Thus says Adonai concerning Edom:
I will diminish you among the nations.
You will be utterly despised.
Your arrogant heart has lead you astray,
you who live in mountain clefts,
whose home is in the heights,
you say in your heart,
“Who is able to bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soared like the eagle,
and built your nest among the stars,
I will fling you down again –
it is Adonai who speaks
Obadiah vv. 1c-4
“The Revenge” bronze and patina 27x35x34 inches
Cedric Loth @ www.lothart.com
Vengeful snapping is a sweet and tasty morsel in the mouth of those starved for equality. Here is a passage that speaks to God’s anger and God’s resolution to snap at Edom. “Though you soared like the eagle … I will fling you down…”
Edom must have done something heinous to bring the wrath of the Lord God Almighty upon her head. Yet, when we probe the other verses of this book it becomes clear that Edom’s great offense is what she did not do. While Judah her neighbor was being pillaged by Babylon, Edom stood by silent and inactive.
In defense of Edom I am not sure what she could have done against the military might of Babylon. No doubt she would have round up like Judah, plundered and exiled. No one dare brook the influence of Babylon. Yet, the Sacred is not concerned with whether or not Edom would have succeeded. The concern is that during a time which called for solidarity and mutual support, Edom chickened out. This did not go unnoticed by God and now revenge – that sweet tasty morsel – will be savored.
There are those who seek such revenge for our own humiliation. Being laughed and jeered at while family, friends, religion, and law silently stand by tends to leave us wanting to savor the sweet taste of a flurried snap. Who would not jump at the chance to repay those who added to our misery? Yes, revenge upon all those cruel and repulsive people would be a sweet and tasty morsel.
Such revenge as noted in the sculpture "The Revenge" though causes us just as much trouble as the person we seek revenge upon. While the fisherman certainly gets his comeuppance, the life of the swordfish is forever changed, possibly costing the fish its own life as well. And such revenge is empty and hollow. Justice – the recognition that we are all equals – is not served by a shallow snapping or a simple letting of anger and rage. Although there is a place for such venting, if those oppressed are ever to enjoy a voice among equals.
Obadiah speaks of God’s vengeance – not ours. Obadiah gives me hope. God sees my humiliation, hears’ my cry, and in a timing beyond my understanding, acts in just vengeance so that integrity is served.