Ezekiel 35



1 “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying.”   As no date is given,

the present oracle, extending to the close of ch.36:15, may be assumed to have

been communicated to and delivered by the prophet in immediate succession to

the foregoing, with which it has also an intimate connection. Having announced

the future restoration of Israel, as Jehovah’s flock, to her own land under the

leadership of Jehovah’s servant David, who should feed them like a shepherd

and rule them like a prince (ch.34:13, 23-24), the prophet proceeds to contemplate

the existing hindrance to this return in the occupation of Palestine by the

Edomites, who had probably been allowed by the Chaldeans to take

possession of it in payment of services rendered by them against Judah in

the siege of Jerusalem — to predict the entire removal of this hindrance.

(vs. 1-15), and to administer to Israel the comfort which, as a consequence,

would ensue (ch.36:1-15).


2 “Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against

it,”  Set thy face against Mount Seir. The mountainous are in

between the Dead Sea and the Elanitic Gulf, which formed the original

settlement of Esau and his descendants (Genesis 36:9), is here put for

the land of Edom, as the land in turn stands for its people (ch.25:8).

Although already the prophet has pronounced a threatening doom

against Edom (Ibid. vs.12-14), he once more directs against it the

judgments of Heaven, on this occasion viewing it as the representative of

all those hostile world-powers which from the first had been opposed to

Israel as the theocratic nation, and which even then, by their antagonism,

hindered her return (compare Isaiah 63:1-8).


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.”  Behold, O Mount Seir, I am against thee

(compare ch. 5:8; 13:8; and contrast ch.36:9), and I will stretch out mine hand

against thee (compare ch. 6:14; 14:9, 13; 25:7, 13; and Exodus 7:5), and I will

make thee most desolate; literally, a desolation and an astonishment (compare

v. 7). Against the mountains of Israel had been denounced a similar fate, which

the idolatrous remnant that lingered in the land after the Captivity had commenced

began to experience (ch. 33:28-29). The doom, however, connected with the day

of Israel’s return was to fall upon Edom, whose cities should be emptied of their

inhabitants and whose fields should be cursed with barrenness (ch.25:13;

Obadiah 1:8,10).


“I will stretch out mine hand.” Hath God, then, a human hand? The language is

an accommodation to the understanding of man.  God has an adaptation of power

more than equivalent to the dexterous strength of the human hand. His almighty

hand can reach to the very extremities of the universe. As by a breath of the lips

He can create, so by a breath can He desolate cities.  (“By the word of the Lord

were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” 

Psalm 33:6;  In II Thessalonians 2:8 the Antichrist is consumed “with the

spirit of His (Christ’s) mouth.”)


4 “I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt

know that I am the LORD.” They shall know that I am Jehovah. By this

expressive formula Ezekiel intimates the moral effect which should be produced

upon the nations of the earth, whether by beholding or by experiencing the

Divine judgments (ch. 6:7, 13; 7:4, 9; 11:10, 12; 13:9, 14, 21, 23;

14:8; 15:7, et passim; compare Exodus 6:7; 7:5 17; 29:46; 31:13)



The Desolation of Mount Seir (vs. 1-4)


  • AN AFTER-THOUGHT OF JUDGMENT. This is a distressing and

disappointing passage. We seemed to have done with the weary recital of

successive judgments against the several heathen nations. Passing from

these painful scenes, we had come to the cheerful picture of the restoration

of Israel. Now that picture is rudely torn, and a description of the

desolation of Mount Seir inserted in the midst of it. The darkness of this

unexpected scene of judgment is the more appalling inasmuch as it is in

startling contrast with the preceding and the succeeding brightness of

Israel’s restoration. This looks like an after-thought of judgment. It is as

though Edom, the nation typified by Mount Seir, had been forgotten until

suddenly, by an unlucky chance, she came into mind, and then without

delay the thread of joyous prophecy is broken and her doom is ruthlessly

pronounced. At all events, the solitary and peculiar position of the

prophecy against Edom gives to it a striking significance.


Ø      No impenitent sinners can be always overlooked. There are no

exceptions to the law of retribution. “Whatsoever a man soweth,

that shall he also reap,” (Galatians 6:8) is a principle of universal

application. No single soul can by any rare good fortune ultimately

escape from it.


Ø      God’s forbearance does not destroy His justice. He may wait long.

But if the soul is finally impenitent, he will surely smite.


Ø      The goodness of God does not abolish His wrath against sin. Even

when the mercy is most fully displayed, this wrath is also seen.



KINGDOM. There was one reason why Edom should receive exceptional

treatment. She was not only a near neighbor to Israel, she was a blood

relation.  Her people were the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob.

Though a foreign nation, her cousinly relationship with Israel was like that

of America with England. She could reckon two — the two best — of the

patriarchs as her ancestors. Like Israel, she was descended from Abraham

and Isaac. Might not she, then, expect the blessings of the patriarchs? Esau

had begged for a blessing with bitter tears, and he had received one, but

not the best blessing (Genesis 27:38-40).  ( I highly recommend Spurgeon

sermon Sin and Sorrow -  sermon # 3473 at www.spurgeongems.org

CY – 2014)    The young man whom Christ loved was “not far from the

kingdom of God (Mark 12:34). Yet for all we know, he did not enter it.

The members of Christians families are favored with great religious privileges.

It is much to be able to claim godly ancestors. But these advantages will not

serve as substitutes for personal piety. Nay, they will make the guilt of

godlessness the greater. We may be like Edom, very near to Israel, yet

like Edom we may be cast aside and lost, if we have not really entered

ourselves into the Divine covenant.


  • THE PUNISHMENT OF HATRED. Edom was accused of

perpetual hatred” (v. 5) — a hatred which perhaps sprang from original

jealousy, still one that had been long cherished. As love is the fulfilling of

the Law, so hatred is the most effectual breaking of it. It is hatred that

brings war and misery on mankind. This is constituted out of the very

venom of hell. It cannot be allowed to remain unchecked. If it is not

abandoned and repented of, its curses must come home to roost, and they

who harbor it must suffer its doom. So long as a man cherishes hatred in

his heart towards a single fellow-creature, he cannot be accepted by God

(I John 4:20).


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:”

Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred; literally, hatred of

old, or eternal enmity (compare ch.25:15). This was the first of the two

specific grounds upon which Edom should feel the stroke of Divine

vengeance. Edom had been Israel’s hereditary foe from the days of Esau

and Jacob (Genesis 25:22, sqq.; and 27:37) downwards. Inspired with

unappeasable wrath (Amos 1:11), during the period of the wandering

he had refused Israel, “his brother,” a passage through his territory

(Numbers 20:14-21; Judges 11:17), and in the days of Jehoshaphat

had combined with Ammon and Moab to invade Judah (II Chronicles

20:10-11; compare Psalm 83:1-8). His relentless antipathy to Israel

culminated, according to Ezekiel (compare Obadiah 1:13), in the last days of

Jerusalem, in the time of her calamity, when Nebuchadnezzar’s armies

encompassed her walls, in the time that her iniquity had an end; or, in the

time of the iniquity of the end (Revised Version); meaning, according to

Keil, “the time of Judah’s final transgression;” or, according to Dr. Currey,

in the ‘Speaker’s Commentary,’ the time when the capture of the city put

an end to her iniquity; but, with more probability, the time of that iniquity

which brought on her end (compare ch.21:29). Ewald translates, “at the

time of her extremest punishment,” taking avon in the sense of punishment

a rendering the Revisers have placed in the margin. Then, according to

Obadiah (vs. 11-14), the Edomites had not only stood coolly by, but

malevolently exulted when they beheld Jerusalem besieged by the

Babylonian warriors; and not only joined with the foreign invaders in the

sacking of the city, but occupied its gates and guarded the roads leading

into the country, so as to prevent the escape of any of the wretched

inhabitants, and even hewed down with the sword such fugitives as they

were not able to save alive and deliver up to captivity. To this Ezekiel

refers when he accuses Edom of having shed the blood of the children of

Israel by the force of the sword; literally, of having poured the children of

Israel upon the hands of the sword; i.e. of having delivered them up to the

sword (compare Psalm 63:11; Jeremiah 18:21).



The End of Iniquity (v. 5)


  • INIQUITY MUST HAVE AN END. God will not permit it to run on

forever unchecked and unpunished. The sinner has a long leash, but it is

not interminable. God steps in at length and puts a stop to the awful

succession of wicked deeds. Wicked cities and nations have had their

end. So must it be with sinful lives.  (“The wicked shall be turned

into hell and all the nations that forget God.” – Psalm 9:17)



destroyer. It is a raging fire which will ultimately fade away into dull ashes

by consuming all the fuel on which it feeds. The sinner is a suicide. His evil

is a slow but sure poison, that eats out the very fiber of his soul. This awful

fate does not come on with a sudden shock so that men can be roused by

its approach. It is like a creeping paralysis, and its insidious advent is least

readily recognized by the very persons in whose experience it is taking




alternative. We are not bound to let the sin run through all its fatal course

to the final silence and desolation. We must end the sin or it will end us;

but the former may be done. The warnings of the fatal consequences of sin

are set before us for the express purpose of urging us to cast off the deadly

thing before it has completed its awful work.



in common with the fundamental moral law in regard to the ending of sin.

No lawgiver could be more stern in the denunciation of sin than the

gracious Savior. He gave it no quarter. From the first He declared Himself

its deadly enemy. He came “to destroy the works of the devil” (I John

3:8). There is no shadow of excuse for the notion that we can find in Christ

a shelter from the rigorous requirements of morality, so that we need not

be so strictly righteous if we are Christians, as we should need to be it we

were not. Christ expects a higher righteousness than that of the Law.

(Matthew 5:20) But when we perceive that our sin is our utter undoing,

we are prepared to welcome Christ as our Savior from this chiefly.



yet arrived. All is now calm and apparently prosperous. We may say that

there is time enough to consider the evil day. But the end may come before

we expect it. Its slow and gradual approach leads to our failing to perceive

how near it may be. Then the nearer it is the more difficult is it for us to

draw back. The descent becomes more steep as it approaches the precipice;

the rapids grow swifter as they near the falls; the poison more effectually

pervades the system as death comes on. The longer we postpone

repentance, the harder it is to repent. But apart from such thoughts of

warning, sin that leads to so awful an issue should be accounted hateful in

itself. Its present vile character is revealed by its end. With such fruit the

plant must be odious.


6 “Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood,

and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall

pursue thee.”  I will prepare thee unto blood. This peculiar expression was probably

selected because of the suggestion of the name Edom (“red”) contained in the

term dam (“blood”) and designed to intimate that Edom’s name would

eventually be verified in Edom’s fate. And blood shall pursue thee. As blood-

guiltiness invariably pursues a murderer, cries for vengeance, and delivers him up to

punishment so should blood follow in the steps of Edom. Sith thou hast not

hated blood meaning that Edom had loved bloodshed.  As to the precise import of

this rendering, diversity of sentiment prevails.  Some explain “blood” as an allusion

to the blood relationship of Esau and Jacob, Edom and Israel, and hold the charge

to be that Edom had hated his “brother” Israel. Others take the blood Edom hated

to be the blood he had shed.  Even — better, therefore (Revised Version) — blood

shall pursue thee. A parallel to this expression is supplied by Deuteronomy 28:22,

45. According to the first or commonly accepted exposition of the

preceding clause, the sense is that Edom would ultimately fall beneath the

great law of retribution, and reap as she had sown — blood for blood;

according to the second, the allusion is to the fact that what Edom now

most dreaded, the shedding of his own blood, would be that which should

ultimately overtake him (compare ch.11:8; Job 3:25).


There will be exact retribution. Sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall

pursue thee.” No human judge has ever been able to mete out such exact

penalties as God does. A combination of perfect qualities is needed, and

this perfect combination no one possesses save Jehovah. It is always a real

alleviation if the victim can feel that he has not deserved so much severity;

and it is the very core of anguish to realize that the suffering is absolutely

just. Conscience itself becomes the executioner of God.


The severity of Edom’s punishment was to answer to the greatness of her

crime.  Lasting enmity was to be visited with lasting desolation (vs. 5, 9).

The desolation was to be final.  No prospect, not the most distant, could

be entertained of relief. The stroke was to be, not disciplinary, but utterly

penal. It was to be a perpetual desolation. The race was to suffer

extirpation from the district. The edict was confirmed by an oath. “As I live,

saith the Lord God,” this shall be done. This form of speech by God is a

further accommodation to men. As an affirmation makes a deeper impression

upon the minds of men when accompanied by an oath, by a solemn appeal to

the presence of God, so God condescends to speak to men in such manner as

shall most powerfully affect them. From God the simplest form of words is

enough. “He is not a man, that He should lie.” (Numbers 23:19)  A word from

Him creates or destroys.  But He speaks by way of oath, in order to arrest our

thoughts and to convince our judgment.



Lex Talionis (vs. 5-6)

Ezekiel returns to his prophecy regarding the inhabitants of Mount Seir.

These neighbors of the Israelites were animated by hostility to God’s

people which was of a peculiarly bitter character. The prophet’s mind was

deeply affected and sorely pained by the language and the actions of these

enemies of Israel. This probably accounts for his reverting to his inspired

threats of adversity and even destruction about to overtake these bitter and

blasphemous foes of Israel and of Israel’s God.





Ø      The Author of this retribution was none other than the Lord God

Himself. He ruleth among the nations; “let not the rebellious exalt

themselves.” (Psalm 66:7)  His justice is unquestionable and His

power is irresistible. “He is terrible in His doings towards the children

of men.”  (Ibid. v. 5)


Ø      The nature of it. It is foretold that the cities shall be laid waste, and that

the land shall be desolate, that the blood of the inhabitants of Mount Seir

shall be shed. “I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue



Ø      The law of it. Observe that the judgment and penalty here foretold is not

simply retributive; it is of the nature of retaliation. The lea talionis

prescribed “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” etc. The punishment

matched the offense. Such a correspondence is noticeable between Seir’s

treatment of Israel and Jehovah’s treatment of Seir. They had shed blood,

and in recompense their blood should be shed. This is not to be regarded

as private, personal revenge, which is forbidden to man, and could never

be practiced by a holy God. It is a public measure, a judicial act, a

proceeding warranted by justice, and intended to produce a deep and

wholesome impression upon all who should witness it. It certainly

marks the heinousness of sin in the view of the righteous Ruler, and it

exemplifies  the inevitable and universal action of the retributive

government of the God of nations.


7 “Thus I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him

that passeth out and him that returneth.” Thus will I make Mount Seir most

desolate; literally, desolation and a desolation (hm;m;v]W hM;m}v]); or, as in the

Revised Version, an astonishment and a desolation; changing hm"m}v] into

hM;v"m], for which, however, there is no sufficient warrant. And I will out off…

him that passeth out (or, through) and him that returneth. No more

should traders or travelers pass through the land of Edom or go to and

return from it (compare ch. 33:28; Zechariah 7:14; 9:8, 10).


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.”  And I will fill his mountains with his slain; literally, pierced

through; hence mortally wounded. Then Edom’s desolation would result

from an exterminating war, which should fill its hills, valleys, and rivers,

or rather, water-courses, with slaughtered men (compare ch.31:12;

32:5). The physical features of Edom here specified by the prophet have

often been attested by travelers. “Idumea embraces a section of a broad

mountain range, extending in breadth from the valley of the Arabah to the

desert plateau of Arabia. The ravines which intersect these sandstone

mountains are very remarkable. Take them as a whole, there is nothing like

them in the world, especially those near Petra. The deep valleys and the

little terraces along the mountain-sides, and the broad downs upon their

summits, are covered with rich soil, in which trees, shrubs, and flowers

grow luxuriantly” (Porter, in Kitto’sCyclopaedia,’ art. Idumea”).


9 “I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not

return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.”  Thy cities shall not return,

as in ch. 16:55 (Authorized Version after the Keri); or, shall not be inhabited, as in

ch. 26:20; 29:11; 36:33 (Septuagint and Revised Version, both of which

follow the Chethib)..


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:”  Because thou hast said. The second ground of Edom’s

punishment lay in this, that she had presumptuously as well as confidently

exclaimed, not concerning Idumea and Judah, as Jerome conjectured, but

concerning Israel and Judah when she saw them stripped of their

inhabitants, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine,

and we will possess it; “it” meaning either the region over which the two

countries extended, or, Jerusalem their common capital (see ch. 36:2; and

compare Psalm 83:4-12). And what constituted the gravamen of Edom’s

offense was that she had so spoken, whereas (or, though) the Lord was there.

It is not necessary, with the Septuagint and Kliefoth, to read “is there,” to guard

against the supposition that Ezekiel designed to suggest that, though Jehovah had

formerly been in the land, He was there no longer. But, in point of fact, Jehovah

had for a time withdrawn His visible presence from the temple and the city (see

ch.10:18; 11:22-23), though He had by no means renounced His

right to the land; and Edom’s error lay in not regarding this, but in acting

as if Jehovah had departed from Israel for ever; or (better,“and) in thinking he

could appropriate to himself what really belonged to Jehovah, viz. the territory

out of which Israel and Judah had been cast.


Humanity shows great folly in ignoring Gods presence. “Whereas the Lord was

there.” In every age worldly men concoct their plans as if no God ruled

over the affairs of men. Ambitious rulers parcel out a neighbor’s territory,

totally unmindful that God is in possession. “The earth is the Lord’s,”

(Psalm 24:1) and His eye is never absent from His property. The weakest

child of man may always summon God to his side — his Helper and Friend.




Boasting against God (v. 13)


Edom had ignored the presence of God (v. 10). Now she has gone

further, and boasted against God. This is a sign:


o       either of heathenish darkness that does not know God,

o       or of willful rebellion that proudly rises up against Him,

o       or of both.


  • THE BOAST OF IGNORANCE. Men who forget God boast



Ø      In thought. Man looks very big when God is left out of sight. The hill is

a grand sight to one who has not seen an Alp. The worship of humanity

proceeds on the assumption of the non-existence of Divinity. If, indeed,

there be no God, man may be the loftiest existence; in that case, he may

stand on the very topmost pinnacle of being.


Ø      In practice. The same condition will be reflected in practical life when

a man ignores the influence of God on his affairs. He feels himself the

master of the situation. By science and art he can subdue nature. His

powers and opportunities have given him a free hand among his fellow

men. Why, then, should he not dream great dreams and imagine himself

to be a very monarch of life? The glorying of irreligion in a successful

man seems to be perfectly natural, nay, inevitable.


  • THE BOAST OF OPPOSITION. Edom beasts herself against God. In

heathenish ignorance she supposes herself to be stronger than the God of

Israel. At all events, she sets herself up in opposition to Jehovah. It is

customary for contending powers, when going to war, to keep their

courage up by boasting of their own strength and despising that of their

enemy. The same is seen in man’s great warfare against God.


Ø      In intelligence. People act as though they supposed they could outwit

God. Though they do not draw out the thought into a clear argument —

when it would certainly break down in a great fallacy — they tacitly

assume that they are clever enough to elude the consequences of their

sins.  Other people may blunder into ruin, but they will steer their craft

so deftly that, though it runs down the rapids, it will not go over the falls.


Ø      In will. The stubborn rebellion of man’s will asserts itself in opposition

to the wise, holy, strong will of God. Men think in their strong-headed sin

that they can force their way against the will of God. Because for the time

being they have a free hand, they imagine that it will always be so. Now, it

certainly does appear that man could assert his self-will in wildest

opposition to God. The mistake is in judging of the future issue by

present appearances.


  • THE FATAL BOAST. Boasting against God cannot succeed. If there

be a God, He must be supreme. He may be too magnanimous to hurl His

rebellious creature to sudden destruction. He may even regard the sinful

boasting with compassion on account of its helpless folly. But He certainly

will not let it ultimately triumph. Boasting is not victory. Boasting does not

create strength. It is only “with the mouth” — a mere matter of empty

sound. But facts are not changed by words. All the oratory of boasting that

was ever practiced will not dissolve one of the hard, stern realities of life.

GOD IS STILL GOD  though men ignore His presence and resist His will.

Therefore to boast against God is fatal to the boaster. He is like one who

dashes his head against a wall. He only destroys himself by his vain

pretence. Our safety lies in humility, contrition, and submission to our God

and Father.


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.  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.”  God identifies Himself

with humanity; and no wrong to humanity shall go unpunished. He will champion

the interests of the oppressed everywhere.  He carefully notes every act of injustice.

“I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains

of Israel.” Every whisper of man is heard by God. Such acute hearing staggers our

understanding. Yet “He that formed the ear, shall He not hear?”  (Psalm

94:9)  The secrets of imperial councils are all seen and heard by Jehovah.

Ultimately, and in the best time, he baffles all wicked designs.

13  Thus with your mouth  ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your

words against me: I have  heard them.”  I will make myself known among them

Israel and Judah; not to thee (Septuagint) — when I have judged thee. Edom’s

wickedness should be requited by his being made to suffer the indignities he designed

to heap on Israel. In him the  lextalionis ( a retaliation authorized by law) should have full

sway. Edom’s misconception as to Jehovah’s  relation to the land and people should be

corrected when Jehovah should rise up  in judgment against him. Those judgments

should in the first instance be a revelation to Israel and Judah, who should discern

therefrom that they had not been utterly abandoned by Jehovah (v. 11; compare ch.20:5);

and in the second instance should open Edom’s eyes to perceive that Jehovah had been

a silent listener to all the blasphemies she had uttered against the mountains of Israel

(v. 12), and had reckoned these as blasphemies uttered against Himself (v. 13).



The Supreme Mistake (vs. 10-13)


The two striking and significant sentences in this passage: “And Jehovah was there”

(v. 10); “I have heard” (v. 13). They bring out:


  • EDOM’S GREAT MISCALCULATION. No doubt Edom had its

princes, its statesmen, its warriors, of whom it was proud, on whose

sagacity and prowess it was leaning. But however astute her ministers may

have been, they made one great and fatal mistake — they left out of the

account one factor, the presence of which made all the difference to the

issue. Under their false guidance Edom thought itself more than a match

for Israel, which, with its pastoral and agricultural pursuits, was less

warlike than itself. And Edom said to itself, “These two nations… shall be

mine, and we will inherit it” (v. 10). “And Jehovah was there,” interjects

the prophet, with burning indignation. Edom, forsooth, going to

appropriate Israel, and swallow it up as a dainty morsel, as if it had only to

stretch out its hand and take it “And Jehovah was there”that One in

whose presence all Edom, with all its civil and military power, was but the

dust of the balance (Isaiah 40:15), was nothing and less than nothing and

vanity; that Holy One who held Edom responsible for its enmity and its

cruelty; that Mighty One at the breath of whose mouth all its proud soldiery

would go down as saplings before the storm! What senseless infatuation!

what infinite presumption! to remember and to covet Israel’s well-watered

meadows and well-cultivated fields, and to forget that “Jehovah was there!

to resolve to go up and possess its pleasant places, and occupy its strong

cities, and plant its flag on Mount Zion without taking into the account that

“Jehovah was there!” Edom was entertaining proud, ambitious schemes,

and it was making “scornful speeches against the mountains of Israel,

saying, A desolation, to us they are given for fire” (v. 12), and was thus

magnifying itself against” the Lord. But what depth of meaning, and what

vigor of action, and what certainty of doom lies in those simple words of

Jehovah, “I have heard!” Those disdainful words of theirs have entered the

Divine ear, and they will move that mighty hand to its work of

righteousness and judgment.


  • OUR OWN SUPREME MISTAKE. We never commit so great and so

ruinous an error as when we leave out of our account THE PRESENCE

AND HANDIWORK OF GOD!  We are never so utterly and so perilously

in the wrong as when we lay our plans and make our speeches, forgetful that

God is near us, overruling all we do, and hearing every word we speak.

(“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow…..For that ye

ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”  -

James 4:14-15)  We make this supreme mistake:


Ø      When we think we can sin without His banning. If we lay our schemes to

injure our brethren, or if we design to enrich or indulge ourselves in any

forbidden way, without smarting for our sin, we shall find, sooner or later,

that “Jehovah is there,” with His penalty in His hand.


Ø      When we think we can succeed without His blessing. To succeed without

the favoring presence of God and the co-operation of His gracious power

is as hopelessly impossible as it is to sin without encountering His Divine

displeasure and rebuke. If we prosper in our toil, if we find joy and

gladness in our life, it will be only because “Jehovah is there;” because

He makes our land to yield its increase, because He fills our soul with

the blessedness that abides.


Ø      When we think we can be wise WITHOUT HIS TEACHING!  Neither

workman in the field of nature nor student in the realm of truth can

leave  out of his account THE PRESENCE AND THE AID OF THE

DIVINE!   There is nothing sadder than the sight of men seeking and

 straining after the wisdom that they want for life and for death and

for eternity, trying to find their way by the light of the sparks of their

own intelligence; this will they have of God“that they will lie

down in sorrow” (Isaiah 50:10-11; contrast the redeemed of

the Lord who shall “come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting

joy shall be upon their head:  they shall obtain gladness and joy;

and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”  Ibid. ch. 51:11). But

blessed are they who take into their account the fact that “Jehovah

is there,” that God is speaking to us in His Word, by that Son who

was and is the Eternal Word of God!  For they who are wise in His

wisdom shall enter the kingdom of truth, the kingdom of God,

and they shall rise up in everlasting life and joy.  “Thou wilt

show me the path of life:  in thy presence is fullness of joy,

at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore!”  (Psalm

16:11)  As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: 

I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness!”  (Ibid.

ch. 17:15)


14 “Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will

make thee desolate.”  By “the whole earth,” is meant “the whole land of Edom.”

In this case the sense is that, as the whole land of Edom had previously exulted

with joy, so should it in the future be made completely desolate. That Jehovah was

preparing for the whole earth of redeemed humanity a glorious future of joy, so

certainly would Edom and all whom Edom represented be excluded from

participation in that joy.


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.” As thou didst rejoice. yki is here a particle of

comparison; and the import of the passage is that precisely as Edom exulted over

the desolation of Israel’s inheritance, so would Jehovah cause others to rejoice

over the downfall and desolation of Edom. All Idumea. Instead of this

Greek term, the Revised Version properly substitutes the usual word

Edom. Note: That the prediction here uttered concerning Edom received

literal fulfillment, the following extract relative to the present state of the

country will show: “Idumea, once so rich in flocks, so strong in its

fortresses and rock-hewn cities, so extensive in its commercial relations, so

renowned for the architectural splendor of its palaces, is now a deserted

and desolate wilderness. Its whole population is contained in some three or

four miserable villages. No merchant would now dare to enter its borders;

its highways are untrodden, its cities are all in ruins” (J.L. Porter, in Kitto’s

Cyclopaedia,’ art. Idumea”).



The conviction of Gods jurisdiction often comes too late. Men ignore

God’s presence and God’s interference in human affairs, until events force

upon them the fact that they are fighting, not simply against their fellows,

nor contending against adverse circumstance, but are verily fighting against


 there looms the form and features of THE LIVING GOD! But the knowledge


FOE,  whereas  they might have known HIM AS A GRACIOUS FRIEND!



Rejoicing Over the Ruin of Others (v. 15)


  • THE UGLY FACT. Edom had rejoiced over the ruin of Israel. One

would say that such a joy must be impossible. Regarding the world from

the high ground of ideal speculation, one would suppose that sympathy for

the suffering must spring forth as a natural instinct, or that, if the feelings

were callous and selfishness hardened the heart, still there would be no

room for joy under such circumstances. But the facts of history and

observation show that Edom’s joy was no monstrous, impossible

experience. People do rejoice in the sufferings of others:


Ø      In national life. The downfall of rival nations is accepted by their

more fortunate neighbors with delight.


Ø      In amusement. The old, fierce delights of the amphitheatre, which

delicate ladies shared with bloodthirsty warriors, were just the joys of

cruelty, pleasures got directly out of the sufferings of fellow-creatures.

The Emperor Domitian is said to have taken a keen interest in watching

the contortions of agony on the face of a dying gladiator. A similar spirit

lurks in the present-day popular taste for amusements that involve great

risk of life. A Christian spirit should discourage such amusements as

feeding on cruelty.


Ø      In private life. Some People seem to take a spiteful pleasure in the

disgrace and ruin of their neighbors. Is not this pleasure at the root

of much idle gossip and fascinating scandal?


  • ITS EVIL CAUSES. How comes it that the misery of one man can

cause pleasure to his brother, when by the influence of sympathy it should

produce an opposite effect? The causes of this gross perversion of the

appetite for pleasure are various.


Ø      Revenge. Israel had been an old enemy of Edom. The commonest

pleasure of cruelty is m seeing a foe humiliated. There may be natural

elements in this feeling:


o       a reaction from the tension of fear; and

o       a satisfaction of the desire for self-protection.


Still, the joy is evil and hateful, for it exceeds self-regarding

considerations, and it excludes pity; it denies the duty of loving

our enemies.


Ø      Envy. Edom had formerly envied the prosperity of Israel. She

afterwards rejoiced in her rival’s downfall. This, again, is a sort

of reaction from the pain of envy. It is the more powerful if the

successful rival has shown scorn for her less fortunate neighbor.

Now, the scorn is reversed.


Ø      A sense of contrast. Sitting at ease, the spectator compares his

comforts with the agonies before him, and as all feeling arises

from contrasted states, the sharpness of this contrast heightens

the relish of a man’s present comfort. This is brutally selfish.


Ø      Malignity. There does seem to be a direct pleasure in seeing others

suffer. This is the glee of devils. It may be shared by diabolical men.


  • ITS FATAL EFFECTS. Edom is to be punished and made desolate.

God will certainly punish cruelty as a great sin, because it is the direct

opposite of man’s first duty, which is to love all beings. The evil joy will

work mischief in the heart of the man who cherishes it. It is a venom that

will rankle in the breast that engenders it We need love and sympathy for

our own soul’s health. The pleasures of cruelty cut a man off from the

bonds of fellowship, even with these who are not themselves its victims,

because they destroy the elements on which the spirit of brotherhood lives.

Thus a cruel person is inwardly lonely. Selfishness makes the heart

desolate. The exclusion of love is the exclusion of the greatest joy of

human fellowship. In seeking his own pleasure the man who admits evil

passions of revenge or spite into his breast darkens his life with the gloom

of spiritual solitude. On the other hand, the deepest joy is found in

sacrificing one’s self in order to save one’s brother.  Greater  love

hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

(John 15:13)



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