Ezekiel 38

A Prophecy Against Gog

1The word of the Lord came to me: 2“Son of man, turn toward
Heb “set your face against.”
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.
of the land of Magog,
One of the sons of Japheth according to Gen 10:2; 1 Chr 1:5.
the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
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.
Meshech and Tubal were two nations in Cappadocia of Asia Minor. They were also sons of Japheth (Gen 10:2; 1 Chr 1:5).
Prophesy against him
3and say: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look,
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 ‘hinnenî êlêkâ,’” ZAW 45 (1933): 101-8.
I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
4I 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,
The Hebrew text mentions two different types of shields here.
all of them armed with swords.
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.
Ethiopia, and Put
That is, Lydia.
are with them, all of them with shields and helmets.
6They are joined by
The words “they are joined by” are added in the translation for purposes of English style.
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.
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.

7 “‘Be ready and stay ready, you and all your companies assembled around you, and be a guard for them.
The second person singular verbal and pronominal forms in the Hebrew text indicate that Gog is addressed here.
8After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come to a land restored from the ravages of war,
Heb “from the sword.”
with many peoples gathered on the mountains of Israel that had long been in ruins. Its people
Heb “it.”
were brought out from the peoples, and all of them will be living securely.
9You will advance;
Heb “go up.”
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.

10 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind,
Heb “words will go up upon your heart.”
and you will devise an evil plan.
11You will say, “I will invade
Heb “go up against.”
a land of unwalled towns; I will advance against
Heb “come (to).”
those living quietly in security – all of them living without walls and barred gates –
12to loot and plunder, to attack
Heb “to turn your hand against.”
the inhabited ruins and the people gathered from the nations, who are acquiring cattle and goods, who live at the center
The Hebrew term occurs elsewhere only in Judg 9:37. Perhaps it means “high point, top.”
of the earth.”
13Sheba and Dedan and the traders of Tarshish with all its young warriors
Heb “young lions.”
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?”’

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
The Hebrew text is framed as a rhetorical question: “will you not take notice?”
15and 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. 16You will advance
Heb “come up.”
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
Or “reveal my holiness.”
through you, O Gog.

17 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days by my servants
Heb “by the hand of my servants.”
the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days
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.
that I would bring you against them?
18On that day, when Gog invades
Heb “goes up against.”
the land of Israel, declares the sovereign Lord, my rage will mount up in my anger.
19In my zeal, in the fire of my fury,
The phrase “in the fire of my fury” occurs in Ezek 21:31; 22:21, 31.
I declare that on that day there will be a great earthquake
Or “shaking.”
in the land of Israel.
20The 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
Or “tremble.”
at my presence. The mountains will topple, the cliffs
The term occurs only here and in Song of Songs 2:14.
will fall, and every wall will fall to the ground.
21I will call for a sword to attack
Heb “against.”
Heb “him”; the referent (Gog, cf. v. 18) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
on all my mountains, declares the sovereign Lord; every man’s sword will be against his brother.
22I 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. 23I will exalt and magnify myself; I will reveal myself before many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’

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