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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ezekiel 38

 

 

Verse 1

Ezekiel 38:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ver. 1. And the word.] This particle and showeth the dependence of this discourse upon the former. God’s people shall be brought to their own country. The Lord Christ also shall sit upon the throne of his father David. But between these two great benefits the Church shall suffer much, and her enemies a great deal more, when once God takes them to do.


Verse 2

Ezekiel 38:2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

Ver. 2. Set thy face against Gog,] i.e., Against those last enemies of the Church, before Shiloh come; the kings of the lesser Asia and Syria before his first coming (see the books of Maccabees), the Pope and Turk before his second coming. See Revelation 20:8. {See Trapp on "Revelation 20:8"} Against these Ezekiel is commanded to "set his face," that is, to prophesy with utmost intention of spirit and contention of speech. (a)

The land of Magog.] Or, In the land of Magog, which some make to be Gog’s country, and especially Hierapolis (for which they allege Pliny, lib. v. cap. 23), a chief city of Syria. This Hierapolis had its name from the multitude of religious houses or idol temples there erected. (b) May not Rome, the metropolis of idolatry, be rightly so called?

The chief princes of Meshech and Tubal.] People neighbouring upon the Syrians, and subject unto them, great enemies to Israel. See on Ezekiel 27:13. In Meshech, or Cappadocia, the Turks began to grow great and formidable. As for Tubal, Jerome and Josephus among the ancients, Bellarmine and Gretserus among the Jesuits, understand it to be the Spaniards; Rabbi David and Aben Ezra take Meshech for the Italians.


Verse 3

Ezekiel 38:3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I [am] against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

Ver. 3. Behold, I am against thee, O Gog.] Ecce ego ad re, Have at thee, Gog,

The chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.] These two are thus conjoined to show, as some think, that Turks and Popelings shall at length join their forces to root out the true religion, and that, while they are tumultuating and endeavouring the Church’s downfall, Christ shall come upon them and confound them. See on Revelation 16:14; Revelation 16:16. The Jews hold that this whole prophecy shall be fulfilled at the coming of their long looked for Messiah, and while they take all things therein according to the letter, they run into many very great errors. Propheta omnia loquitur magnificis verbis per hyperbolas.


Verse 4

Ezekiel 38:4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts [of armour, even] a great company [with] bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:

Ver. 4. And I will turn thee back.] As he did Antiochus Epiphanes by the Jews; the Turks oft by Hunniades; the Pope’s forces by the Hussites in Germany, and lately by the Swedes. It hath been long ago foretold, and for many ages believed, and by the Turks themselves not a little feared, that the Mohammedan superstition, by the sword begun, and by the sword maintained, shall at length, by the Christian sword, also be destroyed, so that the name of Gog and Magog, saith the historian, (a) shall be no more heard of under heaven. A cold sweat also stands at this time upon the limbs of the western antichrist, by reason of the growing greatness of the Protestant princes.

And put hooks into thy jaws.] A metaphor from those that catch whales. Compare Ezekiel 29:4.

And I will bring thee.] But for an ill bargain.


Verse 5

Ezekiel 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:

Ver. 5. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya.] A numerous army from all parts. The Church is against all the world, and all the world against the Church. Hic vir totius orbis impetum sustinuit, saith one once concerning Athanasius. A silly poor maid, in the midst of many fierce and savage creatures assaulting her every moment, is a true picture of the Church, saith Luther.


Verse 6

Ezekiel 38:6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: [and] many people with thee.

Ver. 6. Gomer, and all his bands.] The Cimbrians or Cimmerians, saith Melanchthon; the Galatians, saith Theodoret.

The house of Togarmah.] The Phrygians, as some; the Armenians, as others will. Of antichrist’s great power, see Revelation 9:1-20; Revelation 20:8. See on Ezekiel 27:14.


Verse 7

Ezekiel 38:7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.

Ver. 7. Be thou prepared.] Comparator et compara te; muster up all thy forces, and see to their safety. But canst thou ward off my blows? moat thyself up against my fire?


Verse 8

Ezekiel 38:8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land [that is] brought back from the sword, [and is] gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.

Ver. 8. After many days thou shalt be visited,] sc., By mine heaviest judgments; for "shall not God avenge his own elect … though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily." [Luke 18:7-8]

In the latter years thou shalt come into the land.] Antiochus, that little antichrist, did, and made havoc. It is the opinion of some very grave divines that the great antichrist, before his abolition, shall once again overflow the whole face of the west; Quod Deus avertat. because God may turn away.

Which have been always waste,] i.e., A long while.


Verse 9

Ezekiel 38:9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.

Ver. 9. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm.] With great hurry and terror, but it shall soon blow over.

Thou shalt be like a cloud.] Sed cito transibis.


Verse 10

Ezekiel 38:10 Thus saith the Lord GOD It shall also come to pass, [that] at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:

Ver. 10. Things shall come into thy mind.] Ascendent verba super cor tuum. Thou shalt machinate mischief, but it shall fall on thine own pate. Oh pray, pray, said a holy man once, Pontifex enim Romanus et Concilium Tridentinum mira moliuntur, for the Pope and his Council of Trent are hatching strange businesses.


Verse 11

Ezekiel 38:11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,

Ver. 11. I will go up to the land of unwalled villages.] That care not to fortify their towns, but commit themselves to God, and think to escape us, but we shall soon show them their folly therein. The Hebrews have one and the same word for folly ( כסל ) and confidence. (Psalms 49:14, Ecclesiastes 7:25, Psalms 78:7, Job 31:24) See on Job 4:6 But "in the fear of the Lord is strong confidence; and his children," though their towns be unwalled, "have a place of refuge." [Proverbs 14:26]


Verse 12

Ezekiel 38:12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places [that are now] inhabited, and upon the people [that are] gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.

Ver. 12. To take a spoil.] Heb., To spoil the spoil, and to prey the prey. The antichristian rout are all for robbing and ravaging. What vast sums of money raked the Pope once out of England, which was therefore truly and trimly called by Pope Innocent IV, Hortus deliciarum et puteus inexhaustus, His delicate garden, and pit that could not be drawn dry.

To turn thine hand.] To plunder them to the very bones, as they say. There was a time when the Pope’s receivers here left not so much money in the whole kingdom as they either carried with them, or sent to Rome before them. Of this Papal expilation King John heavily complained, and could get no remedy, but Henry VIII would bear it no longer. England is no more a babe, said he, in his protestation against the Pope; there is no man here but now he knoweth that they do foolishly that give gold for lead, more weight of that than they receive of this, &c. (a)


Verse 13

Ezekiel 38:13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?

Ver. 13. Sheba and Dedan.] The Arabians, who lived by roving and robbing.

With all the young lions.] That lie in wait for gain, as lions do for prey.

Art thou come to take a prey?] q.d., If thou art, we are ready to set in with thee, or to traffic with thee for it. Mohammed came of these Arabians; the Pope hath his money merchants’ great store. [Revelation 18:3-17]


Verse 14

Ezekiel 38:14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know [it]?

Ver. 14. Prophesy and say unto Gog.] Say it over again, that it may be the better considered, for the strengthening of the hands and hearts of my people.

Shalt thou not know it?] sc., By thine intelligencers; and wilt thou not think to make thine advantage of it? The Pope hath his Coricaei in every corner of Christendom; the Jesuits’ colleges, placed upon the walls of cities, afford them passage into the city, or abroad into the world, at pleasure, to give or receive intelligence as occasion serveth.


Verse 15

Ezekiel 38:15 And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:

Ver. 15. Out of the north parts.] Ab aquilone nihil boni. From spiritual Babylon comes all mischief to the Church. The king of Syria is called "king of the north" in Daniel 11:6.

A great company, and a mighty army.] Such was the army of Antiochus Epiphanes against the Jews, of the Turk against Christians, of the Pope against the Hussites, Waldenses, &c. He deceiveth the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, to gather them together to battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. [Revelation 20:8] He hath at his command the Italians, Walloons, Spaniards, whom Bellarmine (a) rightly reckoneth among the soldiers of antichrist.


Verse 16

Ezekiel 38:16 And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.

Ver. 16. And thou shalt come up against my people.] Oh happy they in such a privilege, maugre all thy malice! [Deuteronomy 33:29]

In the latter days.] Before the coming of the Messiah, first and second.

And I will bring thee.] But for thy bane.

Against my land.] "The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof"; [Psalms 24:1] but that land where God is sincerely served is his peculiar portion. It was said of old, Anglia regnum Dei; England was the kingdom of God, (a) it is now so much more.

When I shall be sanctified in thee,] i.e., Glorified in thy just and utter destruction.


Verse 17

Ezekiel 38:17 Thus saith the Lord GOD [Art] thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days [many] years that I would bring thee against them?

Ver. 17. Art thou he?] It is sure enough thou art he; for I cannot be deceived in thee, nor shall fail to suppress thee.

By my servants the prophets.] Enoch [ 1:14 Hosea 2:1 Joel 3:1 Daniel 11:1-2 Zechariah 14:1-21 : 1 Kings 20:8 2 Thessalonians 2:1]

Which prophesied of thee.] Though under another name.


Verse 18

Ezekiel 38:18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, [that] my fury shall come up in my face.

Ver. 18. My fury shall come up in my face.] Though it do not presently break forth. Ira Dei quo diuturnior, eo minacior.

Poena venit gravior, quo mage tarda venit.

God delighteth to make fools of his enemies; he lets them prevail a while, and carry the ball on the foot, as it were, that they may fall with the greater disappointment.


Verse 19

Ezekiel 38:19 For in my jealousy [and] in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;

Ver. 19. For in my jealousy.] God first kindleth, and then speaketh, and then shaketh the earth. His wrath is like Elijah’s cloud, which was at first but a small matter to see to; or as thunder, which we hear at first a little roaring noise afar off, but stay awhile, it is a dreadful crack; or as fire, that at first burneth a little upon a few boards, but when it prevaileth, bursteth out in a most terrible flame.


Verse 20

Ezekiel 38:20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that [are] upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.

Ver. 20. Shall shake at my presence.] And wriggle into their holes, as worms do in time of thunder.

And the mountains shall be thrown down.] Hyperbolical threats, to set forth the dreadfulness of God’s fierce wrath, which burns as low as hell itself.


Verse 21

Ezekiel 38:21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.

Ver. 21. And I will call for a sword.] Against Antiochus by the Maccabees; against the Turk and Pope by the Christian princes, Hunniades, Scanderbeg, Queen Elizabeth, the late and present kings of Sweden, the English and French forces in Flanders now before Gravelin, after Dunkirk and Bergen taken from the Spaniard. Certain it is, that ere long the beast and the false prophet shall be taken, and all the fowls of the heaven filled with the flesh of those kings and captains that fight against the gospel. [Revelation 19:19-21]


Verse 22

Ezekiel 38:22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that [are] with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

Ver. 22. An overflowing rain, and great hailstones.] As once at the general deluge, destruction of Sodom, discomfiture of the kings of Canaan in Joshua’s days. [Joshua 10:11] Some think that these judgments here threatened shall, towards the end of the world, be executed upon antichrist and his adherents according to the letter. See Revelation 16:21. {See Trapp on "Revelation 16:21"}


Verse 23

Ezekiel 38:23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.

Ver. 23. Thus will I magnify myself.] This end God proposeth to himself in all his works; and well he may, since he hath none higher than himself to whom to have respect. And let all this that hath been said comfort us against the rage and good success, if any such yet be, of the antichristian rout, since these are but - as he said once of decaying Carthage - the last sprunts and bites of dying wild beasts.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 38:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ezekiel-38.html. 1865-1868.

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