Mount Seir in Edom bordered Judah. It was where Esau made his home. They could have helped Jerusalem when Nebuchadnezzar attacked but instead they eagerly waited for the city to be destroyed so they could take the left overs. The city could have been a neighbor and friend to Israel and Judah, but they chose hostility instead. They didn’t take part in the siege against Jerusalem. They stood back and watched as if it were a football game. They rooted for Babylon and cheered at the violence, blood, and tragedy that Babylon brought. Verses 5-6 put it this way,
“Because you cherished perpetual enmity and gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of their final punishment, 6 therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; because you did not hate bloodshed, therefore blood shall pursue you.”
Standing by and do nothing while the strong victimize the weak is the same as joining in. The people in the circle watching the bully beat the smaller person are just as guilty of the beating as the tyrant. Regardless if they enjoyed the bloodshed or not, they did nothing. They allowed it to go on without an attempt to stop it, or even a protest.
Even worse for Edom was the fact that Israel and Judah belonged to the Lord. They still loathed them. They still chose to sit by and let disaster hit and even celebrated it. They let their envy turn to hatred. They puffed themselves up with pride and made excuses to pardon their wicked choices. But Israel and Judah did belong to God, and Edom had to pay for her sin. Verse 15 reads,
“As you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so I will deal with you; you shall be desolate, Mount Seir, and all Edom, all of it. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Indifference to the hardships of others allows tragedy to flourish. Celebrating the misfortune of others is on par with perpetrating the blows yourself.
When God allows trials and tribulations it is for a good purpose. He sent Nebuchadnezzar to attack Jerusalem. But that doesn’t mean He was happy about it. And it doesn’t give others license to delight over their suffering or stand by then swoop in like a vulture and scavenge the remains.
We can find the encouragement in this chapter. God will protect and avenge His children. People may consider you odious just for proclaiming Jesus’ name. But you do not have to fight them. You do not have to return the hate. You are free to love them. Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Wouldn’t you want the people who torment you to have some compassion and forgiveness toward you? Then you ought to have some compassion and forgiveness toward them. Let the Lord deal with them. After all you want what He wants and that is for everyone to come to know Him and be saved. He’s got this. Don't reciprocate the hate.