Obadiah 1:12
But you should not have looked on the day of your brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress.
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Obadiah 1:12. But thou shouldest not have looked upon the day of thy brother — On his evil day. Thou oughtest not to have taken pleasure at the sight of thy brother’s calamity. So the expression of looking upon an enemy signifies, in many passages of Scripture, the beholding his fall with satisfaction: see the margin. In the day that he became a stranger — When he was driven from his own inheritance, and went captive into a strange land. Neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah, &c. — In the day when many of them were slain; nor have spoken proudly in the day of distress — Neither shouldest thou have insulted over them when they were in calamity, boasting of thy own felicity, while they were groaning under misery.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.But thou shouldest not - , rather it means, and can only mean , "And look not (i. e., gaze not with pleasure) on the day of thy brother in the day of his becoming a stranger ; and rejoice not over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; and enlarge not thy mouth in the day of distress. Enter not into the gate of My people in the day of their calamity; look not, thou too, on his affliction in the day of his calamity; and lay not hands on his substance in the day of his calamity; And stand not on the crossway, to cut off his fugitives; and shut not up his remnants in the day of distress."

Throughout these three verses, Obadiah uses the future only. It is the voice of earnest, emphatic, dehortation and entreaty, not to do what would displease God, and what, if done, would be punished. He dehorts them from malicious rejoicing at their brother's fall, first in look, then in word, then in act, in covetous participation of the spoil, and lastly in murder. Malicious gazing on human calamity, forgetful of man's common origin and common liability to ill, is the worst form of human hate. It was one of the contumelies of the Cross, "they gaze, they look" with joy "upon Me." Psalm 22:17. The rejoicing over them was doubtless, as among savages, accompanied with grimaces (as in Psalm 35:19; Psalm 38:16). Then follow words of insult. The enlarging of the mouth is uttering a tide of large words, here against the people of God; in Ezekiel, against Himself Ezekiel 35:13 : "Thus with your mouth ye have enlarged against Me and have multiplied your words against Me. I have heard."

Thereon, follows Edom's coming yet closer, "entering the gate of God's people" to share the conqueror's triumphant gaze on his calamity. Then, the violent, busy, laying the hands on the spoil, while others of them stood in cold blood, taking the "fork" where the ways parted, in order to intercept the fugitives before they were dispersed, or to shut them up with the enemy, driving them back on their pursuers. The prophet beholds the whole course of sin and persecution, and warns them against it, in the order, in which, if committed, they would commit it. Who would keep clear from the worst, must stop at the beginning. Still God's warnings accompany him step by step. At each step, some might stop. The warning, although thrown away on the most part, might arrest the few. At the worst, when the guilt had been contracted and the punishment had ensued, it was a warning for their posterity and for all thereafter.

Some of these things Edom certainly did, as the Psalmist prays Psalm 137:7, "Remember, O Lord, to the children of Edom the day of Jerusalem, who said, Lay bare, lay bare, even to the foundation in her." And Ezekiel EZechariah 35:5-6 alluding to this language of Obadiah , "because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end, therefore, as I live, saith the Lord God, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee; sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee." Violence, bloodshed, unrelenting, deadly hatred against the whole people, a longing for their extermination, had been inveterate characteristics of Esau. Joel and Amos had already denounced God's judgments against them for two forms of this hatred, the murder of settlers in their own land or of those who were sold to them Joel 3:19; Amos 1:6, Amos 1:9, Amos 1:11.

Obadiah warns them against yet a third, intercepting their fugitives in their escape from the more powerful enemy. "Stand not in the crossway." Whoso puts himself in the situation to commit an old sin, does, in fact, will to renew it, and will, unless hindered from without, certainly do it. Probably he will, through sin's inherent power of growth, do worse. Having anew tasted blood, Ezekiel says, that they sought to displace God's people and remove God Himself Ezekiel 35:10-11. "Because thou hast said, these two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it, whereas the Lord was there, therefore, as I live, saith the Lord God, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy, which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them."

12. looked on—with malignant pleasure, and a brutal stare. So the antitypes, Messiah's foes (Ps 22:17). Maurer translates, as the Margin, "thou shouldest not look" any more. English Version agrees with the context better.

the day of thy brother—his day of calamity.

became a stranger—that is, was banished as an alien from his own land. God sends heavy calamities on those who rejoice in the calamities of their enemies (Pr 17:5; 24:17, 18). Contrast the opposite conduct of David and of the divine Son of David in a like case (Ps 35:13-15).

spoken proudly—literally, "made great the mouth"; proudly insulting the fallen (Eze 35:13, Margin; compare 1Sa 2:8; Re 13:6).

Thou shouldest not have looked with secret joy and satisfaction to thy eyes and mind; if thou wouldst have looked, it should have been with tears and grief, not with joy and gladness at the sight: so the word, Psalm 37 Psa 44:7 Proverbs 29:16.

On the day; on the affliction and sad misery which fell upon thy brother Jacob; so day in Scripture, thus absolutely put, doth often signify, Psalm 37:13 Micah 7:4.

Became a stranger; having by the misery of war been made a captive, and lost his former right and liberty in his own country, was now looked upon as a stranger, i.e. one who had no more right to any thing in the land.

Neither shouldest thou have rejoiced: this explains the former.

Children of Judah: this expounds brother.

The day of their destruction: this tells us what day meant.

Neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly, vaunting over the Jews, insolently upbraiding and reproaching them with virulent words and exulcerated malice,

in the day of distress, when Jerusalem was taken. But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother,.... The day of his calamity, distress, and destruction, as afterwards explained; that is, with delight and satisfaction, as pleased with it, and rejoicing at it; but rather should have grieved and mourned, and as fearing their turn would be next: or, "do not look" (t); so some read it in the imperative, and in like manner all the following clauses:

in the day that he became a stranger; were carried into a strange country, and became strangers to their own: or, "in the day of his alienation" (u); from their country, city, houses, and the house and worship of God; and when strange, surprising, and unheard of things were done unto them, and, among them:

neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; the destruction of the Jews, of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, by the Chaldeans: this explains what is meant by the Edomites looking upon the day of the calamity of the Jews, that it was with pleasure and complacency, having had a good will to have destroyed them themselves, but it was not in the power of their hands; and now being done by a foreign enemy, they could not forbear expressing their joy on that occasion, which was very cruel and brutal; and this also shows that Obadiah prophesied after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar:

neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress; or "magnified thy mouth" (w); opened it wide in virulent scoffing, and insulting language; saying with the greatest fervour and vehemence, and as loud as it could be said, "rase it, rase it to the foundation thereof", Psalm 137:7.

(t) "ne aspicias", Junius & Tremellius; "ne aspicito", Piscator; "ne spectes", Cocceius. (u) "diem alienationis ejus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus; "in die alienationis ejus", Calvin, Cocceius, Burkius. (w) "et non debebas magnificare os tuum", Pagninus; "ne magnifices", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius; "ne magnificato", Piscator; "ne magno ore utaris", Cocceius.

But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became {i} a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress.

(i) When the Lord deprived them of their former dignity, and delivered them to be carried into captivity.

12. Thou shouldest not have looked … have rejoiced … have spoken] rather, look not, rejoice not, speak not. In this verse it is the neutrality of Edom, spoken of as “standing on the other side” in the former part of Obadiah 1:11, that is condemned. In Obadiah 1:13-14 his active cooperation with the enemy, his being “as one of them,” is denounced. But in both cases there is a climax. In this verse the complacent looking on deepens into malicious joy, and malicious joy finds expression in derisive mockery. In the following verses, he who before had stood afar, draws near, “enters into the gate” with the victorious foe, “looks on the affliction,” as a close spectator of all its horrors, “lays hands on the spoil,” does not scruple to take part in the pillage of his brother, nor even to waylay the fugitives and deliver them up into the hand of the enemy. “He dehorts them from malicious rejoicing at their brother’s fall, first in look, then in word, then in act, in covetous participation of the spoil, and lastly in murder.” Pusey.

looked on the day] Comp. “the day of Jerusalem.” Psalm 137:7. “Malicious gazing on human calamity, forgetful of man’s common origin, and common liability to ill, is the worst form of human hate. It was one of the contumelies of the Cross, They gaze, they look with joy upon Me. Psalm 22:17.” Pusey.

became a stranger] i.e. was treated as a stranger, cruelly and unjustly: or was made a stranger by being carried into captivity. The clause however may mean “in the day of his calamity,” or “disaster,” R.V.

rejoiced] “He that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.” Proverbs 17:5.

spoken proudly] lit. “make thy mouth great” in derision and mockery. This may refer either to proud boastful words, or to mocking grimaces and contortions of the mouth.Verse 12. - The prophet complains of the malignant neutrality of the Edomites. Thou shouldest not have looked. In this and the two following verses, al with the future is wrongly translated. It should be rendered throughout, "do not look," "do not rejoice," etc. Obadiah, in view of the past behaviour of Edom, and looking forward to another and more fatal conquest of Jerusalem, warns the Edomitas against repeating this malicious conduct. Septuagint, μὴ ἐπίδης. Gaze not with pleasure, feast not thine eyes (Micah 7:10). The day of thy brother; i.e. when some great event befell him - explained further in the next clause. Compare "the day of Jerusalem" (Psalm 137:7). In the day that he became a stranger; Septuagint, ἐν ἡμέρα ἀλλοτρίων, "in the day of strangers;" Vulgate, in die peregrinationis ejus. The Anglican and Vulgate Versions signify, "in the day that he was carried captive into strange lands;" but most probably the expression should be rendered, "in the day of his calamity." Rejoiced over (comp. Job 31:29; Proverbs 17:5; Micah 7:8). Spoken proudly; literally, make thy mouth great; Septuagint, μὴ μεγαλοῥῤημονῇ, "do not boast;" Vulgate, non magnificabis os tuum. Utter a flood of mocking words, probably accompanied with derisive grimaces. There is a climax in this verse - first the complacent look, then the malicious pleasure, then words of insult and derision. Tyre or Phoenicia. - Amos 1:9. "Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I shall not reverse it, because they have delivered up prisoners in full number to Edom, and have not remembered the brotherly covenant, Amos 1:10. I send fire into the wall of Tyrus, and it will devour their palaces." In the case of Phoenicia, the capital only (Tzōr, i.e., Tyrus; see at Joshua 19:29) is mentioned. The crime with which it is charged is similar to the one for which the Philistines were blamed, with this exception, that instead of על־הגלותם להסגּיר (Amos 1:6) we have simply על־הסגּירם. If, therefore, Tyre is only charged with delivering up the captives to Edom, and not with having carried them away, it must have bought the prisoners from an enemy of Israel, and then disposed of them to Edom. From what enemy they were purchased, it is impossible to determine with certainty. Probably from the Syrians, in the wars of Hazael and Benhadad with Israel; for there is nothing at variance with this in the fact that, when they purchased Israelitish captives in the time of Joram, they sold them to Javan. For a commercial nation, carrying on so extensive a trade as the Phoenicians did, would have purchased prisoners in more than one war, and would also have disposed of them as slaves to more nations than one. Tyre had contracted all the more guilt through this trade in Israelitish salves, from the fact that it had thereby been ummindful of the brotherly covenant, i.e., of the friendly relation existing between Israel and itself-for example, the friendly alliance into which David and Solomon had entered with the king of Tyre (2 Samuel 5:11; 1 Kings 5:15.) - and also from the fact that no king of Israel or Judah had ever made war upon Phoenicia.
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