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Ezekiel 38:1--39:20

Context
A Prophecy Against Gog

38:1 The word of the Lord came to me: 38:2 “Son of man, turn toward 1  Gog, 2  of the land of Magog, 3  the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4  Prophesy against him 38:3 and say: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, 5  I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 38:4 I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them fully armed, a great company with shields of different types, 6  all of them armed with swords. 38:5 Persia, 7  Ethiopia, and Put 8  are with them, all of them with shields and helmets. 38:6 They are joined by 9  Gomer with all its troops, and by Beth Togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops – many peoples are with you. 10 

38:7 “‘Be ready and stay ready, you and all your companies assembled around you, and be a guard for them. 11  38:8 After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come to a land restored from the ravages of war, 12  with many peoples gathered on the mountains of Israel that had long been in ruins. Its people 13  were brought out from the peoples, and all of them will be living securely. 38:9 You will advance; 14  you will come like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the earth, you, all your troops, and the many other peoples with you.

38:10 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind, 15  and you will devise an evil plan. 38:11 You will say, “I will invade 16  a land of unwalled towns; I will advance against 17  those living quietly in security – all of them living without walls and barred gates – 38:12 to loot and plunder, to attack 18  the inhabited ruins and the people gathered from the nations, who are acquiring cattle and goods, who live at the center 19  of the earth.” 38:13 Sheba and Dedan and the traders of Tarshish with all its young warriors 20  will say to you, “Have you come to loot? Have you assembled your armies to plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to haul away a great amount of spoils?”’

38:14 “Therefore, prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: On that day when my people Israel are living securely, you will take notice 21  38:15 and come from your place, from the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a vast army. 38:16 You will advance 22  against my people Israel like a cloud covering the earth. In the latter days I will bring you against my land so that the nations may acknowledge me, when before their eyes I magnify myself 23  through you, O Gog.

38:17 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days by my servants 24  the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days 25  that I would bring you against them? 38:18 On that day, when Gog invades 26  the land of Israel, declares the sovereign Lord, my rage will mount up in my anger. 38:19 In my zeal, in the fire of my fury, 27  I declare that on that day there will be a great earthquake 28  in the land of Israel. 38:20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the wild beasts, all the things that creep on the ground, and all people who live on the face of the earth will shake 29  at my presence. The mountains will topple, the cliffs 30  will fall, and every wall will fall to the ground. 38:21 I will call for a sword to attack 31  Gog 32  on all my mountains, declares the sovereign Lord; every man’s sword will be against his brother. 38:22 I will judge him with plague and bloodshed. I will rain down on him, his troops and the many peoples who are with him a torrential downpour, hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 38:23 I will exalt and magnify myself; I will reveal myself before many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’

39:1 “As for you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal! 39:2 I will turn you around and drag you along; 33  I will lead you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel. 39:3 I will knock your bow out of your left hand and make your arrows fall from your right hand. 39:4 You will fall dead on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the people who are with you. I give you as food to every kind of bird and every wild beast. 39:5 You will fall dead in the open field; for I have spoken, declares the sovereign Lord. 39:6 I will send fire on Magog and those who live securely in the coastlands; then they will know that I am the Lord.

39:7 “‘I will make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 34  39:8 Realize that it is coming and it will be done, declares the sovereign Lord. It is the day I have spoken about.

39:9 “‘Then those who live in the cities of Israel will go out and use the weapons for kindling 35  – the shields, 36  bows and arrows, war clubs and spears – they will burn them for seven years. 39:10 They will not need to take 37  wood from the field or cut down trees from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons. They will take the loot from those who looted them and seize the plunder of those who plundered them, 38  declares the sovereign Lord.

39:11 “‘On that day I will assign Gog a grave in Israel. It will be the valley of those who travel east of the sea; it will block the way of the travelers. There they will bury Gog and all his horde; they will call it the valley of Hamon-Gog. 39  39:12 For seven months Israel 40  will bury them, in order to cleanse the land. 39:13 All the people of the land will bury them, and it will be a memorial 41  for them on the day I magnify myself, declares the sovereign Lord. 39:14 They will designate men to scout continually 42  through the land, burying those who remain on the surface of the ground, 43  in order to cleanse it. They will search for seven full months. 39:15 When the scouts survey 44  the land and see a human bone, they will place a sign by it, until those assigned to burial duty have buried it 45  in the valley of Hamon-Gog. 39:16 (A city by the name of Hamonah 46  will also be there.) They will cleanse the land.’

39:17 “As for you, son of man, this is what the sovereign Lord says: Tell every kind of bird and every wild beast: ‘Assemble and come! Gather from all around to my slaughter 47  which I am going to make for you, a great slaughter on the mountains of Israel! You will eat flesh and drink blood. 39:18 You will eat the flesh of warriors 48  and drink the blood of the princes of the earth – the rams, lambs, goats, and bulls, all of them fattened animals of Bashan. 39:19 You will eat fat until you are full, and drink blood until you are drunk, 49  at my slaughter 50  which I have made for you. 39:20 You will fill up at my table with horses and charioteers, 51  with warriors and all the soldiers,’ declares the sovereign Lord.

1 tn Heb “set your face against.”

2 sn This may refer to a Lydian king in western Asia Minor in the seventh century b.c. Apart from Ezek 38-39, the only other biblical reference to this king/nation is in Rev 20:8. For a study of the names appearing in this verse, see E. Yamauchi, Foes From the Northern Frontier, 19-27.

3 sn One of the sons of Japheth according to Gen 10:2; 1 Chr 1:5.

4 tn Heb “the prince, the chief of Meshech and Tubal.” Some translate “the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal,” but it is more likely that the Hebrew noun in question is a common noun in apposition to “prince,” rather than a proper name. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:434-35. As Block demonstrates, attempts by some popular writers to identify these proper names with later geographical sites in Russia are anachronistic. See as well E. Yamauchi, Foes From the Northern Frontier, 19-27.

sn Meshech and Tubal were two nations in Cappadocia of Asia Minor. They were also sons of Japheth (Gen 10:2; 1 Chr 1:5).

5 tn Or “I challenge you.” The phrase “I am against you” may be a formula for challenging someone to combat or a duel. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:201-2, and P. Humbert, “Die Herausforderungsformel ‘h!nn#n' ?l?K>,’” ZAW 45 (1933): 101-8.

6 sn The Hebrew text mentions two different types of shields here.

7 tn D. I. Block prefers to see the Hebrew word as referring here to a western ally of Egypt or as an alternative spelling for Pathros, that is, Upper Egypt. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:439-40.

8 sn That is, Lydia.

9 tn The words “they are joined by” are added in the translation for purposes of English style.

10 sn The seven-nation coalition represents the north (Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, Beth-Togarmah), the south/west (Ethiopia, Put) and the east (Persia). The use of the sevenfold list suggests completeness. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:441.

11 tn The second person singular verbal and pronominal forms in the Hebrew text indicate that Gog is addressed here.

12 tn Heb “from the sword.”

13 tn Heb “it.”

14 tn Heb “go up.”

15 tn Heb “words will go up upon your heart.”

16 tn Heb “go up against.”

17 tn Heb “come (to).”

18 tn Heb “to turn your hand against.”

19 tn The Hebrew term occurs elsewhere only in Judg 9:37. Perhaps it means “high point, top.”

20 tn Heb “young lions.”

21 tn The Hebrew text is framed as a rhetorical question: “will you not take notice?”

22 tn Heb “come up.”

23 tn Or “reveal my holiness.”

24 tn Heb “by the hand of my servants.”

25 tn The Hebrew text adds “years” here, but this is probably a scribal gloss on the preceding phrase. See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:201.

26 tn Heb “goes up against.”

27 sn The phrase “in the fire of my fury” occurs in Ezek 21:31; 22:21, 31.

28 tn Or “shaking.”

29 tn Or “tremble.”

30 tn The term occurs only here and in Song of Songs 2:14.

31 tn Heb “against.”

32 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Gog, cf. v. 18) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

33 tn The Hebrew root occurs only here in the OT. An apparent cognate in the Ethiopic language means “walk along.” For a discussion of the research on this verb, see D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:460.

34 sn The basic sense of the word “holy” is “set apart from that which is commonplace, special, unique.” The Lord’s holiness is first and foremost his transcendent sovereignty as the ruler of the world. He is “set apart” from the world over which he rules. At the same time his holiness encompasses his moral authority, which derives from his royal position. As king he has the right to dictate to his subjects how they are to live; indeed his very own character sets the standard for proper behavior. This expression is a common title for the Lord in the book of Isaiah.

35 tn Heb “burn and kindle the weapons.”

36 tn Two different types of shields are specified in the Hebrew text.

37 tn Heb “they will not carry.”

38 tn Heb “loot their looters and plunder their plunderers.”

39 tn The name means “horde of Gog.”

40 tn Heb “the house of Israel.”

41 tn Heb “name.”

42 tn Heb “men of perpetuity.”

43 tn Heb “and bury the travelers and those who remain on the surface of the ground.” The reference to “travelers” seems odd and is omitted in the LXX. It is probably an accidental duplication (see v. 11).

44 tn Heb “as the scouts scout.”

45 tn That is, the aforementioned bone.

46 tn This name appears to be a feminine form of the word “horde,” used in the name Hamon-Gog.

47 tn Or “sacrifice” (so also in the rest of this verse).

48 sn See Rev 19:17-18.

49 sn Eating the fat and drinking blood were God’s exclusive rights in Israelite sacrifices (Lev 3:17).

50 tn Or “sacrifice” (so also in the rest of this verse).

51 tn Heb “chariots.”



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