Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
The present chapter describes the defeat of Evil and the triumph of God and His people. As the prophet predicted the advance of Evil under the figure of the invasion of an actual army; so he declares the overthrow of Evil by the figure of a host routed and slain, and the consequent purification of a land, partially overrun and disturbed. Some forgetting that this is a figure, have searched history to find out some campaign in the land of Israel, some overthrow of invaders, on which to fix this prophecy, and have assigned localities to the burial-place "Hamon-Gog" Eze 39:11.
The chief prince - Or, "prince of Rosh."
And leave but the sixth part of thee - Or, and lead thee along (Septuagint and Vulgate).
The judgment is extended to "the isles" (or, seacoast) to show that it should fall not only on Gog and his land, but on those who share Gog's feelings of hatred and opposition to the kingdom of God.
Burn them with fire - Or, "kindle fire with them;" or, as in the margin. The weapons of the army left on the field of battle shall be so numerous as to supply fuel for the people of the land for seven years. Seven was a number connected with cleansing after contact with the dead (Num 19:11 ff), and this purification of the land by the clearance of paganish spoils was a holy work (compare Eze 39:12).
The prophet pictures to himself some imaginary valley (compare Zac 14:5) at the "east of the sea," the Dead Sea, a place frightful in its physical character, and admonitory of past judgments. He calls it "the valley of the passengers" (or, passers-by), because they who there lie buried were but as a passing cloud. In Eze 39:11-15 there is a play upon words - there were "passengers" to be buried, "passengers" to walk over their graves, "passengers" to bury them; (or, a play upon the treble meaning of passing in (invading), passing by, and passing through.)
Stop the noses - The word thus rendered occurs only once more in Scripture Deu 25:4 where it is rendered muzzle. See Isa 34:3.
Hamon-gog - See the margin, compare Eze 39:16.
Men of continual employment - literally, as margin, i. e., men regularly appointed to this business. As the land of Israel represents figuratively the Church of Christ, the purification of that land is a proper part of the figure to indicate such a sanctification and cleansing of His Church, as Paul describes Eph 5:26-27.
The purposes of the past dispensation shall be made clear to God's people themselves and to the pagan. His judgments were the consequence of their sins; and these sins once abandoned, the favor of their God will return in yet more abundance.
Compare Act 2:17. Peter distinctly appropriates these prophecies (marginal references) to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and the inauguration of the Church of Christ by that miraculous event. This was the beginning of the fulfillment. They shall find their consummation when time shall be no more.