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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Ezekiel 39

 

 

Verse 1

Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal - repeated from Ezekiel 38:3, to impress the prophecy more on the mind.


Verse 2

And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:

I will turn thee back - (note, Ezekiel 38:4).

And leave but the sixth part of thee , [ shishee'tiykaa (Hebrew #8338), from sheesh (Hebrew #8336), six] - margin, 'strike thee with six plagues' (namely, pestilence, blood, overflowing rain, hailstones, fire, brimstone, Ezekiel 38:22); or 'draw thee back with an hook of six teeth' (Ezekiel 38:4, "I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws"), (Buxtorf) - the six teeth being those six plagues. Or, not from six, but from an Ethiopic root, 'lead thee about' (Ludovicus De Dieu, Gesenius, and the Septuagint), as Antiochus was led (to his ruin) to leave Egypt for an expedition against Palestine; so shall the last great enemy of God be led to leave his position, and undertake the fatal expedition against the Holy Land. But I prefer, 'I will mark thee with six:' six, in units, tens, and hundreds, is declared to be the number of "the beast," "six hundred threescore and six," 666, in Revelation 13:18 (Cocceius). The number six is that of the world given over to judgment. As among the Latins the term 'decimate' is used of almost utter annihilation, leaving only one-tenth - i:e., the smallest portion of the decimated person or host-so 'to reduce to a sixth' among the Hebrews.

And will cause thee to come up from the north parts - from the extreme north (Fairbairn). Thus Gog is shown to be probably identical with "the king of the north," who "shall enter into the glorious land," and "plant the tabernacles of his palaces between the seas in the glorious holy mountain" (Daniel 11:40-41; Daniel 11:45).


Verse 3

And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.

I will smite thy bow - in which the Scythians were most expert.


Verse 4-5

Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.

Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel. The scene of Israel's preservation shall be that of the ungodly foe's destruction. Compare Daniel 11:45, as to the willful and blasphemous king of the north; "yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him." (Compare Ezekiel 39:17-20.)


Verse 6

And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly - in self-confident security.

In the isles - those dwelling in maritime regions, who had helped Gog with fleets and troops, shall be visited with the fire of God's wrath in their own lauds. Probably the same mercantile peoples as are meant by Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish, who, though not openly joining the invasion, yet from selfish love of gain sympathized with it (Ezekiel 38:13).


Verse 7

So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.

I will not let them pollute my holy name - I will not let Israel dishonour my holy name, which they bear as being named my people, by their sins bringing down judgments which in times past have made the pagan think that I was unable or unwilling to save my people.


Verse 8

Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD this is the day whereof I have spoken.

Behold, it is come, and it is done - the prediction of the salvation of my people, and the ruin of their enemy, is come to pass-is done expressing that the event foretold is as certain as if it were already accomplished.


Verse 9-10

And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:

They that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons. The burning of the foe's weapons implies that nothing belonging to them should be left to pollute the land. The seven years (seven being the sacred number) spent on this work implies the completeness of the cleansing, and the people's zeal for purity. How different from the ancient Israelites, who left not merely the arms, but the pagan themselves, to remain among them! (Fairbairn); (Judges 1:27-28); so the pagan among them became, by God's judicial appointment, "as thorns in Israel's sides, and their gods were a snare" unto Israel (Ezekiel 2:2-3; Psalms 106:34-36). The desolation by Antiochus began in the one hundred and forty-first year of the Seleucidae. From this date to 148, a period of six years and four months ("2,300 days," Daniel 8:14), when the temple-worship was restored (1 Maccabees 4:52), God vouchsafed many triumphs to His people: from this time to the death of Antiochus early in 149 BC, a period of seven months, the Jews had rest from Antiochus, and purified their land, and on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month celebrated the Encaenia, or feast of the dedication (John 10:22) and purification of the temple. The whole period, in round numbers, was seven years. This is an earnest and type of the corresponding event yet to come under the New Testament Antichrist. Mattathias was the patriotic Jewish leader, and his third son, Judas, the military commander under whom the Syrian generals were defeated. He re-took Jerusalem and purified the temple. Simon and Jonathan, his brothers, succeeded him; the independence of the Jews was secured, and the crown vested in the Asmonean family, in which it continued until Herod the Great.


Verse 11

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.

I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel. Gog only found a grave where he had expected the "spoils" of conquest (Ezekiel 38:13).

The valley. So vast were to be the masses, that nothing but a deep valley would suffice for their corpses.

Of the passengers on the east of the sea - the valley which is the route of those traveling on the high road, east of the Dead Sea, from Syria to Petra and Egypt.

And it shall stop [the noses] of the passengers. The publicity of the road would cause many to observe God's judgments, as the stench (as the English translation) or multitude of graves (in accordance with the translation of Henderson, 'it shall stop the passengers'), would arrest the attention of passers-by. Their grave would be close to that of their ancient prototypes, Sodom and Gomorrah in the Dead Sea, both alike being signal instances of God's judgments.


Verse 12

And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 13

Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD.

I shall be glorified, saith the Lord God - in destroying the foe (Ezekiel 28:22).


Verse 14

And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.

They shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land, to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth. The men employed continually in the burying of the bodies "remaining on the surface of the earth" were to be helped by those happening to pass by; all were to combine.

After the end of seven months shall they search - to see if the work was complete (Munster).


Verse 15

And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man's bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog.

The passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man's bone, then shall he set up a sign by it. First, "all the people of the land" engaged in the burying for seven months; then special men were employed, at the end of the seven months, to search for any still left unburied. The passers-by helped them by 'setting up a mark near' any such bones, in order to keep others from being defiled by casually touching them, and that "the buriers" might come and remove them: denoting the minute care to put away every relic of pagan pollution from the Holy Land.


Verse 16

And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land.

The name of the city shall be Hamonah. A city in the neighbourhood was to receive the name Hamonah (multitude), to commemorate the overthrow of the multitudes of the foe (Henderson). The multitude of the slain shall give a name to the city of Jerusalem, after the land shall have been cleansed (Grotius). Jerusalem shall be famed as the conqueror of multitudes.


Verse 17

And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.

Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice - (Revelation 19:17, "An angel standing in the sun ... cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God"). Gog in Ezekiel is evidently identical with the beast in Revelation.

My sacrifice - anciently worshippers feasted on the sacrifices. The birds and beasts of prey are invited to the sacrificial feast provided by God (cf. Isaiah 18:6; Isaiah 34:6; Zephaniah 1:7; Mark 9:49). Here this sacrifice holds only a subordinate place in the picture, and so is put last. Not only shall their bones lie long unburied, but they shall be stripped of the flesh by beasts and birds of prey.


Verse 18

Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.

Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks. By these various animal victims used in sacrifices are meant various ranks of men, princes, generals, and soldiers (cf. Isaiah 34:6).

All of them fatlings of Bashan - ungodly men of might (Psalms 22:12). Bashan, beyond Jordan, was famed for its fat cattle. Fatness implies prosperity, which often makes men refractory toward God (Deuteronomy 32:14-15).


Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 20

Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots with mighty men and with all men of war 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.

Thus ye shall be filled at my table - the field of battle on the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 38:8; Ezekiel 38:20).

Thus ye shall be filled ... with horses and chariots - "chariots," i:e., charioteers.


Verse 21

And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 22

So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.

So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord - by my interposition for them. So, too, "the pagan shall be led to fear the name of the Lord" (Psalms 102:15).


Verse 23

And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.

Because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them - (Deuteronomy 31:17, "I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?" Isaiah 59:2, "Your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear").


Verse 24

According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 25

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;

Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob - I will restore from calamity to prosperity the people of Jacob.

And have mercy upon the whole house of Israel - so "all Israel shall be saved" (Romans 11:26). The restorations of Israel heretofore have been partial; there must be one yet future that is to be universal (Hosea 1:11).


Verse 26

After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.

After that they have borne their shame - after that they shall have borne in full the punishment of their sin: after they have become sensible of their guilt, and ashamed of it (Ezekiel 20:43; Ezekiel 36:31).

When they dwelt safely in their land. This clause in the English version is connected with the immediately preceding words, thus: After that they have borne in full the punishment of all their trespasses, whereby they have ungratefully trespassed against me, when they formerly dwelt safely in the land, and none made them afraid. Their peaceful establishment in Canaan, through my gift, will be hereafter remembered by them as heightening the guilt of their trespasses; so that they shall be ashamed of themselves, and I will then bring again (i:e., reverse) their captivity (Ezekiel 39:25). But I prefer to translate the whole verse. 'Then (when I have brought again their captivity, Ezekiel 39:25) they shall bear their shame (i:e., they shall know the enormity of their sin, and shall be ashamed), and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they shall dwell in their land, and none shall make them afraid.' Fairbairn reads [naashuw for naasuw (Hebrew #5375)], 'And they shall forget their shame.' I prefer the common pointing. The mercy of God, when thoroughly realized, is the only thing which can melt the sinner into shame, and repentance of past trespasses. So in the parallel passage (Zechariah 12:7-10) it is God's saving mercy, experienced by Jerusalem, that by the Spirit's work moves its people to bitter repentance.


Verse 27

When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;

When I have ... gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them - i:e., when my name is vindicated as holy in my dealings with them.


Verse 28

Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.

Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the pagan: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them anymore there. The Jews, having no dominion, settled country, or fixed property to detain them, may return at any time without difficulty (cf. Hosea 3:4-5).


Verse 29

Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

For I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel - the sure forerunner of their conversion (Joel 2:28; Zechariah 12:10). The pouring out of His Spirit is a pledge that He will hide His face no more (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14; Philippians 1:6).

Remarks:

(1) This chapter continues the vision respecting Gog. As the land of Israel shall be the scene of Gog's wicked attack on the people of God, so shall it be the scene of the awful punishment inflicted upon Gog, and of the deliverance of Israel (Ezekiel 39:2-5). How often God thus marks the retributive justice of His dealings (as in the case of Ahab's and Jezebel's obtaining possession of Naboth's vineyard, through false accusation, murder, and robbery), by visiting the transgressor with judgment on the very scene of his guilt! (1 Kings 21:19; 1 Kings 22:38; 2 Kings 9:21; 2 Kings 9:25-26; 2 Kings 9:36.)

(2) Those who shall abet Gog virtually, though not actively joining him in the invasion, shall be taught, by bitter experience, to know that their fancied security in their sea-girt or sea-washed and distant lands, is a self-deceit (Ezekiel 39:6): a fire from the Lord shall consume them, so that they shall know, to their cost, the God of power, whom they refused to know as the God of grace and love (Ezekiel 39:6). Self-confidence and careless living, under the mistaken notion of security, have proved the ruin of millions of immortal souls.

(3) Israel hereafter shall, by the special grace of God, be kept from dishonouring the holy name of their God by their sins and the consequent judgments which made the pagan think that Yahweh was unable or unwilling to save His people. How joyful is the prospect to the people of God, that the time is ere long coming when they shall be placed under the blessed necessity of uninterrupted obedience to God's will! Temptations from the flesh, the world, and Satan, which now harass them, shall then be at an end. Sin, which is now their greatest sorrow, because it most dishonours the name of their dear Lord, shall be no more: and the Lord "shall make known His holy name in the midst of His people," with such attractive power that He "will not let them pollute it anymore."

(4) No weapon that is formed against the people of God shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). The "weapons" of the anti-Christian hosts or Gog shall be burnt utterly, so that not a fragment shall be left to defile the Holy Land. The robber shall be rewarded in kind, being robbed of his ill-gotten prey, and the spoiler shall be spoiled (Ezekiel 39:10). The people of God must not suffer any pollution to be contracted from aught that appertains to the ungodly. In the coming great day of the Lord, "the Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend," as well as all persons "who do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire" (Matthew 13:41-42). This shall be the happiness of the redeemed, that in their heavenly abode there shall be no person or thing remaining that could tempt to sin, such as there was in the first paradise.

(5) Where Gog shall expect to find a spoil and a possession (even as the type Edom sought to dispossess Israel of the Lord's inheritance, Ezekiel 35:10), he shall only find a grave; and that a grave near the sea that entombs his ancient prototypes, the fire-blasted cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Dead Sea (Ezekiel 39:11). The publicity of this place of burial will arrest the attention of the many who pass that way. These shall recognize the righteous judgment of the Lord in the destruction of Gog, and shall assist in the cleansing of the land (Ezekiel 39:14-15): so that "the Lord God shall be glorified" (Ezekiel 39:13), and the laud shall be perfectly, purified, (Ezekiel 39:16). How often are the transgressor's deeply-laid plans brought to nothing in a moment, and the mischief which he prepares for others recoils on himself! Those who have experienced great deliverances should be thoroughly zealous in promoting a complete and radical reformation. Every man should render the utmost help he can toward furthering the good work. Sin, the polluted thing, needs to be searched out in its most secret recesses. Let not the casual passer-by think that he is exempt from the duty of exerting himself in word and deed for the glory of God and the good of the Church, anymore than the stationary dweller in his own home. All have their place and work to do: and it is only by general cooperation that the work of the Lord can be most completely effected.

(6) Not only the Israelite people and sojourners, but also all the "pagan shall see God's judgment that He shall execute, and His hand laid upon the enemy," so that thereby God shall "set His glory among the pagan" (Ezekiel 39:21). A terrible sacrificial feast that shall be which God shall provide in the flesh of the various ranks of the enemy for all fowls of the air and beasts of the field (Ezekiel 39:17-20). The anti-Christian enemies of God, by severing themselves from Him in their overweening pride, divested themselves of their true humanity, and sank to the level of the beast, whence Antichrist is called "the beast." It is therefore a just retribution that beasts should be in part the instruments of punishing their beastliness.

(7) The judgment inflicted on Antichrist, in defense of Israel, shall lead the people of God "from that day and forward" to know the Lord as "their God" (Ezekiel 39:22). The pagan, too, shall know that it was not from lack of power or will, on the part of God, to save Israel, but on account of the Israelites' iniquity, that they "went into captivity," God having "hidden His face" from them because of their trespasses (Ezekiel 39:23). The mercy which shall at last be shown by God to "the whole house of Israel," in His jealousy for the honour of His holy name, which is involved in His people's deliverance (Ezekiel 39:25), will melt them into a penitent sense of the enormity of their sin; and they shall be ashamed of the past when they shall dwell safely and without fear in their own land (Ezekiel 39:26). Repentance in the fullest sense flows from the experience of God's undeserved forgiveness and grace.

(8) It is the Spirit of the Lord which, when poured out, inclines the heart to appreciate aright God's marvelous grace, and so produces repentance. The same Spirit in the heart is also the earnest to assure the children of God that their now reconciled Father will "hide His face from them no more" (Ezekiel 39:29). May the promise of the full outpouring of the blessed Spirit in the latter days on both Israel and the Church be soon realized! And for this end, may the spirit of prayer more and more pervade all the professing disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ!

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 39:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ezekiel-39.html. 1871-8.

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