Chapter 35 (ESV) - The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir, and prophesy against it, and say to it, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, Mount Seir, and I will stretch out my hand against you, and I will make you a desolation and a waste. I will lay your cities waste, and you shall become a desolation, and you shall know that I am the Lord. Because you cherished perpetual enmity and gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of their final punishment, therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; because you did not hate bloodshed, therefore blood shall pursue you. I will make Mount Seir a waste and a desolation, and I will cut off from it all who come and go. And I will fill its mountains with the slain. On your hills and in your valleys and in all your ravines those slain with the sword shall fall. I will make you a perpetual desolation, and your cities shall not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
“Because you said, ‘These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will take possession of them’—although the Lord was there— therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, I will deal with you according to the anger and envy that you showed because of your hatred against them. And I will make myself known among them, when I judge you. And you shall know that I am the Lord.
“I have heard all the revilings that you uttered against the mountains of Israel, saying, ‘They are laid desolate; they are given us to devour.’ And you magnified yourselves against me with your mouth, and multiplied your words against me; I heard it. Thus says the Lord God: While the whole earth rejoices, I will make you desolate. As you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so I will deal with you; you shall be desolate, Mount Seir, and all Edom, all of it. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
Question to consider: What son of Isaac is associated with Edom?
This chapter may seem out of place considering that the Lord had already dealt with the judgment of Edom (also known by its mountain, Mount Seir) back in chapter 25:12-14. This is only speculation on my part, but if you take a bird’s eye view of the last ten chapters, it almost seems like an ongoing conversation between Ezekiel and the Lord, much like what occurred in the book of Habakkuk. Of course, the main difference between Ezekiel and Habakkuk is that we don’t see Ezekiel’s responses. This makes sense considering that much of this time, Ezekiel was mute. The Lord, however, knew Ezekiel’s thoughts, and each section appears to be His response to them.
Ezekiel’s initial question of the Lord could have been something like, “Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?” (Habakkuk 1:3) This question was in regard to the actions and idolatry in Israel. Up until chapter 25 in Ezekiel, the Lord had talked about the wickedness of Israel and the judgment He had planned against them. However, the sword He planned to use to carry out these judgments was Babylon. All this talk of judgment against Israel by her enemies would raise the same question that Habakkuk had of the Lord, “You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” (Habakkuk 2:13) Essentially, he was asking how God could use the Chaldeans to judge Israel when the Chaldeans were even more wicked than they were? Set aside the fact that Israel’s idolatry could instead be considered more wicked since they did it in full knowledge of the Law, but God’s response from chapters 25 through 32 reassured Ezekiel that every nation that had plotted against or rejoiced in the judgment of Israel would be brought low as well. He would even judge Egypt because they broke their pledge to aid Israel against Babylon.
Once Jerusalem was made desolate in Chapter 33, God gave Ezekiel the reassurance that He would one day take it upon Himself to shepherd Israel and get rid of all those who were supposed to be shepherds but instead made merchandise of her sheep. This would be done by making the old covenant of Moses obsolete and establishing a new and everlasting covenant by His appointed shepherd who would rescue those from both kingdoms of Israel and eventually people from every tribe and nation. This period of desolation though would seem to be an opportunity for Edom to take back what they saw was a stolen inheritance from their father Isaac. The word edom means red which was the nickname given to Esau because of his red hair.
I would argue that chapter 35 is God’s proclamation that Edom would never be able to claim the land for themselves as their inheritance. Because they had not been a brother to Israel and plotted against them in envy, they would be made desolate and never get to share in the joy of the nations that would be brought by the new covenant in Christ.
Dear heavenly father, please give us ears to hear Your word against Edom that we may never be kept from Your covenant established in Christ’s blood. Thank You for sending Jesus to bring a salvation that made the whole world rejoice. Amen.