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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Ezekiel 35



Verse 1

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Another feature of Israel's prosperity; those who exulted over Israel's humiliation shall themselves be a "prey." Already stated in Ezekiel 25:12-14; properly repeated here in full detail as a commentary on Ezekiel 34:28, "They shall no more be a prey to the pagan ... and none shall make them afraid." The Israelites "shall be no more a prey;" but Edom, the type of their most bitter foes, shall be destroyed irrecoverably.

Verse 2

Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it,

Mount Seir - i:e., Idumea (Genesis 36:9). Singled out, as badly preeminent in its bitterness against God's people, to represent all their enemies everywhere and in all ages. So in Isaiah 34:5; Isaiah 63:1-4, Edom, the region of the greatest enmity toward God's people, is the ideal scene of the final judgments on all God's foes. "Seir" [ See`iyr (Hebrew #8165)] means shaggy, alluding to its rugged hills and forests; and originally to Esau, the ancestor of Edom, having been from the womb "hairy" (the same Hebrew is here as in Genesis 25:25), Genesis 27:11.

Verse 3

And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate.

Most desolate - literally, desolation and desolateness, (Jeremiah 49:17, etc.) It is only in their national character of foes to God's people that the Edomites are to be utterly destroyed. A remnant of Edom, as of the other pagan, is to be "called by the name of God" (Amos 9:12, "That they (the Israelites) may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the pagan which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this").

Verse 4

I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 5

Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:

Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred - (Psalms 137:7; Amos 1:11; Obadiah 1:10-16). Edom perpetuated the hereditary hatred derived from Esau against Jacob.

Shed the blood of ... The literal translation is better, 'thou hast poured out the children of Israel,' namely, like water. So Psalms 22:14; Psalms 63:10, margin; Jeremiah 18:21; Hebrew, 'pour them out by the force of the sword.' Cf 2 Samuel 14:14.

By the force of the sword - literally, "by" or 'upon the hands of the sword;' the sword being personified as a devourer whose 'hands' were the instruments of destruction.

In the time that their iniquity had an end - i:e., had its consummation (Ezekiel 21:25; Ezekiel 21:29). Edom consummated his guilt when he exulted over Jerusalem's downfall, and helped the foe to destroy it (Psalms 137:7; Obadiah 1:11).

Verse 6

Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee.

I will prepare thee unto blood - I will expose thee to slaughter.

Sith - old English for 'seeing that,' or 'since.'

Thou hast not hated blood - the Hebrew order is, 'thou hast hated not blood;' i:e., thou couldst not bear to live without bloodshed (Grotius). There is a play on similar sounds in the Hebrew: Edom resembling dam, the Hebrew for "blood" [ daam (Hebrew #1818)]; as Edom means red, the transition to blood is easy. Edom was akin to blood in name, so also in nature and acts; "blood therefore shall pursue thee." The measure which Edom meted to others should be meted to himself (Psalms 109:17; Matthew 7:2; Matthew 26:52).

Verse 7

Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth.

Thus will ... cut off from it him that passeth - i:e., every passer to and fro; "the highways shall be unoccupied" (Ezekiel 29:11; Judges 5:6). A retribution in kind, that she should be "cut off" herself, even as she "stood in the crossway to cut off those of his (Jacob's people) that did escape" (Obadiah 1:14).

Verse 8

And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 9

I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

Thy cities shall not return - to their former state (Ezekiel 16:55); shall not be restored. [The Hebrew text (Kethibh) reads, 'shall not be inhabited,' tiyshabnaah (cf. Ezekiel 26:20; Malachi 1:3-4), instead of taashob

Verse 10

Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:

Because thou hast said, Those two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the Lord was there. So far shall Edom be from being allowed to enter on Israel's vacated inheritance, as he hoped (Ezekiel 36:5; Psalms 83:4; Psalms 83:12; Obadiah 1:13), that he shall be deprived of his own; and whereas Israel's humiliation was temporary, Edom's shall be perpetual.

The Lord was there - (Ezekiel 48:35; Psalms 48:1; Psalms 48:3; Psalms 132:13-14). Yahweh claimed Judea as His own, even when the Chaldeans had overthrown the state; they could not remove Him, as they did the idols of pagan lands. The broken sentences express the excited feelings of the prophet at Edom's wicked presumption. The transition from the "two nations and two countries" to "it" marks that the two, Israel and Judah, are regarded as one whole. The last clause, "and Yahweh was there," bursts in, like a flash of lightning, reproving the wicked presumption of Edom's thought.

Verse 11

Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee.

I will even do according to thine anger - (James 2:13, "He shall have judgment without mercy that hath showed no mercy"). As thou in anger and envy hast injured them, so I will injure thee.

I will make myself known among them - namely, the Israelites. I will manifest my favour to them, after that I have punished thee.

Verse 12-13

And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume.

Thou shalt know ... that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against ... Israel. Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me. God regards what is done against His people as done against Himself (Matthew 25:45; Acts 9:1; Acts 9:4-5, "Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord ... Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou ME? ... I am Jesus whom thou persecutest"). Edom implied, if he did not express it, in his taunts against Israel, that God had not sufficient power to protect His people. A type of the spirit of all the foes of God and His people (1 Samuel 2:3; Revelation 13:6).

Verse 14

Thus saith the Lord GOD When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate.

When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate - (Isaiah 65:13-14). "The whole earth" refers to Judea, and the nations that submit themselves to Judea's God; when these rejoice, the foes of God and His people, represented by Edom as a nation, shall be desolate. Things shall be completely reversed; Israel, that now for a time mourns, shall then rejoice, and that forever. Edom, that now rejoices over fallen Israel, shall then, when elsewhere all is joy, mourn, and forever (Isaiah 65:17-19, "Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy;" Matthew 5:4; Luke 6:25). Havernick loses this striking antithesis by translating, 'According to the joy of the whole land (of Edom), so I will make thee desolate;' which would make the next verse a mere repetition of this.

Verse 15

As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee - (Obadiah 1:12; Obadiah 1:15).


(1) Edom is often in Scripture made the type of the most hitter and inveterate enemies of God's people in all ages. The hatred of brothers, when they are at variance, is proverbially rancorous. Such was Esau's hatred of Jacob, though the latter averted it by soft words and conciliatory acts; and such was the inherited bitterness of Esau's descendants toward Israel. Therefore, God declares, "Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee ... and thou shalt be desolate" (Ezekiel 35:3-4). Those who cherish "a perpetual hatred" (Ezekiel 35:5) against their fellow-man, betray the carnal mind, which is "enmity against God" (Romans 8:7); therefore God is against them, and will give them, in righteous retribution, to "perpetual desolations" (Ezekiel 35:9).

(2) As Edom exulted over the calamity of Israel, which was the penalty of their fully-consummated "iniquity" (Ezekiel 35:5), therefore calamity was to be her own portion, and this not temporary, as in Israel's case, but for ever: there was to be no "return" to prosperity for Edom (Ezekiel 35:9). Since she delighted in bloodshedding, bloodshedding should pursue herself (Ezekiel 35:6). Since she "cut off" all of Israel who tried to escape through her territory (Obadiah 1:14), so all who pass from her land or return to it should be "cut off" (Ezekiel 35:7). Thus, should she be compelled by awful judgments to "know the Lord" as her Punisher, since she would not know Him as her Saviour (Ezekiel 35:9).

(3) The overthrow and exile of the Israelites from their land ought to have moved Edom to self-examination, lest there should be in herself sins found which might provoke God to inflict similar judgments. Instead of this, she regarded Israel's calamity as her opportunity: "These two countries shall be mine," said she, "and we will possess it." She forgot, in her wicked presumption, that land of Israel was peculiarly the Lord's possession, and the Lord's earthly dwelling-place (Ezekiel 35:10); therefore so far was Edom from being about to gain possession of Israel's inheritance, that she was about to be deprived of her own, and that for ever. He rein we have an awful example of God's retributive justice, whereby He makes 'anger, envy, and hatred' recoil upon the head of those who cherish such passions (Ezekiel 35:11). "I will even do, saith the Lord God, according to thine anger, and according to thine envy, which thou hast used out of thy hatred."

(4) Worldly men think lightly of speaking vindictive and calumnious words against the people of God, and of forming projects for taking selfish advantage of their times of extremity (Ezekiel 35:12); but God regards such words against His people as spoken against Himself. There is not a word that goeth out of our lips which God does not hear. How careful and guarded, then, we should be in our words, especially in times when our carnal passions and tempers are excited! (Ezekiel 35:13.) "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin; but he that refraineth his lips is wise" (Proverbs 10:19).

(5) What an entire reversal of the present order of things there will be at the second coming of Christ! The enemies of God, who so often seem now to triumph, shall then be cast down in desolation and everlasting sorrow (Ezekiel 35:14). The people of God, Israel and the elect Church, who so often now mourn, shall then "rejoice" with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Edom, that rejoiced over fallen Israel, shall then mourn over her own irretrievable fall; while "Jerusalem shall be a rejoicing, and her people a joy." Let us see that we take our portion now with the people of God in their season of trial, that so we may have our everlasting portion with them in their coming blessedness.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 35:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

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Friday, January 24th, 2020
the Second Week after Epiphany
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