Against Mount Seir (Ezek 35:1-35:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

Son of man!

Set your face

Against Mount Seir!

Prophesy

Against it!’”

Once again, there was an oracle of Yahweh to Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, Ezekiel was to face and prophesize against Mount Seir. Where and what was Mount Seir? Mount Seir was between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, on the southeastern border of Judah with Edom. In fact, this is a diatribe against the country of Edom. Quite often, Mount Seir was another name for Edom. Mount Seir was named after Seir, the Horite, in Genesis, chapter 14. The children of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, defeated the Horites, to take possession of this land.

Edom (Ezek 27:16-27:16)

“Edom did business

With you

Because

Of your abundant goods.

They exchanged

For your wares

Turquoise,

Purple,

Embroidered works,

Fine linens,

Coral,

Rubies.”

The next trading partner was Edom, south of Judah, but they did not have a port. Another reading has Aram or Syria, which makes more sense. Tyre had an abundance of goods, especially various purple colored items, embroidered works, linens, corals, and rubies.

Oracle about the fire against the south (Ezek 20:45-20:48)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward the south!

Preach

Against the south!

Prophesy

Against the forest land

In the Negeb!

Say to the forest

Of the Negeb!

Hear the word of Yahweh!

Thus says Yahweh God!

I will kindle

A fire in you.

It shall devour

Every green tree

In you.

It shall devour

Every dry tree.

The blazing flame

Shall not be quenched.

All faces,

From south to north,

Shall be scorched by it.

All flesh

Shall see

That I,

Yahweh,

Have kindled it.

It shall not be quenched.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He was to set his face to the south. He was to preach and prophesy against the south, the forest land in the Negeb, the dry like wilderness south of Judah, perhaps the kingdom of Edom. He was to tell them to listen to the word of Yahweh. Yahweh was going to kindle a fire that would devour every green tree and every dry tree. This blazing flame would not be quenched. Everyone’s face would be scorched by it. Everyone would know that Yahweh set this unquenchable fire. This section is the first part of the next chapter in the Jerusalem Bible.

Jerusalem as an object of reproach (Ezek 16:56-16:58)

“‘Was not

Your sister Sodom

A byword

In your mouth

In the day

Of your pride?

This was before

Your wickedness

Was uncovered.

Now you are

A mockery

To the daughters

Of Edom

With all her neighbors.

The daughters

Of the Philistines,

Those all around you,

Despise you.

You must bear

The penalty

Of your lewdness

With your abominations.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said that Jerusalem had become an object of reproach. Her sister Sodom had been a byword for evil in her day of pride. Then the wickedness of Jerusalem was uncovered. Now Jerusalem was a mockery to those around her, especially the daughters of Edom and the daughters of the Philistines, as they despised her. Jerusalem was going to bear the penalty for all her lewdness and abominations.

The lack of knowledge (Bar 3:20-3:23)

“Later generations

Have seen

The light of day.

They have lived

Upon this earth.

But they have

Not learned

The way to knowledge.

They have not

Understood her paths.

They have not

Laid hold of her.

Their descendants

Have strayed far

From her way.

She has not been heard of

In Canaan.

She has not been seen

In Teman.

The descendants of Hagar

Seek for understanding

On the earth.

The merchants of Merran,

With the merchants of Teman

Have not learned

The way to wisdom.

The story-tellers,

The seekers for understanding

Have not given thought

To her paths.”

The people living today on this earth have not learned the way to knowledge. They have not understood the various paths to get there. They are unable to grab knowledge. Their descendants have wandered far off the beaten path towards knowledge. Thus they cannot hear or see of knowledge in Canaan or Teman. Canaan was the old name for the land of Israel, while Teman was a city in Edom, south of Israel that was well known for its wisdom. The descendants of Hagar, the concubine of Abraham, or the Ishmaelites, were also seeking understanding. However, the merchants of Midian or Merran with the merchants of Teman in Edom have not learned the various paths to wisdom. The story-tellers and even those seeking understanding have not learned the way or path to wisdom. In fact, they have given little thought to this question.

The punishments (Lam 4:22-4:22)

Taw

“The punishment

Of your iniquity,

O daughter Zion,

Is accomplished.

He will keep you

In exile

No longer.

But your iniquity,

O daughter Edom,

He will punish.

He will uncover

Your sins.”

The good news was that the punishment of Zion was over. They would no longer be in exile. However, Edom was about to be punished, as their sins would be uncovered. This last verse of this Lamentation starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Taw, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, in this last acrostic poem.

The plan against Babylon (Jer 50:45-50:46)

“Therefore hear the plan

That Yahweh has made

Against Babylon!

Hear the purposes

That he has formed

Against the land

Of the Chaldeans!

Surely the little ones

Of the flock

Shall be dragged away.

Surely their fold

Shall be appalled

At their fate.

At the sound

Of the capture

Of Babylon,

The earth shall tremble.

Her cry shall be heard

Among the nations.”

Once again, this is the like the preceding chapter against the Edomites. Instead of the Edom, Babylon is inserted. Yahweh clearly wants to get rid of the Chaldeans.   Even the little ones would be dragged away. The shepherds and the sheep would be appalled at what was happening. The fall of the Babylonians would be so loud that the earth would tremble like an earthquake. The sounds of their cries from Babylon would be heard among all the nations.

The horror of Edom (Jer 49:17-49:18)

“‘Edom shall become

An object of horror.

Everyone who passes by it

Will be horrified.

They will hiss

Because of all its disasters.

As when Sodom,

With Gomorrah,

With their neighbors,

Were overthrown,

No one shall live there.

No one shall settle in it.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said that Edom would become an object to horror because everyone passing by it would be horrified. They will hiss at it because of the disasters there. Edom would become like the famous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapter 19. Here there is also a mention of their neighboring towns. The same results will happen to Edom. No one would want to live or settle in Edom.

The coming battle against Edom (Jer 49:14-49:16)

“‘I have heard tidings

From Yahweh.

A messenger has been sent

Among the nations.

‘Gather yourselves together!

Come against her!

Rise up for battle!’

I will make you least

Among the nations.

You will be

Despised by humankind.

The horror you inspire,

The pride of your heart,

Has deceived you.

You live

In the clefts

Of the rock.

You hold the height

Of the hill.

You make your nest

As high as the eagle’s.

I will bring you down

From there.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh sent a messenger to all the countries. They were to gather together to do battle against Edom, so that Edom would become the least of all the countries in the world. The Edomites would be despised by all since they inspired terrorism. Their pride had deceived them. Even though they lived in rocks in high places, like eagles nesting, Yahweh was going to bring them down.

The destruction of Bozrah (Jer 49:13-49:13)

“Says Yahweh.

‘I have sworn

By myself

That Bozrah

Shall become

An object

Of horror,

Of ridicule,

Of a waste,

Of cursing.

All her towns

Shall be

Perpetual wastes.’”

Bozrah was the capital city of Edom in northern Edom, modern day Jordan.   Yahweh swore to himself that this capital of the Edomites would become an object of horror, a place of ridicule and a waste, as well as a cursed place. All its surrounding towns would become perpetual waste sites.