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In the previous chapter, the false shepherds were swept away as obstacles to the restoration of God’s people and replaced by the true Shepherd. In the next two chapters (Ezekiel 35-36), which form a unit, we see that the enmity of the nations, represented in Edom, is judged to make way for the blessing of God’s people. In Ezekiel 35 the judgment on Mount Seir – that is Edom – is announced. In Ezekiel 36 it is about the promises of God for the mountains of Israel.
Prophecy Concerning Mount Seir
The word of the LORD comes to Ezekiel (Eze 35:1). He is commanded to set his face on Mount Seir and prophesy against them (Eze 35:2). Mount Seir represent Edom (Gen 32:3; Gen 36:8). Ezekiel turns to him with a message of judgment.
The LORD stretches out His hand in judgment against Mount Seir and Edom, and makes the land and the cities a desolation and a waste (Eze 35:3-4). This is how they will know that He is the LORD. It is not just about the downfall of Edom, but primarily about the honor of the LORD. All enmity against the LORD’s people is ultimately directed against Him.
In the book of Ezekiel Edom, his attitude and the judgment of God have been discussed before (Eze 25:12-14), but here He deals with Edom and his attitude in more detail. God points out Edom’s everlasting enmity to His people and thus to Himself (Eze 35:5a). Edom has helped to bring down God’s people by the sword when the people are already having such a hard time and are being brought down by the Babylonians (Eze 35:5b). He has sought to take possession of the land of God’s people (Eze 35:10) and set up a big mouth against God (Eze 35:13). For all these reasons God’s judgment comes on him (Oba 1:10-14; Psa 137:7).
Edom hated and violated Israel with an everlasting enmity (Eze 35:5; Num 20:14-21; Amos 1:11). This enmity is inextinguishable and will be present and expressed until the end time. “At the time of their calamity, at the time of the punishment of the end” refers to Israel in the time of the great tribulation. It is the time when iniquity reaches its zenith in the reign of the antichrist and the enmity of the surrounding Arab nations (cf. Eze 21:25).
The LORD will then avenge on Edom the iniquity committed by him, the shedding of blood (Eze 35:6). Edom will be given over to bloodshed and pursued by bloodshed. The whole way of Edom is a way on which blood has flowed: first the blood shed by him and then the blood of himself. In the Hebrew word for blood, dam, which is mentioned four times in this verse, the name Edom resonates.
Once again, the LORD speaks about how He will make Mount Seir a waste and a desolation (Eze 35:7; Eze 35:3). Not a living creature will be able to maintain itself there. The LORD will exterminate anyone who even passes through it and also anyone who wants to return to it after a while. Everywhere lie the slain who have been killed by the sword (Eze 35:8).
As the enmity of Edom is an everlasting enmity, so the LORD will make Edom into “an everlasting desolation” (Eze 35:9). The cities will no longer be inhabited. Then Edom will be forced to the conclusion that He is the LORD. It will also be clear then that all of Edom’s plans to take possession of “these two nations and these two lands”, that is Judah and the ten tribes (Eze 37:22), have come to naught (Eze 35:10).
He does not care that the LORD is in the land and dwells in the midst of His people. The LORD means nothing to him, just as every wicked man can know that God exists, but takes absolutely no notice of Him. Such people, in self-will, do as they please or they even turn against God in brutal rebellion in audacity in order to subject Him to themselves. This presumption finds its nadir in the beast from the sea (Rev 13:1-9).
Mount Seir is full of anger and envy against Israel (Eze 35:11; cf. Gen 27:41). That anger and envy are behind his hatred and the violence with which he acts against Israel. The LORD will judge that mind and behavior and thereby make Himself known to Edom. He will bring down on his head the bitter enmity with which Edom has acted against his brother. His people will thereby know that God’s power is not diminished and that He punishes all the attackers of His people. He thereby makes Himself known “among them” – that is, the two nations of Israel (Eze 35:10) – as their Protector.
It will also dawn on them that He has heard all the revilings that Mount Seir has spoken against the mountains of Israel (Eze 35:12). Edom has offended the LORD by seeing the discipline He has had to bring upon His people as an occasion to plunder Israel. But he forgets that the LORD and His people are one (cf. Mt 25:40; 45; Acts 9:1-5).
In the end, then, their revilings were directed at the LORD, as if He were impotent to deliver His people from the power of their oppressors (Eze 35:13). Edom has set up a big mouth against Him and mocked Him. The LORD emphasizes that He Himself heard all these words from his mouth. It was not told to Him by others. His people did not complain to Him about it.
When judgment comes on Edom, there will be no pity for him anywhere. On the contrary, “all the earth” will rejoice that this hateful and bloodthirsty people has come to their end (Eze 35:14). Edom will receive the same treatment that Israel received and over which he expressed his joy, his gloating (Eze 35:15; cf. Deu 32:43). Edom will be measured with the same measure with which he has measured. All of Edom will become a desolation altogether. The generality of judgment allows for no exceptions. For the last time, the LORD says that by this they, Mount Seir and all Edom, will know that He is the LORD (Eze 35:9).
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Ezekiel 35". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13