Ezekiel 39:17
And, you son of man, thus said the Lord GOD; Speak to every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh, and drink blood.
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(17) Every feathered fowl.—Compare Ezekiel 39:4, also Ezekiel 17:23; Ezekiel 29:5. The birds and beasts of all kinds represent all nations.

A great sacrifice.—The representation of a destructive judgment upon the Lord’s enemies as a sacrifice is found also in Isaiah 34:6; Jeremiah 46:10. The figure is not to be pushed beyond the single point for which it is used—“to fill out and heighten the description of an immense slaughter.”

Ezekiel 39:17-22. Thou son of man, speak unto every feathered fowl, &c. —

It was the custom of persons that offered sacrifice, to invite their friends to the feast that was made of the remainder: see Genesis 31:54; 1 Samuel 9:13. So here the prophet, by God’s command, invites the beasts and fowls to partake of the sacrifice of his enemies slain. The slaughter of God’s enemies is called a sacrifice, because it is offered up as an atonement to the divine justice: see the margin. A great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel — Where this great army was to be destroyed. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes — Rather, of the chief ones, of the earth, of rams, &c. — By the names of these several animals, all wont to be used in sacrifices, are here signified men of all orders and ranks, as princes, generals, captains, and common soldiers. All of them fatlings of Bashan — All of them in the prime of life and strength, like young fatted beasts. And drink blood till ye be drunken — Or, be satiated. Ye shall be filled at my table — At the table which is, as it were, spread by me. The allegory is continued. “The table of God is the field covered with dead bodies, the place of the slaughter of Magog. It is impossible to conceive how unbelievers could quote this verse to prove that the Jews of old times ate the flesh of horses, and even of men. Voltaire, though cautioned that not the Jews, nor men, but wild beasts and birds, were invited to this feast of slaughter, that is, to the consumption of the slain, yet resisted to the last on his strange accusation.” — Michaelis. And all the heathen shall see my judgments — Shall see the punishments which I have executed on those who despise my name. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God — Both by my acts of mercy, in bringing them out of their captivity, and gathering them from their dispersions, and by my judgments executed upon their enemies.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 purposes of the past dispensation shall be made clear to God's people themselves and to the pagan. His judgments were the consequence of their sins; and these sins once abandoned, the favor of their God will return in yet more abundance.17. (Re 19:17).

sacrifice—Anciently worshippers feasted on the sacrifices. The birds and beasts of prey are invited to the sacrificial feast provided by God (compare Isa 18:6; 34:6; Zep 1:7; Mr 9:49). Here this sacrifice holds only a subordinate place in the picture, and so is put last. Not only shall their bones lie long unburied, but they shall be stripped of the flesh by beasts and birds of prey.

Speak; though they understand not thy word, yet speak. for they will understand my word, which shall go out with thine.

Unto every feathered fowl; to all sorts of carnivorous birds, every kind of those that eat flesh.

To every beast, that are for the prey, little or great, which either by craft or power get their food out of the flesh of others.

Assemble yourselves; come in whole companies, flocks and herds too; and this repeated twice more,

come, gather yourselves: they have an earnest invitation, from all sides.

To my sacrifice: when sacrifices were offered, there usually was a feast to the priest the sacrificer, and for what guests were invited; now God is about to make such, he invites his guests, resolved to entertain them plentifully.

That I do sacrifice: the punishment of these God calls a sacrifice, which he doth offer, i.e. to his own justice, to satisfy that.

For you: it was for higher ends, yet since God intends to fill them with the flesh and blood of it, he is pleased to tell them he hath slain for their entertainment.

A great sacrifice, where more thousands are offered at once than ever were at any time offered; it is a sacrifice so great, that none ever was or will be like.

The mountains of Israel; the land of Canaan.

Eat flesh; the flesh of the sacrifice.

And drink blood; the blood of it: this was entertainment fitting these invited guests. And thou, son of man, thus saith the Lord God,.... What the prophet is ordered by the Lord to say is to creatures not then in being, nor yet; and, were they, they could not understand his words; but however, when the time comes, partly by an instinct in nature, and partly by a particular direction of Providence, they will be gathered together upon so great a slaughter of men; for what follows, though mentioned in this place, will be between the slaughter of Gog's army, and the burial of it, as Kimchi well observes; after the burial such an invitation would be impertinent; and which is made not for the sake of creatures, but of men, to denote the certainty of this great carnage that shall be made:

speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field; this must be understood of such fowls, and such beasts, as devour dead carcasses, for all will not feed on them; a like invitation is given after the battle at Armageddon, the same with this here, Revelation 19:17 only with this difference, there an angel is said to cry, here the prophet; there to the fowls only, here to the beasts of the field also; no doubt respect there is had to this passage:

assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifices that I do sacrifice for you; such a slaughter of men is called a sacrifice, because there is a likeness between that and the killing of beasts for sacrifice; besides, these enemies of God and his people will fall a victim to his justice, as well as be a repast for fowls and beasts, who are invited, as to a feast, to feed upon them; and there being so much of the power and providence of God in all this, it is ascribed to him, and is called "the supper of the great God", Revelation 19:17,

even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel; where Gog's army will fall, Ezekiel 39:4, and in such vast numbers, that it may well be called a great sacrifice; the sacrifice of a great army by the great God, and for such great number of creatures:

that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood; the flesh and blood of the sacrifices, even of slain men, which carnivorous creatures delight in. The Targum is,

"draw near everywhere round about to the slain, which I slay for you with a great slaughter upon the mountains of Israel, and ye shall eat the flesh, and drink the blood.''

And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak to every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; {k} gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.

(k) By which he signifies the horrible destruction that would come on the enemies of his Church.

17. to my sacrifice] The eating of flesh was of rarer occurrence in ancient times than it is now. All slaughtering of animals was a sacrificial act. The blood and some parts of the victim were given to Jehovah; and the rest eaten before him by the company. Hence the terminology here: Jehovah’s slaughter of his enemies is to afford a sacrificial feast. Cf. Zephaniah 1:8; Isaiah 34:6.Verses 17-20 exhibit in a third way the severity of Gog's overthrow by setting forth the bloody carnage which should attend it. Verse 17. - Expanding the thought of ver. 4, and borrowing the imagery of the older prophets, Isaiah (Isaiah 34:6; Isaiah 56:9) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 46:10; Jeremiah 50:29; Jeremiah 51:40), Ezekiel represents Gog's destruction as a great sacrifice - literally, slaying; hence a sacrificial feast or simply banquet (as in Genesis 31:54) - upon the mountains of Israel, prepared by Jehovah for the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field, which he, therefore, invites to come from all quarters to eat flesh and drink blood.
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