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Bible Commentaries

Layman's Bible Commentary

Ezekiel 39

Verses 1-10

Overthrow and Defeat of Gog (39:1-10)

Verses 1-6 repeat much that has already been said in the previous chapter. Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, will come out of the north against the cities of Israel. Destruction of Gog will be complete, leaving him and his hosts as prey for vultures. Consuming fire from heaven will descend upon Gog and upon the coastlands.

Verses 7-8 repeat the thought that the destruction of Gog is accomplished so that God’s holy name shall no longer be profaned before the nations. Seeing what has happened in this final debacle of evil, they shall know that God is "the Lord, the Holy One in Israel."

The extent of desolation and defeat is detailed in verses 9-10, where it is said that the accumulated weapons are so great in quantity that it takes seven years for fire to consume them. So great is the junk yard of weapons that there will need to be no wood cut for fuel or for cooking over a seven-year period.

Verses 11-20

Burial and Disposal of Gog’s Army (39:11-20)

Gog and his hosts appear to be trapped in a valley whence there is no escape. There they are buried on the spot in the valley called "Hamon-gog," which is "the multitude of Gog." In order that the land of Israel be not defiled by the dead bodies, men are appointed to bury them. Working continuously they spend seven months on the burial. The use of "seven years" (vs. 9) and "seven months" (vs. 12) indicates that this whole account was symbolic from its inception.

After burial of the bodies there follows a feast at which the birds and beasts consume the mighty who have fallen (vss. 17-20). Had the interment already occurred, there would be no corpses upon which to feed. These verses must therefore be understood as a separate oracle which has been brought into the complex of chapters 38-39 without logical connection.

Verses 21-29

Israel’s Return from Captivity (39:21-29)

The earlier motif combining explanation of judgment with promise of restoration is repeated. Israel and all nations shall know who God is (vss. 21-22). These two verses are obviously the bridge between the Gog-Magog passage and the remainder of this chapter. The reason for Israel’s captivity will be understood: The Lord hid his face because of the uncleanness and transgression of his people, who refused to be his people. National destruction was no manifestation of the Lord’s weakness; it was the sin of Israel which brought disaster.

Restored Israel, located where none will "make them afraid," is described once more. After return and settlement of the people in the land, the Lord promises that he will pour out his Spirit upon the people (see ch. 37). The picture of Israel restored in a world where no enemy can hurt is an emerging promise in Scripture. God will give security by ultimately winning the victory over chaos and darkness through order and light. In this pattern of thought the basic struggle of life and history is carefully and dramatically described.

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Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ezekiel 39". "Layman's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lbc/ezekiel-39.html.