Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
The prophet having formerly predicted the ruin of Edom, the same with Seir, (Eze 25:12), now resumes and pursues the subject at greater length, intimating, as did also Isaiah, (Isa 21:11, Isa 21:12), that though other nations should recover their liberty after the fall of the Babylonian monarchy, the Edomites should continue in bondage for their very despiteful behavior towards the children of Israel in the day of their calamity, Eze 35:1-15.
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.
Most desolate - Literally, "A desolation and a wilderness."
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.
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."
Perpetual desolations - Thou shalt have perpetual desolation for thy perpetual hatred.
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.
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 - 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.
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.
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.