Ezek. 35:1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Ezek. 35:2 Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it,
Ezek. 35:3 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.
Ezek. 35:4 I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
Mt. Seir is a reference to the land of Edom that was occupied by the descendants of Esau. The Lord is declaring through His prophet that He is going to send judgment upon the Edomites and make their cities waste and desolate—in other words, they are going to be destroyed. Through this prophecy and the destruction to follow, the Edomites are going to be made to acknowledge God as LORD.
Ezek. 35:5 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:
God has declared His intent to judge and now He explains the reason behind the judgment. The Edomites had expressed an ongoing hatred of their Israelite cousins. They had established themselves as enemies of Israel. They had expressed that hatred by taking advantage of the times that Israel had experienced oppression or destruction from some of their other enemies. They had attacked Israel when they were already down, after God’s judgment had served its purpose. They were not instruments of judgment in the hand of God; they were cowards who took advantage of Israel when they were most defenseless.
Ezek. 35:6 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.
Ezek. 35:7 Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth.
Ezek. 35:8 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.
Ezek. 35:9 I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
God’s judgment always fits the crime. Just as Edom had used the sword with hatred and cruelty, so they would be at the receiving end of swords of cruelty and destruction. The whole recorded prophecy of Obadiah is against Edom and states the same truth:
Obad. 15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.
There will be no men left to travel its highways. The slaughter of men is described as one that will “fill his mountains.” The slain will basically litter the hills, valleys, and rivers. This judgment will result in perpetual desolations; its cities would not be rebuilt.
Ezek. 35:10 Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:
Ezek. 35:11 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.
“these two nations and these two countries” – This would be a reference to the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel. It was Edom’s desire to possess the whole of Israel. They didn’t even consider that God had declared this land to belong to Him.
“as I live” – You can’t get any better guarantee of the truth of a statement.
Verse 11 is affirming the truth that the judgment will fit the actions being judged. Interestingly enough, the last statement of verse 11 declares that Israel will be made to recognize God through His judgment of Edom as prophesied.
Ezek. 35:12 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.
Ezek. 35:13 Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them.
Now emphasis is given to the declaration in verse 4—“thou shalt know that I am the LORD.” God is informing the people of Edom that He has heard the evil they have spoken against the nation of Israel. He has heard them plot to conquer them after another enemy had already basically destroyed them. We don’t even have to speak; God knows our thoughts.
1Chr. 28:9 … for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts…
Psa. 94:11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
Is. 66:18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.
God has also heard them “boast against Him.” I got the impression that this was a statement of pride in their ability to succeed in spite of the fact that the Israelites were recognized as God’s chosen people. This is basically equating God with all the other false gods worshiped by the heathen.
Ezek. 35:14 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate.
Ezek. 35:15 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.
I like the Complete Jewish Bible translation of verse 14.
Here is what Adonai ELOHIM says: ‘To the joy of all the land, I will desolate you.
Israel will be able to rejoice at the destruction of her long-time enemy. Israel had and would experience desolating destruction at the hand of the LORD, but she would no longer have to fear evil at the hands of Edom. Israel would recover. Edom would not soon recover. Idumea is another name for the land of Edom. Verse 15 makes it clear that this judgment is against the whole nation of Edom, not just a portion of it. Edom will be made to recognize God as LORD, the Almighty God.
We know that the people of Edom recovered to some degree, but were never recognized as a nation again. Eerdman’s Dictionary notes the following:
“The Edomites in the southern part of Cisjordanian Palestine were known as Idumaeans during the Hellenistic/Roman periods. The family of Antipater and Herod the Great were of Edomite descent.”
They are mentioned as escaping the overthrow of the Antichrist during the 70th week of Daniel.
Dan. 11:41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
Amos 9 speaks of the time when Israel will dwell securely in their land never to be uprooted again, and point is made that they will possess the believing remnant of Edom—those that are called by the Lord’s name.
Amos 9:11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
Amos 9:12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.
(12/08) As I was reading this again, I ealized I had overlooked the fact that not only will Israel possess (have rule over) Edom, but of all the heathen that are “called by my name.” This, I believe, is a reference to theMessiah’s Kingdom when Jesus will be on the throne in Jerusalem as The King on planet earth.