After many days you shall be visited: in the latter years you shall come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)After many days thou shalt be visited.—This clause has been variously interpreted. The expression “after many days” is the common one to indicate that what is predicted is yet far in the future, and corresponds to the “latter years” of the next clause. The words “thou shalt be visited” are the usual form of expressing a coming judgment. Various ingenious attempts have been made, with no great success, to give the words a different sense here. The supposed difficulty arises from not observing that the whole course of Gog is here viewed together as a single transaction. It is not merely his ultimate destruction, but the steps which led to it, his hostile attacks upon the Church, which are represented as brought about under God’s providence and forming a part of the visitation upon him. It is as if one spoke now of a man’s whole career of sin as a Divine visitation upon the sinner in consequence of his neglect of proffered grace, instead of speaking only of his ultimate punishment.
The land.—Rather, a land. Judæa had been long desolated, but was now restored. The word people here, as in Ezekiel 38:6, is in the plural and marks the gathering back, not from one, but from many quarters.
Always waste.—Literally, continually waste. The mountains of Israel had been by no means always waste, but during the period of the captivity had been so constantly. Yet the word is commonly used for a relatively long period, for which the time of the captivity seems too short. It may therefore, with the dispersion among “many peoples” of the previous clause, indicate the time of the later and longer continued dispersion of the Jews. In the last clause “shall dwell” is not to be taken as a future, but as a description of the existing condition of the people.Ezekiel 38:8-9. After many days thou shalt be visited — In the latter days of the Messiah’s kingdom among men, or after a succession of many generations, shall the judgment here mentioned be inflicted by God upon thee. In the latter years — Or days, as in the former clause, and Ezekiel 38:16; that is, toward the end of the world: compare Daniel 8:26. Thou — Gog, with all thy numbers; shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword — The land of the Jews, a people recovered from the countries into which they had been dispersed by the sword of their enemies. The land, it must be observed, is here put for the people of the land, who are said to be brought back from the sword, in the same sense in which they are elsewhere styled a remnant; those being intended that should remain after the various judgments that had fallen upon the nation, and the hardships they had suffered in their several dispersions. And is gathered out of many people — Among whom they had been scattered: see note on Ezekiel 34:13. Against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste — It is already two thousand five hundred years since the ten tribes were carried away out of their own land by Shalmaneser. Certainly the expression, always, or perpetually waste, denotes a much longer desolation of the country than that which it suffered during the Babylonish captivity. It seems, all the various desolations of Judea are here included, namely, those by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Antiochus Epiphanes, the Romans, and lastly, as at this time, by the Turks. But it — The land of Canaan, that is, the people of it, is brought forth out of the nations — This is a repetition of what was said just before, namely, that Israel had been wonderfully preserved, and restored to their own land, through the particular providence of God; to which is added, And they shall dwell safely all of them — That is, the same divine power that has delivered and restored them will still continue to protect them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm — Thou shalt come suddenly, and with a mighty and destructive force. Thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land — Thy forces shall be so very numerous as to overspread the land like a dark cloud, which makes every thing look melancholy and dismal: see Ezekiel 30:3. The sense of the passage is, that after the return of the Jews and Israelites into their own country, and their having lived there for some time in peace and safety, this enemy will think to take advantage of their security, and fall upon them unexpectedly. “It seems to me,” says Bishop Newcome, “that the prophecy remains to be fulfilled after the future re-establishment of the converted Jews in their own land, when the Mahommedans and pagans will invade them. On this supposition, the subject matter of this and the following chapter is well connected with the promises of distant blessings made toward the close of chap. 37.”
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.
the mountains of Israel … always waste—that is, waste during the long period of the captivity, the earnest of the much longer period of Judea's present desolation (to which the language "always waste" more fully applies). This marks the impious atrocity of the act, to assail God's people, who had only begun to recover from their protracted calamities.
but it is brought … and they shall dwell—rather, "And they (the Israelites) were brought … dwelt safely" [Fairbairn]. English Version means, "Against Israel, which has been waste, but which (that is, whose people) is now (at the time of the invasion) brought forth out of the nations where they were dispersed, and shall be found by the invader dwelling securely, so as to seem an easy prey to him."After many days: some refer this to the time of the Maccabees; about two hundred years after their return, and finishing the repairs of the city wall; others say after the expiring of the thousand years spoken of Revelation 20:7. But certainly the full accomplished days are yet to come, when Gog and Magog shall be destroyed, and so these days are the latter days of the Messiah’s kingdom among men. Be visited; be called to account, judged and punished for thy violence, and possibly convinced by thy overthrow; it may prove a visitation in mercy for conversion.
The latter years: these must be contemporary with the many days already mentioned, so that where those are to be fixed, there these also are.
Thou shalt come, Gog with all thy numbers, into the land; the land of the Jews, who were under this character in the Maccabees’ time, and will be under the same in these latter days, a people of God recovered from slavery and captivity, into which the sword of their enemy brought them, but God had now gathered out of the countries.
Against the mountains of Israel: if it refer to Gog, it was against the mountains; but if it doth, as it may, refer to the people gathered, it should be to, not against the mountains.
Which have been always waste; either designed to desolation by the rage and malice of enemies, or else because so long waste that it is beyond the memory of many living. It was four hundred years and upwards from this prophecy to Antiochus Epiphanes’ death, if he were Gog; but if the ten tribes, gathered to the two and made one kingdom, be this people, and the wasted mountains refer to them, they may well be called mountains always waste; for it is already two thousand four hundred years since the ten tribes were carried away by Shalmaneser.
It is brought forth; the land of Canaan, i.e. the people of it,
land being, as often before, put for people.
Out of the nations, among whom they were scattered. Though we can give account of those nations to whom the two tribes were in captivity, we cannot so of them to whom the ten tribes are to this day servants; but if this prediction do as much concern them as some confidently believe, these dry bones shall revive and come together.
They shall dwell safely: this began at least to be fulfilled, when, for some three hundred and eighty years after their return, they lived tolerably quiet; afterwards Antiochus vexed them, and did them much damage. What remains of longer and fuller quiet and prosperity after the slaying of Gog time will discover to the people of God, whose lot it will be to stand up in those days. Hosea 3:4, then shall Gog or the Turk be visited of God, not in a way of grace, but vengeance; he shall be punished for all his iniquities, and his punishment or destruction will be brought about in the following manner:
in the latter years thou shall come into the land that is brought back from the sword; that is, into the land of Judea, the right owners of which shall now be returned unto it; who have been for many years drove and kept out of it by the sword of their enemies; see Jeremiah 31:2 and these "latter years" are the same with the "latter days", in which these people shall seek the Lord and the Messiah, and fear him and his goodness, and return to their own land, Hosea 3:5, when the Turks, enraged at it, will raise a numerous army, and enter it, in order to repossess it. The description of the Jews, who are most manifestly pointed at, is continued: and
is gathered out of many people against the mountains of Israel; or rather, "to the mountains of Israel" (o); for it seems to design the land of Judea, that is, the people of it; who shall be gathered out of the several nations where they are now dispersed, and brought into their own land; described by the mountains of Israel, because a mountainous country, and a very fruitful one; Ezekiel 34:13, and not the army of Gog gathered out of many nations, as before observed, to march against the people of the Jews; though this seems to be the sense of the Targum,
"in the end of years thou shalt come into the land, against which are turned those that slay with the sword, who are gathered out of many people against the mountains of the land of Israel:''
which have been always waste: of a longer time than the seventy years' captivity, even ever since the destruction of it by the Romans; and if the time of the carrying captive of the ten tribes by Salmanezer is respected, it is longer still:
but it brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them; that is, the people of the Jews, the proprietors of the land of Israel, shall now be brought forth out of each the nations where they are scattered, and shall inhabit their own land, and dwell in the utmost security, having nothing to fear from their most potent enemies, even Gog himself; and though he shall come against them in the following manner.After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. thou shalt be visited] Not in the frequent sense of visited with punishment, but in the sense of recalled to mind in order to be employed (cf. usage Ezekiel 23:21). Others: mustered, which is not very natural; and the meaning “thou shalt receive orders” (from Jehovah) can hardly be supported from usage. From the position of the prophet the invasion of Gog seems to belong to the far-distant future, to a time after the people have been restored and have enjoyed long peace and great felicity. For many people, peoples, and so Ezekiel 38:9; Ezekiel 38:15; Ezekiel 38:22.
always waste] i.e. long time waste, cf. Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 58:12. “Always” is a natural exaggeration for the exile period, which seemed endless, see Ezekiel 36:2, cf. Ezekiel 35:9.
dwell safely] Or, in confidence. The term always expresses the feeling of security.Verse 8. - After many days thou halt be visited. The principal controversy raised by these words is as to whether they signify, as Hitzig, Fairbairn, and Kliefoth suppose, that after many days Gog should be entrusted with the command of the aforementioned nations, or, as Ewald, Hengstenberg, Keil, Schroder, Plumptre, and Currey translate, that Gog, who intended to visit Israel, should himself be visited, in the sense of being punished. In support of the former rendering appeal is taken to Nehemiah 7:1; Nehemiah 12:44; and Jeremiah 15:3; but the verb פָםקד when used in this sense is commonly followed by עַל with the accusative of that or those with reference to which or whom the appointment is made or commission issued, and in addition no such commission with reference to these other nations was ever given by God to Gog. In vindication of the second meaning of the words, Isaiah 24:22 and Isaiah 29:6 are ordinarily quoted: while in answer to the objection that it is too soon to talk of punishment for an offense not yet committed, it is customary to reply that, as Jehovah's stirring up of Gog was the first step towards his ultimate overthrow, that stirring up might fairly be described as at least the beginning of his judicial visitation. Havernick's translation, "For a long time thou wilt be missed," i.e. considered as a people that has utterly vanished," is forced; Smend's is better, "After many days thou shalt be mustered," or numbered. In any case Gog's first movement should take place in the latter years; literally, at the end of the years - a frequent prophetic phrase (see Genesis 49:1; Numbers 24:14; Isaiah 2:2; Daniel 10:14; Micah 4:1), here denoting the Messianic era, and should assume the form of an invasion of the land of Israel, which is next described by a threefold characterization.
(1) As a land brought back from the sword, not in the sense of its people having been made to desist from war, through being henceforth peacefully inclined (comp. Isaiah 2:4; Micah 2:8), or of their having ceased to expect war, because of living ever after securely (ver. 11), but in that of having been recovered from its devastations (Ezekiel 6:3-5);
(2) as a land whose inhabitants had been gathered out of many nations - a phrase, which while starting from and including the return from Babylon, manifestly looked beyond that event to the wider dispersion of Israel that should precede the final ingathering; and
(3) as a land whose mountains had been always waste; literally, for a waste continually. If such was their condition prior to the return from captivity, it is undeniable that such has practically been their condition ever since, and such it is likely to continue to be, until the final ingathering of the dispersed of Israel.
Ezekiel 35:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 35:2. Son of man, set thy face against Mount Seir, and prophesy against it, Ezekiel 35:3. And say to it, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will deal with thee, Mount Seir, and will stretch out my hand against thee, and make thee waste and devastation. Ezekiel 35:4. Thy cities will I make into ruins, and thou wilt become a waste, and shalt know that I am Jehovah. Ezekiel 35:5. Because thou cherishest eternal enmity, and gavest up the sons of Israel to the sword at the time of their distress, at the time of the final transgression, Ezekiel 35:6. Therefore, as truly as I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, I will make thee blood, and blood shall pursue thee; since thou hast not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue thee. Ezekiel 35:7. I will make Mount Seir devastation and waste, and cut off therefrom him that goeth away and him that returneth, Ezekiel 35:8. And fill his mountains with his slain; upon thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy low places, those pierced with the sword shall fall. Ezekiel 35:9. I will make thee eternal wastes, and thy cities shall not be inhabited; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. Ezekiel 35:10. Because thou sayest, The two nations and the two lands they shall be mine, and we will take possession of it, when Jehovah was there; Ezekiel 35:11. Therefore, as truly as I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, I will do according to thy wrath and thine envy, as thou hast done because of thy hatred, and will make myself known among them, as I shall judge thee. Ezekiel 35:12. And thou shalt know that I, Jehovah, have heard all thy reproaches which thou hast uttered against the mountains of Israel, saying, "they are laid waste, they are given to us for food." Ezekiel 35:13. Ye have magnified against me with your mouth, and heaped up your sayings against me; I have heard it. Ezekiel 35:14. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will prepare devastation for thee. Ezekiel 35:15. As thou hadst thy delight in the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was laid waste, so will I do to thee; thou shalt become a waste, Mount Seir and all Edom together; and they shall know that I am Jehovah.
The theme of this prophecy, viz., "Edom and its cities are to become a desert" (Ezekiel 35:2-4), is vindicated and earnestly elaborated in two strophes, commencing with 'יען וגו (Ezekiel 35:5 and Ezekiel 35:10), and closing, like the announcement of the theme itself (Ezekiel 35:4), with 'כּי אני (וידעוּ) וידעתּם, by a distinct statement of the sins of Edom. - Already, in Ezekiel 25, Edom has been named among the hostile border nations which are threatened with destruction (Ezekiel 35:12-14). The earlier prophecy applied to the Edomites, according to their historical relation to the people of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. In the present word of God, on the contrary, Edom comes into consideration, on the ground of its hostile attitude towards the covenant people, as the representative of the world and of mankind in its hostility to the people and kingdom of God, as in Isaiah 34 and Isaiah 63:1-6. This is apparent from the fact that devastation is to be prepared for Edom, when the whole earth rejoices (Ezekiel 35:14), which does not apply to Edom as a small and solitary nation, and still more clearly from the circumstance that, in the promise of salvation in Ezekiel 36, not all Edom alone (Ezekiel 35:5), but the remnant of the heathen nations generally (Ezekiel 36:3-7 and Ezekiel 36:15), are mentioned as the enemies from whose disgrace and oppression Israel is to be delivered. For Ezekiel 35:2, compare Ezekiel 13:17. הר is the name given to the mountainous district inhabited by the Edomites, between the Dead Sea and the Elanitic Gulf (see the comm. on Genesis 36:9). The prophecy is directed against the land; but it also applies to the nation, which brings upon itself the desolation of its land by its hostility to Israel. For Ezekiel 35:3, compare Ezekiel 6:14, etc. חרבּה, destruction. The sin of Edom mentioned in Ezekiel 35:5 is eternal enmity toward Israel, which has also been imputed to the Philistines in Ezekiel 25:15, but which struck deeper root, in the case of Edom, in the hostile attitude of Esau toward Jacob (Genesis 25:22. and Genesis 27:37), and was manifested, as Amos (Amos 1:11) has already said, in the constant retention of its malignity toward the covenant nation, so that Edom embraced every opportunity to effect its destruction, and according to the charge brought against it by Ezekiel, gave up the sons of Israel to the sword when the kingdom of Judah fell. הנּיר על , lit., to pour upon ( - into) the hands of the sword, i.e., to deliver up to the power of the sword (cf. Psalm 63:11; Jeremiah 18:21). בּעת recalls to mind בּיום אידם in Obadiah 1:13; but here it is more precisely defined by בּעת עון , and limited to the time of the overthrow of the Israelites, when Jerusalem was taken and destroyed by the Chaldeans. בּעת עון קץ, as in Ezekiel 21:30. On account of this display of its hostility, the Lord will make Edom blood (Ezekiel 35:6). This expression is probably chosen for the play upon the words דּם and אדם. Edom shall become what its name suggests. Making it blood does not mean merely filling it with bloodshed, or reddening the soil with blood (Hitzig); but, as in Ezekiel 16:38, turning it as it were into blood, or causing it to vanish therein. Blood shall pursue thee, "as blood-guiltiness invariably pursues a murderer, cries for vengeance, and so delivers him up to punishment" (Hvernick). אם לא cannot be the particle employed in swearing, and dependent upon חי־אני, since this particle introduces an affirmative declaration, which would be unsuitable here, inasmuch as דּם in this connection cannot possibly signify blood-relationship. אם לא means "if not," in which the conditional meaning of אם coincides with the causal, "if" being equivalent to "since." The unusual separation of the לא from the verb is occasioned by the fact that דּם is placed before the verb to avoid collision with ודּם. To hate blood is the same as to have a horror of bloodshed or murder. This threat is carried out still further in Ezekiel 35:7 and Ezekiel 35:8. The land of Edom is to become a complete and perpetual devastation; its inhabitants are to be exterminated by war. The form שׁממה stands for שׁמּמה, and is not to be changed into משׁמּה. Considering the frequency with which משׁמּה occurs, the supposition that we have here a copyist's error is by no means a probable one, and still less probable is the perpetuation of such an error. עבר ושׁב, as in Zechariah 7:14. For Ezekiel 35:8 compare Ezekiel 32:5-6 and Ezekiel 31:12. The Chetib תּישׁבנה is scriptio plena for תּשׁבנה, the imperfect Kal of ישׁב in the intransitive sense to be inhabited. The Keri תּשׁבנה, from שׁוּב, is a needless and unsuitable correction, since שׁוּב does not mean restitui.
In the second strophe, Ezekiel 35:10-15, the additional reason assigned for the desolation of Edom is its longing for the possession of Israel and its land, of which it desired to take forcible possession, although it knew that they belonged to Jehovah, whereby the hatred of Edom toward Israel became contempt of Jehovah. The two peoples and the two lands are Israel and Judah with their lands, and therefore the whole of the holy people and land. את is the sign of the accusative: as for the two peoples, they are mine. The suffix appended to ירשׁנוּה is neuter, and is to be taken as referring generally to what has gone before. ויהוה שׁם היה is a circumstantial clause, through which the desire of Edom is placed in the right light, and characterized as an attack upon Jehovah Himself. Jehovah was there - namely, in the land of which Edom wished to take possession. Kliefoth's rendering, "and yet Jehovah is there," is opposed to Hebrew usage, by changing the preterite היה into a present; and the objection which he offers to the only rendering that is grammatically admissible, viz., "when Jehovah was there," to the effect "that it attributes to Ezekiel the thought that the Holy Land had once been the land and dwelling-place of God, but was so no longer," calls in question the actual historical condition of things without the slightest reason. For Jehovah had really forsaken His dwelling-place in Canaan before the destruction of the temple, but without thereby renouncing His right to the land; since it was only for the sins of Israel that He had given up the temple, city, and land to be laid waste by the heathen. "But Edom had acted as if Israel existed among the nations without God, and Jehovah had departed from it for ever" (Hvernick); or rather as if Jehovah were a powerless and useless Deity, who had not been able to defend His people against the might of the heathen nations. The Lord will requite Edom for this, in a manner answering to its anger and envy, which had both sprung from hatred. נודעתּי בם, "I will make myself known among them (the Israelites) when I judge thee;" i.e., by the fact that He punishes Edom for its sin, He will prove to Israel that He is a God who does not suffer His people and His possession to be attacked with impunity. From this shall Edom learn that He is Jehovah, the omniscient God, who has heard the revilings of His enemies (Ezekiel 35:12, Ezekiel 35:13), and the almighty God, who rewards those who utter such proud sayings according to their deeds (Ezekiel 35:14 and Ezekiel 35:15). נאצות has retained the Kametz on account of the guttural in the first tone, in contrast with נאצות in Nehemiah 9:18, Nehemiah 9:26 (cf. Ewald, 69b). - The expression "mountains of Israel," for the land of Israel, in Ezekiel 35:12 and Ezekiel 36:1, is occasioned by the antithesis "mountain (mountain-range) of Seir." The Chetib hmmhs is to be pronounced שׁממה, and to be retained in spite of the Keri. The singular of the neuter gender is used with emphasis in a broken and emotional address, and is to be taken as referring ad sensum to the land. הגדּיל בּפה, to magnify or boast with the mouth, i.e., to utter proud sayings against God, in other words, actually to deride God (compare הגדּיל פּה in Obadiah 1:12, which has a kindred meaning). העתיר, used here according to Aramean usage for העשׁיר, to multiply, or heap up. In כּשׂמה, in Ezekiel 35:14, כּ is a particle of time, as it frequently is before infinitives (e.g., Joshua 6:20), when all the earth rejoices, not "over thy desolation" (Hitzig), which does not yield any rational thought, but when joy is prepared for all the world, I will prepare devastation for thee. Through this antithesis כּל־הארץ is limited to the world, with the exception of Edom, i.e., to that portion of the human race which stood in a different relation to God and His people from that of Edom; in other words, which acknowledged the Lord as the true God. It follows from this, that Edom represents the world at enmity against God. In כּשׂמחתך (Ezekiel 35:15) כ is a particle of comparison; and the meaning of Ezekiel 35:15 is: as thou didst rejoice over the desolation of the inheritance of the house of Israel, so will I cause others to rejoice over thy desolation. In Ezekiel 35:15 we agree with the lxx, Vulgate, Syriac, and others, in taking תּהיה as the second person, not as the third. כּל־אדום כּלּהּ serves to strengthen הר־שׂעיר (compare Ezekiel 11:15 and Ezekiel 36:10).
The Restoration and Blessing of Israel
Ezekiel 36:1. And thou, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, Mountains of Israel, hear the word of Jehovah: Ezekiel 36:2. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because the enemy saith concerning you, Aha! the everlasting heights have become ours for a possession: Ezekiel 36:3. Therefore prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because, even because they lay you waste, and pant for you round about, so that ye have become a possession to the remnant of the nations, and have come to the talk of the tongue and gossip of the people: Ezekiel 36:4. Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Jehovah: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to the mountains and hills, to the low places and valleys, and to the waste ruins and the forsaken cities, which have become a prey and derision to the remnant of the nations round about; Ezekiel 36:5. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Truly in the fire of my jealousy I have spoken against the remnant of the nations, and against Edom altogether, which have made my land a possession for themselves in all joy of heart, in contempt of soul, to empty it out for booty. Ezekiel 36:6. Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, to the low places and valleys, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, in my jealousy and fury have I spoken, because ye have borne the disgrace of the nations. Ezekiel 36:7. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I, I have lifted up my hand; truly the nations round about you, they shall bear their disgrace. Ezekiel 36:8. But ye, ye mountains of Israel, shall put forth your branches, and bear your fruit to my people Israel; for they will soon come. Ezekiel 36:9. For, behold, I will deal with you, and turn toward you, and ye shall be tilled and sown. Ezekiel 36:10. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel at once; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the ruins built. Ezekiel 36:11. And I will multiply upon you man and beast; they shall multiply and be fruitful: and I will make you inhabited as in your former time, and do more good to you than in your earlier days; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. Ezekiel 36:12. I will cause men, my people Israel, to walk upon you; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be an inheritance to them, and make them childless no more. Ezekiel 36:13. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because they say to you, "Thou art a devourer of men, and hast made thy people childless;" Ezekiel 36:14. Therefore thou shalt no more devour men, and no more cause thy people to stumble, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 36:15. And I will no more cause thee to hear the scoffing of the nations, and the disgrace of the nations thou shalt bear no more, and shalt no more cause thy people to stumble, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah.
This prophecy is uttered concerning the land of Israel, as is plainly declared in Ezekiel 36:6; whereas in Ezekiel 36:1 and Ezekiel 36:4 the mountains of Israel are mentioned instead of the land, in antithesis to the mountains of Seir (Ezekiel 35:1-15; see the comm. on Ezekiel 35:12). The promise takes throughout the form of antithesis to the threat against Edom in Ezekiel 35:1-15. Because Edom rejoices that the Holy Land, which has been laid waste, has fallen to it for a possession, therefore shall the devastated land be cultivated and sown again, and be inhabited by Israel as in the former time. The heathen nations round about shall, on the other hand, bear their disgrace; Edom, as we have already observed, being expanded, so far as the idea is concerned, into all the heathen nations surrounding Israel (Ezekiel 36:3-7). In Ezekiel 36:2, האויב, the enemy, is mentioned in quite a general manner; and what has already been stated concerning Edom in Ezekiel 35:5 and Ezekiel 35:10, is her predicted of the enemy. In Ezekiel 36:3 and Ezekiel 36:4 this enemy is designated as a remnant of the heathen nations; and it is not till Ezekiel 36:5 that it is more precisely defined by the clause, "and all Edom altogether." The גּוים round about (אשׁר, Ezekiel 36:4, compared with Ezekiel 36:3) are the heathen nations which are threatened with destruction in Ezekiel 25 and 26, on account of their malicious rejoicing at the devastation of Jerusalem and Judah. This serves to explain the fact that these nations are designated as שׁארית הגּוים, the rest, or remnant of the heathen nations, which presupposes that the judgment has fallen upon them, and that only a remnant of them is left, which remnant desires to take possession of the devastated land of Israel. The epithet applied to this land, בּמות, everlasting, i.e., primeval heights, points back to the גּבעות עולם of Genesis 49:26 and Deuteronomy 33:15, and is chosen for the purpose of representing the land as a possession secured to the people of Israel by primeval promises, in consequence of which the attempt of the enemy to seize upon this land has become a sin against the Lord God. The indignation at such a sin is expressed in the emotional character of the address. As Ewald has aptly observed, "Ezekiel is seized with unusual fire, so that after the brief statement in Ezekiel 36:2 'therefore' is repeated five times, the charges brought against these foes forcing themselves in again and again, before the prophecy settles calmly upon the mountains of Israel, to which it was really intended to apply." For יען בּיען, see the comm. on Ezekiel 13:10. שׁמּות is an infinitive Kal, formed after the analogy of the verbs ה'ל (cf. Ewald, 238e), from שׁמם, to be waste, to devastate, as in Daniel 8:13; Daniel 9:27; Daniel 12:11, and is not to be taken in the sense of נשׁם, after Isaiah 42:14, as Hitzig supposes. שׁאף, to pant for a thing; here it is equivalent to snapping at anything. This is required by a comparison with Ezekiel 36:4, where היה לבז corresponds to שׁמּות ושׁאף, and ללעג to 'תּעלוּ על שׂפת וגו. In the connection שׂפת לשׁון, שׂפה signifies the lip as an organ of speech, or, more precisely, the words spoken; and לשׁון, the tongue, is personified, and stands for אישׁ לשׁון (Psalm 140:12), a tongue-man, i.e., a talker.
In Ezekiel 36:4 the idea expressed in "the mountains of Israel" is expanded into mountains, hills, lowlands, and valleys (cf. Ezekiel 31:12; Ezekiel 32:5-6); and this periphrastic description of the land is more minutely defined by the additional clause, "waste ruins and forsaken cities." אם לא in Ezekiel 36:5 is the particle used in oaths (cf. Ezekiel 5:11, etc.); and the perfect דּבּרתּי is not merely prophetic, but also a preterite. God has already uttered a threatening word concerning the nations round about in Ezekiel 25, 26, and Ezekiel 35:1-15; and here He once more declares that they shall bear their disgrace. אשׁ קנאח is the fiery jealousy of wrath. כּלּא is an Aramean form for כּלּהּ (Ezekiel 35:15). For בשׁאט נפשׁ, see Ezekiel 25:6. In the expression למען מגרשׁהּ לבז noisserp, which has been rendered in various ways, we agree with Gesenius and others in regarding מגרשׁ as an Aramean form of the infinitive of גּרשׁ, with the meaning to empty out, which is confirmed by the Syriac; for מגרשׁ cannot be a substantive, on account of the למען; and Hitzig's conjecture, that לבז should be pointed לבז, and the clause rendered "to plunder its produce," is precluded by the fact that the separation of the preposition למען ל, by the insertion of a word between, is unexampled, to say nothing of the fact that מגרשׁ does not mean produce at all. The thought expressed in Ezekiel 36:6 and Ezekiel 36:7 is the following: because Israel has hitherto borne the contempt of the heathen, the heathen shall now bear their own contempt. The lifting of the hand is a gesture employed in taking an oath, as in Ezekiel 20:6, etc. But the land of Israel is to receive a blessing. This blessing is described in Ezekiel 36:8 in general terms, as the bearing of fruit by the mountains, i.e., by the land of Israel; and its speedy commencement is predicted. It is then depicted in detail in Ezekiel 36:9. In the clause כּי קרבוּ לבוא, the Israelites are not to be regarded as the subject, as Kliefoth supposes, in which case their speedy return from exile would be announced. The כּי shows that this cannot be the meaning; for it is immediately preceded by 'לעמּי ישׁ' yb , which precludes the supposition that, when speaking of the mountains, Ezekiel had the inhabitants in his mind. The promised blessings are the subject, or the branches and fruits, which the mountains are to bear. Nearly all the commentators have agreed in adopting this explanation of the words, after the analogy of Isaiah 56:1. With the כּי in Ezekiel 36:9 the carrying out of the blessing promised is appended in the form of a reason assigned for the general promise. The mountains shall be cultivated, the men upon them, viz., all Israel, multiplied, the desolated cities rebuilt, so that Israel shall dwell in the land as in the former time, and be fruitful and blessed. This promise was no doubt fulfilled in certain weak beginnings after the return of a portion of the people under Zerubbabel and Ezra; but the multiplying and blessing, experienced by those who returned from Babylon, did not take place till long after the salvation promised here, and more especially in Ezekiel 36:12-15.
According to Ezekiel 36:12, the land is to become the inheritance of the people Israel, and will no more make the Israelites childless, or (according to Ezekiel 36:14) cause them to stumble; and the people are no more to bear the contempt of the heathen. But that portion of the nation which returned from exile not only continued under the rule of the heathen, but had also in various ways to bear the contempt of the heathen still; and eventually, because Israel not only stumbled, but fell very low through the rejection of its Saviour, it was scattered again out of the land among the heathen, and the land was utterly wasted...until this day. In Ezekiel 36:12 the masculine suffix attached to וירשׁוּך refers to the land regarded as הר, which is also the subject to היית and תּוסף. It is not till Ezekiel 36:13, Ezekiel 36:14, where the idea of the land becomes so prominent, that the feminine is used. שׁכּלם, to make them (the Israelites) childless, or bereaved, is explained in Ezekiel 36:13, Ezekiel 36:14 by אכלת, devouring men. That the land devours its inhabitants, is what the spies say of the land of Canaan in Numbers 13:32; and in 2 Kings 2:19 is it affirmed of the district of Jericho that it causes משׁכּלת, i.e., miscarriages, on account of its
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