Mount Seir was mentioned as partner with Moab in one of the threatenings we had before (Ezek. 25:8); but here it is convicted and condemned by itself, and has woes of its own. The prophet must boldly set his face against Edom, and prophesy particularly against it; for the God of Israel has said, O Mount Seir! I am against thee. Note, Those that have God against them have the word of God against them, and the face of his ministers, nor dare they prophesy any good to them, but evil. The prophet must tell the Edomites that God has a controversy with them, and let them know,
I. What is the cause and ground of that controversy, Ezek. 35:5. God espouses his people’s cause, and will plead it, takes what is done against them as done against himself, and will reckon for it; and it is upon their account that God now contends with the Edomites. 1. Because of the enmity they had against the people of God, that was rooted in the heart. “Thou hast had a perpetual hatred to them, to the very name of an Israelite.” The Edomites kept up an hereditary malice against Israel, the same that Esau bore to Jacob, because he got the birth-right and the blessing. Esau had been reconciled to Jacob, had embraced and kissed him (Gen. 33:1-20), and we do not find that ever he quarrelled with him again. But the posterity of Esau would never be reconciled to the seed of Jacob, but hated them with a perpetual hatred. Note, Children will be more apt to imitate the vices than the virtues of their parents, and to tread in the steps of their sin than in the steps of their repentance. Parents should therefore be careful not to set their children any bad example, for though, through the grace of God, they may return, and prevent the mischief of what they have done amiss to themselves, they may not be able to obviate the bad influence of it upon their children. It is strange how deeply rooted national antipathies sometimes are, and how long they last; but it is not to be wondered at that profane Edomites hate pious Israelites, since the old enmity that was put between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (Gen. 3:15) will continue to the end. Marvel not if the world hate you. 2. Because of the injuries they had done to the people of God. They shed their blood by the force of the sword, in the time of their calamity; they did not attack them as fair and open enemies, but laid wait for them, to cut off those of them that had escaped (Obad. 1:14), or they drove them back upon the sword of the pursuers, by which they fell. It was cowardly, as well as barbarous, to take advantage of their distress; and for neighbours, with whom they had lived peaceably, to smite them secretly when strangers openly invaded them. It was in the time that their iniquity had an end, when the measure of it was full and destruction came. Note, Even those that suffer justly, and for their sins, are yet to be pitied and not trampled upon. If the father corrects one child, he expects the rest should tremble at it, not triumph in it.
II. What should be the effect and issue of that controversy. If God stretch out his hand against the country of Edom, he will make it most desolate, Ezek. 35:3. Desolation and desolation. 1. The inhabitants shall be slain with the sword (Ezek. 35:6): I will prepare thee unto blood. Edom shall be gradually weakened, and so be the more easily conquered, and the enemy shall gather strength the more effectually to subdue it. Thus preparation is in the making a great while before for this destruction. Thou hast not hated blood; it implies, “Thou hast delighted in it and thirsted after it.” Those that do not keep up a rooted hatred of sin, when a temptation to it is very strong, will be in danger of yielding to it. Some read it, “Unless thou hatest blood” (that is, “unless thou dost repent, and put off this bloody disposition) blood shall pursue thee.” And then it is an intimation that the judgment may yet be prevented by a thorough reformation. If he turn not, he will whet his sword, Ps. 7:12. But, if he turn, he will lay it by. Blood shall pursue thee, the guilt of the blood which thou hast shed or the judgment of blood; thy blood-thirsty enemies shall pursue thee, which way soever thou seekest to make thy escape. A great and general slaughter shall be made of the Idumeans, such as had been foretold (Isa. 34:6): The mountains and hills, the valleys and rivers, shall be filled with the slain, Ezek. 35:8. The pursuers shall overtake those that flee and shall give no quarter, but put them all to the sword. Note, When God comes to make inquisition for blood those that have shed the blood of his Israel shall have blood given them to drink, for they are worthy. Satia te sanguine quem sitisti—Glut thyself with blood, after which thou hast thirsted. 2. The country shall be laid waste. The cities shall be destroyed (Ezek. 35:4), the country made most desolate (Ezek. 35:7); for God will cut off from both him that passes out and him that returns; and when the inhabitants are cut off that should keep the cities in repair they will decay and go into ruins, and when those are cut off that should till the land that will soon be over-run with briers and thorns and become a wilderness. Note, Those that help forward the desolations of Israel may expect to be themselves made desolate. And that which completes the judgment is that Edom shall be made perpetual desolations (Ezek. 35:9) and the cities shall never return to their former state, nor the inhabitants of them come back from their captivity and dispersion. Note, Those that have a perpetual enmity to God and his people, as the carnal mind has, can expect no other than to be made a perpetual desolation. Implacable malice will justly be punished with irreparable ruin.