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The judgment of mount Seir for their hatred of Israel.
Before Christ 587.
THE prophet goes on to shew, that the same reason, which will operate in favour of the Jews, will not operate in favour of the heathen; especially not in favour of the Jews' relations, the Edomites: for they shewed no mercy and therefore deserved to receive none; and, because they had a perpetual hatred, were to be made a perpetual desolation.
Ezekiel 35:2. Set thy face against mount Seir— That is, Edom. This prophesy is manifestly of the same year with the foregoing; for it is posterior to the siege of Jerusalem, and it precedes the desolation of Edom, which happened about the fifth year after the taking of Jerusalem. I am of opinion, says Calmet, that the prophet marks out here two disgraces of Edom, the one by Nebuchadrezzar, the other by the Jews after their return from captivity. The latter is described here more particularly than the former. The prophet says, that as the Idumeans had hated their own blood, they should be persecuted by their own blood; that is, by the Israelites, their brethren. See Ezekiel 35:6. He says afterwards, Eze 35:14 that their country should be made desolate at the time when all the land should rejoice: which can be appropriated to no other time than that which followed the restoration of the Jews from captivity. As to the first desolation caused by Nebuchadrezzar, it is well and fully expressed in the third and other verses.
Ezekiel 35:5. In the time that their iniquity had an end— That is, either at the time when God exercised against them the last chastisement of their iniquity: or at the time of their extreme affliction, when the anger of God was most inflamed against them. It is the greatest of all cruelties to insult the afflicted, and to add new sorrows to the unhappy. See Calmet.
Ezekiel 35:7. And cut off from it him, &c.— And will cut off from it both the traveller and the inhabitant. Houbigant.
Ezekiel 35:9. Thy cities shall not return— Thy cities shall not be inhabited. Houbigant.
Ezekiel 35:10. Whereas the Lord was there— Whereas the Lord hath laid it waste. Houbigant. See Ezekiel 35:12. The two nations and countries, mean the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel.
Ezekiel 35:14. When the whole earth rejoiceth— I will reduce thee to desolation, the whole land rejoicing. Houbigant. "After the return from captivity, when your neighbours shall be recovered from their past misfortunes, and shall have regained their prosperity, you shall be reduced to desolation." This happened under the Maccabees, who made war with the Edomites, and obliged them to receive circumcision. See 1Ma 4:15; 1Ma 5:3.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, Mount Seir had before been arraigned and condemned: a second time, to shew the certainty of God's counsel concerning them, the prophet must repeat the charge and the judgment passed upon her. Since God was against her, he must set his face against her too.
1. The provocation given by the Edomites was their enmity and ill-behaviour towards God's Israel. The hatred of Esau against Jacob had been transmitted as a deadly feud to his posterity: and now, that they had an opportunity to wreak their revenge upon the Jews, they failed not to improve it, and shed the blood of those who fled in the day of their calamity, unable to resist, when the measure of their iniquity was full, and their ruin completed. Note; (1.) The quarrels of parents frequently descend to their children; and even national antipathies are often deeply rooted; but the most perpetual hatred is that which ever did and ever will subsist in the carnal mind against the children of God. (2.) It is base and cruel to take advantage of the distress of others, to oppress them, and add to their affliction.
2. The punishment denounced is, the utter desolation of their country. Since they had so lavishly shed blood, God will give them blood to drink. The mountains shall be filled with their slain, and the sword devour without mercy; so that, on whichever side they turned, death met them. Thus should the country be made perpetual desolations, and never more be restored to its former prosperity: and in these judgments God will make himself known to them, as the avenger of his people's wrongs; and sooner or later shall the revenge of the malicious be thus with fearful vengeance repaid.
2nd, We have farther instances of the wickedness of the Edomites.
1. In the blasphemies both against God and his people. Thou hast said, These two nations., and these two countries shall be mine; they thought of seizing the land of Judah and Israel for their own; whereas, or though, the Lord was there; which shewed their profaneness and impiety; as if, notwithstanding his presence and protection, they could and would possess it. They concluded because the land was desolate, that God had utterly abandoned the house of Israel, but it was far otherwise; for every boast and insolent word uttered against them, the Lord regarded as a reproach cast upon himself.
2. They rejoiced to see the desolations of Israel; their envy and hatred were thus gratified, and, with a malicious pleasure, they insulted over them.
3. God remarked their wicked words: he heard, and will avenge them; he will retaliate upon them all the anger, envy, and hatred that they shewed to Israel, and make them desolate as those over whom they rejoiced. Yea, when other nations shall see their miseries removed, Edom's desolations shall remain; or, as the words may be rendered, The whole earth shall rejoice in the desolations which I shall make for thee, pleased to behold their fall. And herein God will also glorify himself, and make his justice, power, and regard to his believing people, known in the destruction of their enemies. Note; (1.) Not an idle word escapes the divine cognizance; much less the hard speeches which profane and ungodly sinners utter against the Lord. (2.) They who maliciously rejoice in the death of others, by whom they hope to gain, may expect that others will express the same malicious pleasure over them, when the day of their fall arrives. (3.) God will order all the dispensations of his providence and grace in such a way, as to demonstrate his care and faithfulness toward those who love him.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ezekiel 35". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany