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A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown [1882] at

Ezekiel Chapter 38

Ezekiel 38:2

eze 38:2


Gog--the prince of the land of Magog. The title was probably a common one of the kings of the country, as "Pharaoh" in Egypt. Chakan was the name given by the Northern Asiatics to their king, and is still a title of the Turkish sultan: "Gog" may be a contraction of this. In Ezekiel's time a horde of northern Asiatics, termed by the Greeks "Scythians," and probably including the Moschi and Tibareni, near the Caucasus, here ("Meshech . . . Tubal") undertook an expedition against Egypt [HERODOTUS, 1.103-106]. These names might be adopted by Ezekiel from the historical fact familiar to men at the time, as ideal titles for the great last anti-Christian confederacy.

Magog-- (Gen 10:2; Ch1 1:5). The name of a land belonging to Japheth's posterity. Maha, in Sanskrit, means "land." Gog is the ideal political head of the region. In Rev 20:8, Gog and Magog are two peoples.

the chief prince--rather, "prince of Rosh," or "Rhos" [Septuagint]. The Scythian Tauri in the Crimea were so called. The Araxes also was called "Rhos." The modern Russians may have hence assumed their name, as Moscow and Tobolsk from Meshech and Tubal, though their proper ancient name was Slavi, or Wends. HENGSTENBERG supports English Version, as "Rosh" is not found in the Bible. "Magog was Gog's original kingdom, though he acquired also Meshech and Tubal, so as to be called their chief prince."

Ezekiel 38:3

eze 38:3

His high-sounding titles are repeated to imply the haughty self-confidence of the invader as if invincible.

Ezekiel 38:4

eze 38:4

turn thee back--as a refractory wild beast, which thinks to take its own way, but is bent by a superior power to turn on a course which must end in its destruction. Satan shall be, by overruling Providence, permitted to deceive them to their ruin (Rev 20:7-8).

hooks into thy jaws-- (Eze 29:4; Kg2 19:28).

Ezekiel 38:5

eze 38:5

Persia . . . Libya--expressly specified by APPIAN as supplying the ranks of Antiochus' army.

Ezekiel 38:6

eze 38:6

Gomer--the Celtic Cimmerians of Crim-Tartary.

Togarmah--the Armenians of the Caucasus, south of Iberia.

Ezekiel 38:7

eze 38:7

Irony. Prepare thee and all thine with all needful accoutrements for war--that ye may perish together.

be . . . a guard unto them--that is, if thou canst.

Ezekiel 38:8

eze 38:8

thou shall be visited--in wrath, by God (Isa 29:6). Probably there is allusion to Isa 24:21-22, "The host of the high ones . . . shall be gathered . . . as prisoners . . . in me pit . . . and after many days shall they be visited." I therefore prefer English Version to GROTIUS rendering, "Thou shalt get the command" of the expedition. The "after many days" is defined by "in the latter years," that is, in the times just before the coming of Messiah, namely, under Antiochus, before His first coming; under Antichrist, before His second coming.

the mountains of Israel . . . always waste--that is, waste during the long period of the captivity, the earnest of the much longer period of Judea's present desolation (to which the language "always waste" more fully applies). This marks the impious atrocity of the act, to assail God's people, who had only begun to recover from their protracted calamities.

but it is brought . . . and they shall dwell--rather, "And they (the Israelites) were brought . . . dwelt safely" [FAIRBAIRN]. English Version means, "Against Israel, which has been waste, but which (that is, whose people) is now (at the time of the invasion) brought forth out of the nations where they were dispersed, and shall be found by the invader dwelling securely, so as to seem an easy prey to him."

Ezekiel 38:9

eze 38:9

cloud to cover the land--with the multitude of thy forces.

Ezekiel 38:10

eze 38:10

an evil thought--as to attacking God's people in their defenseless state.

Ezekiel 38:11

eze 38:11

dwell safely--that is, securely, without fear of danger (compare Est 9:19). Antiochus, the type of Antichrist, took Jerusalem without a blow.

Ezekiel 38:12

eze 38:12

midst of the land--literally, "the navel" of the land (Jdg 9:37, Margin). So, in Eze 5:5, Israel is said to be set "in the midst of the nations"; not physically, but morally, a central position for being a blessing to the world: so (as the favored or "beloved city," Rev 20:9) an object of envy. GROTIUS translates, "In the height of the land" (so Eze 38:8), "the mountains of Israel," Israel being morally elevated above the rest of the world.

Ezekiel 38:13

eze 38:13

Sheba, &c.--These mercantile peoples, though not taking an active part against the cause of God, are well pleased to see others do it. Worldliness makes them ready to deal in the ill-gotten spoil of the invaders of God's people. Gain is before godliness with them (1 Maccabees 3:41).

young lions--daring princes and leaders.

Ezekiel 38:14

eze 38:14

shalt thou not know it?--to thy cost, being visited with punishment, while Israel dwells safely.

Ezekiel 38:16

eze 38:16

I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me--So in Exo 9:16, God tells Pharaoh, "For this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee My power; and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth."

Ezekiel 38:17

eze 38:17

thou he of whom I have spoken in old time--Gog, &c. are here identified with the enemies spoken of in other prophecies (Num 24:17-24; Isa 27:1; compare Isa 26:20-21; Jer 30:23-24; Joe 3:1; Mic 5:5-6; Isa 14:12-14; Isa 59:19). God is represented as addressing Gog at the time of his assault; therefore, the "old time" is the time long prior, when Ezekiel uttered these prophecies; so, he also, as well as Daniel (Dan. 11:1-45) and Zechariah (Zec. 14:1-21) are included among "the prophets of Israel" here.

many years--ago.

Ezekiel 38:18

eze 38:18

fury shall come up in my face--literally, "nose"; in Hebrew, the idiomatic expression for anger, as men in anger breathe strongly through the nostrils. Anthropopathy: God stooping to human modes of thought (Psa 18:8).

Ezekiel 38:19

eze 38:19

great shaking--an earthquake: physical agitations after accompanying social and moral revolutions. Foretold also in Joe 3:16; (compare Hag 2:6-7; Mat 24:7, Mat 24:29; Rev 16:18).

Ezekiel 38:20

eze 38:20

fishes--disturbed by the fleets which I will bring.

fowls, &c.--frightened at the sight of so many men: an ideal picture.

mountains--that is, the fortresses on the mountains.

steep places--literally, "stairs" (Sol 2:14); steep terraces for vines on the sides of hills, to prevent the earth being washed down by the rains.

every wall--of towns.

Ezekiel 38:21

eze 38:21

every man's sword . . . against his brother--I will destroy them partly by My people's sword, partly by their swords being turned against one another (compare Ch2 20:23).

Ezekiel 38:22

eze 38:22

plead--a forensic term; because God in His inflictions acts on the principles of His own immutable justice, not by arbitrary impulse (Isa 66:16; Jer 25:31).

blood . . . hailstones, fire-- (Rev 8:7; Rev 16:21). The imagery is taken from the destruction of Sodom and the plagues of Egypt (compare Psa 11:6). Antiochus died by "pestilence" (2 Maccabees 9:5).

Next: Ezekiel Chapter 39