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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

Ezekiel 39

 

 

Verses 1-29

CHAPTER39

1And thou, Son of Prayer of Manasseh, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I am against thee, Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and 2 Tubal; And I lead thee back, and drive thee on, and make thee come up from 3 the farthest north, and make thee come to the mountains of Israel. And I dash thy bow out of thy left hand, and will make thy arrows fall out of thy right hand 4 On the mountains of Israel shalt thou fall, thou and all thy squadrons, and the nations that are with thee; to birds of prey of every kind, and to the beasts 5 of the field I give thee for food. Upon the face [flat] of the field shalt thou 6 fall, for I have spoken it: sentence of the Lord Jehovah.—And I send fire into Magog and into [among] those that dwell securely in the isles, and they 7 know that I am Jehovah. And the name of My holiness will I make known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let the name of My holiness be profaned any more; and the heathen nations know that I am Jehovah, 8holy in Israel. Behold it came and was done,—sentence of the Lord Jehovah, 9—this is the day of which I spoke. And the inhabitants of the cities of Israel go out and set on fire and burn the armour, short shield and long shield, the bow and the arrows, and the hand-cane and the spear, and they 10 keep a fire burning with them seven years. And they shall not carry [fetch] wood from the field, nor cut it out of the forests, for they shall keep a fire burning with the armour; and they spoil their spoilers and plunder their 11 plunderers: sentence of the Lord Jehovah. And it comes to pass on that day, that I will give to Gog a place of burial in Israel, the valley of the passers-through east of the sea, and it stops the passers-through; and there they bury Gog and all his tumult, and they call it the valley of the tumult of 12 Gog. And the house of Israel are seven months burying them, in order to 13 cleanse the land. And the whole people of the land bury them, and it is to them for a name, on the day of My glorifying Myself: sentence of the Lord Jehovah.—14And they shall sever out [appoint] set men, who pass through in the land, who bury with the passers-through those that remain on the face of the land, to cleanse it; after the end of seven months they shall hold a search 15 And the passers-through in the land pass through, and he [one of them] sees a human skeleton, and sets up by it a Mark, until the buriers bury it [theskeleton] in the valley of the tumult of Gog 16 And also the name of a city17 , shall be] “Hamonah” [tumult]. And they cleanse the land. And thou, Son of Prayer of Manasseh, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Say to birds of every kind, and to every beast of the field, Assemble and come, gather around over My sacrifice which I kill for you, a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, and ye 18 eat flesh and drink blood! Flesh of mighty men [heroes] shall ye eat, and blood of princes of the earth shall ye drink; rams, lambs, and Hebrews -goats, bullocks, 19fatlings of Bashan all of them. And ye eat fat to the full, and drink 20 blood to drunkenness from My sacrifice which I have killed for you. And ye become full at My table, with horse and chariot, mighty man and every 21 kind of soldier: sentence of the Lord Jehovah. And I give My glory [honour] among the heathen, and all the heathen see My judgment [justice] which 221 have executed, and My hand which I have laid upon them. And the house of Israel know that I am Jehovah, their God, from this day and henceforth 23 And the heathen know that the house of Israel wandered out [were carried away captive] for their iniquity, because they were unfaithful to Me; and I hid My face from them, and gave them into the hand of their oppressors, and they all fell by the sword 24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and I hid My face from them 25 Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Now will I turn the calamity of Jacob, and I have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I am jealous for the name 26 of My holiness. And they bear their reproach, and all their unfaithfulness which they have unfaithfully done towards Me, when they dwell securely 27 upon their land, and there is none that makes them afraid; When I bring them back from the nations, and gather them out of the lands of their enemies, and sanctify Myself on them before the eyes of many heathen 28 And they know that I, Jehovah, am their God, in that I led them captive to the heathen, and have gathered [gather] them to their own land, and I will 29 leave no more of them there; And I will no more hide My face from them, because I poured out My Spirit upon the house of Israel: sentence of the Lord Jehovah.

Ezekiel 39:2. Sept.: Κ. συνκξω σε κ. καθοδηγησω κ. ἀναβιβασω σεκ. συναξω σε ἐπι—Vulg.: Et circumagam te et educam—(Another reading: אל הרי.)

Ezekiel 39:3 Κ. ἀπολωκ. … της δεξιας κ. καταβαλω σε (4) ἐπι τα ὀρηΚ. πεσηεἰς πληθη ὀρνεων. ΙΙαντι πετεινω κ. πασ τ. θηριοις—Vulg.: Feris avibus omnique volatili. (Another reading: וכל חית,ועמים רבים.)

Ezekiel 39:6. Sept.: ... κ. κατοικισθησονται αἱ νησοι ἐπ’ εἰρηνης.

Eze 39:7. ... παντα τ. ἐθνη—

Eze 39:8. ... κ. γνωση ὁτι ἐσται—

Ezekiel 39:11. ... τοπον ὀνομαστον, μνημειοντο πολυανδριον των ἑπελθοντων προς τ. θαλασσαν· κ. περιοικοδομησουσιν το περιστομιον της φαραγγος κ. κατορυξουσιν ἐκεικ. κληθησεται το Ταί̈ το πολυανδριον του Τωγ. Vulg.: … vallem viatorum … quæ obstupescere faciet prætereuntes,—

Ezekiel 39:13. Sept.: ... εἱς ὀνομαστον.

Ezekiel 39:14. ... πασαν τ. γην, θαψαι τ. καταλελειμμενους ἐπικαθαρισαιμετα την ἑπταμηνον.—Vulg.: qui sepeliant et requirant

Eze 39:15. ... Κ. ἐσται, πασ διαπορευομενος πασαν τ. γην κ. ἰδων—

Ezekiel 39:16. ... την πολεως ΙΙολυανδριον. Vulg.: Amona.

Ezekiel 39:18. ... κριους κ. μοσχους κ. τραγους οἱ μοσχοι ἐστεατωμενοι παντες. Vulg.: … et altilium et pinguium omnium.

Eze 39:21. ... ἐν ὑμιν—

Ezekiel 39:23. Sept.: ... πκντα τ. ἐθνη.

Eze 39:25. ... κ. ἐλεησω τ. οἰκον Ι.

Ezekiel 39:26. Vulg.: … neminem formidantes. (Another reading: ונשאו.)

Ezekiel 39:27. Sept.: ... ἐκ τ. χωρων τ. θνων—

Ezekiel 39:28. ... ἑν τω ἐπιφανκναι με αὐτοις ἐν τ. ἐθνεσιν. (Another reading: על אד, etc.)

Eze 39:29. ... ἐξεχεα τον θυμον μου.

EXEGETICAL REMARKS

The further execution of the divine judgment, already announced at the close of Ezekiel 38, begins in Ezekiel 39:1 with a repetition from Ezekiel 38:2-3, of the most formal address to Gog.

Ezekiel 39:2, comp. on Ezekiel 38:4. If וְהַעֲלִיתִיךָ, etc, did not immediately follow,—and it could not follow after the execution of the judgment on Gog,—and if וְשִׁשֵׁאתִיךָ did not stand between וְשְׂבַּבְתִּיךָ and וְהַעֲלִיתִיךָ, whereby a signification not so very far removed from this connection is suggested, then we might listen to Hengstenberg’s translation (J. Kimchi): “and I six thee,”—by which he understands the infliction on Gog of the six plagues of Ezekiel 38:22. Others, too, appealing to Ezekiel 45:13 (שִׁשִּׁיתֶם), have interpreted from שֵׁשׁ: I leave a sixth part of thee. But the position of the word (which is Ezekiel’s own) here assigns to it most fittingly an intensifying sense, such as: drive, or the like (see Hävern. in loc.). Meier holds the Piel שִׁשֵּׁא to be an abbreviated form = שִׁאשֵׁא. Gesenius (שִׁשָּׁא) translates: “and lead thee forth.” It is said that the signification: “to walk along,” “to march,” is admissible from the Ethiopic, hence here conjugated only transitively. Following the Chaldee (“I lead thee astray”), Ewald renders it: “and entice thee away and keep thee in leading-strings,” which Hitzig finds good (!). Rashi: “deceive thee.”— Ezekiel 38:9; Ezekiel 38:16.— Ezekiel 38:6; Ezekiel 38:15.— Ezekiel 38:16; Ezekiel 38:8.

Ezekiel 39:3. The left hand holds the bow, the right bends it and fits on the arrow. It does not even come to an attack, because, Ezekiel 38:21 sq, a sword, etc. consumes Gog.

Ezekiel 39:4. אַפִּיל of Ezekiel 39:3 leads to תִּפּוֹל here.—On עַל הָרֵי׳, comp. Ezekiel 38:6; Ezekiel 38:9; Ezekiel 38:22.—[עַיִט is: “animal of prey,” therefore more exactly described here by צִפּוֹר, “bird generally.”—Comp. Ezekiel 17:23. Hengst.: “as many as have wings.”— Ezekiel 29:5.

Ezekiel 39:5. On account of the previous “beast of the field,” the “mountains of Israel” are changed for the face of the field.— Ezekiel 23:34; Ezekiel 26:5.

Ezekiel 39:6. If we are not to extend the judgment “also over the land of Gog and all (?) the heathen who dwell securely” (Keil), which, however, is plainly expressed both by בְּמָגוֹג and by וּבְישִׁבֵי הָאִיִּים לבֶטַח, then we must, with Hensgt, take הָאִיִּים for “states and countries in general,” “islands in the sea of the world,” and understand the “security” to be such as “induces them to the expedition against the people of God” (!!); or we must, with Rosenm. at וּבְישְׁבֵי, etc, think of Ezekiel 38:13. But the fire does not necessarily compel us to agree with either of these, for it does not stand here as in Ezekiel 38:22, but apart by itself, so that we have to compare here, e.g. Ezekiel 5:4, and the many similar passages in which it occurs as a symbol of the divine vengeance. Our chapter, while it carries into further detail, also supplements the picture given in Ezekiel 38. Thus the judgment extends from the mountains of Israel, as also שִׁלַּחְתִּי expresses, “to Magog,” the people concerned, in among them at home; while their collective character (comp. Ezekiel 38:2) is then again depicted by the expression: those that dwell securely in the isles. Gog’s expedition is made by land, but has its sympathisers in islands and coast lands as well as at home—in fact, over sea and land (לָבֶטַח appears to be retaliation, with a reference to Ezekiel 38:8; Ezekiel 38:11; Ezekiel 38:14). The return to the point of departure of this extension of judgment, as indicated in Ezekiel 39:7, by the expression: in the midst of my people Israel, forms no argument against the so plain contents of Ezekiel 39:6; for not only has the purposed knowledge of Jehovah ( Ezekiel 39:6) to be more closely defined, but preparation has also to be made for the execution, Ezekiel 39:9 sq.—Comp. on Ezekiel 36:20 sq. ( Ezekiel 38:23). Hengst. translates thus: “and I will not any more profane,” etc. אַחֵל is Hiphil. The revelation of holiness in Israel precludes further profanation of Jehovah in reference to Israel among the heathen; comp. in addition, Ezekiel 37:28.

Ezekiel 39:8. The fulfilment is assured to the prophet with as much certainty as if it were already an accomplished fact. That which came and was done is made abundantly plain by the day, etc, for which comp. Ezekiel 38:18-19 (not Ezekiel 39:17).

Ezekiel 39:9. Israel, for whom the Lord has put an end to the fearful assault in a manner still more fearful, now takes a walk, as it were, out to the place of judgment. Everything by which the enemy could terrify,—in general: armour, properly: what is joined together (נֶשֶׁק), as distinguished from specialties which follow—wooden helmet and breastplate, probably covered with leather; then (comp. Ezekiel 38:4) short shield, etc, and מַקֵּל, of uncertain derivation, “twig,” “cane,” “staff”—with יָד certainly not: “handstaff,” or “cudgel” ( Numbers 22:27), or “baton of the commander,” but the riding-switch so suitable for bands of riders as here,—all these have so lost their terrors, that they now come into consideration only as firewood—for useful appliance, in direct contrast to the terror and injury they were meant to produce. For the weapons of the enemy are not here, as often elsewhere, burnt at once after the battle; and with this Hävernick connects Isaiah 9:4, and recognises in the destruction of the most diverse kinds of weapons, and the cleansing of the land in this (?) respect, the character of the Messianic times; while Hitzig brings out simply the thought that Israel under his protecting God, who has just now fought for His people, needs no weapons, but the inhabitants of the cities of Israel (ישְׁבֵי עָרֵי, etc, antithetic to ישְׁבֵי הָאיּים, Ezekiel 39:6) make fires of and burn the wood in question seven years long. Hitzig makes בִּעֲרוּ inchoative (“to set on fire”), and הִשִּׂיקוּ “to make a fire.” The undoubtedly symbolic character of the number seven (symbol of the divine covenant) illustrates at the same time the very dramatic character of the whole of the rest of the account. Hengst.: “the word on which faith has to live puts on, as it were, flesh and blood, to gain an influence over the fancy, in which frightful forms so readily take their seat. It would be against the evidence to attribute a real import to the specialties, which are so obviously only means of representation.” “He who has seen the battle of nations at Leipzig,” observes Schmieder, “has a weak copy of Ezekiel’s sublime description of the days after the battle.”

Ezekiel 39:10 strengthens what has been said positively by a corresponding negative description, and subjoins שָׁלְלוּ and בָּזְזוּ—not, however, in order to make the riches now, as the heaps of wood formerly, to fall into the hands of Israel, but simply to make manifest the retaliation (comp. Ezekiel 38:12), and perhaps also to bring to remembrance the question ( Ezekiel 38:13), but how differently now over the dead bodies. For what the weapons as firewood for Israel, as well as the spoiling and robbing, declare is this, which consequently is meant as preparation for Ezekiel 39:11, namely, that Gog and his bands are all dead corpses ( Isaiah 37:36); comp. besides, Jeremiah 30:16.

Ezekiel 39:11. What Jehovah gives to Gog in Israel, how different from that which he intended to take to himself in Israel! מְקוֹם־שָׁם קֶבֶר, not so much: “a spot where he may be buried in Israel” (Hitzig), as: “a place where there is a grave in Israel,” to wit, nothing else is for him in Israel; Hävernick: “namely, a quite special one, like no other in Israel.” Thus will God settle accounts with the predatory and rapacious Gog. [The Sept. doubtless read שֵׁם.]—גֵּי הָעֹבְרִים Hitzig translates: “the valley of the opposite heights,” formed by mountains standing over against one another ( 1 Samuel 17:3); he reads גֵי־הָעֲבָיִם, and makes a very far-fetched reference to Zechariah 14:4-5! According to Hävernick, the passage reminds of Joel 3. (the valley of Jehoshaphat), but the name belongs purely to the idea, to which it entirely corresponds, for a “valley of the passers-through” is not found elsewhere in the Old Testament; but the prophet himself gives a threefold explanation of the name—in Ezekiel 39:11, as an annoyance, an object of horror for the passers-by; in Ezekiel 39:14 reminding of the men that pass through the land to cleanse it; and thirdly, of the hostile bands that formerly passed through here. Only the latter reference can come into consideration if the traditional punctuation is to be retained, and the appellation: “valley of the passers-through,” Isaiah, like the “valley of the multitude of Gog,” to be considered as given as a memorial of what had taken place. The text, however, seems rather to suppose a valley which can be designated as that “of the passers-through,” and, because it can be a valley for the passers-through, is fitted to be a burial-place for Gog and his followers; moreover, גֵּי, “low ground,” may remind us of יַעֲלוּ, etc. in Ezekiel 38:10, אֶעֱלֶה in Ezekiel 39:11, etc, as a contrast thereto. Gog and his bands can be beheld in their Scythian prototypes (as described by Herodotus), as well as with reference to “passing through” (passing by), because their whole appearance was to be merely that of a passing thunder-cloud ( Ezekiel 38:9; Ezekiel 38:16); nothing was abiding except their grave. That which Jehovah will give to Gog as מְקוֹם־שָׁם קֶבֶר, is more exactly described by גֶּי הָעֹבְרִים; and “the valley of the passers-through,” again, is the one fitted to be “the valley of the tumult of Gog.” The situation of this is more exactly fixed, and consequently conceived of as an actual locality, by קִדְמַת הַיָּם, which (קִדְמַת, stat. constr. prefixed as a preposition) can yield no other meaning than: east of the sea. But the context tells nothing about what sea is spoken of, although in other instances it always fixes the particular sea, and indicates when it does not expressly mention the nearest. Hence, and so also with גֵּי הָעֹבְרִים, we are referred to the idea which upholds and animates the whole with its symbolic character. בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל excludes only the Red Sea. Ewald translates thus: “as a place where a grave in Israel is possible (!), the valley of the devourers opposite the sea, and which confines the breath of travellers;” and he understands thereby “the frightful, unhealthy valley opposite the Dead Sea ( Ezekiel 47:8), which covers the proud of old, the Sodomites, and still has its name from them, and the smell of which, even far off, stops up the nose of travellers ( Revelation 20:10; comp. with Ezekiel 14:10).” There can be no doubt that when expositors understand here the Dead Sea, its designation as הַיָּם הַקַּדְמֹנִי is floating in their mind. Hitzig’s objection, that the valley did not as yet, and never did, generally bear the name, is of no weight, when the only thing that comes into consideration Isaiah, whether Jehovah in the prophet can say of it עֹבְרִים. The introduction of “proud” is far-fetched, unfounded. Keil, who makes the valley to be “without a doubt the valley of the Jordan above the Dead Sea” [so also Schmieder: “the valley of salt, on the extreme border of the land of Israel, near Mount Seir (comp. Ezekiel 35:2), reminds us of a defeat of the Edomites (comp. Psalm 60, David’s psalm of victory), and of Chedorlaomer, Lot, and Abraham ( Genesis 14); and the adjacent Dead Sea is the abiding type of all divine judgments”], denies, under appeal to Genesis 2:14, that קִדְמַת הַיָּם can (?) mean “east of the sea,” and translates thus: “facing the sea.” But the Mediterranean Sea is by no means excluded by the fact that “the whole land of Israel lay east of the Mediterranean,” for קִדְמַת הַיָּם can very well be made parallel with בְּיִשׂרָאֵל, just to qualify the description, especially if we would reflect on the apocalyptic signification of the sea as the fluctuating life of nations! Keil’s exposition of the הָעֹבְרִים, as referring to the “travellers (?) who pass through the land, or more particularly those who pass over from Peræa to Canaan,” has no significance for the explanation from the type of the Scythians, or from Ezekiel’s description of Gog’s expedition (see above), and also very little significance in itself, as it is supported by no other passage of the Old Testament. What is affirmed by the expression regarding the valley: וְחֹםֶמֶת, etc, is made quite clear by the following phrase: וְקָבְרוּ שָׁם, etc, whether we assume a reference to Ezekiel 39:14 sq, or infer from Ezekiel 39:12 sq. who are the buriers as also the callers (וְקָרְאוּ), or simply render it: they bury and they call it. The עֹבְרִים are of course the same as those alluded to in גֵּי הָעֹבְרִים. By the valley in question they (Gog and his bands) are hemmed, shut up, enclosed, bridled in, which is the meaning of הָםַם ( Deuteronomy 25:4); it Isaiah, as it were, their muzzle (מַהְםוֹם, Psalm 39:2, 1]), after all their “words” which rose up, Ezekiel 38:10. It cannot be a “blocking up of the way” that is spoken of, when it is plainly said: “the passers- through.” Their grave in the valley is the stopping and finishing of them and their going up. A blocking up of the way for travellers can hardly be thought of, since—and perhaps not without significance, as we shall see—the following representation in Ezekiel 39:14 sq. supposes an unhindered passing through in the land. [The Sept. dreamt of a walling round of the unclean place. Hitzig, indeed, does the same.] Hengstenberg, too, removes the valley, on account of its name, to “the great commercial and military road,”—the one, namely, “between Egypt and the Euphrates,”—and seeks to show from Hergt (Palœstina, p77) that it is the valley of Megiddo, famed as a battlefield; the expression: “east of the sea,” implies that “a well-known and celebrated valley pretty near the sea” must be meant, such as Megiddo, a narrow pass or region abounding in ravines, which hinder the passers- through. Such passes, he observes, are found there. In this “dangerous locality the prophet makes Gog be overtaken by the divine judgment.” But where is that said in the text which simply makes Gog be buried there? In all probability, says Hengstenberg, Lejun (Legio), the later name of Megiddo, is derived from our passage, corresponding to the multitude here (tumult); and this is the more probable, as in Ezekiel 39:16 the adjacent city also will receive the name “great multitude.” Since the prophecy regarding Gog (he goes on to say) was during the Roman rule certainly applied pre-eminently to it, men eagerly anticipated the time when the great heathen grave at Megiddo should receive the Roman legions. Hengstenberg further observes: “From גֵּיא הֲמוֹן ( Ezekiel 39:11) is formed the Κυαμων of Judith 7:3, to which the camp of Holofernes extends; and so also Καμμωνα, Isaiah, according to the Onom. of Eusebius, six Roman miles from Legio.” Rashi, following the Chaldee paraphrase, places the valley to the east of the Sea of Tiberias (Lake of Gennesaret), and Βαιθσαν (בֵּית שְׁאָן, “house of rest”), as named by the Greeks Σκυθοπολις, has been said to favour this. This latter name is certainly inconceivable from “Succothpolis” (as Grimm on 1 Maccabees 5:52 still maintains), yet it requires no settlement of Scythians in the seventh century b.c.; but from the population, in great part heathen, which settled there during the Babylonian exile, the name may have become current in the post-Maccabæan age, while the exposition or application of our prophecy, particularly Ezekiel 39:16, may also have had some influence in the matter (see Häv. p599 sq.). Comp. besides, Ezekiel 31:18; Ezekiel 32:31; on הֲמוֹן, Ezekiel 23:42. A kind of pendant to this, Ezekiel 26:13!

Ezekiel 39:12. Since קֶבֶר בְּישׂרָאֵל ( Ezekiel 39:11) is the main element in the description, this קֶבֶר is repeated immediately, and again in Ezekiel 39:13. First, the house of Israel is mentioned, and then the whole people of the land; neither of these have needed to fight. Their enemies fell by Jehovah, who has left nothing for them to do but to bury.—According to this parallelism of the two verses, the clause: in order to cleanse the land (the number seven, as in Ezekiel 39:9), will have to be illustrated by the statement: and it is to them for a name; hence, that the cleansing of the land from the dead bodies, and the zeal displayed therein ( Ezekiel 39:14 sq.), will cause the people of the land to be named, to wit, a holy people, or will thereby make them a name. [Häv.: “As the people thoroughly separated from heathenism.” Hengst.: “That the house of Israel should bury the foe, not the reverse, serves them for fame; which, however, has its root not in themselves, but in their God, who can deliver from death, and send destruction on their enemies.”] Comp. moreover, Ezekiel 34:29. As there: blessing instead of reproach, so here: holiness instead of the former uncleannesses of Israel. Those now cleanse the land with all diligence who formerly defiled it with all manner of abominations, etc. Perhaps there is also an allusion to the name Israel (בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, Ezekiel 39:12), intimating that this people wrestles with God, and therefore prevails! יוֹם, on the day, accusative of the time of Jehovah’s glorification of Himself by the over throw of Gog, and, finally, by his grave in Israel.

Ezekiel 39:14. To be understood in the sacred interest of the cleansing of the land.—“Men of constant continuance” (תָמִיד) are appointed to the office permanently, or at least for a lengthened period. There are two kinds of them: “the passers-through in the land” (antithetical to Gog’s “passing through”), and those who bury with the “passers-through,” i.e., as Ezekiel 39:15 explains, with their help, and following the marks they set up.—הַנּוֹתָרִים (Niphal particip. from יָתַר) are those who, notwithstanding the seven months’ burying, still remain on the face of the land, forgotten, neglected corpses or skeletons. Therefore, after the expiration of the seven months, the appointed men that have been spoken of enter on their office.

Ezekiel 39:15. It can hardly be without intention that the עָבַר is thus repeated, and so strongly emphasized: וְעָבְרוּ הַעֹבְרִים. These “passers-through” for the purpose of burying are set in characteristic contrast to the “passers-through” who passed through the land.—וְרָאָה, etc. explains, by way of example, the task of the “passers-through.” After seven months it must indeed be עֶצֶם.—צִיּוּן is a guide-post of stone—here as a mark for the buriers proper. But all comes finally into the one great grave of Gog.

[Schmieder: “There could not be an inhabited city in this valley of the dead; it must be a city which consists not of houses but of graves.”] The cleansing of the land, however, remains the chief thing; hence it is again added by way of conclusion.

Ezekiel 39:17, linking on to Ezekiel 39:4, does not bring forward a parallel to the burying of Gog and his bands. We have rather to think of something that came in immediately after Gog’s fall on the mountains of Israel. A further carrying out of the statement: “to birds of prey,” etc. in Ezekiel 39:4. But Gog’s grave in Israel is the divine monument, the actual token, that Jehovah is the Holy One in Israel ( Ezekiel 39:7); and this result, this old truth, Israel at the same time proves on his part with all zeal, through the repeated and finally emphasized burying in order to cleanse the land. Now, as the skeletons are buried in that valley, Song of Solomon, on the other hand, the flesh of them is immediately devoured on the mountains of Israel by the birds and beasts of prey. Not only is Israel to prove itself a holy nation, a nation of priests, but Jehovah will forthwith, on the fall of Gog, make known His holiness in the land, in the midst of Israel ( Ezekiel 37:26 sq.); and זִבְחִי, etc, the likewise repeatedly-mentioned “sacrifice,” will have to be taken in connection with this. It has been commonly observed that Ezekiel had in view only Jeremiah 46:10; Isaiah 34:6; but comp. also Zephaniah 1:7. Jehovah as Sacrificer. That “the Lord takes for Himself the sacrifice refused to Him,” whereby the idea of the cherem, the contrast of the sacrifice, is introduced, has been dragged into the text by Hengstenberg. The sacrifice (זֶבַח) Isaiah, however, expressly declared to be the “sacrifice which I have killed for you” ( Ezekiel 39:19). In this way the idea of sacrifice is essentially resolved into that of the sacrificial feast connected with the זֶבַח ( Ezekiel 29:5; Ezekiel 31:13; Ezekiel 32:4 sq.; Revelation 19:17). Jehovah as Host, who sends forth the invitation by the prophets. There is no want of food or of drink. Ezekiel 39:18 makes prominent, in this respect, גִּבּוֹרִים ( Ezekiel 32:12; Ezekiel 32:27), captains, and נְשִׂיאֵי הָאָרֶץ (princes of the earth); comp. Revelation 19:18; and also in the following figurative expression: פָּרֵים (bullocks), strengthened by מְרִיאֵי בָשָׁן כֻּלָּם, fatlings of Bashan all of them (since Bashan, renowned for its fat meadows, is often applied in the prophets to proud, despotic, wanton enemies of God and His people; comp. also Psalm 22:13, 12]), enlarges upon those set forth at the beginning. There Isaiah, besides, a comparison with the small cattle fit for sacrifice, on which Schmieder observes: “for food to the beasts, as the flesh of the sacrificial animals for the priests.”

Ezekiel 39:19 ( Ezekiel 16:28; Ezekiel 23:33) describes a lavish sacrificial banquet. לְשָׂבְעָה, continued still more definitely by וּשְׂבַעְתֶּם, etc, in Ezekiel 39:20.—Jehovah’s table is the battlefield.—If רֶכֶב alongside of םוּם “chariot,” then, of course, the fighters in chariots are meant. Hitzig will not admit the supposition of chariots of war in respect to the Scythians. Hence others think of “cavalry” (Gesen.) or “cart-horses.”—גִּבּוֹר, from Ezekiel 39:18, whoever has proved himself brave, like the captains, as distinguished from whom אִישׁ מִלְחָמָהִ, the equipped and practised men of war individually.

Ezekiel 39:21. On כְּבוֹדִי (My glory), comp. pp40, 52. Even until the final judgment over the world—yea, how significantly here!—does the leading thought of Ezekiel’s prophecy sound forth perceptibly; in respect to the heathen, explained by the clause: and all the heathen see, etc, it lies before their eyes ( Ezekiel 38:23); comp. Revelation 16:7. יָדִי is inferred from עָשִׂיתִי.

Ezekiel 39:22. The converse relation, to wit, to Israel. In this relation the text notes the knowledge of Jehovah as Israel’s God, the God of them who belong to Israel (אֱלֹהֵיהֶם,וְיָדְעוּ), and that by His having manifested Himself as such in the final judgment and thenceforth; hence an abiding relation that can no more be disturbed. The יָדְעוּ ( Ezekiel 39:22) now leads over in Ezekiel 39:23 to a corresponding knowledge, in addition to the וְרָאוּ, Ezekiel 39:21, on the part of the heathen also. From the end Jehovah directs their regard back to their oppression of Israel, by carrying them away captive. The heathen now know that their power over Israel was Israel’s guilt, defined more particularly as מָעֲלוּ, etc. (comp. on Ezekiel 14:13), their unfaithfulness to Jehovah, in consequence of which Jehovah hid His face from them ( Deuteronomy 31:17), and abandoned them (comp. Ezekiel 16:27). כֻּלָּם, in general, exceptis excipiendis.

Eze 39:24 (Eze 36:17 sq., Eze 14:11). Comp. Eze 7:27.

Hengstenberg sees in Ezekiel 39:25-29 a “close of the whole system of prophecies of a predominantly comforting character, from Ezekiel 33:21 (?) onward, as the prophet had already closed complete sections with a like finale.” After the heathen are pointed back to the past, the application is made with לָכֵן, therefore (because Jehovah has dealt with them as in Ezekiel 39:24), to the present (עַתָּה) of Israel.—Comp. on Ezekiel 16:53.—Jacob corresponding as much to “misery” as Israel to “pity;” a significant alternation. Comp. Ezekiel 36:5-6; Ezekiel 36:21 sq.; comp. first on Ezekiel 39:7.

Ezekiel 39:26. וְנָשׂוּ, etc. [Hengst.: “they take upon them, sq.”] is to be read: נָשְׂאוּ. Comp. Ezekiel 16:54. Jehovah’s jealousy for His holy name ( Ezekiel 39:25) shows itself among Israel subjectively in, as well as objectively on them. Because their guilt against Jehovah ( Ezekiel 39:23 sq.) shall be known, as by the heathen so by themselves, and fully only by themselves, they bear their misery as their reproach (כְּלִמָּתָם); hence to reproach is added unfaithfulness, etc. ( Ezekiel 39:23). Only they appear miserable ( Ezekiel 39:21); only Jehovah appears glorious. Where deserved punishment comes over them, righteousness appears before Jehovah: they exhibit themselves as worthy of reproach, obliged to reproach themselves because of their faithlessness; Jehovah manifests Himself as holy, but, at the same time, as their God ( Ezekiel 39:22), faithful in pity as in judgment, who will turn aside their misery ( Ezekiel 39:25). Their reproach and all their unfaithfulness must burden them so much the more from the very fact that they dwell securely, etc. Comp. on Ezekiel 28:25-26; Ezekiel 34:28. This humbling grace is the objective practical proof of Jehovah’s jealousy over them, which Ezekiel 39:27, stretching back beyond Ezekiel 39:26 b, and casting a glance at their desire during the present state of exile, follows out farther. [Hitzig, who reads וּנָשׁוּ, translates: “and they shall forget their reproach,” which they have hitherto borne. It has also been proposed to translate: they shall “take away,” i.e. expiate, etc. Ewald would admit the rendering: “they bear,” if we were to read מִכֹּל for וְאֶת כָּל; and so he too translates: “that they may forget their shame,” etc, and assumes a play of words, because “in fact the whole is a play of words upon the Chaldeans.”—בְּשִׁבְתָּם has been understood by others, e.g. Grotius: “when they dwelt.”] For the rest, comp. as to Ezekiel 39:27, Ezekiel 38:8; Ezekiel 37:21; Ezekiel 36:23 sq, Ezekiel 20:41.

Ezekiel 39:28 ( Ezekiel 39:22).—Ewald wrests בְּהַגְלוֹתִי, etc. into its direct opposite, for, reading מִן instead of מֶל, he now finds the sense to be: “in that I caused them to return from among the heathen.” The context certainly does not compel him to this. On the contrary, it suggests the significant parallel: אֶל,אֶל.—, Ezekiel 22:21.—אוֹתִיר, comp. Ezekiel 6:8; Ezekiel 12:16. Hengstenberg observes on this: “after the fall of the Chaldean monarchy, access to their native land was free to all Israel, and those who voluntarily remained yet had in Canaan their home, and in the temple at Jerusalem their spiritual dwelling-place.”

Ezekiel 39:29. Comp. Ezekiel 39:23-24. A promise of never-failing grace on account of (אֲשֶׁר, “because”) God’s having poured out His Spirit, where formerly His “fury,” e.g. Ezekiel 14:19; Ezekiel 22:22; comp. on Ezekiel 36:27; but here more significant, as perhaps שָׁפַךְ indicates. Ewald remarks on the “ebullient language,” although he expounds the outpouring of the Spirit to this effect: that Israel, “just because including in it from of old the Divine Spirit, is the indefeasible foundation of the true Church.” Comp. Isaiah 32:15-16; Isaiah 44:3; Joel 2:28 ( Ezekiel 3:1 sq.). Schmieder: “Spoken in anticipation of the time which the Lord promises. And the Lord, through Jesus after His glorification, actually poured out the Spirit in Jerusalem, according to His promise. But the house of Israel would not; and is the spiritual Israel of Christendom more thankful to God?”

Additional Note on Ezekiel 38, 39

[Ezekiel’s object in the chapters before us was, “through the Spirit, to present a picture of what might be expected in the last scenes of the world’s history; and according to the native bent and constitution of his mind, the picture must be lifelike. Not only must it be formed of the materials of existing relations, but it must be formed into a perspective with manifold and intricate details; yet so constructed and arranged, that while nothing but the most superficial eye could look for a literal realization, the great truths and prospects embodied in it should be patent to the view of all. What, then, are these? Let it be remembered at what point it is in Ezekiel’s prospective exhibitions that this prophecy is brought in. He has already represented the covenant-people as recovered from all their existing troubles, and made victorious over all their surrounding enemies. The best in the past has again revived in their experience, freed even from its former imperfections, and secured against its ever-recurring evils. For the new David, the all-perfect and continually-abiding Shepherd, presides over them, and at once prevents the out-breaking of internal disorders, and shields them from the attacks of hostile neighbours. All around, therefore, is peace and quietness; the old enemies vanish from the field; Israel dwells securely in his habitation. But let it not be supposed that the conflict is over, and that the victory is finally won. It is a world-wide dominion which this David is destined to wield, and the kingdom of righteousness and peace established at the centre must expand and grow till it embrace the entire circumference of the globe. But will Satan yield his empire without a struggle? Will he not rather, when he sees the kingdom of God taking firmer root and rising to a higher elevation, seek to effect its dismemberment or its downfall, by stirring up in hostile array against it the multitudinous and gigantic forces that lie scattered in the extremities of the earth? Assuredly he will do so; and God also will direct events into this channel, in order to break effectually the power of the adversary, and secure the diffusion of Jehovah’s truth and the glory of His name to the remotest regions. A conflict, therefore, must ensue between the embattled forces of heathenism, gathered out of their far-distant territories, and the nation that holds the truth of God. But the issue is certain. For God’s people being now holiness to Him, He cannot but fight with them and give success to their endeavours. So that the arm of heathenism shall be completely broken. Its mightiest efforts only end in the more signal display of its own weakness, as compared with the truth and cause of God; and the name of God as the Holy One of Israel is magnified and feared to the utmost bounds of the earth.

“Such is the general course and issue of things as marked out in this prophecy, under the form and aspect of what belonged to the Old Covenant, and its relation to the world as then existing. But stripping the vision of this merely temporary and imperfect exterior, since now the higher objects and relations of the New Covenant have come, we find in the prophecy the following series of important and salutary truths1. In the first place, while the appearance of the new David to take the rule and presidency over God’s heritage would have the effect of setting His people free from the old troubles and dangers which had hitherto assailed them, and laying sure and broad the foundations of their peace, it should be very far from securing them against all future conflicts with evil. It would rather tend to call up other adversaries, and enlarge the field of conflict, so as to make it embrace the most distant and barbarous regions of the earth. For the whole earth is Christ’s heritage, and sooner or later it must come to an issue between the adherents of His cause and the children of error and corruption. Though the latter might have no thought of interfering with the affairs of Christ’s kingdom, and would rather wish to pursue their own courses undisturbed (see on Ezekiel 38:4), yet the Lord will not permit them to do so. He must bring the light of heaven into contact with their darkness; so as to necessitate a trial of strength between the powers of evil working in them, and the truth and grace of God as displayed in the kingdom of Christ2. From the very nature of the case, this trial would fall to be made on a very large scale, and with most gigantic resources; for the battlefield now is the world to its farthest extremities, and the question to be practically determined Isaiah, whether God’s truth or man’s sin is to have possession of the field. So that all preceding contests should appear small, and vanish out of sight, in comparison of this last great struggle, in which the world’s destiny was to be decided for good or evil. Hence it seemed, in the distance, as if not thousands, as formerly, but myriads upon myriads, numbers without number, were to stand here in battle array3. Though the odds in this conflict could not but appear beforehand very great against the people and cause of Christ, yet the result should be entirely on their side; and simply because with them is the truth and the might of Jehovah. Had it been only carnal resources that were to be brought into play on either side, victory must inevitably have been with those whose numbers were so overwhelmingly great. But these being only flesh, and not spirit; they must fall before the omnipotent energy of the living God, who can make His people more than conquerors over all that is against them. And so in this mighty conflict, in which all that the powers of darkness could muster from the world was to stand, as it were, front to front with the people of God, there were to be found remaining only, on the part of the adversaries, the signs of defeat and ruin4. Lastly, as all originated in the claim of Messiah and His truth to the entire possession of the world, so the whole is represented as ending in the complete establishment of the claim. The kingdom through every region of the earth becomes the Lord’s. He is now universally known and sanctified as the God of truth and holiness. It is understood at last, that it was His zeal for the interests of righteousness which led Him to chastise in former times His own professing people; and that the same now has induced Him to render them triumphant over every form and agency of evil. And now, all counter rule and authority being put down, all disturbing elements finally hushed to rest, the prospect stretches out before the Church of eternal peace and blessedness, in what have at length become the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

“It may still, perhaps, seem strange to some, if this be the real meaning and import of the vision, that the prophet should have presented it under the aspect of a single individual gathering immense forces from particular regions, and at the head of these fighting in single conflict, and falling on the land of Israel. They may feel it difficult to believe that a form so concrete and fully developed should have been adopted, if nothing more local and specific had been intended. But let such persons look back to other portions of this book, especially to what is written of the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28. (which in form, perhaps, most nearly resembles the prophecy before us), and judge from the shape and aspect there given to the past, whether it is not in perfect accordance with the ascertained characteristics of Ezekiel’s style to find him giving here such a detailed and fleshly appearance to the future. There Tyre is not only viewed as personified in her political head, but that head is represented as passing through all the experiences of the best and highest of humanity. It Isaiah, as we showed, a historical parable, in which every feature is admirably chosen, and pregnant with meaning, but all of an ideal and not a literal or prosaic kind. And what is the present vision, as now explained, but a prophetical parable, in which, again, every trait in the delineation is full of important meaning, only couched in the language of a symbolical representation? Surely we must concede to the prophet, what we would never think of withholding from a mere literary author, that he has a right to employ his own method; and that the surest way of ascertaining this is to compare one part of his writings with another, so as to make the better known reflect light upon the less known—the delineations of the past upon the visions of the future.

“At the same time, let us not be understood as declaring for certain that the delineation in this prophecy must have nothing to do with any particular crisis or decisive moment in the Church’s history. It is perfectly possible that in this case, as in most others, there may be a culminating point, at which the spiritual controversy is to rise to a gigantic magnitude, and virtually range on either side all that is good and all that is evil in the world. It may be so; I see nothing against such a supposition in the nature of the prophecy; but I must add, I see nothing conclusively for it. For when we look back to the other prophecy just referred to, we find the work of judgment represented as taking effect upon Tyre, precisely as if it were one individual that was concerned, and one brief period of his history; while still we know blow after blow was required, and even age after age, to carry forward and consummate the process. Perfectly similar, too, was the case of Babylon, as described in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of Isaiah; it seems as if almost one act were to do the whole, yet how many instruments had a hand in it, and over how many centuries was the work of destruction spread! We see no necessity in the form of the representation, or in the nature of things, why it should be otherwise here; none, at least, why a different mode of reaching the result should be expected as certain. We believe that as the judgment of Tyre began when the first breach was made in the walls by Nebuchadnezzar, and as the judgment of Babylon began when the Medes and Persians entered her two-leaved gates, so the controversy with Gog and his heathenish forces has been proceeding since Christ, the new David, came to lay the everlasting foundations of His kingdom, and asserted His claim to the dominion of the earth as His purchased possession. Every stroke that has been dealt since against the idolatry and corruption of the world is a part of that great conflict which the prophet in vision saw collected as into a single locality, and accomplished in a moment of time. He would thus more clearly assure us of the certainty of the result. And though, from the vast extent of the field, and the many imperfections that still cleave to the Church, there may be much delay and many partial reverses experienced in the process; though there may, too, at particular times, be more desperate struggles than usual between the powers of evil in the world and the confessors of the truth, when the controversy assumes a gigantic aspect, yet the prophecy is at all times proceeding onwards in its accomplishment. Let the Church therefore do her part, and be faithful to her calling. Let her grasp with a firm hand the banner of truth, and in all lands display it in the name of her risen Lord. And whichever way He may choose to finish and consummate the process,—whether by giving fresh impulses to the hearts of His people, and more signally blessing the work of their hands, or by shining forth in visible manifestations of His power and glory, such as may at once and for ever shame into confusion the adversaries of His cause and kingdom,—leaving this to Himself, to whom it properly belongs, let the blessed hope of a triumphant issue animate every Christian bosom, and nerve every Christian arm to maintain the conflict, and do all that zeal and love can accomplish to hasten forward the final result.”—Fairbairn’s Ezekiel, pp425–430.—W. F.]

DOCTRINAL REFLECTIONS

1. With our two chapters the prophecy of Ezekiel passes over to the apocalyptic (comp. Introd. pp19, 20. Comp. in general what is said by Lange in the introduction to the Revelation of St. John, p 2 sq.). Characteristic apocalyptic features as to form and contents are perceptible, just as the very circumstance that the New Testament Apocalypse begins with the transition of Ezekiel 37 to Ezekiel 38, to borrow important (eschatological) elements for its closing visions, must suggest something apocalyptic. The prophetic element, the element of doctrine and of application, still pervades Ezekiel 38, 39, but this element will subside, Ezekiel 40 sq.; and our chapters, too, present to us and delineate a tableau of unity,—the impressive picture of a national expedition, a migration of nations, a battle of nations, and still more of God. Although contained in the word of prophecy (“Thus saith the Lord”), yet the description of the march of the army ( Ezekiel 38.), and of its fearful over-throw in Israel ( Ezekiel 39), assumes, as elsewhere, the appearance of a vision. Scene succeeds scene. The style is typical to such a degree, that what of historical from the past or present may here form the basis, assumes at once the form of pure symbols, whose idea stretches far beyond the Old Testament theocracy, and on to the end of time. The consummation of Israel shows itself as the consummation of the world. The contrast of the world to Israel is in our chapters not so much the traditional one of the heathen as opposed to the people of God, as coarse callousness, resembling insensibility, in relation to the peace in which the royal priesthood, the people of the possession of an eternal covenant of Jehovah ( Ezekiel 37:26), delight themselves. Compare the impressions and utterances of Balaam in Numbers 23:9-10, so very different from Ezekiel 38:11 sq.! On the other hand, the impelling force to the savage irruption into the quietness of such a people in the land is appropriately conceived, viz. on the one part, as divine compulsion of the Judge overruling to the end in view, it is high as heaven (but comp. Ezekiel 38:4 with Ezekiel 38:10 sq.); on the other part, as demoniac selfishness and worldly-mindedness, it is deep as hell. Considering the apocalyptic character of our two chapters, with which the remainder of the book of Ezekiel announces itself, the suddenness of Gog’s appearance on the scene and also of his overthrow is worthy of observation, reminding us of the ἐν ταχει ( Luke 18:8), and of the oft-repeated ταχυ of the Revelation of St. John, and also of the final completeness of the judgment and its execution.

2. Hengstenberg has very justly observed: “We have here a good preparation for the exposition of the vision of the new temple.” But what he pronounces a specialty of Ezekiel,—how “wide a space” is given by him to “painting,” how “attentive” he is “to fill the imagination with holy figures,”—depends rather on the apocalyptic character of the prophecy regarding Gog. Moreover, to confront the imagination of timidity with the imagination of faith, to pour forth light and comfort in opposition to thoughts despairing of the future, is precisely a mark of all apocalypse proper. Lange says beautifully and strikingly of apocalypses in this respect: “As they have proceeded from the divine quieting and comforting of a longing of the hearts of elect prophets, which flamed aloft in times of great oppression of the kingdom of God, so they are also designed to direct and guide, to comfort and calm, in the first place, the servants of God, and through them the Church, in times of similar and fresh oppression in the future—nay, even to change for them all tokens of terror into tokens of hope and promise.”

3. In Hengstenberg’s interpretation, at all events, not only does the “ Song of Solomon -called biblical realism” entirely disappear, to which, as he says, it so often happens to take the garb for the Prayer of Manasseh, but, as the exposition has already incidentally indicated, the nations named in Ezekiel 38 although in themselves historical, appear in the connection here as elements of an idea which is summed up in the symbolic Gog of the land of Magog, namely, as the last outbreak of enmity against the kingdom of God. This symbolized idea is at all events also historical—nay, even world-historical in the highest sense, or pertaining to the universal judgment. The world’s history is theocratically determined by it, determined by the kingdom of God finally developing itself into the consummation of humanity and the world. But Magog, Gomer, Meshech, Tubal, Sheba, Dedan, and Phut are as such no longer historically to be found. Of Cush Hengstenberg asserts: that it is “a Christian people, and such a one as, according to recent experience, will scarcely again attain to world-wide influence.”

4. As Grotius and others, e.g. Jahn (Introd2), interpret of the days of the Maccabees and Antiochus Epiphanes, so Luther found in our chapters the Turk, who, even in the hymns and prayers of the Church, was for a long time firmly held to be, together with the Pope, the chief enemy of German Christianity. While individual Jewish expositors apply what is said sometimes to Rome, and sometimes interpret it of the Crusades, yet we find also in Shabb118:1; Berach. Ezekiel 7:2; the Jerusalem Targum on Numbers 11:25; Deuteronomy 34:2, Gog shifted into the times previous to the Messiah, and the battle, in which the Messiah annihilates Gog, discoursed of. Likewise, in reference to the Messianic kingdom, the Sibylline books speak of Gog and Magog, placing him in the farthest south of Egypt (see Hävernick, p602). In the notices which the Koran makes of Dzu-Ikarnayn, i.e. Alexander the Great and his adventurous warlike expeditions (Sur. 18,21), Yagug and Magug are designated as mischief-makers on earth, and enclosed by an iron wall; which, however, will be at last turned to dust, whereupon Gog and Magog break forth, and the universal judgment ensues. (Sprenger: Das Leben und die Lehre des Mohammad, ii. p 474 sq.) “The fear of these northern nations,” says W. Menzel, “is very ancient, and has been justified by the Scythian, and afterwards by the Hunnish-Mongolian warlike expeditions, which have already often overrun both Europe and Asia; and this Oriental popular tradition coincides (?) with the widespread German tradition of the armies of Charlemagne or Barbarossa sleeping in the mountain, which will burst forth at the end of the world, and conquer a new golden age.”

5. Hävernick adduces the following reasons for the interpretation of the time as the time of the completion of the kingdom of God. (1) The names, which do not so much indicate single nations then existing, as that we have to do with a “view of future new relations only starting from the present.” “Whatever far remote, more or less known, national names can be named, the prophet collects here; and specially important is the free formation of the name Gog.” (2) The connection with Ezekiel 36, 37 represents the way prepared for the glorification and completion of the theocracy; the judgment over Edom ( Ezekiel 35) is regarded as having taken place, in which old hereditary enemy, the enemies hitherto of the covenant-people appear judged in their immediate neighbourhood. It still remains, however, “to marshal the entire (?) world-power in its sinful insurrection against God (?), and thus to perfect the salvation,” just as this idea lies at the foundation of the fourth, the Roman empire, prophesied by Daniel, the contemporary of Ezekiel (Euseb. Demonstr. Ev. Ezekiel 9:3). (3) The prophetic denunciation of heathen nations always regards them as representatives and supporters of definite ideas,—in Edom the hitherto antitheocratic tendency, in our prophecy the idea of future enmity as experienced by Israel in the completion of its salvation. (4) The fulfilment Isaiah, in Ezekiel 38:8; Ezekiel 38:16, expressly placed in the latter days. (5) The announcements of former prophets, referred to in Ezekiel 38:17, point to the judgment of the last day, just as also the prophet’s picture is made to conform with those models. (6) Lastly, the resumption of the subject in Revelation 20.—It tells particularly for the apocalyptic character of the representation given by Gog, that it is pervaded not only by reminiscences of Assyrians and Chaldeans—of Edom only locally, indeed (“on the mountains of Israel,” comp. on this point Ezekiel 35. with Ezekiel 36.)—but also by presentiments of much later heathen powers. For it is quite in the apocalyptic way and manner always to present to us types stamped anew from history as it gravitates towards the end of the world.

6. In the Introduction, p19, the importance of Ezekiel’s position in the midst of the Babylonian world, and with that his acquaintance with foreign nations and their relations, have been adverted to. In Babylon, if anywhere, there was a standing-place for surveying the rolling waves of the sea of nations. The prediction regarding Gog, peculiar to our prophet, will have to be conceived of as to its human side from his peculiar abode on such a watch-tower in the midst of the heathen-. Philippson justly observes: “We must remember that Ezekiel was placed in the midst of the inner-Asiatic world, and hence had opportunity of observing the great movements therein. Here, in the bosom of the national movements of Asia, it must have been clear to the prophet that these movements were far from having reached their end, that the dynasties would still change often, and that these concussions could not fail to affect also the countries on the Mediterranean.” At all events, although our prophecy is not the result of the incidental observations, the far-sighted political reflections, etc, of a gifted Prayer of Manasseh, yet, as the magnificent architecture of Nebuchadnezzar might furnish Ezekiel with views for Ezekiel 40. sq, so the fluctuating sea of nations, which he saw and heard of in Babylonia, may perhaps have furnished him with the colours in which he paints the figure of Gog and his bands.

7. Our prophecy has been explained from the very natural question after Ezekiel 37.—will this peace of Israel continue always undisturbed? will the relations of the rest of the world take such a shape that Israel can remain in peace? So Philippson. “The dogmatic idea of the prophecy,” says Hengstenberg, “is very simple: the community of God, renewed by His grace, will victoriously resist all the assaults of the world. This idea the prophet has here clothed with flesh and blood,” etc. The prophecy, then, is more or less a parable. We come back to this. “The starting-point,” continues Hengstenberg, “is the fear which penetrates the sick heart. What avails it, is the question that met the prophet, even if we recover, according to thy announcement, from the present catastrophe? The predominance of the heathen still remains. Soon shall we sink under another attack into permanent ruin. Against such desponding thoughts the prophet here offers comfort. He unites all the battles which the restored community has in future still to endure into one great battle, and makes this be decided by one glorious victory of the Lord and His people.” The latter is as arbitrary as what has been said regarding the idea of the prophecy is general and superficial. Hävernick, connecting with Ezekiel 37, says: “How powerful that protection is which the Lord accords to the new glorified theocracy, is shown by its new relation to the heathen world and its power. The holy people are truly an unassailable, inviolable possession of their God. As such, Israel in its glory is the grandest, the most thorough victory over the heathen world. Hence the future of Israel stands in the most striking contrast to its present. While heathendom is now an instrument in the hand of Jehovah for the chastisement and purification of Israel, then comes the time when Israel’s destiny is fulfilled, namely, to execute the final judgment on heathendom. In it is then revealed the completion of the victory of the kingdom of God over the heathen world-power.” However much of what has been said is right and proper, yet the reason assigned by Hävernick for “this fundamental idea” is not quite satisfactory as he puts it, namely, that “God Himself occasions the battle (the last rallying of the power of heathendom to annihilate the king of God), that His judgment may in it be revealed.” God, however, will judge only that which, whether in self-righteousness (Pharisaism), or in worldliness (Sadducism), has, by the rejection of His counsel of salvation in Christ, shown itself ripe for judgment. In. connection with this subjective ripeness for judgment, we are reminded of the deceiving by Satan, Revelation 20. World, or heathendom without further qualification, is not the idea of this so individual prophecy regarding Gog. Lange is entirely in the right when he doubts (Pos. Dogm. p1280) whether Gog and Magog represent generally all the future enemies of the kingdom of God; and he gives the hint to the understanding of the chapters before us when he declares: “We must, however, think chiefly of the obscure residue of nations which has not come under the full operation of the kingdom of Christ, of barbarous and haughty tribes.”

[On the whole of this 7 th section, compare the above Additional Note at the close of the Exegetical Remarks.—W. F.]

8. For the explanation of the prophecy before us we have not to search after questions of this or that kind put by Israel, which the prophet was bound to answer, as, indeed, nothing like this is intimated in the text (comp. in opposition on Ezekiel 37); but Jehovah, in Ezekiel 38, 39, simply sets the end clearly and truly before His people, at that time in Israel, and in this sense we have here ἀποκαλυψις before us. If we want an inscription on the double picture in Ezekiel,, Ezekiel 38, 39, there is no more appropriate one than the saying of Christ in Matthew 16:18 : και πυλαι ἁδου οὐ κατισχυσουσιν αὐτης—a saying not understood in its apocalyptic significance. If we have to understand Ezekiel 37 in Christ, how much more free from doubt will the proper understanding be when the subject is again referred to in such a manner at the end of Ezekiel 39 And so Gog, etc. cannot mean heathenism, or heathenism in the last effects which it may produce, but must mean the obdurate world as opposed to Christianity, the world which has remained farthest away from the spirit and frame of Christianity as we find it described in Ezekiel; the most remote north as opposed to the central in this world ( Ezekiel 38:6; Ezekiel 38:15; comp. on Ezekiel 39:12). That which has been maintained regarding the final stiffening down of our planet into ice, has its apocalyptic truth rather in respect of the definitive position of the human heart to Christianity, as possibly our Lord also intimates when He says, Matthew 24:12 : δια το πληθυνθηναι την ἀνομιαν ψυγησεται ἀγαπη των πολλων. To a finally developed egoism and worldliness, to a materialism ripe for judgment which can no longer think of anything except plunder and robbery, the μαμωνας της ἀδιχιας, as opposed to the ideal powers which go to make up Christianity (righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, Romans 14:17), the community of God, the Lord’s people, appear—and this Ezekiel plainly pictures out (comp. Ezekiel 38:12 with Ezekiel 39:11)—in its meaning and essence a high-flown ideal, which men, after having at least ceased to persecute it, partly because they purely ignore it, and partly because they expect with scientific certitude its collapse, its death, after the manner of the old heathen religions (the πυλαι ἁδου), will have to take down from its height and simply crush with force. This, according to Ezekiel 38, is the position of the world in the time of Gog. If the “millennial kingdom” is to approximate to the picture with which Ezekiel 37. closes, the conception of it will necessarily be very different from what the imagination of many apocalypticists, still adhering to the old Jewish sensuous tradition, dreams it to be. But even in the locus classicus of the millennium, Revelation 20, the putting of Satan in chains is mentioned as the main point for the symbolical thousand years. The binding of him is the necessary preliminary of the millennial kingdom. If he is not to deceive the nations during this time, but after this does so again, then it is clear, even from that to which he afterwards deceives them, that his confinement is above all the cessation of war with violence, of violent combating of the community of God, just as also the immediately following vision of the witnesses unto blood ( Revelation 20:4) seems particularly to point in the same direction. Regarding the “fair reality of the kingdom in its glorious manifestation,” the ἐζησαν, certainly distinct from the ἀνεζησαν ( Ezekiel 39:5), only tells us forcibly thus much in relation to a certain number, that they, given over, indeed, to death by the world, are in reality alive (comp. also John 11:25 sq. with Revelation 20:6); the “thrones,” however, and the “judgment,” already express virtually the “reigning as kings,” which is only more exactly defined by the expression: “with Christ,” and that as a reigning in heaven without any express reference to earth, to which the only reference mentioned is the binding of Satan. But this heavenly vision ( Ezekiel 39:4 sq.) is assuredly meant for comfort, as is the certainty of final victory (comp. moreover, μικρον χρονον, Ezekiel 39:3), when Gog and Magog ( Revelation 20:8) march to battle upon the centre of the earth ( Ezekiel 39:9).

9. The misconceptions of the traditional exegesis in respect of the chapters before us, and the corresponding passages in the Revelation of John, thus relate on the one hand to the appearance of Gog, and on the other to the position and state of the true Israel, the Church of Christ, in the last days. With respect to the latter, we have remarked on the idyllic picture in Ezekiel 38.; comp. also the exposition. Revelation 20:9, by means of το πλατος της γης ( Ezekiel 38:12) belonging here, points with παρεμβολη των ἁγιων and πολις ἠγαπημενη rather to Ezekiel 40-48 (at least more to them than to Zechariah 12:7-8), if these two Old Testament theocratic designations of Israel are not meant simply to denote the Church, the people of God, without any special reference. Yet, considering the reciprocal action between the unseen world and the seen, especially in the last days, when the transformation of the world is at hand and everything is prepared for it, any reflex whatever of the Church triumphant in heaven will unquestionably affect its earthly compeer, the Church on earth, during the thousand years. If it holds true for this time also that ἡμων γαρ το πολιτευμα ἐν οὐρανοις ὑπαρχει, ἐζ οὑ sq, according to Philippians 3:20 sq, then something corresponding in the Church on earth of the last days must run parallel to the life, the enthronement, the reigning with Christ of them who have overcome,—a “time of great peace and festivity,” as Lange expresses it, an ideality of life, shining so much the more brightly as the rest of mankind are under the sway of materialism, have become the slaves of enjoyment, and serve Mammon; and if the judgment on the world will be realized in presence of the latter-day community, yet on the other hand a time of final, and perhaps “most successful activity” previous to that may be reckoned upon; comp. in our prophet Ezekiel 37:28; Ezekiel 36:36. As the Chaldean world-power of Ezekiel’s time, with its “many nations” (עַמִּים), out of which, in the first place, Israel is gathered, Ezekiel 38-39 ( Ezekiel 39:12, גּוֹיִם), is reproduced as Βαβυλων ( Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:5; Revelation 18:2), so also, as in Ezekiel from the passages cited, not only will “many nations” ( Ezekiel 38:16; Ezekiel 38:23) besides Gog and Magog have to be supposed in the Revelation of John, but the binding also of Satan, “that he should deceive the nations no more” ( Revelation 20:3), suggests the operation of the community of God upon them to bring them to the knowledge of Him. Nay, since Gog, brought up by Jehovah, like Balaam formerly, is in a position to view the people of peace assembled and encamped upon their hills—this view, which can scarcely entice a nation supposed to be rude and barbarous but still simple, may symbolize to us a virtual mission, the latest missionary activity which the community of God on earth, as such, puts forth; so that, alongside of the temptation which leads to being deceived by Satan through the besetting sin of Gog ( Ezekiel 38:10 sq.), who is perfectly conscious of what his heart purposes and expresses in Ezekiel 39:11-12, we not only hear the ironical incitements of Ezekiel 39:13, but above all the aspect of the community of God, virtually giving testimony everywhere of salvation and peace upon this earth, as it lives securely solely by faith in its King, without worldly protection or power, is to be looked upon as a last dispensation and expression of God’s long-suffering and grace in relation to Gog, which he in his ripeness for judgment despises (comp. the exposition). That Gog’s purpose and expedition are to be aimed directly against God is a feature at least foreign to Gog as drawn by Ezekiel, and has to be inferred even in Revelation 20:9; for the final attack is rather directly against the people of the Lord, and only indirectly against Himself, who, however, manifests Himself from heaven in behalf of His people.

10. Although the Reformation regained the knowledge of the truth, both as respects the supreme authority, the word of God, and the foundation laid, namely, Christ, yet church life as church life was not reformed, but only the Cæsar Pope succeeded to the Pope Pope. The episcopal power was given over to the hands of the State, and thereby the Church only sank into a new servitude, which was a purely secular one. This may well be called the “Babylonish captivity” of the community of God. Pietism, however much it emphasized life in opposition to creed, furnished the theory for this, since its method is solely to influence and form the individual. Thus the Reformation made no breach with Byzantinism—it may be said that that was not the antithesis of the Reformers; but they left it possible for the State also to become evangelical. As since the Reformation—i.e., the attempt of ecclesiastical reconstruction upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, in which Christ is the corner-stone—the modern sovereign-powers have come forward politically, as Ranke says, so since then, under the title of the gospel, a State-churchism has been more and more developed, which, when compared with the fundamental declaration of Christ regarding His kingdom ( John 18:36), is no less a caricature of the holy than is the Church-state. If the whore become wife ( Revelation 17.), who formerly rode upon the beast, is finally to be destroyed by the beast, perhaps we are near to this point of time. The complete apocalyptic history of Antichristianism, however ( Revelation 13.), sets also in prospect the case that the spirit of a fallen Christianity, the false prophet, can be active, in the service of the political world-power, to bring about something of the form of a universal world-church, with legally social exclusiveness. The judgment of Antichristianism, as of pseudo-Christianity ( Revelation 19:17 sq.), appears in relation to their adherents as a spiritual, moral destruction, namely, by the sword of Him who sits upon the white horse, and which goes out from His mouth; so that the Antichristian world, slain as with a sword by the word of Christ, which should have rescued them to life, now affords room for the enjoyment of peace and dominion to the quiet community of the latter days. If the description of the closing battle against Christ in the Apocalypse of John, borrowed from Ezekiel 39. sq, consciously conforms itself to the description given there, that will intimate that it has an affinity with Gog’s final war against the Christian Church, that what begins with the Head has to be completed with the members, but that the victory of the King with His army contains in it the assurance of victory for His people to the end. But does not the very fact that rude force like that of Gog and his bands will bring about the conclusion of the development of Christian salvation for this world, also imply the corresponding recompense for the being sunk in materialism, in the common mock-reality of earthly things? And how, then, accordingly do the first heavens and the first earth pass away? It may farther be worth observing, for the social form of the world during the time previous to Gog’s making his appearance, that after the judgment in Revelation 19:17 sq. no “kings of the earth” figure any more, that the Revelation of John significantly renews “Gog and Magog” solely as national titles. The “social democracy” threatened for the future discuss only materialistic themes, just as the science destitute of philosophy labours in a similar sphere. But the victory of Christianity, the absolutely religious truth, will always be on this earth only a spiritual victory. The victory that overcame the world is our faith, 1 John 5:4. Comp. besides, John 18:36, which is called, in 1 Timothy 6:13, the χαλη ὁμολογια της πιστεως ( Ezekiel 39:12). The idea of a preliminary transformation of the world, even when put into a more real shape, as a mediating transition-period, conformable to the laws of life and to the development of life, remains, however, affected with a certain show, a mere display, the necessity of which is so much the more difficult to see, as Gog, notwithstanding, again comes up over it; and it would be much more in accordance with the moralo-theocratic law of the ripening of mankind for final judgment, that this ripening for judgment should fill up its measure on the quiet community of God, which presents in opposition to the materialistic world and its spirit of the times nothing but its unique ideality in Christ and with Christ—this indeed in a purity and sanctity unsullied by any secularity and worldliness. Comp. Ezekiel 36:38; Ezekiel 37:28, and the burying of Gog’s dead recorded afterwards, Ezekiel 39, in a way that tells for such a character. The church-idyl of Ezekiel in the chapters before us may be compared with the apostolic church of primitive Christianity. The first period and the last, when thus laid together, form a circle.

11. “Neither as to letter or spirit was this prophecy fulfilled under the Old Covenant, and, moreover, many single passages of it are incapable of being understood in the literal sense. For example, when at the end of Ezekiel 39. the Israelites are to be brought back from the lands of their enemies without a single one of them remaining behind, and that God poured out His Spirit on the house of Israel. As the kingdom promised in Ezekiel 36. is in this world, indeed, but not of this world, so the resurrection of the dead in Ezekiel 37. places itself under the saying of Christ, John 5:25,” etc. (Cocceius).

12. “The enemies of the Old Covenant were curbed; and those of the New, who will once more rise up against the kingdom of the Messiah, are, to the terror of the world, overthrown on the day of judgment, and the New Covenant solemnizes its final victory” (Umbreit).

13. The appearance of Gog shall be liable to no contingency, and its necessity for the consummation of things is apparent, Ezekiel 38:4; Ezekiel 38:8; Ezekiel 38:16, etc. That even evil intent only serves the cause of God’s kingdom is a fundamental view of Holy Scripture.

14. From the symbolical style and character which pervades the chapters before us, a geographical inquiry respecting the burial-place of Gog ( Ezekiel 39.) will be of little use. All the more, however, may such thoughts suggest themselves as the contrast generally of the low ground, where Gog’s lofty purpose makes a grave for himself, with his going up on the mountains of Israel, and then also the contrast of these heights with their security and his grave, which secures against him, confines him. Gog’s grave in Israel, lying east of the sea, makes significant allusion to the sea, the apocalyptic term for the birthplace and cradle of the heathen nations; who, moreover, ought not to have found downfall and destruction in Israel, but, on the contrary, sunrise, to which they are described as coming virtually out of darkness and the shadow of death, from the farthest north. That Gog finds his grave in Israel is so much the more striking as Israel himself comes out of his grave in Ezekiel 37.

15. But still more significant is the closing verse of Ezekiel 39, which refers back to Ezekiel 37, 36. What Israel is to be or to signify according to his idea, he becomes only through divine sanctification in the Spirit, whose final and full impartation, in contradistinction to all occasional and partial givings, is made plain, as pouring out upon the house of Israel. “As the outpouring of the Spirit, according to the earlier announcements of the prophet himself and his predecessors, bears an essentially Messianic character, and is connected with the coming of the Good Shepherd of David’s line, on whom ( Isaiah 11:1) the whole fulness of the Spirit rests” (Hengst.), so the predictions of the chapters before us point to the course in the world of the Christian Church, which was founded by the outpouring of the Divine Spirit, and may live in the certainty that not one soul destined to be gathered into it shall remain behind in the world, as its faith, its confession, is to rely with confidence on a grace which is eternal.

HOMILETIC HINTS

On Ch38

Ezekiel 38:1 sq. “The prophet evidently speaks of the last times. A good part of his sayings are riddles, which the fulfilment alone must solve and explain” (Berl. Bib.).—“The enemies of the Church are great, strong, and many; but however great their strength may be, it can effect nothing against the community of the Lord, for the Lord is its protection, 2 Chronicles 32:7-8” (Tüb. Bib.).—“The Christian Church never remains unmolested, but is always persecuted by internal and external enemies, or otherwise plagued with crosses, tribulations, and adversities of all kinds, 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Corinthians 11:19” (W.).—“The adversity which befalls the Church of God does not befall her accidentally, but according to the divine counsel and will, Revelation 2:9-10” (Starke).—“Gog is so briefly mentioned in Revelation 20. according to the economy of Holy Scripture, because here so fully” (Richter).—Gog is not the Antichrist (the beast), nor yet the pseudo-Christ (the false prophet), but the anti-Israel of the latter days. The last attack on the community of God, in contempt of its mission of peace and salvation, from self-confidence and worldliness.

Ezekiel 38:3. “He will, however, be of kindred disposition with Antichrist, a circumstance which is to be observed, and which at the same time explains why the Lord is so angry at him” (Berl. Bib.).

Ezekiel 38:4. “He means to march against Jehovah, but in reality Jehovah has him in tow: he must march whither He wills to his own destruction, as Pharaoh of old did not set aside the purposes of the God of Israel when he refused to let His people go, but acted so because Jehovah Himself had hardened his heart in order to hurl him to destruction” (Hengst.).

Ezekiel 38:5 sq. “It Isaiah, however, of little moment to know whether the present nations and which of them are to be understood under those designations; for those ancient nations no longer exist separately, and the Holy Spirit intended to designate under this name generally only such peoples and nations as in the latter days lie outside of the sphere of the civilisation of the Church of Christ” (Heim-Hoffmann).

Ezekiel 38:7. The equipment even of His enemies is subject to God’s word.—“The ungodly are bound with and to one another by the cord of malice” (Starck).

Ezekiel 38:8. A glance into the latter days of the Church of God and of the world.—“Gog meant to visit the people of God, but in reality he is himself visited. It is very consolatory to the Church, that God not merely conquers her enemies, but that even their hostile undertaking is under His guidance, that they move neither hand nor foot except at His command” (Hengst.).—“Thus God visits in grace and also in wrath” (Starck).—“The Church is thus described: from her persecutions, according to her calling, as the fulfilment of Israel, from her devastation by Antichrist, because of her separation from the world, according to her rest in God” (Cocc).

Ver9. In the world we have anguish to the end; before we expect it, a tempest arises, and heaven and earth appear to be hid from our eyes. Our security is peace with God: Christians wish, indeed, peace with all men, but the world keeps no peace with them. Such is its turbulence that it has no rest, such its darkness that it would like to shut out all light; even God is not to be our lamp.—“If great armies resemble clouds, how soon can a wind disperse them! 2 Kings 19:35” (Starke).

Ezekiel 38:10. “Thus God is a heart-searcher, He knows the evil purpose in the man himself”—(Starck).

Ezekiel 38:11. What a confession from the mouth of an enemy! for the Church and against himself.

Ezekiel 38:12. How good it is to possess the goods which cannot be stolen,—the joy, for example, which no one shall take from us!—To the end the world seeks only the temporal, the earthly.

Ezekiel 38:14. It is bad when we observe only when it is too late.

Ezekiel 38:15 sq. That is already the victory when God says, It is My people that ye seek to injure.—“Yea, all things revolve around the community of God on earth; hell must assail it, and yet suffer shipwreck on the faith of the true confessors. Therefore we ought simply to keep God’s word pure, and not to care about the great multitude” (Diedrich).

Ezekiel 38:17. Everything has been told before; they who hold to the word have to fear no surprises.

Ezekiel 38:18 sq. “Fury is the glow which bursts forth in the breathing of wrath. The wrath of God is the holy jealousy with which Hebrews, for the protection of His kingdom, the kingdom of peace, dashes down the wicked; and this wrath of eternal protecting love is fearful” (Schmieder).

Quantus tremor est futurus,

Quando Judex est venturus,

Cuncta stricte discussurus.

“Even the saints will tremble, but with adoration and hope. Comp. Psalm 46.” (Schmieder).

Ezekiel 38:21. Even the sword is the Lord’s servant, which He needs only to call for and it comes at His word.—How one may become the sword of another!—“When God determines to inflict His judgments, the best friends must become the worst enemies, that one may receive from the other the merited reward, Judges 7:22” (Starke).

Ezekiel 38:23. The conclusion Isaiah, that the result of everything is to magnify and sanctify God. We ought, therefore, to begin all our affairs with God.

On Ch39

Ezekiel 39:1 sq. God does not mislay the address of His enemies. As Jerusalem, so also Gog and his company stand always before Him.—Him whom God makes to go up, He is also able in due time to make come down.

Ezekiel 39:4 sq. “By the mountains of Israel, where Gog is to be slain, we must not understand the mountains near Jerusalem, but the Christian churches in various lands; he shall fall under the Christians” (Heim-Hoff.).

Ezekiel 39:6. The fire of God upon sympathies with evil.—The far-reaching effect of divine judgment.

Ezekiel 39:9 sq. “We see from this that outward force, whether rude or refined, does not furnish the measure for great and little with regard to religion” (Luther).—God prepares a way of escape for His own people from even the most terrible terrors.—All things must serve the God of love.—The fire of Christianity at last comes over all the weapons of this world. They then warn instead of injuring.—“These weapons are an appropriate figure of earthly things, of which the enemies of the kingdom of God boast as of their weapons” (Starck).—If God is our shield, then it is seen what becomes of all the shields of men, long and short. Let not yourself be covered and screened by the world! Happy is he who enjoys and confides in the protection of God.—See there what is the value of human armour, what trust is to be put in it, what fear we are to have or rather not to have for it.—The world with its pomp and power after all exists only to furnish fuel for the children of God.—Thus the godly man finally gains the upper hand, however long and strongly the ungodly have behaved proudly.

Ezekiel 39:11. Like Gog, many a one finds his grave where he least expected it.—Gog thought of obtaining prey, but by no means a grave.—The grave, a quiet answer to so many loud questions, the echo to so many and various forms of: I will!—Here the proudest and most foaming waves will subside.—Masters cease at the brink of the grave; the continuation follows—that is to say, rottenness, horror, judgment of survivors on the dead, to say nothing of the judgment of God, who has from the beginning had the same decision regarding them.

Ezekiel 39:12 sq. The burial of the world, daily to carry out denial of self and the world.—“Men often take great pains to put away bodily uncleanness: would that they were equally careful to purge themselves from all pollution of spirit! 2 Corinthians 5:17-18” (Starke).—“Teacher and preacher are for this purpose, that they may point out what sin and uncleanness is to be found in a church and in every individual member of it. Oh that so many would not so much forget their office! Isaiah 58:1” (Starke).

Ezekiel 39:16 sq. The world, the city of the dead, Hamonah.—What a stillness of death after the bustle of so many departing things and departed men!—“The enemies of the Church leave after their death a shameful name behind them, Acts 12” (O.)

Ezekiel 39:17 sq. “A communion; the communicants are here the wild beasts and birds” (Hengst.).—The fearful irony of the service of the sanctuary on every worldly interest, even the highest.—What an end, after such a beginning! The beginning was, Israel should fall a prey to Gog; now the end Isaiah, that Gog lies there a prey to the very beasts of the field.

Ezekiel 39:21. “Let us not be blind and stupid spectators of the acts of God, but let us lift up our hearts, and celebrate the goodness and power of God” (Starck).—The punishing hand of God on others Isaiah, in a certain sense, laid on us also; He takes hold of us when He crushes others.

Ezekiel 39:22. God for us and with us, God our God! the blessed knowledge in Israel henceforth and for ever, Psalm 144:15.—The doxology of the Lord’s Prayer.

Ezekiel 39:23 sq. Our transgressions, the key to our frequently so dark experience on earth.—Our acts of unfaithfulness bring us into manifold miseries, but God is faithful.—By the punishment of God’s people the world shall know the misery of sin as well as the righteousness—so much the more threatening for it—of the Holy One of Israel.—“The beginning is made with the house of God, the end with the world” (Häv.).—The apostasy in Christendom makes the world apparently so powerful.

Ezekiel 39:25 sq. “After chastisement, believers again find grace—not, however, because of their goodness, but for the sake of Christ, Psalm 106:47” (W.).—The jealousy of God in His compassion.—“When sin is rightly acknowledged, it brings men to shame and repentance, Luke 18:13” (Starke).—The knowledge of sin makes heavy laden sinners; but grace experienced humbles still more than punishment can do.—The security of the humbled; the security of those who think that they stand; the security of the children of this world.—We men are well able to bring ourselves into distress and sorrow of heart, but only God’s love is able to bring us out again.—“There Isaiah, however, no sorrow which God could not prevent” (Starck).—The salvation of Israel, a sermon to the heathen of God’s compassion and holiness alike. Hallowed be Thy name, and Thy kingdom come, stand side by side in the Lord’s Prayer.

Ezekiel 39:28. Not one of the elect shall remain behind in the world.

Ezekiel 39:29. Grace as eternal grace and grace for me is the seal of the Holy Spirit.—Thus believers are kept by the power of God to a salvation which is ready to be revealed in the last time, 1 Peter 1:5.—Israel, the true, the people of the Spirit.—The outpouring of the Spirit of Jehovah is the end of all the ways which He has gone with Israel in anger and compassion, and the consummation of Israel in the Christian Church.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Ezekiel 39:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/ezekiel-39.html. 1857-84.

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