Ezekiel 39


The prophet goes on to denounce the Divine judgments against

Gog and his army, 1-7;

and describes their dreadful slaughter, 8-10,

and burial, 11-16,

in terms so very lofty and comprehensive, as must certainly

denote some very extraordinary interposition of Providence in

behalf of the Jews. And to amplify the matter still more, the

prophet, with peculiar art and propriety, delays the summoning

of all the birds and beasts of prey in nature to feast on the

slain, (in allusion to the custom of feasting on the remainder

of sacrifices,) till after the greater multitudes are buried;

to intimate that even the remainder, and as it were the

stragglers of such mighty hosts, would be more than sufficient

to satisfy their utmost rapacity, 17-20.

The remaining verses contain a prediction of the great

blessedness of the people of God in Gospel times, and of the

stability of the kingdom of Christ, 21-29.

It will be proper to remark that the great northern expedition

against the natural Israel, described in this and the preceding

chapter, is, from its striking resemblance in the main

particulars, put by the writer of the Apocalypse,

(Eze 20:7-10,)

for a much more formidable armament of a multitude of nations

in the four quarters of the earth against the pure Christian

Church, the MYSTICAL Israel; an event still extremely remote,

and which it is thought shall immediately precede the

destruction of the world by fire, and the general judgment.


Verse 2. And leave but the sixth part of thee] The margin has,

strike thee with six plagues; or, draw thee back with a hook of

six teeth.

Verse 3. I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand] The Persians

whom Antiochus had in his army, Eze 38:5, were famous as

archers, and they may be intended here. The bow is held by the

left hand; the arrow is pulled and discharged by the right.

Verse 6. I will send a fire on Magog] On Syria. I will destroy

the Syrian troops.

And among them that dwell carelessly in the isles] The auxiliary

troops that came to Antiochus from the borders of the Euxine


Verse 7. In the midst of my people Israel] This defeat of Gog is

to be in Israel: and it was there according to this prophecy, that

the immense army of Antiochus was so completely defeated.

And I will not let them pollute my holy name any more] See on

1Macc 1:11, &c., how Antiochus had profaned the temple, insulted

Jehovah and his worship, &c. God permitted that as a scourge to

his disobedient people; but now the scourger shall be scourged,

and he shall pollute the sanctuary no more.

Verse 9. And shall set on fire-the weapons] The Israelites shall

make bonfires and fuel of the weapons, tents, &c., which the

defeated Syrians shall leave behind them, as expressive of the joy

which they shall feel for the destruction of their enemies; and to

keep up, in their culinary consumption, the memory of this great


They shall burn them with fire seven years] These may be

figurative expressions, after the manner of the Asiatics, whose

language abounds with such descriptions. They occur every where in

the prophets. As to the number seven, it is only a certain for an

indeterminate number. But as the slaughter was great, and the

bows, arrows, quivers, shields, bucklers, handstaves, and spears

were in vast multitudes, it must have taken a long time to gather

them up in the different parts of the fields of battle, and the

roads in which the Syrians had retreated, throwing away their

arms as they proceeded; so there might have been a long time

employed in collecting and burning them. And as all seem to have

been doomed to the fire, there might have been some found at

different intervals and burned, during the seven years here

mentioned. Mariana, in his History of Spain, lib. xi., c. 24,

says, that after the Spaniards had given that signal overthrow to

the Saracens, A.D. 1212, they found such a vast quantity of

lances, javelins, and such like, that they served them for four

years for fuel. And probably these instruments obtained by the

Israelites were used in general for culinary firewood, and might

literally have served them for seven years; so that during that

time they should take no wood out of the fields, nor out of the

forests for the purpose of fuel, Eze 39:10.

Verse 11. The valley of the passengers on the east of the sea]

That is, of Gennesareth, according to the Targum. The valley near

this lake or sea is called the Valley of the Passengers, because

it was a great road by which the merchants and traders from Syria

and other eastern countries went into Egypt; see Ge 37:17, 25.

See Calmet here.

There shall they bury Gog and all his multitude] Some read,

"There shall they bury Gog, that is, all his multitude." Not Gog,

or Antiochus himself, for he was not in this battle; but his

generals, captains, and soldiers, by whom he was represented. As

to Hamon-gog, we know no valley of this name but here. But we may

understand the words thus: the place where this great slaughter

was, and where the multitudes of the slain were buried, might be

better called Hamon-gog, the valley of the multitude of God, than

the valley of passengers; for so great was the carnage there, that

the way of the passengers shall be stopped by it. See the text.

Verse 12. And seven months] It shall require a long time to bury

the dead. This is another figurative expression; which, however,

may admit of a good deal of literal meaning. Many of the Syrian

soldiers had secreted themselves in different places during the

pursuit after the battle, where they died of their wounds, of

hunger, and of fatigue; so that they were not all found and buried

till seven months after the defeat of the Syrian army. This slow

process of burying is distinctly related in the three following

verses, and extended even to a bone, Eze 39:15; which, when it

was found by a passenger, the place was marked, that the buriers

might see and inter it. Seven months was little time enough for

all this work; and in that country putrescency does not easily

take place: the scorching winds serving to desiccate the flesh,

and preserve it from decomposition.

Verse 17. Gather yourselves-to my sacrifice] This is an allusion

to a custom common in the east: when a sacrifice is made, the

friends and neighbours of the party sacrificing are invited to

come and feast on the sacrifice.

Verse 18. Ye shall-drink the blood of the princes of the earth]

I need not mention the custom of the Scandinavians: they were

accustomed to drink the blood of their enemies out of the skulls

of the dead. But this is spoken of fowls and beasts here-rams,

lambs, and goats. The feast shall be as grateful and as plenteous

to the fowls and beasts, as one made of the above animals, the

fattest and best of their kind, (because fed in the fertile fields

of Bashan,) would be to the guests of him who makes a sacrifice.

Verse 19. And ye shall eat fat-and drink blood] Who shall eat

and drink, &c.? Not the Jews: though Voltaire says they ate human

flesh, and are invited here by the prophet to eat the flesh and

drink the blood of their enemies; which is a most unprincipled

falsehood. It is the fowls and the beasts that God invites,

Eze 39:17: "Speak to every feathered fowl, and to every beast

of the field, assemble yourselves-that ye may eat flesh and drink

blood;" nor are the persons altered in all these verses,

Eze 39:17-20: so the assertion of

Voltaire is either through brutish ignorance or Satanic malice.

Verse 25. Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob] Both

they and the heathen shall know that it was for their iniquity

that I gave them into the hands of their enemies: and now I will

redeem them from those hands in such a way as to prove that I am a

merciful God, as well as a just God.

Verse 26. After that they have borne their shame] After they

shall have borne the punishment due to a line of conduct which is

their shame and reproach, viz. idolatry.

Verse 27. When I have-gathered them] Antiochus had before

captured many of the Jews, and sold them for slaves; see

Da 11:33.

Verse 28. And have left none of then any more there.] All that

chose had liberty to return; but many remained behind. This

promise may therefore refer to a greater restoration, when not a

Jew shall be left behind. This, the next verse intimates, will be

in the Gospel dispensation.

Verse 29. For I have poured out my Spirit] That is, I will pour

out my Spirit; see the notes on Eze 36:25-29, where this subject

is largely considered. This Spirit is to enlighten, quicken,

purify, and cleanse their hearts; so that, being completely

changed, they shall become God's people, and be a praise in the

earth. Now, they are a proverb of reproach; then, they shall be

eminently distinguished.


For an explanation of this plan, and of the accompanying

map of the division of the Land of Canaan,

see at the end of "Eze 48:35".

[Drawing of the Plan of the Temple]

[Drawing of Divison of the Land of Canaan]

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