MOUNT SEIR: A mountainous land inhabited by the
Edomites. The etymology suggests something hairy or shaggy and may be
descriptive of the former wooded nature of the landscape. Gen 36:8,9,30 connects
the name with Edom ("red") and Esau ("hairy"). The mountainous region is
southwest of the Dead Sea. One of the highest points of Seir was Mount Hor where
Aaron was buried (Num 20:27,28). Apparently the name Seir was later applied to
the entire territory of Edom both se and sw of the Dead Sea.
The earliest inhabitants of the area known to the OT were the
Horites (Gen 14:6; Deu 2:12). Seir is listed as grandfather of the Horites (Gen
36:20,21; 1Ch 1:38). The children of Esau replaced them (Gen 32:3; 33:14,16; Deu
2:4,5,8,29; Jos 24:4). The Edomites (Num 24:18) were Israel's neighbors in this
area until about the middle of the 5th century BC when they were overcome by
Arabian tribesmen, later known as the Nabataeans.
Seir is significant in the OT as a synonym for Edom and Esau.
The people to whom all three names apply stood in a unique relation to Israel.
The three terms are related in the genealogy of Esau (Gen 36). The ambivalent
attitudes of brotherhood and competitive enmity are reflected in the cycle of
the Jacob narratives in Gen 25-36. The same tension is revealed when Moses and
the Israelites were forced to detour around Edom (Num 20; Deu 2:4-8).
David brutally subjugated Edom (2Sa 8:14), and successive
generations of Judean kings struggled in vain to maintain this subjection (2Ki
8:20-22; 14:7-10; 2Ch 20). The tension continued through the centuries. Lam
4:21,22 and Psa 137:7 accuse Edom of hateful collaboration with the common enemy
during the sack of Jerusalem in 586 BC.
Seir (= Edom) also stands in the prophetic denunciations of
this people (Eze 25:8; 35:1-15). No other people except Philistia is mentioned
so often in the prophecies against the nations (Amos 1:11,12; Isa 21:11,12; 34;
63:1-6; Jer 49:7-22; Eze 32; Oba; Joel 3:19; Mal 1:2-5; Zec 9:5...; Psa
Why is Edom introduced here, separate from the Ezekiel section
of prophecies about the Gentile nations (Eze 25-32)? Perhaps because, in this
instance, Edom was representative of all the enemies of Israel who wanted to
take over her land -- Edom was selected because of her long history of land
squabbles with Israel (cf Gen 25:22-34; 27; 36:1; Num 20:14-21; 24:15-19; 1Sa
14:47; 1Ki 11:14-22; 2Ki 8:21; 2Ch 20:1-23; 28:17; Psa 137:7; Isa 1:11-16; Lam
4:21,22; Amos 2:1; Oba 1:10-14; Mal 1:2-5). Edom was the nation that had longest
and most consistently resisted Israel's occupation of the Promised Land.
Therefore, if God was going to give Israel her land in the future, as He
promised in Eze 34, He would have to deal with Edom and all other nations that
opposed Israel's possession of it. This section assures the readers, both
ancient and modern, that He will deal with opponents to Israel occupying her
land by prophesying the destruction of Israel's greatest antagonist viewed as a
representative of all such powers. Edomite invasions of Israel following the
Babylonian decimation of Judah also made Edom a major topic of
"Edom was the prototype of all Israel's later foes. The
destruction of Edom would signal the beginning of God's judgment on the whole
earth based on that nation's treatment of Israel (cf Gen 12:3)" (Const).
A DESOLATE WASTE: Not necessarily true literally in the
future, because the desert (where Edom is) will blossom: Isa 42:11;
YOU HARBORED AN ANCIENT HOSTILITY AND DELIVERED THE
ISRAELITES OVER TO THE SWORD AT THE TIME OF THEIR CALAMITY: He would do this
because the Edomites had been enemies of the Israelites throughout their history
(cf Eze 25:12; Gen 12:3). Furthermore, they had not helped their brethren
Israelites in the time of their calamity, the time when God was punishing
Israel, but had turned them over to their enemy, the Babylonians (cf 2Ch 20:10;
Psa 137:7; Lam 4:21,22).
THE TIME THEIR PUNISHMENT REACHED ITS CLIMAX: Or, "the
time of the iniquity of the end" (RV). Perhaps meaning the time of Jacob's final
trouble (Jer 30:7), the last great crisis of the ages -- when Israel will be
punished a final time, but the real wrath of God will fall on the enemies of
Israel because of their abominable treatment of His people.
I WILL MAKE MOUNT SEIR A DESOLATE WASTE: As regards the
nation of Edom, this was literally fulfilled. When the Jews were taken into
captivity in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, the Nabateans, an Arab tribe, drove the
Edomites out of their possessions and forced them westwards. The Edomites
settled in southern Judea, but were ultimately conquered and converted by the
THESE TWO NATIONS: Meaning Israel and Judah. And to
this very day, "Edom" -- meaning the Arab nations near Israel -- have been
seeking to dispossess the people of Israel from their ancestral land.
WHILE THE WHOLE EARTH REJOICES, I WILL MAKE YOU
DESOLATE: The LORD would cause all the earth to rejoice when He made Edom a
laughingstock in the world just as it had rejoiced when Israel became desolate
(cf Eze 36:5). Mount Seir and all of Edom would become absolutely desolate (cf
Eze 36:10). It would not exist when the LORD restored His people to their land.
Then the Edomites would learn that Yahweh is God.
YOU WILL BE DESOLATE, O MOUNT SEIR, YOU AND ALL OF
EDOM: "The prediction has been literally fulfilled. Edom was first
subjugated by Babylon, then Medo-Persia, and then in 126 BC by John Hyrcanus the
Hasmonean, who compelled them to become Jews. There is no trace of the Edomites
now, although their desolate cities can still be identified, as predicted by
Obadiah (Oba 1:18) and Jeremiah (Jer 49:13)" (Feinberg, cited by