Ezekiel 38:13
Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?
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(13) Sheba, and Dedan . . . . Tarshish.—The first two are districts of Arabia, and the last is probably the Tartessus in Spain. These names seem to be added to those of Ezekiel 38:5-6, to show that all the nations of the world sympathise in this attack upon the Church.

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. 13. Sheba, &c.—These mercantile peoples, though not taking an active part against the cause of God, are well pleased to see others do it. Worldliness makes them ready to deal in the ill-gotten spoil of the invaders of God's people. Gain is before godliness with them (1 Maccabees 3:41).

young lions—daring princes and leaders.

Sheba: see Ezekiel 27:22: this Sheba was southward, and contains all of that coast which assisted Gog.

Dedan; Idumeans, or the most easterly parts of Arabia Deserta: by these are noted the eastern nations that assisted, say some.

The merchants of Tarshish; the inhabitants of the sea-coast westward, and Magog north. Robbers by land on three sides, pirates by sea on the fourth, in a confederacy to spoil the church of God.

The young lions; young men thirsty of blood, but more of spoil, flock to Gog, resolved to join, if they may rob and spoil for themselves.

Art thou come to take a spoil? this repeated inquiry made by these, I suppose, is not so much to sound the intentions of Gog, as it is a capitulation and agreement to come to his assistance; and on condition they might have, possess, and carry away what they seize, they are for him; and they mention particulars,

silver, gold, cattle, goods. They are thus exact, out of foresight what little part they might have without such a compact.

Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish,.... These are not any of the people that shall come along with Gog on his expedition; but some neighbouring nations bordering on Judea, who will address him in the following manner, as he passes through them, or by them. Sheba and Dedan design the Arabians inhabiting that part of Arabia which lay near to Judea, even Arabia Petraea and Felix; and the merchants of Tarshish are the Tyrians and Zidonians that traded by sea, as Tarshish sometimes signifies; or to Tartessus in Spain, where they had much traffic; and may design the people of those places that will at this time be living in Palestine, that trade by sea to foreign parts. The Septuagint and Arabic versions render it the "Carthaginian merchants", or "the merchants of Carthage":

with all the young lions thereof; which some interpret of sea pirates, for their cruelty and voraciousness. The Targum paraphrases it, all the kings thereof; and so Kimchi thinks kings and princes are meant; but the Septuagint version renders it, all their villages; and so the Syriac version, all the cities:

shall say unto thee, art thou come to take a spoil? either out of compassion to the people of the Jews; or rather by way of congratulation, and as expressive of joy at it; or else out of envy that they have no share in it; suggesting that they would gladly join with him, and partake of the booty:

hast thou gathered thy company together to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? all which it is supposed might easily be done; only they might wonder that so rich a potentate as the Turk should give himself the trouble to raise such an army, and come so far, for cattle and goods, and silver and gold of which he had such plenty. Gog gives no answer, but God does.

Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all its young lions, shall say to thee, {h} Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?

(h) One enemy will envy another because everyone will think to have the spoil of the Church.

13. The merchant peoples are roused to excitement by the enterprise of Gog; probably it is the hope of gain by trafficking with him for his spoil that excites them—hardly envy at the rich harvest lying before him. On Sheba Ezekiel 27:22; Dedan Ezekiel 27:20; Tarshish Ezekiel 27:12.

all the young lions] Cf. Ezekiel 19:3; Ezekiel 19:5, Ezekiel 32:2. The term might be thought not very suitable to a troop of camp followers intent merely on traffic. The term is probably used generally to describe the eminence of these merchant people—hardly to represent them as thirsting for gain, as lions for prey!

Verse 13. - Sheba, and Dorian, and the merchants of Tarshish were the great trading communities of the South, East, and West respectively (see on Ezekiel 27:15, 20, 22, 25). The young lions thereof - i.e. of Tarshish, not of the other communities (Keil) - were probably intended to represent, not the" authorities" of Tarshish, as Hitzig suggests, but its smaller tradesmen who were equally rapacious with its larger merchants. All are depicted as following in the wake of Gog, like vultures in the rear of an army, and as inquiring whether Gog had come simply for the purpose of destruction or in the hope of trading with the booty he should capture. In this case they intimate their wish to be partakers of the spoil This (Plumptre), rather than the thirst for booty which characterized them (Keil), their question to Gog signified; Schroder's idea, that they purposed ironically to ridicule the smallness of the spoil which would reward so gigantic an expedition, has as little to recommend it as Kliefoth's suggestion, that they designed to intimate their sympathy with Gog's invasion of Israel. Ezekiel 38:13Account 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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