Ezekiel 38:2
Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
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(2) Gog, the land of Magog.—“Magog” is mentioned in Genesis 10:2 (1Chronicles 1:5) in connection with Gomer (the Cimmerians) and Madai (the Medes), as the name of a people descended from Japhet. Early Jewish tradition, adopted by Josephus and St. Jerome, identifies them with the Scythians; and this view has seemed probable to nearly all modern expositors. But the name of Scythians must be understood rather in a geographical than in a strictly ethnological sense, of the tribes living north of the Caucasus. Driven from their original home by the Massagetæ, they had poured down upon Asia Minor and Syria shortly before the time of Ezekiel, and had advanced even as far as Egypt. They took Sardis (B.C. 629), spread themselves in Media (B.C. 624), were bribed off from Egypt by Psammeticus, and were finally driven back (B.C. 596), leaving their name as a terror to the whole eastern world for their fierce skill in war, their cruelty, and rapacity. It was probably the memory of their recent disastrous inroads that led Ezekiel to the selection of their name as the representative of the powers hostile to the Church of God.

The name Gog occurs only in connection with Magog, except in 1Chronicles 5:4, as the name of an otherwise unknown Reubenite. It is also the reading of the Samaritan and Septuagint in Numbers 24:7 for Agag. It has generally been supposed that Ezekiel here formed the name from Magog by dropping the first syllable, which was thought to mean simply place or land; but an Assyrian inscription has been discovered, in which Ga-a-gi is mentioned as a chief of the Saka (Scythians), and Mr. Geo. Smith (“Hist. of Assurbanipal”) identifies this name with Gog. The text should be read, Gog, of the land of Magog.

The chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.—Rather, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. Our version has followed St. Jerome in translating Rosh “chief,” because formerly no people of that name was definitely known; but they are frequently mentioned by Arabic writers as a Scythian tribe dwelling in the Taurus, although the attempt to derive from them the name of Russian cannot be considered as sufficiently supported. In Revelation 20:8, Gog and Magog are both symbolic names of nations. For Meshech and Tubal see Note on Ezekiel 27:13.

Ezekiel 38:2-3. Set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog — We find, Genesis 10:2, that the second son of Japhet was called Magog, but Ezekiel uses the word here as the name of the country of which Gog was prince: and Michaelis thinks that it denotes those vast regions to the north of India and China, which the Greeks called Scythia, and which we term Tartary. Houbigant also thinks that the prophet here means the Scythians, who are the descendants of Magog, the son of Japhet, and whose neighbours were the people of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; that is, the Russians, Muscovites, and Tibareni, or Cappadocians; and thus Theodoret and Josephus understand it. The Turks are generally allowed to be of Scythian origin. Scythopolis and Hierapolis, which cities the Scythians took when they overcame Syria, were ever after by the Syrians called Magog: see Plin, 50. 5. c. 23. The Arabs call the Chinese wall Sud Yagog et Magog, that is, the mud wall, or rampart of Gog and Magog. Gog and Magog are mentioned in Revelation 20:8; and these, says Bishop Newton, “seem to have been formerly the general name of the northern nations of Europe and Asia, as the Scythians have been since, and the Tartars are at present. The prophecy in the Revelation alludes to this of Ezekiel in many particulars; both the one and the other remain yet to be fulfilled, and therefore we cannot be absolutely certain that they may not both relate to the same event. But it seems more probable that they relate to different events: the one is expected to take effect before, but the other will not take effect till after the Millennium. Gog and Magog in Ezekiel are said expressly, Ezekiel 38:6; Ezekiel 38:15, and Ezekiel 39:2, to come from the north quarters, and the north parts; but in St. John they come from the four quarters, or corners of the earth. Gog and Magog in Ezekiel bend their forces against the Jews re-settled in their own land; but in St. John they march up against the saints and church of God in general. Gog and Magog in Ezekiel are, with very good reason, supposed to be the Turks, but the Turks are the authors of the second wo; and the second wo, Revelation 11:14, is past before the third wo; and the third wo long precedes the time here treated of. It may therefore be concluded that Gog and Magog, as well as Sodom, and Egypt, and Babylon, are mystic names in the book of Revelation; and the last enemies of the Christian Church are so denominated, because Gog and Magog appear to be the last enemies of the Jewish nation. Who they shall be, we cannot pretend to say with the least degree of certainty.” The chief prince of Meshech and Tubal — The king or head of all those northern nations which lie upon the Euxine sea: see note on Ezekiel 27:13. The LXX. take the word Rosh, here translated chief, for a proper name, and render the clause, The prince of Rosh, Meshech, &c. So taken it may signify those inhabitants of Scythia from whom the Russians derive their name and original.

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.Gog ... - Gog of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. "Gog" is here the name of a captain from "the land of Magog" (compare Genesis 10:2) the name of a people of the north, placed between "Gomer" (the Cimmerians) and "Madai" (the Medes). In the History of Assurbanipal from cuneiform inscriptions, a chief of the Saka (Scythians), called Ga-a-gi, is identified by some with Gog. Rosh, if a proper name, occurs in this connection only. 2. Gog—the prince of the land of Magog. The title was probably a common one of the kings of the country, as "Pharaoh" in Egypt. Chakan was the name given by the Northern Asiatics to their king, and is still a title of the Turkish sultan: "Gog" may be a contraction of this. In Ezekiel's time a horde of northern Asiatics, termed by the Greeks "Scythians," and probably including the Moschi and Tibareni, near the Caucasus, here ("Meshech … Tubal") undertook an expedition against Egypt [Herodotus, 1.103-106]. These names might be adopted by Ezekiel from the historical fact familiar to men at the time, as ideal titles for the great last anti-Christian confederacy.

Magog—(Ge 10:2; 1Ch 1:5). The name of a land belonging to Japheth's posterity. Maha, in Sanskrit, means "land." Gog is the ideal political head of the region. In Re 20:8, Gog and Magog are two peoples.

the chief prince—rather, "prince of Rosh," or "Rhos" [Septuagint]. The Scythian Tauri in the Crimea were so called. The Araxes also was called "Rhos." The modern Russians may have hence assumed their name, as Moscow and Tobolsk from Meshech and Tubal, though their proper ancient name was Slavi, or Wends. Hengstenberg supports English Version, as "Rosh" is not found in the Bible. "Magog was Gog's original kingdom, though he acquired also Meshech and Tubal, so as to be called their chief prince."

Since the two former chapters had assured so great and wonderful blessings to the Jews, after the return out of Babylon, and the gathering them together in their own land; it is more than probable the Jews would expect a full accomplishment of all these things quickly after their return, and if troubles should, as they did, intervene, and prove long, would be discouraged, and quarrel with Providence; God doth in this 38th and the 39th chapters forewarn them, by telling what enemies and troubles would interpose themselves, to the great losses and dangers of the Jews, ere they should overcome them, and God should fully and finally deliver them.

Set thy face against: see Ezekiel 20:46 21:2 25:2.

Gog: this cannot be one single person, or one only prince, though like enough it points out some one by whom the troubles foretold were begun, yet the successors of this one, whoever he was, are included and designed by this Gog; nor is he to be limited to one certain nation that he was king of, nor yet confined to one age, or (it may be) to two or three. Some will fix the beginnings of this Gog among the Seleucidae, and take in the others who divided the Grecian empire among themselves, and who did much hurt to the Jews. The history of which in part you meet with in the Books of the Maccabees. But if we must account why these are called Gog, perhaps this may suffice: Gyges, who gave name to the land, predecessor to Creesus, (for he was grandson to Gyges,) was conquered by Cyrus, and deprived of the kingdom; and this was made and continued tributary to the Persians, till taken from them by the Grecians; and when that kingdom was divided, it fell among the successors of Alexander in Seleucus’s line, and so the Seleucid may, not without some ground, be thought pointed at by Gog, whose country fell into the hand of Seleucus by the successes he had against Antigonus. And of all the Seleucidae, the sixth from Seleucus stands fairest for it; this was Antiochus Epiphanes, type of antichrist, and a fierce enemy of the Jews. Others judge this war, in which Gog is prince and leader, refers to times much later, and there are several particulars that do not well suit with the times of Antiochus Epiphanes. They will therefore rather refer it to some Scythian king or kings, and that the time is still to come wherein this prophecy is to be fulfilled; and that it must intend those enemies of God’s church who descended from the Scythians, and are now masters of Cappadocia, Iberia, Armenia, or are in confederacy with the Tartars, and those northern heathens. Now the arms and equipage here mentioned well suit with these Scythians, and they with the Turks, as like to make up part of this army. But others think that all the enemies of Israel in all quarters, both open and secret enemies, are here intended, and that the antichristian forces and combinations are what the prophet foretells; and if from a conjunction of affairs now, or lately on foot in the world, we might make our guess, the invasions of the Turks on one side, and the contrivance of others on this side Christendom, to extirpate the northern heresy, as some have called our religion, we might be excused, if we err, saying, The Constantinopolitan antichrist, and the Roman antichrist, with all their associates and helpers, are this Gog.

Magog is at least part of Scythia, and comprehends Syria, in which was Hierapolis, taken by the Scythians, and called of them Scythopolis. It is then that country which now is in subjection to the Turks, and may be extended through Asia Minor, the countries of Sarmatia, &c., from those parts under more than one in succession of time, and in the last times under some one particular active, undertaking, and daring prince, enemy of Israel; all their power will be stirred up against Christ and Christians.

The chief; or prince who is supreme in authority, most violent in opposition to the church of Christ, and most active to attempt its ruin.

Prince; what we render prince may well be the proper name of Araxes in Arabic, the principal river of Armenia, and so that the first country mentioned under the command of Gog, or the Scythians of Mount Taurus, which were called Rhos.

Tubal: see Ezekiel 27:13.

Son of man, set thy face against Gog,.... Of the phrase, "setting the face towards", or "against"; see Gill on Ezekiel 6:2, Ezekiel 21:2, Ezekiel 25:2 but who this Gog is the prophet is bid boldly to face, and intrepidly declare the wrath of God against, interpreters are divided about. Calmet (m) thinks that Cambyses and his army are meant by Gog and Magog, which to mention is enough; and it is the opinion of St. Ambrose (n) that the Goths who ravaged the Roman empire in the fifth and sixth ages are meant: others, who suppose this prophecy was fulfilled after the Jews' return from the Babylonish captivity, and before the coming of Christ, take Gog to be a common name of the kings of the lesser Asia and Syria, or the Seleucidae, who distressed the Jews in the times of the Maccabees; the chief of whom was Antiochus Epiphanes, who is supposed, to be more especially designed, and was a type of antichrist; and they are the more strengthened in this opinion, because they find, in Pliny (o), that the city of Hierapolis in Syria was called by the Syrians Magog; and they fancy the name of Gog is the same with Gyges a king of Lydia, whose country was called from him Gygea, or Gog's land, who was grandfather to Croesus; and which country came into the hands of Cyrus, and from the Persians into the hands of the Greeks, and so to the Seleucidae; for which reason they may bear this name in this prophecy; but it is certain that the prophecy refers to what should be in "latter years", and in the "latter days", Ezekiel 38:8, phrases which respect the times of the Messiah, the Gospel dispensation, and oftentimes the latter part of that; and even those times when the Jews shall return to their own land, and continue in it for ever, as the preceding prophecy, with which this is connected, shows; and so the Jews always understand it of an enemy of theirs yet to come. Cocceius is of opinion, that the Romish antichrist is meant; and that Gog signifying the covering or roof of a house, fitly points him out; who puts himself between God and man, as the roof is between heaven and earth; and who keeps out the light of divine things, the heat of love, and rain of spiritual blessings, from the church; and compares with this the veil over all nations, Isaiah 25:7 and the covering cherub, Ezekiel 28:14, but I rather think the Turk is here meant, the eastern antichrist, in whose possession the land of Judea now is; and which, when recovered by the Jews, will greatly exasperate him, and he will gather all his forces together to regain it, but in vain. The learned Vitringa (p), though he is of opinion that this prophecy, according to its first and proper sense, respects the kings of Syria, the persecutors of the church, that should bring large and well disciplined armies into the land of the people of God, gathered out of the northern nations, and Scythians, and would be defeated in the land of Canaan; yet mystically intends the Turks, the Scythian nation and northern people, who, by a like attempt, will infest the church of the people of God, and invade their country; and this he makes no doubt of is the proper aspect of Gog and Magog: and Samuel Dauderstat, a Lutheran divine, has wrote a dissertation, "De Antichristo Orientali", concerning the eastern antichrist, which he explains of Gog and Magog: and Michael Buckenroder, another Lutheran, has written upon the irruption to be made by Gog and Magog into the mountains of Israel (q). Osiander thus explains the several names mentioned; by Gog I think the Turk is meant, by Magog the Tartarian, by Meshec the Muscovites, and by Tubal the Wallachians; and Starckius on the place observes, that if this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled, we shall easily find our Gog, and point out his metropolis Constantinople; so that I am not singular in my opinion. Gog signifies "high" (r) and eminent, one in a very exalted station: it comes from the same root, and has the same signification, as Agag, to whose height and exaltation there is an allusion in Numbers 24:7, where the Samaritan and Septuagint versions read Gog: it is the same with, "Jagog", by which name the Arabians called the Scythians that lived far east, particularly those that were situated to the north of China beyond Imaus, as Golius (s) observes; and Josephus (t) says that the posterity of Magog are called Scythians, and these inhabited Tartary; and there, as Paulus Venetus (u) affirms, are the countries of Gog and Magog, which they call Gug and Mungug now; from hence came the Turks, even from Tartary, which is called by the eastern writers Turchestan, whence they had their name; and so may with great propriety be called by the name of Gog; their emperor also being a high and mighty one, whose empire must be destroyed; and which is signified by the passing away of the second woe, and the drying up of the river Euphrates, Revelation 11:14, upon which passages this and the following chapter may be thought a good commentary: and so the Jews (w) make Gog to be the general of the Ishmaelites or Turks, as Armillus of the Christians, and who shall reign in the kingdom of Magog or Scythia. Gog is the name of a man, 1 Chronicles 5:4, as it is here, and not of a country. The country of Gog is called, as follows,

the land of Magog, of which Gog is king, as Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it: it may be supplied in connection with the former clause,

set thy face against Gog, in the land of Magog; or, "against Gog", against "the land of Magog", so Kimchi. The countries of Jagog and Magog, according to the Arabic geographer (x), are surrounded by Mount Caucasus, which Bochart (y) conjectures has its name from thence; it being in the Semi-Chaldee language, the language of the Colchi and Armenians, "Gog-hasan", or Gog's fortress. This land of Magog is the same with Cathaia or Scythia, that part of Tartary from whence the Turks came; and which perhaps may come into their hands again before this prophecy is fulfilled; and even now the Turk calls himself king of Tartary; and the Magog of Pliny in Syria, the same with Aleppo, is in his dominions; which Maimonides (z) also takes notice of as in Syria, though he seems to distinguish it from Haleb or Aleppo; however, according to him, they were near to one another; though some (a) think the place in Pliny is corrupted, and that it ought to be read Magog, as it is, by Maimonides, Magbab. Gog is further described as

the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: some render it, "prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal"; taking Rosh, as the rest, for the name of a place, a part of Scythia, from whence the Russians came, and had their name. So it is rendered by the Septuagint, Symmachus, and Theodotion; and some later Greek writers (b) make mention of a country called Ros, which, they say, is a Scythian nation, situated between the Euxine Pontus and the whole maritime coast to the north of Taurus, a people fierce and wild. Meshech and Tubal were the brethren of Magog, and sons of Japheth, Genesis 10:2, whose posterity inhabited those counties called after their name; who, according to Josephus (c), are the Cappadocians and Iberians; and among the former is a place called Mazaca, which has some affinity with Meshech; and there was a country called Gogarene (d), a part of Iberia. According to Bochart (e), these are the Moschi and Tybarenes, people that dwell near the Euxine sea, and under the dominion of the Turk; wherefore the Grand Turk may be called the chief prince of them:

and prophesy against him: foretell his ruin and destruction, which is hinted before. Mention is made of his invasion of the land of Judea, and that for the comfort of the Jews, that they might have nothing to fear from this formidable army.

(m) Dictionary in the words "Gog" and "Magog". (n) "De fide ad Gratianum", l. 2. sect. 4. Colossians 144. tom. 4. (o) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 23. (p) Comment. in Jesaiam, vol. 1. p. 954. (q) Vid. Calmet. Bibliotheca Sacra, art. 67. p. 442. (r) Hiller. Ononmastic. Sacr. p. 67, 406, 477. (s) Lexic. Arabic in Rad. Colossians 26. (t) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.((u) Apud Schindler. Lex. Polyglott. col. 288. And Harris's Voyages and Travels, vol. 1. p. 604. (w) Vid. Huls. Theolog. Jud. par. 2. p. 511. (x) Geograph. Arab. par. 9. clim. 5. lin. 22, 23. (y) Phaleg. l. 3. c. 13. col. 187. (z) Hilchot Terumot, c. 1. sect. 9. (a) See Hyde Not, in Peritsol. Itinera Mundi, p. 42. (b) Zonaras, Cedrenus, & Joan. Curopalates apud Selden. de Synedriis, l. 2. c. 3. sect. 6. (c) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.((d) Strabo. Geograph. l. 11. p. 364. (e) Phaleg. l. 3. c. 13. col. 188.

Son of man, set thy face against {a} Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

(a) Who were a people that came from Magog the son of Japheth, Ge 10:2. Magog also here signifies a certain country so that by these two countries which had the government of Greece and Italy he means the principal enemies of the Church, Re 20:8.

Verse 2. - Set thy face against (or, toward) God. Although occurring in 1 Chronicles 5:4 as the name of a Reubenite, Gog was probably a title formed by Ezekiel himself from the word Magog, the syllable ma being treated as equivalent to "land." A similar freedom appears to have been exercised by the author of the Apocalypse, who out of Magog, here a territorial designation, makes a military power co-ordinate with Gog (Revelation 20:8). That Gog was not an actual person - though the name reminds one of that of the Lydian king Gyges, as it appears on the monuments, Gu-gu, Gu-ug-gu, aud of that of one Sa-gi, or Sa-agi, the ruler of another Eastern territory not yet identified (see Schrader, 'Die Keilinschriften und dos Alto Testament,' p. 427; and comp. 'Records of the Past,' first series, vol. 9:46) - but an ideal character, must be held as proved by the composite structure of his army, which was drawn from the four comers of the globe, as well as by the highly imaginative texture of the whole prophecy, which, as Hengstenberg properly remarks, has a thoroughly "utopian [perhaps better, 'ideal'] character," showing that it moves "in the region of holy fancy." The words, the land of Magog, are not, with Havernick, Ewald, and Smend, to be interpreted as the local or geographical terminus of the prediction, as if the word of God had said, "Set thy face toward Gog, toward the laud of Magog;" but, with the majority of expositors, as a territorial designation signifying that Gog was in or of the laud of Magog, which is here marked with the article, probably to identify it with the well-known Magog mentioned in Genesis 10:2, along with Tubal and Mesech as among the descendants of Japheth. From the circumstance that in the table of nations Magog stands between Gomer (the Cimmerians) and Madai (the Medians), and that Gomer appears in Gog's army, it has been not unreasonably concluded that to Ezekiel Magog represented a fierce Northern tribe, most likely, as Josephus ('Ant.,' 1:06. 1) asserts, the Scythians, whose territories lay upon the borders Of the sea of Azov and in the Caucasus. Plumptre even thinks that, "placed as Ezekiel was, he may well have come into contact with these Scythian tribes, either as part of Nebuchadnezzar's army or by a journey on his part into the regions north of Ararat" ('Ezekiel: an Ideal Biography,' Expositor, vol. 8. p. 291, second series). Yet, could both of these hypotheses be established, it would not follow that Ezekiel was thinking merely, as Knobel and Gesenius suppose, of a future struggle which Israel should have to maintain against these genres Scythicas immanes et innumerabiles, as Jerome in his day described them. In addition to being named from his land, Gog is further distinguished by the peoples over whom he rules, Ezekiel styling him the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal - a translation adhered to by Hengstenberg, Ewald, and Smend; or, according to the LXX., which most expositors and the Revised Version follow, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. The former rendering is obtained by interpreting נְשִׂיא רלֺאשׁ after the analogy of הַכֹּהֵן רלֺאשׁ, "chief priest," or "minister," in 1 Chronicles 27:5; and is supported by a similar use of the word rosh on coins under the government of the Persian satraps; yet the second rendering is not devoid of considerations that may be urged in its favor. Besides being grammatically possible, it yields a souse which is not improbable. Byzantine and Arabian writers of the tenth century were acquainted with a people called οἱ Ρῶς, who were Scythian mountaineers, dwelling north of the Taurus, on the shores of the Black Sea and on the banks of the Volga. The Koran speaks of a land of Ras not far from the Araxes. Whether either of these can be connected with present-day Russians, as Gesenius suggests - an hypothesis which Hengstenberg protests deals hardly with the poor Russians - must be left undecided. So must the question whether the people inquired after can be identified, as Delitzsch suggests, with the inhabitants of the land of Raseh (mat Ra-a-si) of the Inscriptions, which was Situated on the confines of Elam on the Tigris (see Schrader, 'Die Keilin-schriften und das Alto Testament,' p. 427; and comp. 'Records of the Past,' vol. 9. p. 84, 11. 122, 124). At the same time, Jerome's objection will scarcely hold good against understanding Resh as the name of a people, viz. that the Bible elsewhere has no knowledge of any such people, since, as Havernick observes, "one cannot know beforehand whether to Ezekiel, in his then place of abode, the knowledge of such a people was not likely sooner to come than to any Old Testament writer," and it is certain that the Book of Ezekiel is not wanting in names that occur only once, as e.g. Chilmad (Ezekiel 27:23) and Chub (Ezekiel 30:5). Hitzig points out that in Genesis 10, along with Mesech and Tubal, is mentioned a third nation, Tiras, which Yon Hammer has attempted to connect with Rosh; while Schroder sees in Rosh (allied to Ross, "horse") an indication that the people were equestrian in their habits, like the Scythians. The other peoples, Meshech and Tubal, were undoubtedly the Mosohians and Tibarenes, who, according to Herodotus (3:94; 7:78), dwelt south of the Black Sea. Ezekiel 38:2Introduction

Preparation of Gog and his army for the invasion of the restored land of Israel. - Ezekiel 38:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 38:2. Son of man, set thy face toward Gog in the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, Ezekiel 38:3. And say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will deal with thee, Gog, thou prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, Ezekiel 38:4. And will mislead thee, and will put rings in thy jaws, and lead thee out, and all thine army, horses, and riders, all clothed in perfect beauty, a great assembly, with buckler and shield, all wielding swords; Ezekiel 38:5. Persian, Ethiopian, and Libyan with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Ezekiel 38:6. Gomer and all his hosts, the house of Togarmah in the uttermost north with all his hosts; many peoples with thee. Ezekiel 38:7. Be prepared and make ready, thou and all thine assembly, who have assembled together to thee, and be thou their guard. Ezekiel 38:8. After many days shalt thou be visited, at the end of the years shalt thou come into the land, which is brought back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, upon the mountains of Israel, which were constantly laid waste, but now it is brought out of the nations, and they dwell together in safety; Ezekiel 38:9. And thou shalt come up, come like a storm, like a cloud to cover the land, thou and all thy hosts and many peoples with thee. - Ezekiel 38:1 and Ezekiel 38:2. Command to prophesy against God. גּוג, Gog, the name of the prince against whom the prophecy is directed, is probably a name which Ezekiel has arbitrarily formed from the name of the country, Magog; although Gog does occur in 1 Chronicles 5:4 as the name of a Reubenite, of whom nothing further is known. The construction גּוג ארץ מגוג, Gog of the land of Magog, is an abbreviated expression for "Gog from the land of Magog;" and 'ארץ מג is not to be taken in connection with שׂים פּניך, as the local object ("toward Gog, to the land of Magog"), as Ewald and Hvernick would render it; since it would be very difficult in that case to explain the fact that גּוג is afterwards resumed in the apposition 'נשׂיא וגו.

מגוג, Magog, is the name of a people mentioned in Genesis 10:2 as descended from Japhet, according to the early Jewish and traditional explanation, the great Scythian people; and here also it is the name of a people, and is written with the article (המגוג), to mark the people as one well known from the time of Genesis, and therefore properly the land of the Magog (-people). Gog is still further described as the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. It is true that Ewald follows Aquila, the Targum, and Jerome, and connects ראשׁ with נשׂיא as an appellative in the sense of princeps capitis, chief prince. But the argument used in support of this explanation, namely, that there is no people of the name of Rosh mentioned either in the Old Testament or by Josephus, is a very weak one; whilst, on the other hand, the appellative rendering, though possible, no doubt, after the analogy of הכּהן ראשׁ in 1 Chronicles 27:5, is by no means probable, for the simple reason that the נשׂיא occurs again in Ezekiel 38:3 and Ezekiel 39:1, and in such repetitions circumstantial titles are generally abbreviated. The Byzantine and Arabic writers frequently mention a people called ̔Ρῶς, Arab. Ru equals s, dwelling in the country of the Taurus, and reckoned among the Scythian tribes (for the passages, see Ges. Thesaurus, p. 1253), so that there is no reason to question the existence of a people known by the name of Rosh; even though the attempt of Bochart to find a trace of such a people in the ̔Ρωξαλᾶνοι (Ptol. iii. 5) and Roxalani (Plin. h. n. iv. 12), by explaining this name as formed from a combination of Rhos (Rhox) and Alani, is just as doubtful as the conjecture, founded upon the investigations of Frhn (Ibn Foszlan, u. a. Araber Berichte ber die Russen lterer Zeit, St. Petersburg 1823), that the name of the Russians is connected with this ̔Ρῶς, Arab. ru equals s, and our ראשׁ. Meshech and Tubal (as in Ezekiel 27:13 and Ezekiel 32:26), the Moschi and Tibareni of classical writers (see the comm. on Genesis 10:2), dwelt, according to the passage before us, in the neighbourhood of Magog. There were also found in the army of Gog, according to Ezekiel 38:5, Pharas (Persians), Cush, and Phut (Ethiopians and Libyans, see the comm. on Ezekiel 30:5 and Ezekiel 27:10), and, according to Ezekiel 38:6, Gomer and the house of Togarmah. From a comparison of this list with Genesis 10:2, Kliefoth draws the conclusion that Ezekiel omits all the peoples mentioned in Genesis 10:2 as belonging to the family of Japhet, who had come into historical notice in his time, or have done so since, namely, the Medes, Greeks, and Thracians; whilst, on the other hand, he mentions all the peoples enumerated, who have never yet appeared upon the stage of history. But this remark is out of place, for the simple reason that Ezekiel also omits the Japhetic tribes of Ashkenaz and Riphath (Genesis 10:3), and still more from the fact that he notices not only the פּרס, or Persians, who were probably related to the מדי, but also the Hamitic peoples Cush and Phut, two African families. Consequently the army of Gog consisted not only of wild Japhetic tribes, who had not yet attained historical importance, but of Hamitic tribes also, that is to say, of peoples living at the extreme north (ירכּתי צפון, Ezekiel 38:6) and east (Persians) and south (Ethiopians), i.e., on the borders of the then known world. These are all summoned by Gog, and gathered together for an attack upon the people of God. This points to a time when their former foes, Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistines, and Syrians, and the old imperial powers, Egypt, Asshur, Babel, Javan, will all have passed away from the stage of history, and the people of God will stand in the centre of the historical life of the world, and will have spread so widely over the earth, that its foes will only be found on the borders of the civilised world (compare Revelation 20:8).

Ezekiel 38:3-9 contain in general terms the determinate counsel of God concerning Gog. - Ezekiel 38:3-6. Jehovah is about to mislead Gog to a crusade against His people Israel, and summons him to prepare for the invasion of the restored land of Israel. The announcement of the purpose for which Jehovah will make use of Gog and his army, and the summons addressed to him to make ready, form two strophes, which are clearly marked by the similarity of the conclusion in Ezekiel 38:6 and Ezekiel 38:9. - Ezekiel 38:3. God will deal with Gog, to sanctify Himself upon him by means of judgment (cf. Ezekiel 38:10). He therefore misleads him to an attack upon the people of Israel. שׁובב, an intensive form from שׁוּב, may signify, as vox media, to cause to return (Ezekiel 39:27), and to cause to turn away, to lead away from the right road or goal, to lead astray (Isaiah 47:10). Here and in Ezekiel 39:2 it means to lead or bring away from his previous attitude, i.e., to mislead or seduce, in the sense of enticing to a dangerous enterprise; according to which the Chaldee has rendered it correctly, so far as the actual sense is concerned, אשׁדלנּך, alliciam te. In the words, "I place rings in thy jaws" (cf. Ezekiel 29:4), Gog is represented as an unmanageable beast, which is compelled to follow its leader (cf. Isaiah 37:29); and the thought is thereby expressed, that Gog is compelled to obey the power of God against his will. הוציא, to lead him away from his land, or natural soil. The passage in Revelation 20:8, "to deceive the nations (πλανῆσαι τὰ ἔθνη), Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle," corresponds to these words so far as the material sense is concerned; with this exception, that Satan is mentioned as the seducer of the nations in the Apocalypse, whereas Ezekiel gives prominence to the leading of God, which controls the manifestations even of evil, "so that these two passages stand in the same relation to one another as 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1" (Hv.). In Ezekiel 38:4-6 the army is depicted as one splendidly equipped and very numerous. For לבשׁי מכלול, see the comm. on Ezekiel 23:12, where the Assyrian satraps are so described. קהל , as in Ezekiel 17:17. The words buckler and shield are loosely appended in the heat of the discourse, without any logical subordination to what precedes. Besides the defensive arms, the greater and smaller shield, they carried swords as weapons of offence. In the case of the nations in Ezekiel 38:5, only the shield and helmet are mentioned as their equipment, for the sake of variation, as in Ezekiel 27:10; and in Ezekiel 38:6 two other nations of the extreme north with their hosts are added. Gomer: the Cimmerians; and the house of Togarmah: the Armenians (see the comm. on Ezekiel 27:14). For אגפּים, see the comm. on Ezekiel 12:14. The description is finally rounded off with עמּים רבּים . In Ezekiel 38:7, the infin. abs. Niphal הכּון, which occurs nowhere else except in Amos 4:12, is used emphatically in the place of the imperative. The repetition of the same verb, though in the imperative Hiphil, equip, i.e., make ready, sc. everything necessary (cf. Ezekiel 7:14), also serves to strengthen the thought. Be thou to them למשׁמר, for heed, or watch, i.e., as abstr. pro concr., one who gives heed to them, keeps watch over them (cf. Job 7:12 and Nehemiah 4:3, Nehemiah 4:16), in actual fact their leader.

Ezekiel 38:8 and Ezekiel 38:9 indicate for what Gog was to hold himself ready. The first clause reminds so strongly of מרוב ימים in Isaiah 24:22, that the play upon this passage cannot possibly be mistaken; so that Ezekiel uses the words in the same sense as Isaiah, though Hvernick is wrong in supposing that הפּקד is used in the sense of being missed or wanting, i.e., of perishing. The word never has the latter meaning; and to be missed does not suit the context either here or in Isaiah, where יפּקד means to be visited, i.e., brought to punishment. And here also this meaning, visitari (Vulg.), is to be retained, and that in the sense of a penal visitation. The objection raised, namely, that there is no reference to punishment here, but that this is first mentioned in Ezekiel 38:16 or 18, loses all its force if we bear in mind that visiting is a more general idea than punishing; and the visitation consisted in the fact of God's leading Gog to invade the land of Israel, that He might sanctify Himself upon him by judgment. This might very fittingly be here announced, and it also applies to the parallel clause which follows: thou wilt come into the land, etc., with which the explanation commences of the way in which God would visit him. The only other meaning which could also answer to the parallelism of the clauses, viz., to be commanded, to receive command (Hitzig and Kliefoth), is neither sustained by the usage of the language, nor in accordance with the context. In the passages quoted in support of this, viz., Nehemiah 7:1 and Nehemiah 12:44, נפקד merely signifies to be charged with the oversight of a thing; and it never means only to receive command to do anything. Moreover, Gog has already been appointed leader of the army in v.7, and therefore is not "to be placed in the supreme command" for the first time after many days. מיּמים רבּים, after many days, i.e., after a long time (cf. Joshua 23:1), is not indeed equivalent in itself to בּאחרית השּׁנים, but signifies merely the lapse of a lengthened period; yet this is defined here as occurring in the אחרית השּׁנים. - אחרית השּׁנים, equivalent to אחרית היּמים (Ezekiel 38:16), is the end of days, the last time, not the future generally, but the final future, the Messianic time of the completing of the kingdom of God (see the comm. on Genesis 49:1). This meaning is also applicable here. For Gog is to come up to the mountains of Israel, which have been laid waste תּמיד, continually, i.e., for a long time, but are now inhabited again. Although, for example, תּמיד signifies a period of time relatively long, it evidently indicates a longer period than the seventy or fifty years' desolation of the land during the Babylonian captivity; more especially if we take it in connection with the preceding ad following statements, to the effect that Gog will come into the land, which has been brought back from the sword and gathered out of many peoples. These predicates show that in ארץ the idea of the population of the land is the predominant one; for this alone could be gathered out of many nations, and also brought back from the sword, i.e., not from the consequences of the calamity of war, viz., exile (Rosenmller), but restored from being slain and exiled by the sword of the enemy. משׁובבת, passive participle of the Pilel שׁובב, to restore (cf. Isaiah 58:12); not turned away from the sword, i.e., in no expectation of war (Hitzig), which does not answer to the parallel clause, and cannot be sustained by Micah 2:8. מעמּים , gathered out of many peoples, points also beyond the Babylonian captivity to the dispersion of Israel in all the world, which did not take place till the second destruction of Jerusalem, and shows that תּמיד denotes a much longer devastation of the land than the Chaldean devastation was. והיא introduces a circumstantial clause; and היא points back to ארץ, i.e., to the inhabitants of the land. These are now brought out of the nations, i.e., at the time when Gog invades the land, and are dwelling in their own land upon the mountains of Israel in untroubled security. עלה signifies the advance of an enemy, as in Isaiah 7:1, etc. שׁואה, a tempest, as in Proverbs 1:27, from שׁאה, to roar. The comparison to a cloud is limited to the covering; but this does not alter the signification of the cloud as a figurative representation of severe calamity.

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