Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it,
Set thy face against Mount Seir - That is, against the Edomites. This prophecy was probably delivered about the time of the preceding, and before the destruction of Idumea by Nebuchadnezzar, which took place about five years after.
Calmet supposes that two destructions of Idumea are here foretold; one by Nebuchadnezzar, and the other by the Jews after their return from their captivity.
And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate.
Most desolate - Literally, "A desolation and a wilderness."
I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:
A perpetual hatred - The Edomites were the descendants of Esau; the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob. Both these were brothers; and between them there was contention even in the womb, and they lived generally in a state of enmity. Their descendants kept up the ancient feud: but the Edomites were implacable; they had not only a rooted but perpetual enmity to the Israelites, harassing and distressing them by all possible means; and they seized the opportunity, when the Israelites were most harassed by other enemies, to make inroads upon them, and cut them off wherever they found them.
To afflict the afflicted is cruel. This is scarcely of man, bad as he is. He must be possessed by the malignant spirit of the devil, when he wounds the wounded, insults over the miseries of the afflicted, and seeks opportunities to add affliction to those who are already under the rod of God.
Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee.
Blood shall pursue thee - Thou lovest blood, and thou shalt have blood. It is said that Cyrus and two hundred thousand men were slain in an ambush by Thomyris, queen of the Scythians, and that she cut ok his head, and threw it into a vessel filled with blood, with this severe sarcasm: -
Satia te sanguine quem sitisti, Cyre.
"O Cyrus, now satisfy thyself with blood."
Hence, the figure: -
"Sarcasmus, with this biting taunt doth kill:
Cyrus, thy thirst was blood, now drink thy fill."
Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth.
And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword.
I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Perpetual desolations - Thou shalt have perpetual desolation for thy perpetual hatred.
Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:
These two nations - Israel and Judah. The Idumeans thought of conquering and possessing both; and they would have succeeded, but only the Lord was there; and this spoiled their projects, and blasted their hopes.
Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee.
And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume.
They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume - They exulted in seeing Judea overrun; and they rejoiced in the prospect of completing the ruin, when the Chaldeans had withdrawn from the land.
Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them.
Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me - Ye have said you would enter into those lands, and take them for your inheritance; though ye knew that God had promised them to the Israelites, and that you should never have them for your portion.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate.
When the whole earth rejoiceth - When the whole land shall rejoice in the restoration of the Jews, I will make thee desolate. Probably this refers to the time of the Maccabees.
As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
So will I do unto thee - Others shall rejoice in thy downfall as thou hast rejoiced at their downfall.
This whole chapter strongly inculcates this maxim: Do as thou wouldst be done by; and what thou wouldst not have done to thee, do not to others. And from it we learn that every man may, in some sort, be said to make his own temporal good or evil; for as he does to others, God will take care to do to him, whether it be evil or good, weal or wo. Would you not be slandered or backbitten? Then do not slander nor backbite. Wouldst thou wish to live in peace? Then do not disturb the peace of others. Be merciful, and thou shalt obtain mercy.