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The Unconcerned Spectator
George H. Morrison
It is perhaps impossible to tell what are the precise events here spoken of. This little book, as one has said, has been tossed from century to century of Jewish history. All we can be certain of is that Jerusalem had been captured; its enemies had assailed it, and it had fallen; and in the hour of that assault Edom did nothing; it stood as an onlooker on the other side. Edom was not a distant country-it lay just across the Jordan to the south. Edom was not a land of foreigners-the Edomites were the children of Esau, Jacob's brother. Yet in the day of Judah's direst need, when her enemies were thundering at her gates, Edom was content to be an onlooker. That is what stirs to hot anger the heart of Obadiah, as he recalls the hour when Jerusalem was devastated. It is that a brother-nation should never have raised a finger to help their hard-pressed brothers in their need. So Edom is cursed for being a looker-on-for playing no part in the drama at its gates-for assuming the attitude of culpable neutrality.
It is to be observed, too, that this attitude is blamed because the cause of Jerusalem is the cause of God. There was far more being enacted across Jordan than the common onset of one tribe upon another. The Bible does not encourage interference. It does not incite men to rush into every quarrel. "Man, who made Me a judge or divider over you," was the answer of Jesus once to two disputing brothers. But this was far more than a quarrel between parties. It was a phase of the unceasing battle between light and darkness. Jerusalem was God's city-she stood for the cause of God-and it was against God that her besieging foes were fighting. Had it been a mere quarrel between two jealous states, Edom had been well advised to take no part in it. She had her fields to till, and she had her vines to cultivate; it would have been folly to have interfered. But this to the prophet was not a strife of party. It was right against w ...
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