Scripture reading – Ezekiel 35; Ezekiel 36

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After prophesying against the spiritual shepherds of Israel, for they had put themselves before the welfare of the people (Ezekiel 34:2-6), Ezekiel prophesied “against Mount Seir” (a name for the region of Edom, Ezekiel 35:2). The Edomites, descendants of Esau, the brother of the patriarch Jacob, were located in the region southeast of Israel, and to the east of the Dead Sea. They despised Israel and Judah and were guilty of taking pleasure in the sorrows and sufferings of those nations.


Ezekiel 35


The LORD Determined to Judge Edom (Ezekiel 35:1-4)

The LORD came to Ezekiel and commanded Him to prophesy against Edom, saying, “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O mount Seir [i.e., Edom], I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate. 4I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 35:3-4).

Following Edom’s defeat, their cities were laid waste, and the land desolate (i.e., uninhabited). Once again, the Scriptures remind us that God’s judgments are to the end that a people and nation might know Israel’s God is “the LORD” (Ezekiel 35:4).


The Edomites Hated God’s People (Ezekiel 35:5-9)

The Edomites were of the line of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother, and Isaac’s and Abraham’s lineage. Edom had a long history of “perpetual hatred” and violence against the children of Israel (Ezekiel 35:5). They were guilty of shedding the blood of Israel and provoking God’s wrath (Ezekiel 35:5). The LORD, therefore, determined the blood of Edom would be shed, the people killed, and their land left desolate (Ezekiel 35:6-7).

The slaughter of Edom would be so complete that it was foretold the mountains, valleys, and hills would be filled with the bodies of the slain (Ezekiel 35:8-9). The cities of Edom would not be rebuilt, and the people would know what was done was of the LORD (Ezekiel 35:9).

The Edomites Coveted Israel’s Inheritance

The Edomites Coveted Israel’s Inheritance (Ezekiel 35:10-11)

Taking pleasure in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jews’ captivity, the Edomites boasted that the land the LORD had given His people would become their inheritance (Ezekiel 35:10). Through His prophet, the LORD declared that the Edomites would reap what they had sown and His name would be glorified in their judgment (Ezekiel 35:11).


The Edomites Slandered Israel and Defied the LORD (Ezekiel 35:12-14)

Edom had mocked and scorned the “mountains of Israel” (i.e., the leaders of Israel) and boasted, “They are laid desolate, they are given to us to consume” (Ezekiel 25:12). The LORD then declared, “I have heard them” (Ezekiel 35:13). Ezekiel declared the nations of the earth would rejoice when Edom was left desolate (Ezekiel 35:14).

The prophet Malachi would later look back upon Edom’s judgment and remember the LORD declaring, “I hated Esau (Edom), and laid his mountains and his heritage waste” (Malachi 1:3).


The Edomites Reaped What They Sowed (Ezekiel 35:15)

Edom took pleasure in the overthrow of Jerusalem and the desolation of Israel and Judah. The LORD, being just, declared the Edomites would suffer the same sorrows (Ezekiel 35:15a).  What Edom (“mount Seir, and all Idumea)” had sown as a nation, they would reap, to the end that the people would know the God of Israel was Sovereign and that He is “the LORD” (Ezekiel 35:15b).

Times change and nations come and go, but the principle of Sowing and Reaping is a constant, immutable truth. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

God’s Promise to Restore the Land

Ezekiel 36 – A Far-reaching Prophecy for Israel

Ezekiel warned the Edomites that the wrath of the LORD would be poured out on their nation because they continued their hatred toward Israel (Ezekiel 35). Edom coveted the land God promised Israel for an inheritance. Therefore, Ezekiel was commanded to “prophesy unto the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 36:1).

With Jerusalem destroyed and the land of Judah desolate (for the Jews were taken captive to Babylon), Edom boasted, “The ancient high places are ours in possession” (Ezekiel 36:2). The land promised to Abraham as an inheritance (Genesis 12:6-8) and given to the Twelve Tribes of Israel as their possession was occupied by Edomites (Ezekiel 36:2). In Israel’s absence, they devoured and blasphemed the land that was Israel’s inheritance (Ezekiel 36:3).


God Promised to Remember the Land and Judge Edom (Ezekiel 36:4-7)

Ezekiel called upon the mountains, hills, rivers, and valleys of Israel and declared the wrath of God was stirred against Edom (Ezekiel 36:4-5). With Israel and Judah exiled, the Edomites gleefully took that which was not theirs (Ezekiel 36:5-6) but would bear the wrath of the LORD and “their shame” (Ezekiel 36:7).


God’s Promise to Restore the Land (Ezekiel 36:8-15)

The children of Israel and the land of Israel are inseparable in God’s heart. Though the land has been a land of violence and war, it is nevertheless the habitation in which God placed His name and will one day be the seat of His millennial kingdom.

Though Edom occupied the land in Ezekiel’s day, the LORD revealed Israel would return, and the land would again be fruitful (Ezekiel 36:8-10). On that day, the population would grow, the cities would be rebuilt, and the people would acknowledge the LORD as sovereign (Ezekiel 36:10-11). Israel would take possession of her land, and the day would come when wars would cease, and peace would reign (Ezekiel 36:12-15). (Though Israel returned to her land after 70 years in captivity, and the Jews occupy the land today, the promise of the tribes of Israel returning and lasting peace is still the future).


God’s Care and Promises for Israel (Ezekiel 36:16-38)

We are reminded that Israel and Judah were in captivity as a result of God’s judgment of their wickedness (Ezekiel 36:16-21). The people had murdered, worshipped idols, and profaned the name of the LORD before the heathen (Ezekiel 36:16-21). They provoked the wrath of God with their sins, and He scattered His people among the nations of the earth (Ezekiel 36:18-19).

Yet, the LORD had not forsaken Israel and promised He would restore His people for His name’s sake (Ezekiel 36:22). The LORD promised Israel would return to her land, and the nations of the earth would know He is “the LORD” (Ezekiel 36:23).

In closing, I invite you to take a few minutes and find in Ezekiel 36:24-38 fifteen promises the LORD will fulfill when Israel and Judah return as one nation to the land.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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