Ezekiel 39:17 MEANING

Ezekiel 39:17
(17) Every feathered fowl.--Compare Ezekiel 39:4, also Ezekiel 17:23; Ezekiel 29:5. The birds and beasts of all kinds represent all nations.

A great sacrifice.--The representation of a destructive judgment upon the Lord's enemies as a sacrifice is found also in Isaiah 34:6; Jeremiah 46:10. The figure is not to be pushed beyond the single point for which it is used--"to fill out and heighten the description of an immense slaughter."

Verses 17-20 exhibit in a third way the severity of Gog's overthrow by setting forth the bloody carnage which should attend it. Verse 17. - Expanding the thought of ver. 4, and borrowing the imagery of the older prophets, Isaiah (Isaiah 34:6; Isaiah 56:9) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 46:10; Jeremiah 50:29; Jeremiah 51:40), Ezekiel represents Gog's destruction as a great sacrifice - literally, slaying; hence a sacrificial feast or simply banquet (as in Genesis 31:54) - upon the mountains of Israel, prepared by Jehovah for the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field, which he, therefore, invites to come from all quarters to eat flesh and drink blood.

39:11-22 How numerous the enemies which God destroyed for the defence of his people Israel! Times of great deliverances should be times of reformation. Every one should help the utmost he can, toward cleansing the land from reproach. Sin is an enemy every man should strive against. Those engaged in public work, especially of cleansing and reforming a land, ought to be men who will go through with what they undertake, who will be always employed. When good work is to be done, every one should further it. Having received special favours from God, let us cleanse ourselves from all evil. It is a work which will require persevering diligence, that search may be made into the secret recesses of sin. The judgments of the Lord, brought upon sin and sinners, are a sacrifice to the justice of God, and a feast to the faith and hope of God's people. See how evil pursues sinners, even after death. After all that ambitious and covetous men do and look for, a place of graves is all the Lord gives them on earth, while their guilty souls are doomed to misery in another world.And thou, son of man, thus saith the Lord God,.... What the prophet is ordered by the Lord to say is to creatures not then in being, nor yet; and, were they, they could not understand his words; but however, when the time comes, partly by an instinct in nature, and partly by a particular direction of Providence, they will be gathered together upon so great a slaughter of men; for what follows, though mentioned in this place, will be between the slaughter of Gog's army, and the burial of it, as Kimchi well observes; after the burial such an invitation would be impertinent; and which is made not for the sake of creatures, but of men, to denote the certainty of this great carnage that shall be made:

speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field; this must be understood of such fowls, and such beasts, as devour dead carcasses, for all will not feed on them; a like invitation is given after the battle at Armageddon, the same with this here, Revelation 19:17 only with this difference, there an angel is said to cry, here the prophet; there to the fowls only, here to the beasts of the field also; no doubt respect there is had to this passage:

assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifices that I do sacrifice for you; such a slaughter of men is called a sacrifice, because there is a likeness between that and the killing of beasts for sacrifice; besides, these enemies of God and his people will fall a victim to his justice, as well as be a repast for fowls and beasts, who are invited, as to a feast, to feed upon them; and there being so much of the power and providence of God in all this, it is ascribed to him, and is called "the supper of the great God", Revelation 19:17,

even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel; where Gog's army will fall, Ezekiel 39:4, and in such vast numbers, that it may well be called a great sacrifice; the sacrifice of a great army by the great God, and for such great number of creatures:

that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood; the flesh and blood of the sacrifices, even of slain men, which carnivorous creatures delight in. The Targum is,

"draw near everywhere round about to the slain, which I slay for you with a great slaughter upon the mountains of Israel, and ye shall eat the flesh, and drink the blood.''

Courtesy of Open Bible