Wesley's Notes on the Bible
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
38:1 Saying - God now forewarns the Jews, what enemies and troubles would interpose, before he would fully deliver them.
Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
38:2 Gog - This cannot be one single person, or prince, though perhaps it points out some one, by whom the troubles foretold were begun. Some believe 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. But others think, all the enemies of Israel in all quarters, both open and secret are here intended, and that the Antichristian forces and combination, are what the prophet foretells. Magog - 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 that country, which now is in subjection to the Turks, and may be extended thro' Asia minor, the countries of Sarmatia, and many others, under more than one in succession of time. And in the last time under some one active and daring prince, all their power will be stirred up against Christians.
And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
38:4 Handling swords - That is, very ready, expert and strong in using the sword.
Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
38:6 Gomer - Inhabitants of Galatia. Togarmah - Paphlagonia, and Cappadocia. The north quarters - The more northern people, the numerous Tartars.
Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
38:7 Be thou prepared - God and the church deride this mighty preparation.
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.
38:8 After many days - In the latter days of the Messiah's kingdom among men. In the later years - These must be cotemporary with the many days already mentioned. Thou - Gog with all thy numbers. The land - The land of the Jews, a people recovered from captivity, into which the sword of their enemy had brought them. Always waste - It is already two thousand four hundred years since the ten tribes were carried away by Salmanezer. But it - The land of Canaan, that is, the people of it.
Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:
And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,
38:11 Unwalled - Weak, and without any considerable defences.
To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?
38:13 Sheba - This Sheba was southward, and contains all of that coast which assisted Gog. Dedan - By these are noted, the eastern nations that assisted. Tarshish - The inhabitants of the sea - coast westward, and Magog north. The young lions - Young men thirsty of blood, but more of spoil, resolve to join, if they may rob and spoil for themselves. Art thou come - This repeated enquiry seems to be an agreement to come to his assistance, on condition they might have, possess, and carry away what they seize.
Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?
38:14 Know it - Thou wilt be informed of it.
And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:
38:15 The north parts - From Scythia, from the Euxine and Caspian seas, and countries thereabouts.
And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.
38:16 I will bring - I will permit thee to come. Sanctified - Confessed to be a great God over all, a gracious and faithful God to his people, and a dreadful enemy and avenger against the wicked. Before - ln the sight of all the heathen that are with Gog, and much more in the sight of God's own people.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?
38:17 Spoken - All these enterprises I have spoken of, and will as well defeat as I did foretel them.
And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.
For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;
38:19 For - For my own people, and for mine own glory. Have I spoken - Against mine enemies Gog, and all his herd. A great shaking - A great disturbance and tumult, like an earthquake.
So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother.
38:21 Sword - Israel. Throughout - From all parts of the land, which was full of mountains. Every man's sword - As it was in Jehoshaphat's time; and these swords may be meant by the sword God will call for through all, for they ranged all over his mountains.
And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.
38:23 Magnify - Undeniably prove that I am the mighty, just, faithful, wise, holy, and merciful God. Sanctify - Declare I am holy, and true to my word.