Ezekiel 35:1-15

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2018-07-30 11:21.

Posted in | printer-friendly version »

YHWH’s “word” or message (“word of prophecy” [Targum]) came to Ezekiel (35:1), a “son of man” or a mortal in the service of the eternal God, directing him to “set [his] face [or focus his attention] against Mount Seir and prophesy against it.” “Mount Seir” is another name for the land of Edom, including its inhabitants the Edomites. Like the Israelites, the Edomites were descendants of Abraham and Isaac. They were closely related, for the Israelites descended from Jacob, and the Edomites from his twin brother Esau or Edom. The Edomites, however, did not treat the Israelites as their brothers. (35:2) Therefore, the Lord YHWH declared through Ezekiel, “Look, I am against you Mount Seir, and I will stretch out my hand [my power] against you, and I will make you a complete devastation [literally, a devastation and a desolation (a wilderness, and you will be desolated [LXX])].” (35:3) “I will lay your cities waste, and you will become a devastation, and you will know that I am YHWH.” Upon being conquered and their cities reduced to ruins, the Edomites would “know” or be forced to recognize that YHWH had executed his punitive judgment against them. (35:4)

The Edomites revealed their perpetual hostility toward the Israelites when siding with their enemies. They handed the “sons [or people] of Israel” over to the hand or power of the sword at the time they faced calamity, “at the time of [their] punishment [literally, cutting off].” According to the Septuagint, the Edomites laid in wait treacherously for the “house of Israel” by the “hand of enemies, with a sword.” The oldest extant Greek manuscript (P967) indicates that the Edomites acted against the “house of Israel” by the “hand of [enemy] nations,” with a “sword.” This was “at a time of injustice, at an end.” The “time of injustice” could designate a time when the people of Israel were dealt with unjustly as victims of warfare. Possibly the reference to an “end” could apply to the ruin that came to the Israelites. (35:5)

“Therefore” (on account of what the Edomites had done), the Lord YHWH solemnly declared with wording formulated like an oath (“as I live”) that he would prepare Mount Seir (Edom or the Edomites) “for blood,” possibly meaning that the Edomites would have their blood shed, and “blood” would “pursue” them. This pursuit suggests that the sword of war would continue to be directed against them to spill their blood. The Septuagint rendering could be understood to indicate that the Edomites had “sinned to blood,” apparently meaning that they had seriously made themselves guilty of shedding much blood. (35:6) When executing his judgment against Mount Seir or Edom, YHWH would make or allow it to become a complete devastation (literally, “a devastation and a devastation”), cutting off from the land all those “coming” from it and all those “going” to it. According to the Septuagint, God would destroy from Mount Seir or the land of Edom both men and beasts or livestock. (35:7) YHWH purposed to “fill” the mountains of Edom “with the slain. On the hills, in the valleys, and in all the wadis, those slain with the sword would fall. (35:8; see the Notes section.) YHWH would make or allow Edom to become “perpetual devastations,” and the cities of the land would cease to be inhabited. At the time this occurred, the Edomites would “know” or be forced to recognize that YHWH was the God who had executed his punitive judgment against them. (35:9)

The Edomites assumed that the “two nations” and the “two lands” (the desolated territories of the realm of Israel and the realm of Judah) would become theirs to possess. They are quoted as having expressed themselves to this effect, but they had failed to recognize that the entire region continued to be under the control of YHWH. He “was there,” and the Edomites were not at liberty to take over the vacated and devastated land. (35:10) “Therefore,” the Lord YHWH solemnly declared (“as I live”) that he would deal with the Edomites according to the anger, jealousy, and hatred they had shown toward the people of Israel when he executed his punitive judgment against them. YHWH would then make himself known “among them” (the Israelites [Masoretic Text]) or among the Edomites [“to you” (LXX)]) (35:11) He had heard all the contemptuous expressions the Edomites had uttered “against the mountains [or hill country] of Israel.” They had said regarding the “mountains” or all the land areas, “They have been desolated. To us, they have been given to devour.” As far as the Edomites were concerned, the devastated land was theirs for the taking and for them to exploit. (35:12; see the Notes section.)

YHWH considered the arrogant expressions coming from the “mouth” of the Edomites respecting his people and their land as directed against him. They had multiplied their words against him, and he had heard what they said. (35:13) Therefore, the Lord YHWH made known that he would make “Mount Seir” a “devastation” or let Edom be laid waste. This apparently would cause “all the earth” or people everywhere to rejoice. In their renderings, a number of modern translations are more specific than is the wording of the Hebrew text. “I shall make you so desolate that the whole world will gloat over you.” (REB) “The whole world will rejoice when I make you desolate.” (NLT) “To the joy of the whole world, I shall make you a waste.” (NJB) “Everyone on earth will celebrate when I destroy you.” (CEV) (35:14)

The Edomites had rejoiced maliciously “over the inheritance of the house of Israel” at the time enemy warriors desolated it. Therefore, YHWH purposed to deal with the Edomites accordingly. “Mount Seir and all Edom, all of it,” would become a “devastation” or be reduced to ruins. No part of the land would be spared. Upon the fulfillment of YHWH’s word, the Edomites would “know” or be forced to recognize that YHWH is the God who had executed his punishment against them. (35:15)


The wording of verse 8 in the Septuagint differs somewhat from the reading of the Masoretic Text. “And I will fill the hills and your ravines with your [mortally] wounded; and on all your plains in you, the [mortally] wounded with the sword will fall.” In the oldest extant Greek text (P967), the words are structured differently. “And I will fill the hills and the ravines with your [mortally] wounded, and the [mortally] wounded will be on all your plains; they will fall by the sword.”

According to the reading of verse 12 in the Septuagint, God had heard the “sound” of the “blasphemies” of the Edomites.