when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore; when his worship shall be set up among them; his Gospel shall be preached unto them, and received by them; and his ordinances administered unto them; and which shall continue till the second coming of Christ.
INTRODUCTION TO Ezekiel 38
This chapter gives an account of an enemy of the Jews, under the name of Gog, that shall invade their land, and disturb their peace, after they are settled in it; who is described by the countries over which he rules; and against whom the prophet is bid to set his face, and prophesy of him, the Lord being against him; and who would cause him to return from Judea unsuccessful, Ezekiel 38:1, the number of his confederates, their warlike accoutrements and preparations for the invasion of the land of Israel, are foretold, Ezekiel 38:4, his wicked designs and intentions to spoil and plunder the inhabitants of it, Ezekiel 38:10, the notice taken of his projects by the merchants of Tarshish and others, Ezekiel 38:13, his coming up to invade the land is again observed for the certainty of it; and the place from whence, and the time when he should come, are mentioned, as well as God's design in it, and which had been before predicted by his prophets, Ezekiel 38:14, and the chapter is concluded with a denunciation of divine wrath, which shall be terrible to all the inhabitants of the earth, and to all creatures in heaven, earth, and sea; when he and his forces shall be destroyed by the sword, by pestilence, and by dreadful storms and tempests, Ezekiel 38:18, of which destruction a fuller account is given in the next chapter.
saying; as follows:
the land of Magog, of which Gog is king, as Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it: it may be supplied in connection with the former clause,
set thy face against Gog, in the land of Magog; or, "against Gog", against "the land of Magog", so Kimchi. The countries of Jagog and Magog, according to the Arabic geographer (x), are surrounded by Mount Caucasus, which Bochart (y) conjectures has its name from thence; it being in the Semi-Chaldee language, the language of the Colchi and Armenians, "Gog-hasan", or Gog's fortress. This land of Magog is the same with Cathaia or Scythia, that part of Tartary from whence the Turks came; and which perhaps may come into their hands again before this prophecy is fulfilled; and even now the Turk calls himself king of Tartary; and the Magog of Pliny in Syria, the same with Aleppo, is in his dominions; which Maimonides (z) also takes notice of as in Syria, though he seems to distinguish it from Haleb or Aleppo; however, according to him, they were near to one another; though some (a) think the place in Pliny is corrupted, and that it ought to be read Magog, as it is, by Maimonides, Magbab. Gog is further described as
the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: some render it, "prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal"; taking Rosh, as the rest, for the name of a place, a part of Scythia, from whence the Russians came, and had their name. So it is rendered by the Septuagint, Symmachus, and Theodotion; and some later Greek writers (b) make mention of a country called Ros, which, they say, is a Scythian nation, situated between the Euxine Pontus and the whole maritime coast to the north of Taurus, a people fierce and wild. Meshech and Tubal were the brethren of Magog, and sons of Japheth, Genesis 10:2, whose posterity inhabited those counties called after their name; who, according to Josephus (c), are the Cappadocians and Iberians; and among the former is a place called Mazaca, which has some affinity with Meshech; and there was a country called Gogarene (d), a part of Iberia. According to Bochart (e), these are the Moschi and Tybarenes, people that dwell near the Euxine sea, and under the dominion of the Turk; wherefore the Grand Turk may be called the chief prince of them:
and prophesy against him: foretell his ruin and destruction, which is hinted before. Mention is made of his invasion of the land of Judea, and that for the comfort of the Jews, that they might have nothing to fear from this formidable army.
(m) Dictionary in the words "Gog" and "Magog". (n) "De fide ad Gratianum", l. 2. sect. 4. Colossians 144. tom. 4. (o) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 23. (p) Comment. in Jesaiam, vol. 1. p. 954. (q) Vid. Calmet. Bibliotheca Sacra, art. 67. p. 442. (r) Hiller. Ononmastic. Sacr. p. 67, 406, 477. (s) Lexic. Arabic in Rad. Colossians 26. (t) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.((u) Apud Schindler. Lex. Polyglott. col. 288. And Harris's Voyages and Travels, vol. 1. p. 604. (w) Vid. Huls. Theolog. Jud. par. 2. p. 511. (x) Geograph. Arab. par. 9. clim. 5. lin. 22, 23. (y) Phaleg. l. 3. c. 13. col. 187. (z) Hilchot Terumot, c. 1. sect. 9. (a) See Hyde Not, in Peritsol. Itinera Mundi, p. 42. (b) Zonaras, Cedrenus, & Joan. Curopalates apud Selden. de Synedriis, l. 2. c. 3. sect. 6. (c) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.((d) Strabo. Geograph. l. 11. p. 364. (e) Phaleg. l. 3. c. 13. col. 188.
"I will persuade thee, and put hooks in thy jaws;''
that is, incline his heart to take such a step, which should be to his destruction:
and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army; all his janizaries, and large army out of Turkey, and other parts of his dominions:
horses and horsemen; the Turkish armies, chiefly consisting of cavalry; See Gill on Revelation 9:16,
all of them clothed with all sorts of armour; or completely clothed, as the Targum; for the word "armour" is not in the text; and besides, their armour is particularly mentioned afterwards; and so Kimchi has it, with all kind of ornaments, richly clothed and decorated, especially the principal officers, and, so made a fine show: even a
great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords; or large armies, as the Targum; the Turks have always been used to bring prodigious large armies into the field; See Gill on Revelation 9:16.
(f) "circumducam te", Piscator; "circumagam te", Grotius.
all of them with shield and helmet; the Lybians are described by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 46:9, as
those that handle the shield; and the Egyptians, to whom the Lybians were near neighbours, and whom they might imitate in their warlike arms, as in other things, wore shields down to the feet, as Xenophon (h) relates.
(g) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 2.((h) Cyropaedia, l. 6. c. 14. & l. 7. c. 11.
the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands; Togarmah was one of the sons of Gomer, Genesis 10:3 whose posterity, according to the Greeks, as Josephus (k) says, were the Phrygians; but others rather think the Cappadocians descended from him; and that Togarmah designs their country, which also is a part of the Turkish dominions; See Gill on Ezekiel 27:14. Several moderns, as Calmet (l) observes, believe that the children of Togarmah peopled Turcomania in Tartary, and Scythia, and which he approves of; and the Turks are mentioned by Ben Gorion (m) as one of the ten families of Togarmah. The Targum renders it here the province of Germany; as it is also interpreted in the Talmud (n), but wrongly:
and many people with thee; from other places and nations, besides those named; especially out of the lesser Asia, as Pamphylia, Cilicia, and other places; and perhaps from Tartary, and elsewhere,
(i) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.((k) lbid. (l) Dictionary in the word "Togarmah". (m) Heb. Hist. l. 1. c. 1. p. 3.((n) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 10. 1.
thou and all thy company, that are assembled unto thee; or all thine armies, as the Targum, gathered out of his dominions, and made up of his auxiliaries and allies; let them all be furnished with arms, and everything proper for the expedition designed:
and be thou a guard unto them; the general of them; let them observe and obey thy word of command; guide and direct, guard and protect them in their march; and take care of them when entered the land of Judea, that they are not exposed to any unnecessary danger, or cut off by any stratagem or ambush: this is also sarcastically said; signifying that let him use all the care and caution that a wise and prudent general can do, yet he and his army should perish.
in the latter years thou shall come into the land that is brought back from the sword; that is, into the land of Judea, the right owners of which shall now be returned unto it; who have been for many years drove and kept out of it by the sword of their enemies; see Jeremiah 31:2 and these "latter years" are the same with the "latter days", in which these people shall seek the Lord and the Messiah, and fear him and his goodness, and return to their own land, Hosea 3:5, when the Turks, enraged at it, will raise a numerous army, and enter it, in order to repossess it. The description of the Jews, who are most manifestly pointed at, is continued: and
is gathered out of many people against the mountains of Israel; or rather, "to the mountains of Israel" (o); for it seems to design the land of Judea, that is, the people of it; who shall be gathered out of the several nations where they are now dispersed, and brought into their own land; described by the mountains of Israel, because a mountainous country, and a very fruitful one; Ezekiel 34:13, and not the army of Gog gathered out of many nations, as before observed, to march against the people of the Jews; though this seems to be the sense of the Targum,
"in the end of years thou shalt come into the land, against which are turned those that slay with the sword, who are gathered out of many people against the mountains of the land of Israel:''
which have been always waste: of a longer time than the seventy years' captivity, even ever since the destruction of it by the Romans; and if the time of the carrying captive of the ten tribes by Salmanezer is respected, it is longer still:
but it brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them; that is, the people of the Jews, the proprietors of the land of Israel, shall now be brought forth out of each the nations where they are scattered, and shall inhabit their own land, and dwell in the utmost security, having nothing to fear from their most potent enemies, even Gog himself; and though he shall come against them in the following manner.
(o) "ad montes Israel", Pagninus, Cocceius, Starckius.
thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land; with darkness and distress; suggesting the vast number of his army, which should overspread the land of Judea, as it follows:
thou and all thy bands, and many people with thee; his own army should be very numerous, and this increased by his confederates, or such who will voluntarily join him in this expedition.
at the same time shall things come into thy mind; when the Jews shall be in their own land, dwelling in great security; and when Gog or the Turk shall make preparation to disturb them, and shall enter into their land suddenly and furiously; many thoughts shall come into his mind, many schemes and devices, but not good ones:
and thou shall think an evil thought; to do mischief to the Jews; to disturb their peace, to dispossess them of their land, and plunder their substance.
I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; a land which has nothing but villages in it, and those no walls about them to protect them: this he said by way of contempt; and the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it "the abject land"; and to observe how easily he could conquer it, there being nothing in his way to hinder him, or give him trouble:
I will go to them that are at rest, and dwell safely: as the Jews will do in the latter day, when they shall own and acknowledge the Messiah, Jeremiah 23:5, and dwell in their own land, where they will be quiet and peaceable, and think and do no harm to any, nor mistrust their neighbours doing any harm to them; but shall live in the utmost tranquillity and security; and which Gog or the Turks will take the advantage of; and from hence promise themselves an easy conquest of them:
all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates; no walls to their cities; no gates to walls; nor bars to gates; but without either; being under the protection of God, and putting their trust in him, who is a wall of fire round about his people; and is better to them, than gates with bars.
to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited: such as were before desolate, and had lain long so, but now peopled and cultivated; these he would attack and demolish, and make a spoil and prey of:
and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations; a description of the Jews, as before; Ezekiel 38:8.
which have gotten cattle and goods; so that it should seem that Gog or the Turks will not immediately attack the Jews upon their possession of the land of Judea; but some time after, when they have settled in it, and have acquired much wealth and riches in cattle and goods, and then think to have a fine booty of them:
that dwell in the midst of the land; or, "the navel of the land" (p); which may design Jerusalem, situated in the midst of the land of Israel, and so called the navel of it, as that is in the midst of the body; as Enna is said by Cicero to be the navel of Sicily: or, as Kimchi thinks, the land of Israel itself is meant; which is in the midst of the world, and so the navel of it; though the former seems best.
(p) , Sept.; "in vel super umbilico terrae", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Starckius.
with all the young lions thereof; which some interpret of sea pirates, for their cruelty and voraciousness. The Targum paraphrases it, all the kings thereof; and so Kimchi thinks kings and princes are meant; but the Septuagint version renders it, all their villages; and so the Syriac version, all the cities:
shall say unto thee, art thou come to take a spoil? either out of compassion to the people of the Jews; or rather by way of congratulation, and as expressive of joy at it; or else out of envy that they have no share in it; suggesting that they would gladly join with him, and partake of the booty:
hast thou gathered thy company together to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? all which it is supposed might easily be done; only they might wonder that so rich a potentate as the Turk should give himself the trouble to raise such an army, and come so far, for cattle and goods, and silver and gold of which he had such plenty. Gog gives no answer, but God does.
thus saith the Lord God, in that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shall thou not know it? that Israel are returned to their own land? that they dwell in it safely? that they have abundance of cattle, gold, and silver that they have no walls, gates, and bars to protect them? that they live without fear or suspicion of any enemy to annoy them, and therefore may be easily surprised and taken? this, when it comes to pass, will soon be known by the Turks, through their spies and informers: or, "shall thou not know?" (q) or experience the divine vengeance for thy wicked thoughts, intentions, and attempts against Israel? he should. So the Targum,
"shalt thou not know the vengeance of my power?''
or shalt thou not know that all attempts to make them uneasy and uncomfortable will be in vain?
(q) "experturus esses", Junius & Tremellius; "experieris, scil. poenam meam", Piscator.
thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses; the Turkish armies consisting chiefly of horse, as has been observed on Ezekiel 38:4,
a great company, and a mighty army; for quantity many, for quality strong and mighty. The Targum is,
"many armies, and much people;''
the Turks usually have large armies; See Gill on Ezekiel 38:4.
as a cloud to cover the land; the land of Israel, so great should be his army; See Gill on Ezekiel 38:9,
it shall be in the latter days; of the Gospel state, or kingdom of the Messiah, when the Jews shall be converted, and are returned to their own land, Hosea 3:5,
and I will bring thee against my land; not to possess it, nor to hurt it, or to any injury to the people of it: but
that the Heathen may know me; the Pagan kingdoms of China, and others; who by God's judgments on the Turks will come to the knowledge of the true God, and acknowledge him, and will become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, Revelation 11:15,
when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes; that is, when God shall appear to be a holy and just God, in inflicting deserved punishment on the enemies of his people; when his omniscience and omnipotence, his power and faithfulness, and other perfections of his will be displayed, in fulfilling those prophecies concerning Gog or the Turks; infidels will be convinced of the truth of divine revelation; of the God of Israel being the true God; of Jesus being the Messiah; and of the Christian religion being of God, and shall profess the same. The, Targum is,
"that the people may know the vengeance of my power, when I shall be sanctified in thee, who shall see thy vengeance, O Gog.''
art thou he of whom I have spoken of old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I will bring thee against them? certainly thou art he: but who were the prophets that prophesied of Gog before Ezekiel, since he is the first that makes mention of him? to this it may be replied, that though he is not mentioned by name, yet he might be prophesied of under other names, as by Isaiah under the name of Leviathan, Isaiah 27:1 and by Micah under the name of the Assyrian, Micah 5:5. The Jews (r) say that Eldad and Medad prophesied of him, which Jarchi, Kimchi, and Abendana remark; who all observe, agreeably to the Talmudists in the place referred to, that these two are the prophets meant; and therefore it is directed to be read not "shanim", years, but "shenaim", two; namely, those two prophets prophesied one prophecy at one time, or together; but this is not to be depended upon: it should be observed, that this must be considered as spoken at the time of the accomplishment of this prophecy, and so may have respect to the Prophet Ezekiel himself, or to Joel, Joel 3:1, and to Zechariah, Zechariah 14:1, and even to the book of the Revelation, Revelation 16:14.
(r) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 17. 1. & Gloss. in ib.
that my fury shall come up in my face; as a man's blood rises up in his face, and his colour appears, when he is wroth and angry: or, "in my nose" (s); as men when they are angry puff and blow, expand their nose, breathe through it; but against whom is all this wrath and fury? Starckius, a modern interpreter, thinks it is against the land of Israel, against the church; but it rather seems to be against Gog himself; the Lord being provoked at his attempt against the land of Israel, and the wicked designs he had to spoil and plunder it.
(s) "in nasum meum", Piscator, Cocceius, Starckius.
surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; not a consternation among the people of Israel frightened at the armies of Gog, and the terrible appearance they shall make, and the devastations they threaten; but in Gog himself, and his army, through the wrath of God upon them, and the vengeance he will take of them in the land of Israel, they will enter upon to destroy; not but that there may be some dread in the minds of the Jews upon the appearance of so formidable an army in their land: this shaking, according to Jarchi, will be by thunder and lightning. Kimchi understands it of an earthquake, in a literal sense, and compares with it Zechariah 14:4, see also Revelation 16:18, which speaks of an earthquake that will be about this time.
and the fowls of the heaven, and the beast of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the earth, must be understood figuratively and hyperbolically, as Kimchi observes, and in allusion to earthquakes, which both shake and terrify all kind of creatures; the blow given to Gog will be so terrible, that all nature will seem to be thrown into a convulsion and agitation by it; see Jeremiah 4:24,
and the mountains shall be thrown down; as they are sometimes by earthquakes; and as the mount of Olives will at this time cleave asunder; and perhaps other mountains will, as Kimchi observes, see Zechariah 14:2,
and the steep places shall fall; the Targum renders the word "towers"; and so the Syriac version, and Piscator: the word signifies stairs or steps (t), such as in a ladder; and is translated "stairs", Sol 2:14 it seems to me to design such mounts as are raised by besiegers of a city, by means of which they may be able to scale the walls of it, which Jarchi suggests; though he says he had heard it said that these, are rocks bending over and hanging, and appear as if they were falling; which agrees with our version; and it may be observed, in some of those precipices, there are like stairs or steps to go up them:
and every wall shall fall to the ground: this shows that the words are not to be taken literally, but figuratively; only to express how sensibly the power of God should be felt and perceived by all creatures, and in all parts of the land; since now the Jews will dwell in a land of unwalled villages, and in cities without walls, bars, and gates; see Ezekiel 38:11.
(t) "gradus", Munster, Pagninus, Montanus.
throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God; throughout the land of Israel, which is mountainous; and is called the Lord's, because he hath chosen it for his people, given it to them, and now dwelt among them; and in all parts of it where the enemy is, the sword of the Jews, and of those princes that should come in to their assistance at the call of God, shall be sent against them, and cut them off: and not only so,
but every man's sword shall be against his brother; as the swords of the Midianites were, Judges 7:22, and of the enemies of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:22. The Turkish army will consist of a mixed people of many nations, who will quarrel among themselves, and destroy one another.
(u) Concordant. Ebr. Partic. p. 285, 286.
and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain; a horrible tempest of divine wrath, Psalm 11:6 as he came into the land of Israel like a storm, so he shall be destroyed by one much more terrible:
and great hailstones; such as were cast upon the Canaanites, Joshua 10:11 and as there will be on men, the enemies of the church of God, at the pouring out of the seventh vial, Revelation 16:21,
fire and brimstone; as God rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 19:24, signifying that in like manner will God deal with those enemies of his people; so at the battle of Armageddon, which seems to be the same with this here, the beast and the false prophet will be taken alive, and cast into a lake of fire burning with brimstone, Revelation 19:20, and to this rain or tempest of fire and brimstone upon Gog there is an allusion in Revelation 20:9.