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Bible Commentaries

Utley's You Can Understand the Bible

Ezekiel 35

Ezekiel 35:0

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASBNKJVNRSVTEVNJB
Oracles of Restoration(Ezekiel 33:1-29)
Prophecy Against Mount SeirJudgment on Mount SeirThe Oracle Against EdomGod's Punishment on EdomAgainst the Mountains of Edom
Ezekiel 35:1-9Ezekiel 35:1-9Ezekiel 35:1-9Ezekiel 35:1-4Ezekiel 35:1-9
(vv. Ezekiel 35:3-4)(vv. Ezekiel 35:3-4)(vv. Ezekiel 35:3-4)(vv. Ezekiel 35:3-4)
Ezekiel 35:5-9
Ezekiel 35:10-15Ezekiel 35:10-15Ezekiel 35:10-15Ezekiel 35:10-13Ezekiel 35:10-15
Ezekiel 35:13-15

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

Verses 1-9

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 35:1-9 1Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2”Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir, and prophesy against it 3and say to it, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, Mount Seir, And I will stretch out My hand against you And make you a desolation and a waste. 4I will lay waste your cities And you will become a desolation. Then you will know that I am the LORD. 5Because you have had everlasting enmity and have delivered the sons of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of the punishment of the end, 6therefore as I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “I will give you over to bloodshed, and bloodshed will pursue you; since you have not hated bloodshed, therefore bloodshed will pursue you. 7I will make Mount Seir a waste and a desolation and I will cut off from it the one who passes through and returns. 8I will fill its mountains with its slain; on your hills and in your valleys and in all your ravines those slain by the sword will fall. 9I will make you an everlasting desolation and your cities will not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”

Ezekiel 35:2 “set your face against” See note at Ezekiel 1:3.

“Mount Seir” This refers to the nation of Edom (cf. Ezekiel 25:12-14; Ezekiel 32:29; Ezekiel 36:5). I am surprised that another judgment against Edom is included (cf. Ezekiel 25:12-14). Edom must have a symbolic connotation. She (1) mocks and attacks God's people, Ezekiel 35:5, Ezekiel 35:11, cf. Psalms 137:7; Isaiah 63:1-6; Obadiah 1:8-19; (2) is prideful (cf. Ezekiel 35:10-11) here; and (3) had arrogant thoughts against YHWH and His people, Ezekiel 35:12, Ezekiel 35:13 (Edom had “everlasting enmity,” Ezekiel 35:5). Moderns must admit that we do not know the reasons and procedures for the editing and compilation of OT books. It is possible that Edom stands for all anti-God human societies (NIDOTTE, vol. 1, p. 957).

The concept of “mountain” may be the key to this text. The high plateau of Edom, of which they were so proud, will not save them. As judgment came to the mountains of Israel (i.e., chapter 6), so too, now to the mountains of Edom (cf. Ezekiel 35:8, Ezekiel 35:15). As judgment comes to arrogant Edom, blessing will return to the repentant covenant people (i.e., the mountains of Israel, cf. Ezekiel 35:12).

Ezekiel 35:3 “Lord GOD” This is literally “Adon YHWH.” See Special Topic: NAMES FOR DEITY.

“I will stretch out My hand against you” This is an anthropomorphic idiom of God's ability to act effectively (cf. Ezekiel 25:7, Ezekiel 25:13; Jeremiah 51:25). See Special Topic: Hand and Special Topic: God Described As Human (anthropomorphism).

“a desolation and a waste” These two parallel terms (cf. Ezekiel 35:7) sound alike (i.e., BDB 1031 and BDB 1031) and have the same consonants as “Shammah,” a grandson of Edom (BDB 1031, cf. Genesis 36:13, Genesis 36:17; 1 Chronicles 1:37). Possible meanings are

1. desolation, שׁממה, cf. Ezekiel 35:4, Ezekiel 35:7, Ezekiel 35:9, Ezekiel 35:14, Ezekiel 35:15

2. waste, משׁמה, cf. Ezekiel 35:7; Ezekiel 6:14; Ezekiel 33:28, Ezekiel 33:29

3. a grandson of Edom, שׁמה

Ezekiel 35:5 “at the time of their calamity, at the time of the punishment of the end” Notice that these two phrases are parallel. The first obviously refers to the invasion of Judah by Babylon. The second must refer to the same time, which shows “the end” (BDB 893) and must be interpreted in context. Interpreters must be careful of not assigning one meaning to a word or phrase and then using it in every place the word appears. Context determines meaning, not one is systematic eschatology!

Ezekiel 35:6 “as I live” This is an oath based on the name of YHWH, the ever-living, only-living, I Am (cf. Exodus 3:14). This is a recurrent idiom in Ezekiel (cf. Ezekiel 5:11; Ezekiel 14:16, Ezekiel 14:18, Ezekiel 14:20; Ezekiel 16:48; Ezekiel 17:16, Ezekiel 17:19; Ezekiel 18:3; Ezekiel 20:3, Ezekiel 20:31; Ezekiel 33:11; Ezekiel 34:8; Ezekiel 35:6, Ezekiel 35:11). See Special Topic at Ezekiel 2:4.

“blood” The term (BDB 196) can refer to one's “life force” and if it is spilt, to one's death. It is used four times in this verse.

1. I will give you over to bloodshed

2. bloodshed will pursue you

3. you have not hated bloodshed (i.e., murder)

4. therefore bloodshed will pursue you (repeated)

We reap what we sow (cf. Ezekiel 35:11, Ezekiel 35:15).

Just a textual note, the LXX changes #3 to “you are guilty of blood,” which is followed by RSV, NEB, REB, NJB, but this demands a change of several consonants. The MT makes sense.

Ezekiel 35:7 Mount Seir is an idiom for all the inhabitants of Edom.

Ezekiel 35:9 Edom's destruction will be permanent (cf. Malachi 1:2-4, esp. Ezekiel 35:4; Jeremiah 49:13). Edom's permanent destruction was because of her “everlasting enmity” (Ezekiel 35:5; and Obadiah)!

Verses 10-15

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 35:10-15 10”Because you have said, 'These two nations and these two lands will be mine, and we will possess them,' although the LORD was there, 11therefore as I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “I will deal with you according to your anger and according to your envy which you showed because of your hatred against them; so I will make Myself known among them when I judge you. 12Then you will know that I, the LORD, have heard all your revilings which you have spoken against the mountains of Israel saying, 'They are laid desolate; they are given to us for food.' 13And you have spoken arrogantly against Me and have multiplied your words against Me; I have heard it.” 14'Thus says the Lord GOD, “As all the earth rejoices, I will make you a desolation. 15As you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel because it was desolate, so I will do to you. You will be a desolation, O Mount Seir, and all Edom, all of it. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”'

Ezekiel 35:10 Edom rejected its required brotherly love for Judah (and Israel, i.e., “two nations”) and desired her lands for herself (see Special Topic: Edom and Israel, cf. Ezekiel 35:5, Ezekiel 35:10). The problem is that Judah's land belonged to YHWH (i.e., “the Lord was there”). It was only Judah's by a conditional covenant.

YHWH left Judah in chapter 10, but in Ezekiel 48:35 the book of Ezekiel ends with “The YHWH is there” (cf. Psalms 132:13, Psalms 132:14).

Ezekiel 35:12

NASB“revilings” NKJV, NJB“blasphemies” NRSV“abusive speech” TEV“with contempt”

The noun (BDB 611) is found only here and Nehemiah 9:18. The revilings are against “the mountains of Israel,” but clearly, in context, it is against Israel's God (cf. Ezekiel 35:5, Ezekiel 35:10-11, Ezekiel 35:13). This is why Edom is often seen as a type of all anti-God nations!

Ezekiel 35:14 “as all the earth rejoices” This is a hyperbolic metaphor. The earth, as YHWH's creation, rejoices when His will is done. The earth is affected by humanity's sin (cf. Genesis 3:0; Romans 8:19-22).

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Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 35". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/ezekiel-35.html. 2021.