Ezekiel 38:16
And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Latter days.—The expression is indefinite but concurs with those in Ezekiel 38:8 in indicating a distant future.

38:14-23 The enemy should make a formidable descent upon the land of Israel. When Israel dwell safely under the Divine protection, shalt not thou be made to know it by finding that endeavours to destroy them are made in vain? Promises of security are treasured up in the word of God, against the troubles and dangers the church may be brought into in the latter days. In the destruction of sinners, God makes it appear that he is a great and holy God. We should desire and pray daily. Father, glorify thine own name.I shall be sanctified in thee - I shall be shown to be holy and just in avenging Myself of Mine enemy. 16. I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me—So in Ex 9:16, God tells Pharaoh, "For this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee My power; and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth." On the first part of the verse, see Ezekiel 38:9.

In the latter days: see Ezekiel 38:8.

I will bring thee: see Ezekiel 38:4.

That the heathen may know me: Gog gathers all from all quarters to be with him to take the spoil, God brings them together to do that among them which may make he heathen see and own his hand. They do it in proud contempt of God and his people, but God doth it to glorify his own name, and to vindicate his people.

Sanctified; confessed to be a great God over all, a gracious and faithful God to his people, and a just though dreadful enemy and avenger against the wicked and proud tyrants.

Before their eyes; in the sight of all the heathen that are with Gog in his expedition and much more in the sight of God’s own wonderfully delivered people.

And thou shall come up against my people of Israel,.... Which is repeated for the certainty of it; and not for his comfort, but his ruin; not to the terror of Israel, but for the glory of God:

as a cloud to cover the land; the land of Israel, so great should be his army; See Gill on Ezekiel 38:9,

it shall be in the latter days; of the Gospel state, or kingdom of the Messiah, when the Jews shall be converted, and are returned to their own land, Hosea 3:5,

and I will bring thee against my land; not to possess it, nor to hurt it, or to any injury to the people of it: but

that the Heathen may know me; the Pagan kingdoms of China, and others; who by God's judgments on the Turks will come to the knowledge of the true God, and acknowledge him, and will become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, Revelation 11:15,

when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes; that is, when God shall appear to be a holy and just God, in inflicting deserved punishment on the enemies of his people; when his omniscience and omnipotence, his power and faithfulness, and other perfections of his will be displayed, in fulfilling those prophecies concerning Gog or the Turks; infidels will be convinced of the truth of divine revelation; of the God of Israel being the true God; of Jesus being the Messiah; and of the Christian religion being of God, and shall profess the same. The, Targum is,

"that the people may know the vengeance of my power, when I shall be sanctified in thee, who shall see thy vengeance, O Gog.''

And thou shalt come against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the {k} latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the nations may know me, when I {l} shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.

(k) Meaning in the last age, and from the coming of Christ to the end of the world.

(l) Signifying that God will be sanctified by maintaining his church, and destroying his enemies, as in Eze 36:23,37:28.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. Cf. Ezekiel 38:9.

shall be sanctified] Or, get me sanctifying, i.e. recognition as “holy”—“holy” having the meaning of all that which God alone is. The rendering “shew myself holy” is less natural, though the meaning is virtually the same. Jehovah shews his great deeds in the sight of the nations, and thus they recognise his Godhead, cf. Ezekiel 38:23. He gets him sanctifying “in” or through Gog, as the object on whom his great operations of power are manifested.

In these verses Jehovah is represented on the one hand as bringing up Gog in order that he may be sanctified in him in the sight of the nations; and on the other hand Gog is represented as coming up of his own will, prompted by evil purposes, by the hope of an easy conquest and by lust of spoil. The first representation must not be pressed as if this case of Gog were something special, as if Jehovah for no object but to shew his power brought up against his people a leader and nation from the ends of the earth, who otherwise would have remained in peace in their distant abodes. Because such a view of the episode of Gog forgets in the first place the other side of the representation, viz. that Gog comes up of his own will, and with evil intent. It is the hope of an easy conquest and lust of spoil that animates him as well as the merchant peoples who follow in his train. This spirit of irreligious traffic on the part of these peoples is reprobated by the prophet and represented as antagonistic to the religion of Jehovah, just as it is in the case of Tyre (26–28). And secondly the view forgets the general teaching of the prophet, to the effect that Jehovah is in truth the author of all the great movements in the world, and that his operations have one great end in view, to reveal himself as that which he is to the nations of the world. His raising up Gog with this view is not a special thing, but one among many other similar things. To signalize it as something distinct and lift it out of the general current of the prophet’s conceptions creates an untrue impression of his teaching.

Verse 16. - I will be sanctified in thee, O Gog. Jehovah meant that in taking vengeance upon Gog for assailing Israel, he would be seen to be a holy and a righteous God. Ezekiel 38:16Account 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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