Neither should you have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither should you have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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."
that did escape—The Jews naturally fled by the crossways. (Maurer translates, "narrow mountain passes") well known to them, to escape to the desert, and through Edom to Egypt; but the Edomites stood ready to intercept the fugitives and either kill or "deliver them up" to the foe.In the cross-way; or in the breaches, viz. of the walls, by which, when the city was taken, some might have made their escape from the enemy; thou didst, though thou shouldst not, spitefully and cruelly watch at such breaches, and preventedst their flight; or else thou didst post thyself at the head of the ways, where thou mightest seize fleeing Jews.
To cut off; either kill if they would not yield, or cut off their hopes of escape by making them prisoners.
Those of his that did escape out of the city, and were fleeing farther for safety.
Neither shouldest thou have delivered up, reserved them prisoners, and brought them back into the hands of the Chaldeans,
those of his, of thy brother Jacob’s posterity, which did remain, survived the taking of the city, and were fairly like to escape; but thou foundest them and betrayedst them,
in the day of distress, when they could no longer defend their city, nor had any hope but in a flight through all the secret ways they knew; but thou didst watch these ways, and didst cut off many who sought to flee through them.
to cut off those of his that did escape; such of the Jews that escaped the sword of the Chaldeans in the city, and attempted, to get away through the breaches of the walls of it, or that took different roads to make their escape; these were intercepted and stopped by the Edomites, who posted themselves at these breaches, or at places where two or more ways met, and cut them off; so that those that escaped the sword of the enemy fell by theirs; which was exceeding barbarous and cruel:
neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of their distress; or "shut up" (z); they shut them up in their houses, or stopped up all the avenues and ways by which they might escape, even such as remained of those that were killed or carried captive; these falling into the hands of the Edomites, some they cut off, and others they delivered up into the hands of the Chaldeans. Of the joy and rejoicing of the mystical Edomites, the Papists, those false brethren and antichristians, at the destruction of the faithful witnesses and true Christians, and of their cruelty and inhumanity to them, see Revelation 11:7.Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. Neither shouldest thou have stood … delivered up] rather, stand not, deliver not up.Verse 14. - The climax of injury is the cutting off of fugitives, and delivering them into captivity. Neither shouldst thou have stood in the crossway; and stand not thou is the crossway. The Edomites, as neighbours, would know all the passes into the wilderness by which the Judaeans would seek to escape. Neither shouldst thou have delivered up; and deliver not up; Septuagint, νηδὲ συγκλείσῃς,, "shut not up;" Vulgate, et non concludes. So Pusey, "shut not up," i.e. with the enemy, driving them back upon their pursuers (comp. Psalm 31:8). The Hebrew word implies both meanings - "to deliver over to confinement;" and the meaning here is - do not seize on the people to give them over into captivity (comp. Amos 1:6, 9). Those of his that did remain. Those whom the invaders had spared. Amos 1:11. "Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I shall not reverse it, because it pursues its brother with the sword, and stifles its compassion, and its anger tears in pieces for ever, and it keeps its wrath for ever, Amos 1:12. I send fire into Teman, and it will devour the palaces of Bozrah." Edom and the two following nations were related to Israel by lineal descent. In the case of Edom, Amos does not condemn any particular sins, but simply its implacable, mortal hatred towards its brother nation Israel, which broke out into acts of cruelty at every possible opportunity. ושׁחת רחמיו, he annihilates, i.e., suppresses, stifles his sympathy or his compassionate love; this is still dependent upon על רדפו, the preposition על continuing in force as a conjunction before the infinitive (i.e., as equivalent to על אשׁר), and the infinitive passing into the finite verb (cf. Amos 2:4). In the next clause אפּו is the subject: its wrath tears in pieces, i.e., rages destructively (compare Job 16:9, where târaph is applied to the wrath of God). In the last clause, on the other hand, Edom is again the subject; but it is now regarded as a kingdom, and construed as a feminine, and consequently עברתו is the object, and placed at the head as an absolute noun. שׁמרה, with the tone upon the penult. (milel) on account of netsach, which follows with the tone upon the first syllable, stands for שׁמרהּ (it preserves it), the mappik being omitted in the toneless syllable (compare Ewald, 249, b). If עברתו were the subject, the verb would have to be pointed שׁמרה. Again, the rendering proposed by Ewald, "his fury lies in wait for ever," is precluded by the fact that שׁמר, when applied to wrath in Jeremiah 3:5, signifies to keep, or preserve, and also by the fact that lying in wait is generally inapplicable to an emotion. Teman, according to Jerome (ad h. l.), is Idumaeorum regio quae vergit ad australem partem, so that here, just as in Amos 2:2 and Amos 2:5, the land is mentioned first, and then the capital.
(Note: It is true that, according to Eusebius, Jerome does also mention in the Onom. a villa (κώμη) named Teman, which was five Roman miles from Petra, and in which there was a Roman garrison; and also that there is a Teman in Eastern Hauran (see Wetzstein in Delitzsch's Comm. on Job, i. 73); but in the Old Testament Teman is never to be understood as referring to a city.)
Bozrah, an important city, supposed to be the capital of Idumaea (see comm. on Genesis 36:33). It was to the south of the Dead Sea, and has been preserved in el-Buseireh, a village with ruins in Jebl (see Robinson, Pal. ii. p. 570), and must not be confounded with Bossra in Hauran (Burckhardt, Syr. p. 364).
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