Ezekiel 39:11
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give to Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) The valley of the passengers.—The name cannot be derived from the Scythians, as if they were spoken of “as a cloud passing over and gone,” because the same word is used again in this verse, and also in Ezekiel 39:14-15, evidently in a different sense. It simply denotes some (probably imaginary) thoroughfare, which is to be blocked up by the buried bodies of the slain. No definite locality is assigned to it, except that it is “on the east of the sea,” meaning the Dead Sea. It was to be, therefore, on the extreme south-eastern outskirts of the land. This is another of the features of the description which indicate some other than a literal interpretation; for how should such a host, invading the land from the north for purposes of plunder, be found in that locality, and how could such vast numbers of dead bodies be transported thither?

Stop the noses.—The word “noses” is not in the original, and should be omitted. The meaning is simply that the bodies of the host shall so fill up the valley as to stop the way of travellers.

The valley of Hamon-gog.—It is better to translate the word Hamon, as in the margin: The valley of the multitude of Gog. So also in Ezekiel 39:15.

Ezekiel 39:11-16. I will give unto Gog a place there of graves — Houbigant translates this passage, An illustrious place for sepulture, the valley of passengers opposite to the sea; through which the travellers shall pass, stopping their noses — According to the Chaldee, the scene here spoken of was the lake of Gennesareth. In the Hebrew language, all lakes are called by the name of seas. The same is called the eastern sea, (Ezekiel 47:18,) to distinguish it from the Mediterranean, called the great sea westward, Joshua 23:4. The valley near this sea is called the valley of the passengers, because it was the great road by which the merchants and traders from Syria, and other eastern countries, went into Egypt: see Genesis 37:17; Genesis 37:25. And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them — For a long time after the battle, the inhabitants shall be employed in burying the bones of the slain, that the land might not be polluted by them. Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them — See the note on the following verse. And it shall be to them a renown, &c. —

Or, The day that I shall be glorified shall be to them a day of renown, or a remarkable day of joy and gladness. And they shall sever out men, &c. — To cleanse the land thoroughly, men shall be set apart, and be constantly employed in picking up the bones of the slain that are scattered about, and burying them with the dead bodies of travellers who had happened to die on the roads; and they shall continue to do this, and be in daily search after the bones, for the space of seven months. The length of time assigned to this employment denotes the vast number of the slain, and the great care taken to cleanse the land from pollution. And when any seeth a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign — A stone, or some other mark, that men may avoid passing over the bones, and that the persons appointed to bury them may take them from thence, and carry them to the proper burying- place. Also the name of the city shall be called Hamonah — Some render this verse, Also the name of the city, assigned to them who shall cleanse the land, shall be called Hamonah, that is, a multitude. The meaning seems to be, that the city where these appointed buriers should reside during the time they were employed in this office, and near which they should bury the dead, should afterward, in memory thereof, be called Hamonah; which, signifying a multitude, thereby denoted the greatness of the victory.39:11-22 How numerous the enemies which God destroyed for the defence of his people Israel! Times of great deliverances should be times of reformation. Every one should help the utmost he can, toward cleansing the land from reproach. Sin is an enemy every man should strive against. Those engaged in public work, especially of cleansing and reforming a land, ought to be men who will go through with what they undertake, who will be always employed. When good work is to be done, every one should further it. Having received special favours from God, let us cleanse ourselves from all evil. It is a work which will require persevering diligence, that search may be made into the secret recesses of sin. The judgments of the Lord, brought upon sin and sinners, are a sacrifice to the justice of God, and a feast to the faith and hope of God's people. See how evil pursues sinners, even after death. After all that ambitious and covetous men do and look for, a place of graves is all the Lord gives them on earth, while their guilty souls are doomed to misery in another world.The prophet pictures to himself some imaginary valley (compare Zechariah 14:5) at the "east of the sea," the Dead Sea, a place frightful in its physical character, and admonitory of past judgments. He calls it "the valley of the passengers" (or, passers-by), because they who there lie buried were but as a passing cloud. In Ezekiel 39:11-15 there is a play upon words - there were "passengers" to be buried, "passengers" to walk over their graves, "passengers" to bury them; (or, a play upon the treble meaning of passing in (invading), passing by, and passing through.)

Stop the noses - The word thus rendered occurs only once more in Scripture Deuteronomy 25:4 where it is rendered muzzle. See Isaiah 34:3.

Hamon-gog - See the margin, compare Ezekiel 39:16.

11. place … of graves—Gog found only a grave where he had expected the spoils of conquest.

valley—So vast were to be the masses that nothing but a deep valley would suffice for their corpses.

the passengers on the east of the sea—those travelling on the high road, east of the Dead Sea, from Syria to Petra and Egypt. The publicity of the road would cause many to observe God's judgments, as the stench (as English Version translates) or the multitude of graves (as Henderson translates, "it shall stop the passengers") would arrest the attention of passers-by. Their grave would be close to that of their ancient prototypes, Sodom and Gomorrah in the Dead Sea, both alike being signal instances of God's judgments.

At that day; when God shall have destroyed this prince, and his formidable army.

Give unto Gog; and to many of those who were with him, for some were given to the birds and beasts to be devoured, Ezekiel 39:4.

A place there of graves: beside many other reasons for burying these slaughtered multitudes, the humanity that religion is full of would guide the Jews to it, and God tells us that Gog shall have a grave in Israel. He came to take possession, and so he shall, but not as he purposed and hoped, but as God intended; Gog shall possess his house of darkness in that land which he invaded to make a prey of. He shall have one place there, a grave, as the Hebrew.

The valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: this valley hath here its name and situation; the name from the frequent travels of passengers through it from Egypt and Arabia Felix into the more northern parts, and from these again into Egypt and Arabia. By its situation it is on the east side of the Dead Sea, to distinguish it from the valley that is on this side Jordan westward, in which is Dothan. Now in this valley did the Jews discomfit the Ammonites, Moabites, Tyrians, and Sidonians, /APC 1Ma 5. This might be a type, or firstfruits, and assurance of this great victory, but no more; for this was of a few against a few, and in this fight of some but few fell, &c.

It shall stop the noses; the stink of the putrefying carcasses should make travellers stop their noses, offended with the ill smells.

There shall they bury; partly in doing the office of humanity, though to dead enemies; and let their enemies live, who would not (for want of others) be so civil to them when dead; but chiefly to remove the nuisance of eye and nose, and to prevent diseases, that rise many times from such smells.

Gog: this prince, whoever it is, shall there fall, and be buried with

his multitude. They shall call it: this shall give name to the valley, which is to be called

The valley of Hamon-gog: which appellation I do not know to be given to any valley as yet, probably because this prophecy is not yet fully accomplished. And it shall come to pass in that day,.... When this destruction of the army of Gog shall be made:

that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel; or, "a place there, a grave in Israel" (b); he that thought to have subdued the whole land, and taken possession of it, shall have no more of it than just a place for a grave, to be buried in; a place fit for a grave, as the Targum; and where that will be is next observed: "the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea"; a valley through which travellers used to pass from Syria, Babylon, and other places, to Egypt and Arabia Felix, which lay east of the sea; not the Mediterranean sea, which lies west of Judea; but either the Dead sea, the sea of Sodom, a sulphurous lake, to which there may be an allusion, Revelation 19:20 or the sea of Chinnereth, or Genesareth, as the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi; the same with the sea or lake of Tiberias and Galilee, mentioned in the New Testament; which sense is approved of by Gussetius (c); where was a passage from the land of Canaan to the east of the same sea. Calmet (d) thinks it stands for the great road at the foot of Mount Carmel, to go from Judea, Egypt, and the country of the Philistines, into Phoenicia, which road was to the east of the Mediterranean sea.

And it shall stop the noses of the passengers; or the passengers shall stop their noses, because of the ill smell of the carcasses (e); or their mouths, the mouths of blasphemers, who shall no more blaspheme the God of Israel, when they shall observe this monument of his power, in the destruction of his and his people's enemies. It may be rendered, "it shall stop the passengers (f); from passing that way, because of the multitude of the carcasses that shall fall there", and which is the reason of their being buried out of the way; this sense Jarchi takes notice of. The Targum is,

"and it is near to two mountains;''

as if this clause described the situation of the valley.

And there shall they bury Gog, and all his multitude; all his army, such of it as the fowls and beasts had not devoured, and the bones they had left; not his army only, but himself also, the Sultan or Grand Seignior of the Turks, the general of his mighty army: this was not true of Antiochus; he died not, nor was he buried in the land of Israel.

And they shall call it the valley of Hamon-gog: Hamon signifies a multitude; and this name will be imposed upon the place of Gog's sepulchre, because of the multitude slain and buried here, and to perpetuate the memory of it: there never was yet a place of this name in the land of Israel, which shows that this event is yet future. Calmet takes it to be the valley of Jezreel, in which he thinks the army of Cambyses was defeated, after the death of that prince; wrongly taking Cambyses and his army for Gog and Magog.

(b) "locum ibi sepulchrum", Starckius; "locum ubi sit sepulchrum", Cocceius. (c) Ebr. Comment. p. 585. (d) Dictionary in the word "Vale" (e) So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 66. 2.((f) "et erit illa obturans transeuntes", Starckius; "et erit illa frenans transeuntes", Cocceius.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give to Gog {f} a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the travellers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the {g} noses of the travellers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.

(f) Which declares that the enemies will have a horrible fall.

(g) For the stink of the carcasses.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. Gog’s burial—place shall be east of the Dead Sea.

a place there of graves] a place for a grave, lit. a place where a grave may be. For “there” LXX. reads name—a place of renown (name), a grave in Israel.

valley of the passengers] In Ezekiel 39:14-15 the word is used of those appointed to go through the land in search of the scattered bones. The term cannot have that sense here. Ew. conjectured that it was a term applied to the hosts of Gog, the invaders, from their overflowing the country (Isaiah 8:8). The reading of Ezekiel 39:14, however, which would be the strongest support of this view, is doubtful. The expression is probably a proper name; the “valley of the passers through” may have been so named as the usual route of communication between the east and west of the sea. Others by altering the points read “the (or, a) valley of Abarim” (Hitz. Corn.).

shall stop the noses] it shall stop them that pass through (or, the passengers). The valley shall be filled up with the graves of the innumerable hosts of Gog, so that the way of passers through shall be barred. A.V. has no probability. Neither LXX. nor Syr. read the words “those that pass through;” the former renders: and they shall build up the mouth of the valley round about.

Hamon-gog] i.e. Gog’s multitude.Verses 11-16 contain a second proof of the completeness of Gog's destruction, viz. the length of time occupied in burying the slain and cleansing the land. Verse 11. - Gog, who should invade Israel in the hope of acquiring the entire mastery of her land, would obtain at Jehovah's hands only a place there of graves, i.e. either, as Hitzig, Ewald, Keil, and Smend suggest, a place where a grave might be possible - a place large enough to receive his slaughtered carcasses; or as Havernick proposes, "an altogether special grave as no other in Israel;" or as Schroder interprets, "a place where there is a grave for him and nothing else." Concerning both the designation and the site of this divinely provided sepulcher controversy has arisen.

(1) As to its site. The notion of Michaelis and Eiehhom, that the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea was in some way related to the mountains of Abarim mentioned in Numbers 27:12 and Deuteronomy 32:49, and that of Hitzig, that it signified "the valley of the opposite heights," as in 1 Samuel 17:3, and was to be sought for in the "very great valley" of Zechariah 14:4, may at once be dismissed - the former as untenable, and -the latter as far-fetched. The suggestion of Hengstenberg and Kliefoth, that by the burial-place of Gog was meant the valley of Megiddo, where Josiah fell in battle against Pharaoh-Necho (2 Kings 23:29), derives support from these considerations, that the very name of Megiddo points to battles, that in its vicinity are found such passes as are here described, and that its modern designation Lejun (Leqio), in all probability contains a reminiscence of the present passage. It is, however, open to the obvious objections that the place of Gog's burial was not contiguous to the field of his overthrow, and that the clause locating it "on the east of the sea," by which on this hypothesis must be understood the Mediterranean, is rather descriptive of the entire land than of any particular spot therein. Hence the view of Havernick, Ewald, Keil, and Smoud, which finds the valley in the neighborhood of the Dead Sea, is to be preferred, though, even with agreement as to this, interpreters are not unanimous as to the spot intended. Ewald thinks of "the horrible, unwholesome valley over against the sea, i.e. (comp. Ezekiel 47:8) the Dead Sea, that valley which covers the ancient overbearing ones (die Zerreisenden), the Sodomites, who resemble these;" Keil, translating kidmath as "in front of," holds by "the valley of the Jordan above the Dead Sea;" Havernick and Smend advocate "a place outside the Holy Land," though the clause, "a grave in Israel," seems against this. Dr. Currey, in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' hints, net without reason, that the valley was "imaginary."

(2) As to its designation. That in the word "passengers" lies a paronomasia is apparent; but whether threefold or only twofold is uncertain. In the present verse הָעֹבְרִים may signify either

(1) such travelers as were wont to pass through the valley (Keil), which is the obvious and natural interpretation; or

(2) the warriors of Gog (Ewald, Hitzig), who intended to pass through the land, but whose invasion had only proved a passing storm; or

(3) the commissioners who should be appointed to pass through the land in search of bones (ver. 15). The notion of Ewald, who derives עֹבִרִים from עֶבְרָה, and translates "haughty," "overbearing," meaning the Gogites, is countenanced by no ether expositor. If the first sense be taken, then the verse will read, "The valley of the passers through, and it (the valley, in consequence of having become the grave of Gog) stops (the way of) the passers through;" i.e. it becomes thereafter impassable for travelers (Rosenmüller, Keil); or, it stops the noses, or breath, of such travelers by reason of its horrible stench (Ewald, Havernick). If the second meaning be selected, the valley must be understood to have afterwards received its name from the fact that Gog's warriors lay entombed beneath its sod, and "the stopping of the passengers" to signify that whereas Gog purposed to overrun the land, his destructive career was there ignominiously arrested (Schroder). If the third rendering be preferred, then the valley will be held to have derived its designation, after the event, from the passing through it or through the land of the searchers, in which case the stepping of the passengers can only have alluded to the fact that, as the "buriers" proceeded with the work of interment, they were compelled to turn away their faces and stop their noses because of the noisome effluvium which arose from the corpses. The first interpretation is the best, though the first and second might be combined by making the first "passengers" stand for the travelers and the second for the invaders, whose career should there be stopped; and to this view a certain countenance is lent by the statements which follow, that there should Gog and all his multitude - literally, all his noisy tumult - be buried, and that the valley ever afterwards should bear the name of Hamon-gog, or, Gog s multitude. The Lord will richly bless, multiply, and glorify His people, when thus renewed and sanctified. - Ezekiel 36:29. And I will save you from all your uncleannesses, and will call the corn, and multiply it, and no more bring famine upon you; Ezekiel 36:30. But I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that ye will no more bear the reproach of famine among the nations. Ezekiel 36:31. But ye will remember your evil ways, and your deeds which were not good, and will loathe yourselves on account of your iniquities and your abominations. Ezekiel 36:32. Not for your sake do I this, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, be this known to you; be ye ashamed and blush for your ways, O house of Israel! Ezekiel 36:33. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, In the day when I shall cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will make the cities inhabited, and the ruins shall be built, Ezekiel 36:34. And the devastated land shall be tilled instead of being a desert before the eyes of every one who passed by. Ezekiel 36:35. And men will say, This land, which was laid waste, has become like the garden of Eden, and the desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited. Ezekiel 36:36. And the nations, which have been left round about you, shall know that I Jehovah build up that which is destroyed, and plant that which is laid waste. I, Jehovah, have said it, and do it. Ezekiel 36:37. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I will still let myself be sought by the house of Israel in this, to do it for them; I will multiply them, like a flock, in men; Ezekiel 36:38. Like a flock of holy sacrifices, like the flock of Jerusalem on its feast-days, so shall the desolate cities be full of flocks of men; and they shall know that I am Jehovah. - The words 'הושׁעתּי , I help or save you from all your uncleannesses, cannot be understood as relating to their purification from the former uncleannesses; for they have already been cleansed from these, according to Ezekiel 36:25. The טמאות can only be such defilements as are still possible even after the renewing of the people; and הושׁע, to help, means to guard them against any further recurrence of such defilements (cf. Ezekiel 37:23), and not to deliver them from the consequences of their former pollutions. But if God preserves His people from these, there is no longer any occasion for a fresh suspension of judgments over them, and God can bestow His blessing upon the sanctified nation without reserve. It is in this way that the further promises are appended; and, first of all, in Ezekiel 36:29 and Ezekiel 36:30, a promise that He will bless them with an abundant crop of fruits, both of the orchard and the field. "I call to the corn," i.e., I cause it to come or grow, so that famine will occur no more (for the fact, compare Ezekiel 34:29).

In consequence of this blessing, Israel will blush with shame at the thought of its former sins, and will loathe itself for those abominations (Ezekiel 36:31); compare Ezekiel 20:43, where the same thought has already occurred. To this, after repeating what has been said before in Ezekiel 36:22, namely, that God is not doing all this for the sake of the Israelites themselves, the prophet appends the admonition to be ashamed of their conduct, i.e., to repent, which is so far inserted appropriately in the promise, that the promise itself is meant to entice Israel to repent and return to God. Then, secondly, in two strophes introduced with 'כּה אמר יי, the promise is still further expanded. In Ezekiel 36:33-36, the prophet shows how the devastated land is to be restored and rebuilt, and to become a paradise; and in Ezekiel 36:37 and Ezekiel 36:38, how the people are to be blessed through a large increase in their numbers. Both of these strophes are simply a further elaboration of the promise contained in Ezekiel 36:9-12. הושׁיב, causative of ישׁב, to cause to be inhabited, to populate, as in Isaiah 54:3. לעיני כּל־עובר, as in Ezekiel 5:14. The subject to ואמרוּ in Ezekiel 36:35 is, "those who pass by." For the comparison to the garden of Eden, see Ezekiel 31:9. בּצוּרות is a circumstantial word belonging to ישׁבוּ: they shall be inhabited as fortified cities, that is to say, shall afford to their inhabitants the security of fortresses, from which there is no fear of their being expelled. In Ezekiel 36:36 the expression, "the heathen nations which shall be left round about you," presupposes that at the time of Israel's redemption the judgment will have fallen upon the heathen (compare Ezekiel 30:3 with Ezekiel 29:21), so that only a remnant of them will be still in existence; and this remnant will recognise the work of Jehovah in the restoration of Israel. This recognition, however, does not involve the conversion of the heathen to Jehovah, but is simply preparatory to it. For the fact itself, compare Ezekiel 17:24. הדּרשׁ, to let oneself be asked or entreated, as in Ezekiel 14:3. זאת, with regard to this, is explained by לעשׂות . What God will do follows in 'ארבּה ותו. God will multiply His people to such an extent, that they will resemble the flock of lambs, sheep, and goats brought to Jerusalem to sacrifice upon the feast days. Compare 2 Chronicles 35:7, where Josiah is said to have given to the people thirty thousand lambs and goats for the feast of the passover. כּצּאן אדם does not mean, like a flock of men. אדם cannot be a genitive dependent upon צאן, on account of the article in כּצּאן, but belongs to ארבּה, either as a supplementary apposition to אותם, or as a second object, so that ארבּה would be construed with a double accusative, after the analogy of verbs of plenty, to multiply them in men. Kliefoth's rendering,, "I will multiply them, so that they shall be the flock of men" (of mankind), is grammatically untenable. צאן קדשׁים, a flock of holy beasts, i.e., of sacrificial lambs. The flock of Jerusalem is the flock brought to Jerusalem at the yearly feasts, when the male population of the land came to the sanctuary (Deuteronomy 16:16): So shall the desolate cities be filled again with flocks of men (compare Micah 2:12).

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