Ezekiel 39:2
And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Leave but the sixth part of thee.—This word occurs only here, and the translation is based on the supposition that it is derived from the word meaning six; but even on this supposition the renderings in the margin are as likely to be right as that of the text. This derivation, however, is probably wrong; all the ancient versions give a sense corresponding to Ezekiel 38:4; Ezekiel 38:16, and also to the clauses immediately before and after, “I will lead thee along.” The greater part of the modern commentators concur in this view.

39:1-10 The Lord will make the most careless and hardened transgressors know his holy name, either by his righteous anger, or by the riches of his mercy and grace. The weapons formed against Zion shall not prosper. Though this prophecy is to be fulfilled in the latter days, it is certain. From the language used, it seems that the army of Gog will be destroyed by miracle.The chief prince - Or, "prince of Rosh."

And leave but the sixth part of thee - Or, and lead thee along (Septuagint and Vulgate).

2. leave but the sixth part of thee—Margin, "strike thee with six plagues" (namely, pestilence, blood, overflowing rain, hailstones, fire, brimstone, Eze 38:22); or, "draw thee back with an hook of six teeth" (Eze 38:4), the six teeth being those six plagues. Rather, "lead thee about" [Ludovicus De Dieu and Septuagint]. As Antiochus was led (to his ruin) to leave Egypt for an expedition against Palestine, so shall the last great enemy of God be.

north parts—from the extreme north [Fairbairn].

Turn thee back: see Ezekiel 38:4: or else, when Gog or his assistants shall go into their countries to compose disorders risen since this enterprise was set on foot, they shall return to the rest of the confederates.

Leave but the sixth part of thee: some read, as our margin notes, I will draw thee back with a hook of six teeth, alluding to the drawing fish out of the water; others, I will strike thee with six plagues; others, I will kill five of six, and leave but the sixth part of thee: let me conjecture too, I will leave in thy country but one in six, and I will bring forth thy people with thee in so great numbers, that five of six shall march on this expedition. This runs more compliant with what follows.

Will cause thee to come up; by his all wise providence God will dispose things so, that Gog shall deliberately choose this expedition; so God will bring him, as Ezekiel 38:4. See Ezekiel 38:4,8,15,21.

And I will turn thee back,.... Not from the land of Israel; for thither it is said in the latter part of the text he would bring him; but the meaning is, that he would "turn him about", as the word (w) signifies, in his own land, and lead him about at his pleasure, and bring him out of it, unto the land of Israel; signifying hereby that the providence of God would be greatly concerned in this affair; and in which much glory would be brought unto him by the destruction of such a potent enemy of his people; which is the design of bringing him out; See Gill on Ezekiel 38:4,

and leave but a sixth part of thee; meaning, not that a sixth part only should escape the vengeance of God, and all but a sixth part be destroyed in the land of Israel; for it looks as if the whole army would be utterly destroyed, and none left; but that, when he should come out of his own country upon this expedition, a sixth part of his subjects only should be left behind; five out of six should accompany him; so numerous should his army be, and so drained his country by this enterprise of his. Some render the words, "will draw thee out with an hook of six teeth" (x); that is, out of his own land; and this clause stands in the same place and order as the phrase and "put hooks into thy jaws" does in Ezekiel 38:4 and so may be thought to explain one another, and agrees with what follows: for, as for the sense of it given by Joseph Kimchi and others,

"I will judge thee with six judgments (y), Ezekiel 38:12, pestilence, blood, an overflowing rain, hailstones, fire, and brimstone,''

it must be rejected; seeing as yet the account of his punishment is not come to; only an account is given how and by what means he shall be drawn out of his own land; wherefore much better is the Targum,

"I will persuade thee, and I will seduce thee;''

so Jarchi seems to understand it: and the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "I will lead thee", agreeably to what follows:

and will cause thee to come up from the north parts; See Gill on Ezekiel 38:15.

and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel; not to inherit them, but to fall upon them, as in Ezekiel 39:4.

(w) "circumducam te", Piscator; "circumagam", Grotius. (x) "harpagone sextuplici extraham te", Vinarienses apud Starckius. So Buxtorf. (y) "Sex poenis, sive plagis afficiam te", Munster, Tigurine version.

And I will turn thee back, {a} and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:

(a) Or, destroy you with six plagues, as in Eze 38:22.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. turn thee back … sixth part] Perhaps: turn thee about and lead thee. The word “lead” does not elsewhere occur. A.V. derived from numeral “six.”

Verse 2. - I will... leave but the sixth part of thee. The word שְׁשֵּׁאתִיך is derived either from the numeral six, שֵׁשׁ, or from the root שָׁשָׁא, the import of which is uncertain, although a cognate root in Ethiopic suggests the idea of "going on" or "proceeding" - a meaning Havernick also finds in the Hebrew. The former derivation has been followed by the Authorized Version, which renders in the margin, "I will strike thee with six plagues," or "draw thee back with a hook of six teeth," and by Hengstenberg, With whom Plumptre agrees, "1 will six thee," i.e. "afflict thee with six plagues," viz. those mentioned in Ezekiel 38:22. The latter derivation, presumably the more correct, is adopted by the LXX. (καθοδογήσω), the Vulgate (educam), the Revised Version ("I will lead thee on"), and by modern expositors generally. Hitzig and Smend approve of Ewald's translation, "I entice thee astray, and lead thee with leading, strings." Ezekiel 39:2Further Description of the Judgment to Fall upon Gog and his Hosts

Ezekiel 39:1-8. General announcement of his destruction. - Ezekiel 39:1. And thou, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will deal with thee, Gog, thou prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. Ezekiel 39:2. I will mislead thee, and conduct thee, and cause thee to come up from the uttermost north, and bring thee to the mountains of Israel; Ezekiel 39:3. And will smite thy bow from thy left hand, and cause thine arrows to fall from thy right hand. Ezekiel 39:4. Upon the mountains of Israel wilt thou fall, thou and all thy hosts, and the peoples which are with thee: I give thee for food to the birds of prey of every plumage, and to the beasts of the field. Ezekiel 39:5. Upon the open field shalt thou fall, for I have spoken it, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 39:6. And I will send fire in Magog, and among those who dwell in security upon the islands, that they may know that I am Jehovah. Ezekiel 39:7. I will make known my holy name in the midst of my people Israel, and will not let my holy name be profaned any more, that the nations may know that I am Jehovah, holy in Israel. Ezekiel 39:8. Behold, it comes and happens, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah; this is the day of which I spoke. - The further description of the judgment with which Gog and his hosts are threatened in Ezekiel 38:21-23, commences with a repetition of the command to the prophet to prophesy against Gog (Ezekiel 39:1, cf. Ezekiel 38:2-3). The principal contents of Ezekiel 38:4-15 are then briefly summed up in Ezekiel 39:2. שׁבבתּיך, as in Ezekiel 38:4, is strengthened by שׁשּׁתיך, שׁשׁא, ἁπαχ λεγ.., is not connected with שׁשׁ in the sense of "I leave a sixth part of thee remaining," or afflict thee with six punishments; but in the Ethiopic it signifies to proceed, or to climb, and here, accordingly, it is used in the sense of leading on (lxx καθοδηγήσω σε, or, according to another reading, κατάξω; Vulg. educam). For Ezekiel 39:2, compare Ezekiel 38:15 and Ezekiel 38:8. In the land of Israel, God will strike his weapons out of his hands, i.e., make him incapable of fighting (for the fact itself, compare the similar figures in Psalm 37:15; Psalm 46:10), and give him up with all his army as a prey to death. עיט, a beast of prey, is more precisely defined by צפּור, and still further strengthened by the genitive כּל־כּנף: birds of prey of every kind. The judgment will not be confined to the destruction of the army of Gog, which has invaded the land of Israel, but (Ezekiel 39:6) will also extend to the land of Gog, and to all the heathen nations that are dwelling in security. אשׁ, fire, primarily the fire of war; then, in a further sense, a figure denoting destruction inflicted directly by God, as in Ezekiel 38:22, which is therefore represented in Revelation 20:9 as fire falling from heaven. Magog is the population of the land of Magog (Ezekiel 38:2). With this the inhabitants of the distant coastlands of the west (the איּים) are associated, as representatives of the remotest heathen nations. Ezekiel 39:7, Ezekiel 39:8. By this judgment the Lord will make known His holy name in Israel, and show the heathen that He will not let it be blasphemed by them any more. For the fact itself, compare Ezekiel 36:20. For Ezekiel 39:8, compare Ezekiel 21:12, and for היּום, see Ezekiel 38:18-19.

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