the chief…: or, prince of the chief
think…: or, conceive a mischievous purpose
safely: or, confidently
To take…: Heb. To spoil the spoil, and to prey the prey
by: Heb. by the hand of
steep…: or, towers, or, stairs
And the word of the LORD
came unto me, saying,
The sublime prophecy contained in this and the following
chapter relates to Israel's victory over Gog, and is very
obscure. It begins with representing a prodigious armarnent of
many nations combined together under the conduct of Gog, with
the intention of overwhelming the Jews, after having been for
some time resettled in their land subsequent to their return
from the Babylonish captivity, 1-9.
These enemies are farther represented as making themselves sure
of the spoil, 10-13.
But in this critical conjuncture when Israel, to all human
appearance, was about to be swallowed up by her enemies, God
most graciously appears, to execute by terrible judgments the
vengeance threatened against these formidable adversaries of
his people, 14-16.
The prophet, in terms borrowed from human passions, describes,
with awful emphasis, the fury of Jehovah as coming up to his
face; and the effects of it so dreadful, as to make all the
animate and inanimate creation tremble, and even to convulse
with terror the whole frame of nature, 17-23.
NOTES ON CHAP. XXXVIII
Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,a
Verse 2. Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog
This is allowed to be the most difficult prophecy in the Old
Testament. It is difficult to us, because we know not the king
intended by it: but I am satisfied they were well known by
these names in the time that the prophet wrote.
I have already remarked in the introduction Eze 1:1
book that there are but two
opinions on this subject that appear
to be at all probable: 1. That which makes GOG Cambyses
, king of Persia
; and, 2. That which makes him ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES, king
. And between these two
(for one or other is supposed to
be the person intended) men are much divided. Calmet
, one of the most judicious commentators that ever wrote
on the Bible, declares for Cambyses
; and supports his opinion, in
opposition to all others, by many arguments.
supposes the Americans
are meant who were originally
colonies of the Scythians, who were descendants of Magog
, son of Japheth
declares for the Scythians
, whose neighbours
were the people of Rosh, Meshech
, and Tubal
, that is the Russians, Muscovites
, and Tybareni
. Several eminent critics
espouse this opinion. Rabbi David Kimchi
says the Christians
are meant: and of later opinions there are several,
founded in the ocean of conjecture. Calmet
says expressly, that
GOG is Cambyses
, king of Persia, who on his return from the land
of Egypt, died in Judea. The Rev. David Martin
, pastor of the
Waloon church at Utrecht, concludes, after examining all previous
opinions, that Antiochus Epiphanes
, the great enemy of the
Israelites, is alone intended here; and that Gog
, which signifies covered
, is an allusion to the well-known character
Antiochus, whom historians describe as an artful, cunning
, and dissembling
man. See Da 8:23, 25; 11:23, 27, 32
he supposes to mean the country of Syria
. Of this opinion
the following quotation from Pliny
, Hist. Nat., lib. v., c. 23,
seems a proof; who, speaking of Coele-Syria, says: Coele habet
Apamiam Marsyia amne divisam a Nazarinorum Tetrarchia. Bambycem
quam alio nomine Hierapolis vocatur, Syris vero Magog.
"Coele-Syria has Apamia separated from the tetrarchy of the
Nazarenes by the river Marsyia; and Bambyce, otherwise called
Hierapolis; but by the Syrians, MAGOG."
I shall at present examine the text by this latter opinion. Chief prince of Meshech and Tubal
] These probably mean the
auxiliary forces, over whom Antiochus was supreme; they were the Muscovites
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:
Verse 4. I will turn thee back
] Thy enterprise shall fail.
Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:b
Verse 5. Persia
] That a part of this country was tributary to Antiochus
, see 1Macc 3:31
. Ethiopia, and Libya
] That these were auxiliaries of Antiochus is
evident from Da 11:43
: "The Libyans and Ethiopians shall be at
Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and
many people with thee.
Verse 6. Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah
] The Cimmerians
, and other northern nations.-Calmet
Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
¶ 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.
Verse 8. In the latter years thou shalt come
] This was fulfilled
about four hundred
. The expedition of Cambyses
against Egypt was about twelve
years after the return of the Jews
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.
Verse 9. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm
] It is
observable that Antiochus is thus spoken of by Daniel, Da 11:40
: The king of the north
-Antiochus, shall come against him
king of the south is the king of Egypt) like a whirlwind
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:c
Verse 10. Shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought
] Antiochus purposed to invade and destroy Egypt
as well as Judea
; see Da 11:31, 32, 36
. This Calmet
interprets of Cambyses, his cruelties in Egypt, and his
evil design to destroy the Israelites.
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,d
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.e, f
Verse 12. To take a spoil-and a prey
] When Antiochus took
Jerusalem he gave the pillage of it to his soldiers, and spoiled
the temple of its riches, which were immense. See Joseph
. WAR, B.
i. c. 1.
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?
Verse 13. Sheba, and Dedan
] The Arabians, anciently great
plunderers; and Tarshish
, the inhabitants of the famous isle of
Tartessus, the most noted merchants of the time. They are here
represented as coming to Antiochus before he undertook the
expedition, and bargaining for the spoils of the Jews. Art thou come to take a spoil, to carry away silver and gold, cattle and goods
¶ 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
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:
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.
Verse 16. When I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog
] By the
defeat of his troops under Lysias
, his general. 1Mac 3:32, 33
&c., and Eze 6:6
Thus saith the Lord GOD
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?g
Verse 17. Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time
prophecy concerning Antiochus and the Jews was delievered about four hundred
years before the events took place.-Martin
maintains that Cambyses is spoken of, and refers to ancient
prophecies, especially Isa. xiv., xv., xx., xxi.
And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD
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;
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.h
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.
Verse 21. I will call for a sword against him
] Meaning Judas Maccabeus
, who defeated his army under Lysias, making a horrible
. Cambyses had no wars in the mountains of Israel.
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.
Verse 22. Great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
] These are
probably figurative expressions, to signify that the whole tide of
the war should be against him, and that his defeat and slaughter
should be great. Abp. Newcome
supposes all the above prophecy
remains yet to be fulfilled. Where such eminent scribes are
divided, who shall decide!
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