|@September 25, 2023||ESV (2016)||ESV Prophets Plan 2023|
- Prophecy Against Mount Seir
The chapter opens with a word from God that came to Ezekiel to prophesy against Mount Seir. Mount Seir was the ancient name for the mountainous regions south of the Dead Sea on both sides of the Rift Valley. The Edomites inhabited the region and displaced the former residents, the Horites (Deut. 2:12; Deut. 2:22). Mount Seir was the central mountain of the Edomite nation and thus synonymous with the country itself (Gen. 32:3). Most likely Edom was mentioned here to represent the judgment that God would inflict on all nations who opposed Israel.
In Ezek. 35:3-9, God instructs Ezekiel that He is against Mount Seir and would stretch out His hand against them. It was because they “cherished perpetual enmity” and “gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity” (Ezek. 35:5) that God’s judgment would now be upon them. Their love for bloodshed would come back to them and Mount Seir would be made a waste and a desolation. Through this they would know that God is LORD (Ezek. 35:9).
In Ezek. 35:10-12a, God gives reasoning for His judgment in Edom’s desire to conquer nations and take possession of them. God would now deal with them “according to the anger and envy” (Ezek. 35:11) they had shown. The expression “I will treat you according to” indicates that the punishment should be commensurate with the crime. It came to be known as the (Lat) “lex talionis” (or law of retribution). The concept can be seen in principle in texts such as Gen. 9:6: “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans his blood will be shed.”
In the remaining verses of the chapter (Ezek. 35:12b-15), God speaks of how He heard the revilings that Edom “uttered against the mountains of Israel” (Ezek. 35:12b). In so doing, they had magnified themselves against God by their mouths. They had rejoiced over Israel’s inheritance (its desolation) and so would experience the same rejoicing among “the whole earth” as Edom itself is made desolate. Mount Seir and all of Edom would be effected and they would come to know that God is LORD (Ezek. 35:15).
God commissioned Ezekiel to prophesy against Mount Seir (Edom), likely representing all nations who had opposed Israel. Edom had celebrated how Israel was made desolate, showing anger and envy, exacerbating Israel’s time of calamity. For this, God would now bring blood upon them, repaying the blood they had shed themselves.
An important concept to touch on here is how we are to respond to the calamity of others. God is displeased when believers secretly rejoice over the downfall of other people, even if they be enemies of the faith. It is not true love to express a quiet satisfaction when someone receives what we feel to be their just deserts. Whatever our orientation to them, every person is born in God’s image with all dignity, worth and value. When tragedy strikes, whether for friend or foe, our hearts should be set toward compassion, grieving for their circumstance and hoping that God will use this time to bring them into stronger relationship with Himself.
Scripture Journal Notes
Commentaries & Resources Used
- ESV Study Bible. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Guardian Press, 1976)
- The Bible: A Reader’s Guide (Sterling Publishing, 2011)
- The Infographic Bible (Zondervan, 2018)
- ESV Digital Scripture Journal (Crossway, 2019)