaze the trail for us as we journey in our calling and His plan for our lives. In verse 3 he then tells us how He is going to equip us. He is going to give us the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of secret places. This sounds good until you stop to think about it, what are the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of secret places.

There are four Hebrew words we need to really examine. The first two are orsaroth choshek (treasures of darkness). Sounds like the title of a Stephen King novel. Why would God give us something from darkness, is He not the Light? I don’t think I want anything from the dark side. This would almost suggest that we will reclaim the powers of darkness that was originally property of the light, stolen and perverted by the darkness. That sounds good, after all is it not time to take our rod, throw it on the ground and let it turn to a snake and eat the snakes of the occult? I think we would all agree to that but I am not sure that is what this passage is really saying.

The word treasure (orsaroth) comes from the root word ’asar This word has the idea of a storehouse, or treasures that are laid up but not lost. Treasure would be a misleading word to use here as the first thing that comes to our mind in our culture is something of monetary value, such as diamonds, jewelry, gold coins etc. This treasure is a treasure of knowledge. The word ‘asar is spelled Aleph, Sade and Resh and tells us it is knowledge of God’s love and power. The word darkness (choshek) also expresses the idea of being obscure or hidden. I know I just got done saying orsaroth is a treasure that is not lost. But Isaiah is drawing a picture here. At this time the Torah, because of the sinfulness of the people, was hidden, yet not lost. During the reign of Josiah the Torah was discovered buried deep in the royal archives. I believe that the treasures of darkness here refers to the deep mysteries of God stored away in His Word. It is not hidden anymore than a library book is hidden in your local library. It is there for you to take out anytime you want it. You may have to search a little for it, and check the card catalogue. I can walk into any library and almost instantly find the section which has works on the Torah and Talmud, because I know the card catalogue number. So too with the Word of God, the more you study it the easier it is to find it’s treasures of knowledge.

The next two words are matemenu misetarim (hidden riches of secret places). Misetarim (secret places) comes from the root word sathar which is the word for hidden, concealed or secret. Matemenu comes from the root word tamak which has the preposition from in front of it and is used to express hidden, concealed or protected treasures of knowledge. You would express this as: “hidden riches of knowledge from concealed or protected places. In other words, tamak knowledge is not as easy to get to as asar. All you have to do to get asar is to search. To get tamak you will need a key card or access code. Maybe a better way to put it is that there are some documents in our legal system that are referred to as public record. Anyone may have access to these documents Then there are records which are classified where you need a certain amount of security clearance to access these documents. To get that security clearance you need to not only prove a need for these documents but also to prove you have the integrity to be entrusted with that knowledge. You generally have to earn this trust.

There is certain knowledge of God open to everyone, such as knowledge of His love, his plan of salvation, etc. Then there is knowledge which is hidden (hidden riches of secret places). For this knowledge you will need the cleansing work of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to access it. The important thing to remember is that there are two levels of knowledge. Many Christians are content with the laid up treasure. Few are willing to earn the trust of God, to seek His heart and be given the security clearance into the hidden riches of secret places.