|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.
Verse 8. - After many days thou halt be visited. The principal controversy raised by these words is as to whether they signify, as Hitzig, Fairbairn, and Kliefoth suppose, that after many days Gog should be entrusted with the command of the aforementioned nations, or, as Ewald, Hengstenberg, Keil, Schroder, Plumptre, and Currey translate, that Gog, who intended to visit Israel, should himself be visited, in the sense of being punished. In support of the former rendering appeal is taken to Nehemiah 7:1; Nehemiah 12:44; and Jeremiah 15:3; but the verb פָםקד when used in this sense is commonly followed by עַל with the accusative of that or those with reference to which or whom the appointment is made or commission issued, and in addition no such commission with reference to these other nations was ever given by God to Gog. In vindication of the second meaning of the words, Isaiah 24:22 and Isaiah 29:6 are ordinarily quoted: while in answer to the objection that it is too soon to talk of punishment for an offense not yet committed, it is customary to reply that, as Jehovah's stirring up of Gog was the first step towards his ultimate overthrow, that stirring up might fairly be described as at least the beginning of his judicial visitation. Havernick's translation, "For a long time thou wilt be missed," i.e. considered as a people that has utterly vanished," is forced; Smend's is better, "After many days thou shalt be mustered," or numbered. In any case Gog's first movement should take place in the latter years; literally, at the end of the years - a frequent prophetic phrase (see Genesis 49:1; Numbers 24:14; Isaiah 2:2; Daniel 10:14; Micah 4:1), here denoting the Messianic era, and should assume the form of an invasion of the land of Israel, which is next described by a threefold characterization.
(1) As a land brought back from the sword, not in the sense of its people having been made to desist from war, through being henceforth peacefully inclined (comp. Isaiah 2:4; Micah 2:8), or of their having ceased to expect war, because of living ever after securely (ver. 11), but in that of having been recovered from its devastations (Ezekiel 6:3-5);
(2) as a land whose inhabitants had been gathered out of many nations - a phrase, which while starting from and including the return from Babylon, manifestly looked beyond that event to the wider dispersion of Israel that should precede the final ingathering; and
(3) as a land whose mountains had been always waste; literally, for a waste continually. If such was their condition prior to the return from captivity, it is undeniable that such has practically been their condition ever since, and such it is likely to continue to be, until the final ingathering of the dispersed of Israel.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
After many days thou shalt be visited,.... After the Ottoman empire has stood a long time, as it has already; when the many days will be ended that Israel should be without a king and a prince, &c. Hosea 3:4, then shall Gog or the Turk be visited of God, not in a way of grace, but vengeance; he shall be punished for all his iniquities, and his punishment or destruction will be brought about in the following manner:
in the latter years thou shall come into the land that is brought back from the sword; that is, into the land of Judea, the right owners of which shall now be returned unto it; who have been for many years drove and kept out of it by the sword of their enemies; see Jeremiah 31:2 and these "latter years" are the same with the "latter days", in which these people shall seek the Lord and the Messiah, and fear him and his goodness, and return to their own land, Hosea 3:5, when the Turks, enraged at it, will raise a numerous army, and enter it, in order to repossess it. The description of the Jews, who are most manifestly pointed at, is continued: and
is gathered out of many people against the mountains of Israel; or rather, "to the mountains of Israel" (o); for it seems to design the land of Judea, that is, the people of it; who shall be gathered out of the several nations where they are now dispersed, and brought into their own land; described by the mountains of Israel, because a mountainous country, and a very fruitful one; Ezekiel 34:13, and not the army of Gog gathered out of many nations, as before observed, to march against the people of the Jews; though this seems to be the sense of the Targum,
"in the end of years thou shalt come into the land, against which are turned those that slay with the sword, who are gathered out of many people against the mountains of the land of Israel:''
which have been always waste: of a longer time than the seventy years' captivity, even ever since the destruction of it by the Romans; and if the time of the carrying captive of the ten tribes by Salmanezer is respected, it is longer still:
but it brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them; that is, the people of the Jews, the proprietors of the land of Israel, shall now be brought forth out of each the nations where they are scattered, and shall inhabit their own land, and dwell in the utmost security, having nothing to fear from their most potent enemies, even Gog himself; and though he shall come against them in the following manner.
(o) "ad montes Israel", Pagninus, Cocceius, Starckius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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 the 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."
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