Ezekiel 38:11
And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) The land of unwalled villages.—Again, omit the definite article before land, as in Ezekiel 38:8. The description of a people living in prosperity and security looks quite beyond anything hitherto realised in the history of the Jews, and points to such a state of things as is described in Zechariah 2:4-5. The description of the attack of Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:9 corresponds to this.

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.Unwalled villages - Compare Zechariah 2:4-5. 11. dwell safely—that is, securely, without fear of danger (compare Es 9:19). Antiochus, the type of Antichrist, took Jerusalem without a blow. Thou shalt say; thou wilt resolve in thyself, and declare it to thy council.

Go up; invade with all thy puissance.

Of unwalled villages; weak, and without any considerable defences: a scattered people, that dwell in villages, can make little if any resistance.

That are at rest; who would willingly be quiet.

That dwell safely; suspecting as little evil from others, as they intend little against others, and trusting in the protection of their God, who hath promised they shall dwell safely.

Without walls that may resist and be too strong for my forces and engines; though they have walls, bars, and gates, yet Gog accounts as none against his mighty armies.

And thou shall say,.... What came into his mind, and what he thought of; this he shall say to his privy counsellors and ministers of state; or to the generals and officers of his army; or to his confederates and allies, and even to them all, to have their opinion and approbation of it; and to encourage them to join him, and go with him:

I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; a land which has nothing but villages in it, and those no walls about them to protect them: this he said by way of contempt; and the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it "the abject land"; and to observe how easily he could conquer it, there being nothing in his way to hinder him, or give him trouble:

I will go to them that are at rest, and dwell safely: as the Jews will do in the latter day, when they shall own and acknowledge the Messiah, Jeremiah 23:5, and dwell in their own land, where they will be quiet and peaceable, and think and do no harm to any, nor mistrust their neighbours doing any harm to them; but shall live in the utmost tranquillity and security; and which Gog or the Turks will take the advantage of; and from hence promise themselves an easy conquest of them:

all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates; no walls to their cities; no gates to walls; nor bars to gates; but without either; being under the protection of God, and putting their trust in him, who is a wall of fire round about his people; and is better to them, than gates with bars.

And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; {g} I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,

(g) Meaning Israel, which had now been destroyed and was not yet built again: declaring by this the simplicity of the godly, who seek not so much to fortify themselves by outward force, as to depend on the providence and goodness of God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. Cf. Deuteronomy 3:5; 1 Samuel 6:18; Jdg 18:27. “Safely,” i.e. in confidence, Ezekiel 38:8.

Verses 11, 12 give voice to the things that should come into Gog's mind and incite him to his enterprise against Israel. The spectacle of Israel dwelling safely, i.e. securely and confidently, in a land of un-walled villages - literally, a land of open places, as opposed to fortified cities - i.e. of towns without walls, and having neither bars nor gates (comp Zechariah 2:4, 5; Deuteronomy 3:5; 1 Samuel 6:18), because of being no more apprehensive of invasion, should excite within his bosom the thought that Israel would fall an easy prey to his assault; and this thought again should kindle in his bosom the lust of conquest which should finally impel him to the sinful project described, viz. to take a spoil and to take a prey; literally, to spoil the spoil (comp. Ezekiel 29:19; Isaiah 10:6) and to prey the prey (Isaiah 33:23). In execution of this he would fall upon the once desolate but then inhabited places, upon the once scattered but then collected population, upon the previously poor but then wealthy inhabitants, who should then have gotten cattle and goods (cattle and chattel best renders the Hebrew parouomasia, mikneh vekinyan), as the patriarchs of their nation had once done (Genesis 34:23; Genesis 36:6), and who should then be dwelling in the midst of the land; literally, in the height, or, navel (LXX., Vulgate), of the earth (comp. Judges 9:37), the Hebrews generally regarding Palestine as the Greeks did Delphi, both as the middle (Ezekiel v 5) and perhaps therefore if not as the highest (Gesenius), at least as the fairest and most fertile portion of the earth. Ezekiel 38:11Account 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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