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The Destruction of Gog and his Hosts
v. 1. Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, in a further statement concerning the Lord's vengeance upon him, and say, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, rather, "the prince of Rosh, Mesheeh, and. Tubal," Ezekiel 38:2-3,
v. 2. and I will turn thee back, leading him back from his projected attack on the children of the Lord, and leave but the sixth part of thee, literally, "lead thee about," or "drive thee on," and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, to the attack against the people of God which led to Gog's destruction, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel, apparently for a successful assault upon the Church of the Lord, an expectation, however, in which he would be sorely disappointed;
v. 3. and I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, which held the bow, while the right hand bent it, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand, as they were fitted in place to be sent to their mark.
v. 4. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, in the very place where the enemy hoped to gain a victory, thou and all thy bands, the hosts which had joined him for the attack upon the Lord's people, and the people that is with thee. I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, the feathered or winged beasts of prey, from the great vultures down to the tiny parasite, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured, in a most ignominious death.
v. 5. Thou shalt fall upon the open field, literally, "the face of the field"; for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God, who carries out His threats, like His promises, with unfailing accuracy and telling effect.
v. 6. And I will send a fire on Magog, that of warfare and of divine destruction, and among them that dwell carelessly, in a self-confident, fancied security, in the isles; and they shall know that I am the Lord.
v. 7. So will I make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, for the destruction of the enemies would be to the people of God a proof of His almighty power and would therefore serve to enhance the glory of His Name; and I will not let them pollute My holy name any more, literally, "I will not permit the name of My holiness to be polluted any more," namely, by such blasphemous attacks on the part of the heathen, and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel, set apart for exclusive veneration on the part of all men, whether by willing reverence or by cringing deference.
v. 8. Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God, the fulfillment being assured with a definiteness of an accomplished fact; this is the day whereof I have spoken, the final overthrow of the enemy signifying the definite deliverance of the Lord's people.
v. 9. And they that dwell in the cities of Israel. shall go forth, the Lord's children taking a walk, as it were, to take a look at the fallen enemies, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, the armor of the enemies, both the shields and the bucklers, the enemies weapons of defense, the bows and the arrows, the weapons of offense, and the band-staves, which some commentators think were the riding-switches of the invaders, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years, this number being used as the holy number of the Bible.
v. 10. so that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests, that is, there was no need for them to get fuel in the usual way and from the usual places; for they shall burn the weapons with fire, this being sufficient for all their needs; and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, the wealth of the enemies, all the treasures in which they trusted, thus becoming the property of the children of God, saith the Lord God.
v. 11. And it shall come to pass in that day, the time of the great Judgment at the latter end, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, where this arch-enemy could be buried, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea, literally, "the valley of the passers-through," a place which was much frequented, the picture being that of a valley extending toward the Dead Sea; and it shall stop the noses of the passengers, literally, "it stops the passers-through," arresting their attention, almost compelling them to take notice of this instance of God's judgment; and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude, the enemy fallen in the very sight of the Lord's city which he had intended to take by storm; and they shall call it The Valley of Hamon-gog, of the great multitude of Gog.
v. 12. And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, engaged in this task of disposing of the corpses of the enemies, that they may cleanse the land, for the presence of dead bodies polluted the land.
v. 13. Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them, in willing zeal to cleanse the land of corruption; and it shall be to them a renown, it will give them a name before men, as being anxious to appear as a people consecrated to the Lord, the day that I shall be glorified, by the overthrow of the enemies, saith the Lord God.
v. 14. And they shall sever out men of continual employment, delegating them for just this task, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, some of the men making the search for dead bodies and others attending to their burial, to cleanse it, so that the land would no longer he polluted; after the end of seven months shall they search, to complete the work begun by the entire multitude of people.
v. 15. And the passengers that pass through the land, those delegated to search for dead bodies, when any seeth a man's bone, the skeleton of one of the slain enemies, then shall he set up a sign by it, a mark or guide-post of stone, till the hurlers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog.
v. 16. And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah, that is, "great multitude," or "tumult. " Thus shall they cleanse the land. All these descriptive details are added in order to bring out the complete defeat of the Lord's enemies in a most vivid manner.
v. 17. And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God, Speak unto every feathered fowl, Cf v. 4, and to every beast of the field, the beasts of prey that follow armies on their campaigns, Assemble yourselves and come; gather yourselves on every side to My sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, in slaughtering the enemies by this shameful defeat and overthrow, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, the rapacious birds and beasts being invited to the gruesome sacrificial feast, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood.
v. 18. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, for it is in this class of people that the Lord's enemies are most numerous, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, literally, "great goats," or "he-goats," of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan, this name being applied to the ungodly men of might because the province of Bashan, beyond Jordan, was famed for its fat and strong cattle. Cf Psalms 22:12. It is evident that the various animals named represent the various ranks among the hosts of the Lord's enemies, rulers, leaders of men, as well as common soldiers, those of a lower station in life.
v. 19. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full and drink blood till ye be drunken, of My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you, the sacrificial feast of God's fury prepared by the overthrow of His enemies.
v. 20. Thus ye shall be filled at My table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord God. No matter what means the enemies use in trying to overcome the Church of God, no matter what form their hostility takes, they are powerless before His almighty arm. The vividness of the presentation and the detailed manner of description serve to emphasize the complete overthrow of all those who presume to attack the City of God.
The Effect of God's Judgment
v. 21. And I will set My glory among the heathen, by carrying out this judgment upon Gog, representative of all the hostile forces of the earth, and all the heathen shall see My judgment that I have executed, and My band that I have laid upon them, they are bound to see the heavy hand of God's punishment, unable to deny His sovereign interference.
v. 22. So the house of Israel, as a second result of the Lord's judgment upon the enemies of His spiritual Israel, shall know that I am the Lord, their God, from that day and forward, the interposition of the Lord in their interest strengthening their confidence in Him.
v. 23. And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel, here chiefly representative of the Church of God in the Old Testament, went into captivity for their iniquity, not because the enemies, in their own power, overcame them; because they trespassed against Me, therefore hid I My face from them, withdrawing His merciful and almighty presence from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies, so that their captivity at that time, and all the evils which befall them at any time, are the punishments of the Lord; so fell they all by the sword.
v. 24. According to their uncleanness, that of their idolatry, of their rebellion against the God of the covenant, and according to their transgressions, the wickedness of their perfidious acts, have I done unto them, treating them as they deserved, and hid My face from them. It was not Israel's helplessness that delivered Israel into the hands of the enemies, but the judgment of God upon a disloyal people. The enemies, therefore, were not to take the credit for the present situation for themselves; for God had brought it about in order to carry out his plans regarding those who belonged to His people in truth.
v. 25. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, in restoring His people from the calamity of the exile, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, to all those who truly were members of His own people, who in simple faith placed their confidence in Him, and will be jealous for My holy name, which, as a result of the misfortunes that had come upon His people, was in danger of being blasphemed,
v. 26. after that they have borne their shame and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against Me, namely, by being thoroughly ashamed of their former unfaithfulness and idolatry, by loathing themselves for their perfidiousness, when they dwelt safely in their land and none made them afraid. Ezekiel 16:54-61. That is the effect which the realization of God's unmerited goodness has upon the repentant sinner: it causes him to be all the more conscious of his own unworthiness.
v. 27. When I have brought them again from the people, from the countries where they were living in exile, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations, who would be bound to acknowledge the power of the one true God and yield him the respect due Him,
v. 28. then shall they know that I am the Lord, their God, the true Israelites once more accepting Him as the God of the covenant, as the God of their salvation, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen, namely, with the express intention of bringing them to a realization of their foolishness and of their helplessness when they forsook Him; but I have gathered them unto their own land and have left none of them any more there. This applies to all those who were Israelites in truth, not only to those who actually returned to Canaan and took an active part in establishing the true worship, but also to those who remained in foreign lands, but were believers in the true God; for the latter had free access to their native land and to the Temple at Jerusalem as their spiritual dwelling-place.
v. 29. Neither will I hide My face any more from them, from those who are His children by faith in the Redeemer; for I have poured out My Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God. It is the Spirit of God who works conversion in the Old Testament as well as in the New. Without his illumination no member of Israel could believe in time coming Messiah and without His power no person at time present time can believe in the Redeemer. Cf 2 Corinthians 1:23; Ephesians 1:14; Php_1:6 .
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 39". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13