Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Gog. This name, which signifies hidden, or covered, is taken in this place either for the persecutors of the Church of God in general, or some arch persecutor in particular; such as Antichrist shall be in the latter days. See Apocalypse xx. 8. And what is said of the punishment of God, is verified by the unhappy end of persecutors. --- Magog. Scythia or Tartary, whence the Turks and other enemies of the Church of Christ originally sprung. (Challoner) --- These are supposed to be the princes of some northern and barbarous country, (Worthington) peopled by the son of Japhet. (St. Jerome) --- St. Augustine (City of God xx. 11.) observes, that as the Church is spread everywhere, so also are persecutors. But Christ will overcome them all. (Worthington) --- This prophecy is very difficult. It seems literally to refer to Cambyses, who invaded Judea about seventy years after the temple had been destroyed, and perished by the hand of God, at Ecbatana, upon Mount Carmel. It is very usual with the prophets to give fictitious names; as the king of Tyre is called a cherub, and Jerusalem Ooliba. Cambyses ruled over Scythia, in Iberia; styled Gogarene, by Strabo (xi.). (Calmet) --- The proper Scythia withstood all the attempts of his successors, and defeated Darius. (Haydock)
Jaws. Thus Cambyses treated the son of Psammenites. God has the most absolute dominion over all monarchs, ver. 7.
Visited, or rather "shall visit" Judea. (Chaldean) (Grotius) --- Cambyses invaded Egypt twelve years after the Jews had returned, and came upon them two years later, designing to plunder them, at the instigation of their malevolent neighbours. He had sustained great losses in Egypt, and was arrived at Carmel when news was brought that the false Smerdis had declared himself king. See Herodotus iii. 61.
Midst. Literally, "navel." Hebrew, "Thabor," intimating a mountain rising in a plain, Judges ix. 7. (Calmet) --- Alluding to this intended blunder of the Jews lately returned, he speaks of Antichrist and of all heretics, who seek to pervert or suppress Catholics rescued from the power of the devil, by the sacraments of Christ. (Worthington)
Tharsis. Septuagint, "Carthage, and all their villages." The merchants or naval forces of Cambyses spurred him forward, (see Psalm lxxvii. 6.) as well as the Arabs, Cuthites, &c., 1 Esdras iv. 8. (Calmet)
Latter. Cambyses had punished Egypt, his turn came, and all his designs were baffled.
Prophets. See Isaias xiv., and xvi. 21., and xxvi. 1., and Jeremias xxx. 3., and 23., and Joel ii. 30., and iii. 1., &c.
Israel. The Jews shall be full of dismay, (ver. 20.) as the tyrant will vent some threats; (Calmet) or this commotion was in his own army. (Haydock)
Sword. The Jews were not in a condition to make resistance. (Calmet) --- Cambyses had his brother Smerdis slain. But another was set on the throne; whereupon, mounting his horse in a fury, he wounded himself with his sword in the thigh, which mortifying, caused his death after twenty days. (Herodotus iii. 21., &c.) --- The historian does not mention what became of his army; but it seems to have perished by discord, as was very common among such a collection of nations. See Judges vii. 22., and Judith xv. 1., and 1 Kings xiv. 20., and 4 Kings ii. 21. (Calmet) --- They were now without a head. (Haydock) --- In the whole universe, God will at last destroy Antichrist and all his adherents. (Worthington)
Pestilence. His wound might be thus described. --- Blood. Thus was he punished for shedding that of innocent people. (Calmet)