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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 38

 

 

Verses 1-23

2. Gog, the land of Magog] RV 'Gog, of the land of Magog.' The exact reference of the names is unknown. Magog is the land ruled over by Gog. The conjecture that 'Magog' (Mgg = Ggm = Bbl) is a cryptogram for 'Babel' (Babylon) has no probability. Gog in any case is the representative of remote heathendorn, and is located in the far N. (Ezekiel 38:6, Ezekiel 38:15; Ezekiel 39:2), while he has allies in the distant S. (Ezekiel 38:5).

Chief prince of Meshech, etc.] RV 'Prince of Rosh, Meshech,' etc., and so in Ezekiel 38:3, Ezekiel 39:1. The land meant by 'Rosh' is unknown, but there can be no allusion to Russia. On Meshech and Tubal see on Ezekiel 27:13.

4. Turn thee back] RV 'turn thee about.' Perhaps we should read, 'lead thee,' and so in Ezekiel 39:2. God directs the movements even of the enemies of His kingdom.

5. Persia] a doubtful rendering. Ethiopia, and Libya] RV 'Cush and Put': see on Ezekiel 27:10; Ezekiel 30:5.

6. Gomer] (Genesis 10:2), a people in the N. of Asia Minor, usually identified with the Cimmerians.

Togarmah] Armenia: see on Ezekiel 27:14; The north quarters] RV 'the uttermost parts of the north.' Bands] RV 'hordes,' and so throughout. People] RV 'peoples,' and so throughout, except in Ezekiel 38:12, and Ezekiel 39:13.

7. Be thou a guard unto them] LXX reads, 'hold thyself in reserve for me.'

8. The latter years] The invasion of Gog is in the distant future. The land that is.. gathered, etc.] The sense requires 'the nation' to be supplied before 'that is gathered': see Ezekiel 38:12.

11. The peaceful state of the restored Israel is here described.

12. Midst of the land] RV 'middle of the earth,' the supposed geographical position of Palestine.

13. Sheba.. Dedan.. Tarshish] see on Ezekiel 22:23, Ezekiel 22:25; Ezekiel 27:15, Ezekiel 27:20.

Young lions] does not give a clear sense. Other suggested readings are, 'Canaanites,' 'Cyprians,' or 'traffickers.' The nations mentioned were spectators of Gog's invasion, and inquired what commercial advantage they might reap from the disposal of the spoil.

15. North parts] RV 'uttermost parts of the north.'

17. Certain older prophecies were understood by Ezekiel to refer, though not by name, tö the coming invasion of Gog. Perhaps he had in view Zephaniah 1:14.; Zephaniah 3:8; Jeremiah 3-6.

18. At the same time] RV 'in that day.' In my face] RV 'into my nostrils.'

19. Shaking] or, 'earthquake.'


Verses 1-29


God's Final Victory over the Heathen

Ezekiel's earlier group of prophecies against the nations (Ezekiel 25-32) was concerned with Israel's nearer neighbours, which had interfered more or less in former times with her prosperity; and their humiliation was regarded as a necessary condition of Israel's peaceful and happy future. Ezekiel, however, contemplated a wider extension of God's glory than these prophecies involved. This is described under the form of an invasion of the restored Israel by hordes of the remotest heathen, who will be destroyed by God without any fighting on Israel's part. His glory will thus be manifested to the very ends of the earth. Ezekiel is alone among the Old Testament prophets in expecting another crisis to arise after the restoration has been accomplished. His conception is reproduced in the New Testament in the book of Revelation (Revelation 20:7-10), and the underlying idea in both cases is that what seems the triumph of God's kingdom may be followed by a fresh assault of the forces of evil, which, however, are destined to be overthrown at last. The picture of Gog may have been suggested partly by the memory of the great Scythian invasion (see Intro.), and partly by the ravages of Nebuchadrezzar's armies.

Ezekiel 38 describes Gog's allies (Ezekiel 38:1-7), his nefarious plans (Ezekiel 38:8-13), his great invasion (Ezekiel 38:14-17), and God's turning of the forces of nature against him (Ezekiel 38:18-23). Ezekiel 39 foretells that God will lead him on to destruction (Ezekiel 39:1-7); his weapons will provide Israel with fuel for seven years (Ezekiel 39:8-10); seven months will be required to bury the corpses of his host, which will fill a whole valley on the E. of the Dead Sea (Ezekiel 39:11-13); when the seven months are over special officers will still be required to search out and bury the dead bodies that remain (Ezekiel 39:14-16); birds and beasts of prey will enjoy an enormous banquet (Ezekiel 39:17-20); all the earth will recognise the power and glory of the true God, the heathen will understand at last the real meaning of Israel's exile, and Israel will learn the lessons of all God's dealings with them in judgment and in mercy (Ezekiel 39:21-29).

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 38:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/ezekiel-38.html. 1909.

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