|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
38:1-13 These events will be in the latter days. It is supposed these enemies will come together to invade the land of Judea, and God will defeat them. God not only sees who are now the enemies of his church, but he foresees who will be so, and lets them know by his word that he is against them; though they join together, the wicked shall not be unpunished.
Verses 1-13. - The announcement of Cog's expedition against Israel. Verse 1. - The word of the Lord came unto me. Although this oracle is unaccompanied by any note of time, it was obviously delivered before the twenty-fifth year of the Captivity (Ezekiel 40:1), and most likely in immediate succession to the preceding prophecy, with which also it has a close relation in respect of purport, being designed to show that against restored and united Israel, i.e. against the Church of God of the future, the strongest combinations of hostile force would not prevail, but would fall back defeated and self-destroyed.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the word of the Lord came unto me,.... At the same time as the preceding prophecy did, as the copulative and shows; which predicts the restoration and conversion of the Jews; the union of their tribes under the King Messiah; and their settlement in their own land: and this respects some disturbance they should meet with upon it, for a short time, by a powerful enemy hereafter described:
saying; as follows:
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Eze 38:1-23. The Assault of Gog, and God's Judgment on Him.
The objections to a literal interpretation of the prophecy are—(1) The ideal nature of the name Gog, which is the root of Magog, the only kindred name found in Scripture or history. (2) The nations congregated are selected from places most distant from Israel, and from one another, and therefore most unlikely to act in concert (Persians and Libyans, &c.). (3) The whole spoil of Israel could not have given a handful to a tithe of their number, or maintained the myriads of invaders a single day (Eze 38:12, 13). (4) The wood of their invaders' weapons was to serve for fuel to Israel for seven years! And all Israel were to take seven months in burying the dead! Supposing a million of Israelites to bury each two corpses a day, the aggregate buried in the hundred eighty working days of the seven months would be three hundred sixty millions of corpses! Then the pestilential vapors from such masses of victims before they were all buried! What Israelite could live in such an atmosphere? (5) The scene of the Lord's controversy here is different from that in Isa 34:6, Edom, which creates a discrepancy. (But probably a different judgment is alluded to). (6) The gross carnality of the representation of God's dealings with His adversaries is inconsistent with Messianic times. It therefore requires a non-literal interpretation. The prophetical delineations of the divine principles of government are thrown into the familiar forms of Old Testament relations. The final triumph of Messiah's truth over the most distant and barbarous nations is represented as a literal conflict on a gigantic scale, Israel being the battlefield, ending in the complete triumph of Israel's anointed King, the Saviour of the world. It is a prophetical parable [Fairbairn]. However, though the details are not literal, the distinctiveness in this picture, characterizing also parallel descriptions in writers less ideally picturesque than Ezekiel, gives probability to a more definite and generally literal interpretation. The awful desolations caused in Judea by Antiochus Epiphanes, of Syria (1 Maccabees; and Porphyry, quoted by Jerome on Ezekiel), his defilement of Jehovah's temple by sacrificing swine and sprinkling the altar with the broth, and setting up the altar of Jupiter Olympius, seem to be an earnest of the final desolations to be caused by Antichrist in Israel, previous to His overthrow by the Lord Himself, coming to reign (compare Da 8:10-26; 11:21-45; 12:1; Zec 13:9; 14:2, 3). Grotius explains Gog as a name taken from Gyges, king of Lydia; and Magog as Syria, in which was a city called Magog [Pliny, 5.28]. What Ezekiel stated more generally, Re 20:7-9 states more definitely as to the anti-Christian confederacy which is to assail the beloved city.
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