Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
1And thou, Son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I am against thee, Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and 2Tubal; And I lead thee back, and drive thee on, and make thee come up from 3the 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. 4On 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 5of the field I give thee for food. Upon the face [flat] of the field shalt thou 6fall, 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 7know 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 10keep 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 11plunderers: 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 12Gog. And the house of Israel are seven months burying them, in order to 13cleanse 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. 15And 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. 16And also the name of a city 17[is, shall be] “Hamonah” [tumult]. And they cleanse the land. And thou, Son of man, 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 18eat 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 he-goats, bullocks, 19fatlings of Bashan all of them. And ye eat fat to the full, and drink 20blood 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 21kind 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. 23And 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. 24According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and I hid My face from them. 25Therefore 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 26of My holiness. And they bear their reproach, and all their unfaithfulness which they have unfaithfully done towards Me, when they dwell securely 27upon 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. 28And 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 29leave 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 σε … κ. συναξω σε ἐπι—Vulg.: Et circumagam te et educam—(Another reading: אל הרי.)
Ezekiel 39:3 Κ. ἀπολω … κ. … της δεξιας κ. καταβαλω σε (4) ἐπι τα ὀρη … Κ. πεση … εἰς 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.
Ezekiel 39:7. ... παντα τ. ἐθνη—
Ezekiel 39:8. ... κ. γνωση ὁτι ἐσται—
Ezekiel 39:11. ... τοπον ὀνομαστον, μνημειον … το πολυανδριον των ἑπελθοντων προς τ. θαλασσαν· κ. περιοικοδομησουσιν το περιστομιον της φαραγγος κ. κατορυξουσιν ἐκει … κ. 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 ἐπι … καθαρισαι … μετα την ἑπταμηνον.—Vulg.: qui sepeliant et requirant—
Ezekiel 39:15. ... Κ. ἐσται, πασ ὁ 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.
Ezekiel 39:21. ... ἐν ὑμιν—
Ezekiel 39:23. Sept.: ... πκντα τ. ἐθνη.
Ezekiel 39:25. ... κ. ἐλεησω τ. οἰκον Ι.
Ezekiel 39:26. Vulg.: … neminem formidantes. (Another reading: ונשאו.)
Ezekiel 39:27. Sept.: ... ἐκ τ. χωρων τ. ἐ θνων—
Ezekiel 39:28. ... ἑν τω ἐπιφανκναι με αὐτοις ἐν τ. ἐθνεσιν. (Another reading: על אד, etc.)
Ezekiel 39:29. ... ἐξεχεα τον θυμον μου.
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, 16.—Ezekiel 38:6, 15.—Ezekiel 38:16, 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, 9, 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, 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, 11, 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” (Num. 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 Isa. 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 (Isa. 37:36); comp. besides, Jer. 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 Sam. 17:3); he reads גֵי־הָעֲבָיִם, and makes a very far-fetched reference to Zech. 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,” is, 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, 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 (Rev. 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 is, 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. Ps. 60, David’s psalm of victory), and of Chedorlaomer, Lot, and Abraham (Gen. 14); and the adjacent Dead Sea is the abiding type of all divine judgments”], denies, under appeal to Gen. 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 (Deut. 25:4); it is, as it were, their muzzle (מַהְםוֹם, Ps. 39:2 ), 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, p. 77) 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 is, 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 Macc. 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. p. 599 sq.). Comp. besides, Ezekiel 31:18, 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.
Ezekiel 39:16. The great burying still perpetuates itself in the name of a city: הֲמוֹנָה, an echo of הֲמוֹן. Thus what has taken place lives on with posterity. Comp. besides on Ezekiel 39:11. [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, so, 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 Jer. 46:10; Isa. 34:6; but comp. also Zeph. 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) is, 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, 31:13, 32:4 sq.; Rev. 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, 27), captains, and נְשִׂיאֵי הָאָרֶץ (princes of the earth); comp. Rev. 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 Ps. 22:13 ), enlarges upon those set forth at the beginning. There is, 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, 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. pp. 40, 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. Rev. 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 (Deut. 31:17), and abandoned them (comp. Ezekiel 16:27). כֻּלָּם, in general, exceptis excipiendis.
Ezekiel 39:24 (Ezekiel 36:17 sq., 14:11). Comp. Ezekiel 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, 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, 34:28. This humbling grace is the objective practical proof of Jehovah’s jealousy over them, which Ezekiel 39:27, stretching back beyond Ezekiel 39:26b, 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, 37:21, 36:23 sq., 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, 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, 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. Isa. 32:15, 16, 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?”
Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: