Ezekiel 38

CHAPTER XXXVIII

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

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 nor

people 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 to this

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

of Syria. 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.

Mr. Mede supposes the Americans are meant who were originally

colonies of the Scythians, who were descendants of Magog, son of

Japheth. Houbigant declares for the Scythians, whose neighbours

were the people of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, that is the Russians,

Muscovites, and Tybareni or Cappadocians. Several eminent critics

espouse this opinion. Rabbi David Kimchi says the Christians and

Turks 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 of

Antiochus, whom historians describe as an artful, cunning, and

dissembling man. See Da 8:23, 25; 11:23, 27, 32.

Magog 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 Cappadocians.

Verse 4. I will turn thee back] Thy enterprise shall fail.

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

his steps."

Verse 6. Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah] The

Cimmerians and Turcomanians, and other northern nations.-Calmet.

Verse 8. In the latter years thou shalt come] This was fulfilled

about four hundred years after.-Martin. The expedition of Cambyses

against Egypt was about twelve years after the return of the Jews

from Babylon.-Calmet.

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 (the

king of the south is the king of Egypt) like a whirlwind.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Verse 17. Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time] This

prophecy concerning Antiochus and the Jews was delievered about

four hundred years before the events took place.-Martin. Calmet

maintains that Cambyses is spoken of, and refers to ancient

prophecies, especially Isa. xiv., xv., xx., xxi.

Verse 21. I will call for a sword against him] Meaning Judas

Maccabeus, who defeated his army under Lysias, making a horrible

carnage.-Martin. Cambyses had no wars in the mountains of Israel.

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!

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