Ezekiel 38:10
Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:
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(10) Think an evil thought.—In Ezekiel 38:10-14 the motives of Gog in his attack upon Israel are fully exposed. It is to be remembered that in Ezekiel 38:4, and again in Ezekiel 38:16, the leading of this foe against the Church is represented as God’s own act; here it is explained that God did this by allowing him to follow out the devices of his own heart.

Ezekiel 38:10-13. It shall come to pass at the same time — The time when my people are gathered together, settled in peace in their own land, and think themselves secure; shall things come into thy mind — Mischievous things; and thou shalt think an evil thought — Shalt entertain a malicious design for the destruction of my people. And thou shalt say — Wilt resolve in thyself; I will go up — I will invade with all my forces; the land of unwalled villages — A people weak, and destitute of any considerable defences. To them that are at rest — Who would willingly be quiet, and suspect as little evil from others as they intend against others, and who trust in the protection of their God, who hath promised they shall dwell safely. Dwelling without walls, &c. — That is, having no sufficient fortifications to defend them against the force of an enemy. To take a spoil, &c. — With the thoughts of taking a large spoil without any difficulty. To turn thy hand upon the desolate places — To go against, or fall upon, a country which had lain a long time desolate, but which has been peopled again, and come into a flourishing condition. Judea is very plainly marked out by this land, which Gog is here represented as designing to attack, because it lay open to be invaded. That dwell in the midst of the land — Hebrew, in the navel of the land, that is, in Jerusalem, which stood nearly in the middle of Judea, and was situate upon a rising ground, which the Hebrew metaphorically expresses by the navel. Sheba and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish — These were people that traded much, the two former dwelling in the east, and the merchants of Tarshish often sailing from the Spanish coasts into the eastern parts, as having commerce with Tyre, which bordered upon Judea. “These merchants, as soon as they heard of this intended invasion, came into Gog’s camp as to a market, to buy both persons and goods which should come into the conqueror’s power.”

With all the young lions thereof — Their kings and princes, as the Targum understands it; or their chief merchants, who are described as so many princes, (Isaiah 23:8,) and are called lions because of the injustice and oppression they too commonly practised in their commerce.

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.As Gog was drawn on to his attack upon Israel in order to his ultimate ruin, therefore his preparations were the first step in his visitation from the Almighty.

After many days - For "many days." Many a long day shall the hand of God be upon thee, drawing thee on to thy ruin, and in the latter days shalt thou come.

The land - literally, a "land" once laid waste by the sword, but now delivered from it, whose inhabitants once scattered have been gathered together from out of many peoples.

Always - Rather, a long time. The mountains were at the time of Gog's advance again cultivated and populous.

And they shall dwell - Rather, and they dwell. It is a description of the actual condition at the time of Gog's invasion (compare Judges 18:7). Such was the condition of the restored Jews in their prosperous days, after which came invasion. Such shall be the condition of the Church previous to the final conflict between good and evil.

10. an evil thought—as to attacking God's people in their defenseless state. At the same time that the people are gathered together, settling in peace, before they have secured themselves, much like the dragon waiting on the child-bearing woman with purpose to devour her child.

Things come into thy mind; projects or designs for mischief, as appears Ezekiel 38:11.

Thou shalt think an evil thought; and these mischievous thoughts thou shalt so manage, as to forecast how they may, and to set on the execution till they do, take effect. If Antiochus Epiphanes be this Gag, Daniel, in Ezekiel 11:24,25, foretells the like thing of him against Egypt.

Thus saith the Lord, it shall also come to pass,.... Who is the Lord God omniscient, and knows the thoughts of men's hearts afar off; which, though they are contingent and voluntary, yet certain to the foreknowledge of God; who knows them before they are conceived, and can foretell what they will be, and which come to pass accordingly: it is now above two thousand years ago since this was said, and as yet is not fulfilled, but certainly will be: that

at the same time shall things come into thy mind; when the Jews shall be in their own land, dwelling in great security; and when Gog or the Turk shall make preparation to disturb them, and shall enter into their land suddenly and furiously; many thoughts shall come into his mind, many schemes and devices, but not good ones:

and thou shall think an evil thought; to do mischief to the Jews; to disturb their peace, to dispossess them of their land, and plunder their substance.

Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an {f} evil thought:

(f) That is, to molest and destroy the Church.

10–13. Gog’s invasion prompted by his own evil purposes

10. It shall also come to pass] Read: It shall come to pass at that time that things shall come &c. The “also” of A.V. suggests an additional thing to Ezekiel 38:1-9, whereas it is only the same thing from another point of view. Ezekiel 38:10 seq. are parallel to Ezekiel 38:1-9, not a consequence e.g. of Ezekiel 38:4.

shall things come] lit., words, i.e. purposes. Isaiah 8:10 “speak a word and it shall not stand.” Cf. Ezekiel 14:3.

think an evil thought] As marg. conceive an evil purpose.

Verse 10. - Thou shalt think an evil thought; "conceive a mischievous purpose" (margin); or, devise an evil device (Revised Version). The ultimate responsibility for Gog's expedition should rest on Gog himself, who should be impelled thereto by his own lust of conquest. Ezekiel here recognizes what the Bible is full of, the duality of existence, according to which man is both a free agent, acting out his own thoughts and plans, and an unconscious instrument in the hands of God carrying out his counsels and designs. Ezekiel 38:10Account of the motive by which Gog was induced to undertake his warlike expedition, and incurred guilt, notwithstanding the fact that he was led by God, and in consequence of which he brought upon himself the judgment of destruction that was about to fall upon him. - Ezekiel 38:10. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, It shall come to pass in that day, that things will come up in thy heart, and thou wilt devise an evil design, Ezekiel 38:11. And say, I will go up into the open country, I will come upon the peaceful ones, who are all dwelling in safety, who dwell without walls, and have not bars and gates, Ezekiel 38:12. To take plunder and to gather spoil, to bring back thy hand against the ruins that are inhabited again, and against a people gathered out of the nations, carrying on trade and commerce, who dwell on the navel of the earth. Ezekiel 38:13. Sabaea and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, and all her young lions, will say to thee, Dost thou come to take plunder? Hast thou gathered thy multitude of people to take spoil? Is it to carry away gold and silver, to take possession and gain, to plunder a great spoil? Ezekiel 38:14. Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Is it not so? On that day, when my people Israel dwelleth in security, thou wilt observe it, Ezekiel 38:15. And come from thy place from the extreme north, thou and many peoples with thee, all riding upon horses, a great crowd and a numerous army, Ezekiel 38:16. And wilt march against my people Israel, to cover the land like a cloud; at the end of the days it will take place; then shall I lead thee against my land, that the nations may know me, when I sanctify myself upon thee before their eyes, O Gog. - In Ezekiel 38:10 דּברים are not words, but things which come into his mind. What things these are, we learn from Ezekiel 38:11 and Ezekiel 38:12; but first of all, these things are described as evil thoughts or designs. Gog resolves to fall upon Israel, now living in peace and security, and dwelling in open unfortified places, and to rob and plunder it. ארץ , literally, land of plains, i.e., a land which has no fortified towns, but only places lying quite exposed (see the comm. on Zechariah 2:8); because its inhabitants are living in undisturbed peace and safe repose, and therefore dwell in places that have no walls with gates and bars (cf. Judges 18:7; Jeremiah 49:31). This description of Israel's mode of life also points beyond the times succeeding the Babylonian captivity to the Messianic days, when the Lord will have destroyed the horses and war-chariots and fortresses (Micah 5:9), and Jerusalem will be inhabited as an open country because of the multitude of the men and cattle, and the Lord will be a wall of fire round about her (Zechariah 2:8-9). For Ezekiel 38:12, compare Isaiah 10:6. להשׁיב ידך is not dependent upon אעלה, like the preceding infinitives, but is subordinate to אמרתּ אעלה וגו: "thou sayest, I will go up...to turn thy hand." השׁיב, to bring back, is to be explained from the fact that the heathen had already at an earlier period turned their hand against the towns of Israel, and plundered their possessions and goods. חרבות נושׁבות in this connection are desolate places which are inhabited again, and therefore have been rebuilt (cf. Ezekiel 12:20; Ezekiel 26:19). מקנה and קנין are synonyms; and מקנה does not mean flocks or herds, but gain, possession (cf. Genesis 36:6; Genesis 31:18; Genesis 34:23). One motive of Gog for making the attack was to be found in the possessions of Israel; a second is given in the words: who dwell upon the navel of the earth. This figurative expression is to be explained from Ezekiel 5:5 : "Jerusalem in the midst of the nations." This navel is not a figure denoting the high land, but signifies the land situated in the middle of the earth, and therefore the land most glorious and most richly blessed; so that they who dwell there occupy the most exalted position among the nations. A covetous desire for the possessions of the people of God, and envy at his exalted position in the centre of the world, are therefore the motives by which Gog is impelled to enter upon his predatory expedition against the people living in the depth of peace. This covetousness is so great, that even the rich trading populations of Sabaea, Dedan, and Tarshish (cf. Ezekiel 27:22, Ezekiel 27:20, and Ezekiel 27:12) perceive it, and declare that it is this alone which has determined Gog to undertake his expedition. The words of these peoples (Ezekiel 38:13) are not to be taken as expressing their sympathies (Kliefoth), but serve to give prominence to the obvious thirst for booty which characterizes the multitude led by Gog. כּפיריה, their young lions, are the rapacious rulers of these trading communities, according to Ezekiel 19:3 and Ezekiel 32:2. - Ezekiel 38:14 introduces the announcement of the punishment, which consists of another summary account of the daring enterprise of Gog and his hosts (cf. Ezekiel 38:14, Ezekiel 38:15, and Ezekiel 38:16 with Ezekiel 38:4-9), and a clear statement of the design of God in leading him against His people and land. תּדע (Ezekiel 38:14, close), of which different renderings have been given, does not mean, thou wilt experience, or be aware of, the punishment; but the object is to be taken from the context: thou wilt know, or perceive, sc. that Israel dwells securely, not expecting any hostile invasion. The rendering of the lxx (ἐγερθήσῃ) does not furnish any satisfactory ground for altering תּדע into תער equals תּעור (Ewald, Hitzig). With the words 'והביאותיך וגו (Ezekiel 38:16) the opening thought of the whole picture (Ezekiel 38:4) is resumed and defined with greater precision, for the purpose of attaching to it the declaration of the design of the Lord in bringing Gog, namely, to sanctify Himself upon him before the eyes of the nations (cf. Ezekiel 38:23 and Ezekiel 36:23).
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