on Obadiah 1 :12
Thou shouldest not have looked - It shows a malevolent heart to rejoice in the miseries of those who have acted unkindly or wickedly towards us. The Edomites triumphed when they saw the judgments of God fall upon the Jews. This the Lord severely reprehends in Obadiah 1:12-15. If a man have acted cruelly towards us, and God punish him for this cruelty, and we rejoice in it, we make his crime our own; and then, as we have done, so shall it be done unto us; see Obadiah 1:15. All these verses point out the part the Edomites took against the Jews when the Chaldeans besieged and took Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and divided the spoils.
on Obadiah 1 :12
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."
on Obadiah 1 :12
1:12 Looked - With joy on the affliction. A stranger - As a stranger, one who had no more right to any thing in the land. Proudly - Vaunting over the Jews, when Jerusalem was taken.