Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Ezekiel 38

Verse 1

The last conflict of the world with God, and the complete overthrow of the former. This section Ezekiel 20:7-10, where John adopts words and phrases of Ezekiel.

There are four main divisions of this prophecy:

(1) Ezekiel 38:1-13, describing Gog‘s march;

(2) Ezekiel 38:14-23, describing his punishment;

(3) Ezekiel 39:17-29, the issue of Gog‘s ruin in Israel‘s redemption and sanctification.

Each division is broken up like a poem into stanzas.

Verse 2

Gog … - Gog of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. “Gog” is here the name of a captain from “the land of Magog” (compare Genesis 10:2) the name of a people of the north, placed between “Gomer” (the Cimmerians) and “Madai” (the Medes). In the History of Assurbanipal from cuneiform inscriptions, a chief of the Saka (Scythians), called Ga -a -gi is identified by some with Gog. Rosh, if a proper name, occurs in this connection only.

Verse 4

With all sorts - Or, “gorgeously;” see the marginal reference. Omit “of armor.”

Verse 5

Libya and Ethiopia, mixed with the northern invaders, are tribes from the extreme south, to show that this is a general combination of the foes of God‘s people.

Verse 7

Spoken ironically. Make all thy preparations, they will be in vain.

Verse 8

As Gog was drawn on to his attack upon Israel in order to his ultimate ruin, therefore his preparations were the first step in his visitation from the Almighty.

After many days - For “many days.” Many a long day shall the hand of God be upon thee, drawing thee on to thy ruin, and in the latter days shalt thou come.

The land - literally, a “land” once laid waste by the sword, but now delivered from it, whose inhabitants once scattered have been gathered together from out of many peoples.

Always - Rather, a long time. The mountains were at the time of Gog‘s advance again cultivated and populous.

And they shall dwell - Rather, and they dwell. It is a description of the actual condition at the time of Gog‘s invasion (compare Judges 18:7). Such was the condition of the restored Jews in their prosperous days, after which came invasion. Such shall be the condition of the Church previous to the final conflict between good and evil.

Verse 11

Unwalled villages - Compare Zechariah 2:4-5.

Verse 14

God will mark the prosperous security of the people, and rise up against them as an easy prey.

Verse 16

I shall be sanctified in thee - I shall be shown to be holy and just in avenging Myself of Mine enemy.

Verse 17

Gog - is not mentioned by name in any existing prophecy before Ezekiel‘s time. The reference here shows

(1) that the conflict with Gog does not represent a particular event, but one of which the prophets in general had to speak;

(2) that in the interpretation of Old Testament prophecy we are to look beyond special fulfillments.

Events in the world‘s history come within a prophet‘s ken as parts of the divine administration whereby evil struggles against but is overcome by good. As every such conflict is a prelude to the final struggle, so its prediction has reference ultimately to the consummation here foretold.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 38". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.