When they were invaded,
you stood aloof, refusing to help them.
Foreign invaders carried off their wealth
and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem,
but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies.
Obadiah 1:11 New Living Translation
What was Edom’s crime? They sat back and watched while Israel was invaded and plundered. They refused to help. God reminded Edom of their blood ties to Israel, but they acted more like an enemy in judgment. The impression you get of their actions is that Edom not only avoided involvement when Israel was invaded (presumably by Babylon), they actually gloated and celebrated at the downfall of Israel. In God’s eyes, this inaction was equivalent to actively participating in the destruction and looting of Jerusalem.
As the charges against Edom go on, God also addresses their treatment of the refugees from Jerusalem. It appears that some in Jerusalem and Judah sought refuge in Edom after the destruction at the hands of Babylon. At this point, Edom actively participated in the mistreatment of the people of Judah. They killed some of the survivors who escaped the armies of Babylon. They also captured some of the refugees and handed them over to Babylon. Not only did Edom celebrate the downfall of Judah but they victimized the refugees, as well.
How we treat those who are experiencing injustice is important to God. When we see a group of people being mistreated by others, do we stand aloof in judgment, ignoring their plea and looking down on them as if they deserved it? Perhaps we even actively engage in the injustice by refusing to provide refuge for those who are victims of oppression. The implication of this passage is that God will judge those who ignore and mistreat the victims of oppression. Inaction toward those in need is equivalent to engaging in the victimization ourselves.
God, You care for those who are victimized by powerful oppressors. You also call us to come to aid in whatever way we can. Help us to be diligent in aiding those in need.