Ezekiel 35 - Outline of Ezekiel (Book Notes menu page)
As the LORD directs Ezekiel's gaze toward the future regathering and restoration of Israel, He has spoken of the removal of unbelieving Jews from the land (ch.33), and the removal of the false shepherds who governed the people of Israel (ch. 34).
     In the chapter before us, He speaks of the complete destruction of mount Seir (the land of Edom). But, Why? Devastating judgment was pronounced upon Edom, back in ch. 25. Is this chapter (ch. 35) an enhanced repetition of that prophecy?
     While certain aspects of this chapter review the reasons for the completed historic judgment of Edom, other aspects look forward to the judgments of the Day of the LORD. Thus, in this chapter, all ungodly Gentile nations are seen as one combined entity ('mount Seir') which will be brought down to nothing, because of their animosity against Israel and against the God who has declared that He will restore them. These nations occupy the position of fleshly rebellion, which characterized Esau in his lifetime.
     This chapter is divided into three sections, each ending with "thou {or, 'they'} shalt know that I am the LORD."
a. The predicted desolation of mount Seir - (35:1-4)
1. Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it,
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' is lit., desolation and desolation, or, desolation and astonishment}
4 I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate,
and thou shalt know that I [am] the LORD.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee...
Seir was the mountainous region which was inhabited by the nation of Edom, who were the descendants of Esau (Gen 36:8,9).
     The thorough desolation of Edom was previously foretold, in Eze 25:12-14, and in Obad 1:1-9. [See the Notes on Eze 25:12-14.]
     While the names Esau, Edom and Seir are often used synonymously, the prophecy in this chapter does not follow the pattern of the passages mentioned above. Ezekiel ch. 25 and Obadiah refer repeatedly to 'Edom.' Obadiah also refers to 'Esau.' But neither uses the name 'Seir' in the context of the judgment upon Edom (although, in Eze 25:8, 'Seir' is mentioned as in league with Moab). Strangely, the name Seir is also absent from other prophecies against Edom (eg., Isa 34:1-17; Jer 49:7-22).
     Why is this judgment directed at mount Seir, rather than against Edom?
  • The time of this judgment is in the future Day of the LORD.
    This prophecy (ch. 35) is placed just prior to the restoration of Israel and other end time events which lead to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom (ch. 36-f).
       In fulfillment of multiple prophecies (like that of Ezekiel ch. 25), the nation of Edom (and the descendants of Esau) disappeared from history around the time of the fall of Jerusalem, to the Romans in 70 AD. Today, their ancient cities, carved into sandstone cliff walls, are desolate and uninhabited, except for tourists visiting during daylight hours.
       Therefore, when this prophecy comes to fulfillment, the people of Edom will be long gone, but their land will remain.
  • The significance of 'mount Seir'-
    Throughout the present chapter (ch. 35), the judgment is always pronounced upon "mount Seir" (occurs 4x), not merely 'Seir.' The names Esau and Edom do not occur (except in the last verse, v.15, where 'mount Seir' and 'all Idumea' appear as synonyms).
       Also, in this passage, 'mount Seir' is seen in opposition to 'the mountains of Israel' (v.12; 36:1-5). Often, in Scripture, the term 'mountain' refers symbolically to the relative power of kingdoms, (eg., a mountain versus a hill, eg., Isa 2:2; Dan 2:35,44).
       The name 'Seir' is identical to a Hebrew word {sa'iyr} meaning hairy, shaggy, goat, or satyr. This word is often used in reference to sacrificial animals (eg., translated 'kid' or 'goat' in Eze 43:22,25; 45:23). But occasionally, it is used of 'devils' (eg., Lev 17:7; 2Chr 11:15), and 'satyrs' which were mythological desert devils (eg., Isa 13:21; 34:14).
       When these symbolic and spiritual connotatons are applied to 'mount Seir,' it becomes representative of the world system, empowered by the Devil, and opposed to the restoration of the 'mountains of Israel' (and therefore, opposed to the authority of the LORD, v.12,13).
       Believers, today, have been delivered out of Satan's kingdom. However, while we remain in this fallen world, we also are influenced by ungodly entities (Eph 2:1-10; 6:11-13; Col 1:13).
...Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee... I will make thee most desolate...
...and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
The nation of Edom experienced the LORD's fury when He eradicated them. In a similar way, the world system, which is in rebellion against the LORD, will understand who He is, when they are brought to complete ruin. cp. Psa 68:21-23 (where 'hairy' is HB=se'ar. The hairy 'scalp' {crown of head} represents a mind disheveled in its commitment to a way that is out of order.)
b. The perpetual hatred against Israel - (35:5-9)
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:
6 Therefore, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD,
I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee:
{ie., since} thou hast not hated blood,
even blood shall pursue thee.
{cp. Psa 109:17}
7 Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate,
and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth.
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.
9 I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return:
and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
The 'perpetual hatred' of Esau and Edom (Esau's descendants) against Israel was the primary reason that Edom was judged so severely. The murderous hatred of the children of Esau against the children of Israel {Jacob}, his brother, came to its peak when Edom cheered the Babylonian destroyers of Jerusalem, and slew the Jewish refugees, "in the time of their calamity" (Obad 1:10-14). For this, the LORD turned the sword against Edom, and had turned that nation into 'perpetual desolations.' v.9; Mal 1:3,4
     But Edom was not alone in their unending hatred of Israel. Anti-semitism has followed the Jewish people down through the ages, sometimes rising to hideous levels in inquisitions, pogroms, the Holocaust, and Islamic jihad. The continuing hatred of Israel, by Gentile nations, will reach its peak during the Time of Jacob's Trouble, the Great Tribulation period, when the Antichrist, enflamed by Satan, and in company with the armies of all nations, will seek to eradicate Israel and Jerusalem once and for all (eg., Zech 14:1-3; Rev 16:12-16). That also will be a "time of calamity" for Israel (until the LORD intervenes and rewards Israel's enemies with their own blood, v.5,6; Rev 14:19,20; 16:5-7; Isa 63:1-6).
     That future form of the perpetual hatred will be manifested "in the time [that their] iniquity [had] an end" {lit., "in the time of the iniquity of the end" [Darby, YLT]}. That time will come at the end of 'Daniel's Seventy Weeks' (Dan 9:24, the 'seventieth week' being the Tribulation period). At that time, the iniquity of Israel will end, for the believing remnant will turn in faith and repentance to their rejected King, and receive new hearts to serve Him (Isa 63:7,8; Eze 36:25-28).
     The iniquity committed against Israel by her enemies will also cease, for all of them will fall "slain by the sword" (v.8; Rev 19:17-21). The perpetual hatred will be rewarded with perpetual desolations.
c. The possessive blasphemies of all Idumea - (35:10-15)
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:
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.
{cp. Obad 1:15,16}
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.
13 Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me,
{eg., Dan 11:36; Rev 13:5-7}
and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard [them].
14 Thus saith the Lord GOD;
When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate.
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.
...Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries {HB='erets, lands} shall be mine... we will possess it...
Here is another reason for severe judgment upon the Gentile nations.
The 'two nations' are the two kingdoms of Israel, which had been carried away captive and dispersed from their lands (the northern kingdom by Assyria in 721 BC, and the southern kingdom by Babylon in 586 BC, and by Rome in 70 AD).
The Gentile nations will be judged, in the future Day of the LORD...
  1. for their perpetual hatred against Israel (v.5).
  2. for their intent to appropriate the land of Israel for themselves (v.10).
    That future judgment was foreshadowed by the historic judgment of Edom, which was also for both reasons. cp. Obad 1:10-14
    [For more, see the Book Notes on Obadiah, especially Obad 1:15-21. Use the "Book Notes" button to return to Ezekiel ch. 35.]
...whereas the LORD was there...
The land of Israel belongs to the LORD.
  • He calls it "My land" (eg., Lev 25:23; Eze 36:5; 38:16; Joel 1:6).
  • He gave His land, as an everlasting possession, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob {Israel}
    and to the twelve tribes of Israel (eg., Gen 12:7; 15:18-21; 17:8; 48:4).
  • He cast Israel out of His land, temporarily, because of their sin. eg., Lev 20:22
    Yet, it was (and is) His stated intent to bring them back and restore the nation to the land that He gave them in perpetuity. While the land is Israel's "everlasting possession," its occupancy is reserved for God's holy people (eg., Lev 26:42-45; Jer 23:1-8).
...I have heard all thy blasphemies...
...saying, they are laid desolate, they are given to us to consume {ie., devour}... (v.12)
During the Tribulation period, the nations, in their anger, envy and hatred against Israel will...
  1. Part {ie., divide, apportion} the land (Joel 3:2).
  2. Divide Jerusalem and the Temple mount (eg., Rev 11:2).
  3. Seek to take the land (or its resources) for a prey (Eze 38:13).
  4. Overrun the land and capture Jerusalem,
    causing loss of life and injury to many Israelites (Zech 13:8,9; 14:1-3).
Today, although Israel has returned to the land, and is in possession of Jerusalem, they are still under the thumb of Gentile nations. Several of the above points are already active. The nations refer to Judea and Samaria as "occupied territories." Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple mount. The nations regard the terrorists, who murder Israel's people, as 'freedom fighters.' The nations press Israel to surrender land in exchange for 'peace.' Although peace cannot be purchased at the price of selling the LORD's land, the pressure, from the nations, will only increase as time passes.
...Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate.
That day, of rejoicing, will answer the prayer of God's people:
     "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Mat 6:10)
But that day will be accompanied by the complete undoing of the LORD's enemies (cp. Isa 14:7,8; 65:13-15).
...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... (v.15)
The LORD's declaration, of the desolation of the Gentile nations for their misappropriation of Israel's land {their inheritance, as God's gift to their forefathers}, continues into the next chapter (Eze 36:1-5), where the nations are again referred to as "all Idumea."
     'Idumea' is the same Hebrew word as 'Edom.' This is the first occurrence in this chapter. As used in this context (regarding the future Day of the LORD), the term does not refer to Edom as a nation or race of Esau's descendants, because both became extinct long ago. Rather, it refers to the entire race of unregenerate men, who, like Esau, have no regard for God and His Word (Heb 12:16). [Also, compare Amos 9:11,12 with Acts 15:16,17, noting that 'Edom' is used as a synonym for 'men' {ie., mankind} of whom only a remnant seek the Lord.]
     'All Idumea' (ie., the nations of unregenerate men) are under the dominion of 'mount Seir' (the realm of Satan's dark power). Eph 2:2,3
...and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.
At the time of their judgment, all of the LORD's enemies will reluctantly acknowledge that He is the ultimate Authority. (See Isa 45:23-25, where 'every' includes even those presently chained in darkness 'under the earth'. cp. Jude 1:6; Php 2:10,11).

Click here to continue the study in Ezekiel 36
Return to Ezekiel - MENU page.

Limited permission is granted to copy & distribute these notes from www.theBookwurm.com

Go to The Book opening page.