A Commentary on Ezekiel Chapter 35 – God’s Judgment Against Mount Seir

The 35th chapter of the Book of Ezekiel contains a prophecy against Mount Seir, the mountainous region inhabited by the Edomites. This prophecy declares God’s coming judgment on Edom for their longstanding hostility and violence towards Israel. As we study this passage, we gain insight into God’s intense hatred of sin and His commitment to justice, as well as the certainty of His judgment on those who oppose His people.


Ezekiel 35 forms part of a series of prophecies against foreign nations that occupy chapters 25-32 of Ezekiel’s book. Having pronounced judgment on several of Israel’s neighbors for their mistreatment of God’s people, Ezekiel now turns his attention to Edom, Israel’s “brother” nation descended from Esau.

Located south of the Dead Sea, Edom occupied an area of rugged, elevated terrain. The Edomites were longtime enemies of Israel, constantly raiding, plundering, and murdering the Israelites. Their hatred went all the way back to the rivalry between Esau and Jacob.

In this passage, God indicts Edom for their violence, arrogance, and reproach towards Israel. He declares total destruction on their lands and people. Ultimately, it is a sobering reminder that God defends His people, and those who oppose them invite His wrath.

As we study this prophecy and reflect on its themes, here are some key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • God passionately hates sin and injustice, especially towards His people
  • Pride, arrogance and self-exaltation ultimately lead to destruction
  • God’s judgments are meticulously planned, controlled and purposeful
  • God restores and blesses His people, while destroying their enemies
  • God alone is supreme over all nations and authorities
  • God’s Word will be fulfilled – His promised judgments and blessings will come to pass

With these insights in mind, let’s dive into the text and explore this pronouncment of doom against Edom.

b A Commentary on Ezekiel Chapter 35 - God's Judgment Against Mount Seir

God’s Case Against Edom (Ezekiel 35:1-15)

Indictment for Violence and Arrogance (vv. 1-6)

The prophecy opens with God instructing Ezekiel to “set your face against Mount Seir” and prophesy against it. Right away, the focus is clear – this judgment is aimed specifically at the Edomites inhabiting Mount Seir.

God accuses Edom of perpetual enmity towards Israel. Though Israel sought to pass through their lands peacefully, the Edomites met them with violence and slaughter. Shedding blood and killing seem to have become part of Edom’s nature.

Not only that, but in their bitter hatred Edom had “appointed the day of [Jerusalem’s] doom” and rejoiced when the Babylonians destroyed the city. They are charged with arrogance, spite, and contempt against Israel.

Therefore, God declares He is against Edom. He will stretch out His hand against them and make them a desolation, then fill them with the slain. Powerful prophetic language conveying the intent to wipe Edom completely off the map.

Proclamation of Total Destruction (vv. 7-9)

God continues by pronouncing the complete emptiness and destruction coming upon Mount Seir. He will cut off from it any trying to come and go. Its cities would become perpetual ruins, desolate forever. Then they will know He is the Lord.

This is strong language, but it fits the level of hostility and violence consistently shown by Edom towards Israel. They continually opposed God’s chosen people, so now their judgement has arrived.

Indictment for Harboring Old Grudges (vv. 10-13)

Not only does God indict Edom for their current hostility, but also for harboring longstanding grudges against Israel. They argue that since the Promised Land was given to Israel, it rightfully belongs to them. This breeds a deep resentment.

Therefore, God will deal with Edom according to their anger and envy. They falsely assumed the vacant lands of Israel and Judah during the exiles, but now their own land will become vacant and desolate.

Here we see how bitterness and jealousy compound over time into greater sins. Edom’s lingering resentment erupted into outright hostility and cruelty towards Israel. Their false sense of entitlement will now bring about their loss of everything.

Restoration Promised for Israel’s Land (vv. 14-15)

In contrast to Edom’s destruction, God promises restoration for the mountains and lands of Israel which had become desolate. Now they will thrive again, become fruitful and inhabited.

While Edom rejoiced at Israel’s demise, God will rejoice in their restoration. He makes it clear Israel’s desolation was only for a limited time to discipline them, not a permanent state like what’s coming for Edom.

This highlights an important truth. God sometimes permits His people to endure discipline or hardship for a time to humble them and purify them. But His heart is always set on their ultimate blessing and restoration.

Major Themes and Literary Features

As we reflect on this prophecy against Edom, several key themes and literary techniques emerge:

God’s intense hatred of sin, especially against His people – This passage reiterates how much God despises sin and rebellion, particularly mistreatment of His chosen people. His repeated declarations of vengeance highlight His passion for justice.

The certainty of God’s promised judgments – Throughout, God speaks of Edom’s coming judgment as fixed and inescapable. His word will be fulfilled. He exercises complete control over the rise and fall of nations.

Vivid contrasts between destruction and restoration – God contrasts the imminent obliteration of Edom with the future restoration He will bring about for Israel’s lands. Destruction is set against blessing.

Repetition for emphasis – Certain phrases like “perpetual desolations” and “you shall know I am the Lord” are repeated several times. This drives home the completeness of Edom’s judgment.

Poetic justice – There is a poetic symmetry to Edom’s punishment. They sought to annex Israel’s lands, so now their own lands will become desolate. They rejoiced at Israel’s fall, but it is only temporary. However, Edom’s devastation will remain.

This potent prophetic language provides a sobering portrait of God’s unrelenting justice and unstoppable judgments against those who oppose His people and purposes.

Principles and Applications for Today

While this prophecy was aimed specifically at Edom, the themes and principles reflected here have timeless relevance. What important truths can we take away from this passage today?

God hates pride, arrogance and oppression of others – Edom’s lofty view of themselves and contempt for Israel mirrors the arrogant pride God still hates. Belittling or crushing others for selfish gain invites His judgment. We must treat all people with dignity.

Jealousy and bitterness destroy us – Edom allowed their ancient jealousy of Israel to fester into violence. Resentment and grudges that go unchecked lead down a dark path. We must diligently guard our hearts against these vices through repentance and forgiveness.

God defends and restores His people – Israel experienced discipline for a time, but God’s heart was set on fully restoring them. He still passionately cares for His people, defending and blessing them despite temporary trials permitted for their refinement.

All who set themselves against God’s people invite His wrath – This message was an ominous warning to all nations that seeking to destroy Israel would incur God’s fury. The same remains true today. Those who persecute God’s people are aligning themselves against the Almighty.

God’s Word and promised judgments will come to pass – God spoke clearly through Ezekiel of the exact punishment He would bring on Edom. Its fulfillment highlighted that God’s decrees are sure and fixed. We can have confidence that all Biblical prophecy will be accomplished in due time.

There are sobering warnings but also great comfort we can glean from Ezekiel 35. As believers, we serve a mighty God who hates injustice, defends His children, and will fulfill all His promises to ultimately restore His people to blessing.


This concludes our commentary on Ezekiel 35. We have explored this powerful prophetic pronouncement of judgment on the nation of Edom for their violence and hostility against God’s people Israel.

Key lessons included:

  • God intensely hates sin, pride and oppression
  • He defends and restores His people
  • His promised judgments and blessings will certainly come to pass
  • His Word endures forever as the definitive record of His character and plans

May this serve as a stern warning against opposing the Lord or mistreating His followers. But also as a comfort that He knows how to rescue the godly from trials and bring them safely into His eternal kingdom. Just as He restored Israel, He too will bring us into the fullness of our inheritance as His sons and daughters.

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