Ezekiel Chapter Thirty-eight
The army and malice of Gog. (1-13) God's judgments. (14-23)
Commentary on Ezekiel 38:1-13
(Read Ezekiel 38:1-13)
These events will be in the latter days. It is supposed these enemies will come together to invade the land of Judea, and God will defeat them. God not only sees who are now the enemies of his church, but he foresees who will be so, and lets them know by his word that he is against them; though they join together, the wicked shall not be unpunished.
Commentary on Ezekiel 38:14-23
(Read Ezekiel 38:14-23)
The enemy should make a formidable descent upon the land of Israel. When Israel dwell safely under the Divine protection, shalt not thou be made to know it by finding that endeavours to destroy them are made in vain? Promises of security are treasured up in the word of God, against the troubles and dangers the church may be brought into in the latter days. In the destruction of sinners, God makes it appear that he is a great and holy God. We should desire and pray daily. Father, glorify thine own name.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Ezekiel》
 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Saying — God now forewarns the Jews, what enemies and troubles would interpose, before he would fully deliver them.
 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
Gog — This cannot be one single person, or prince, though perhaps it points out some one, by whom the troubles foretold were begun. Some believe the time is still to come, wherein this prophecy is to be fulfilled. And that it must intend those enemies of God's church who descended from the Scythians, and are now masters of Cappadocia, Iberia, Armenia, or are in confederacy with the Tartars, and those northern heathens. But others think, all the enemies of Israel in all quarters, both open and secret are here intended, and that the Antichristian forces and combination, are what the prophet foretells.
Magog — Magog is, at least, part of Scythia, and comprehends Syria, in which was Hierapolis. taken by the Scythians, and called of them Scythopolis. It is that country, which now is in subjection to the Turks, and may be extended thro' Asia minor, the countries of Sarmatia, and many others, under more than one in succession of time. And in the last time under some one active and daring prince, all their power will be stirred up against Christians.
 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:
Handling swords — That is, very ready, expert and strong in using the sword.
 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
Gomer — Inhabitants of Galatia.
Togarmah — Paphlagonia, and Cappadocia.
The north quarters — The more northern people, the numerous Tartars.
 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
Be thou prepared — God and the church deride this mighty preparation.
 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.
After many days — In the latter days of the Messiah's kingdom among men.
In the later years — These must be cotemporary with the many days already mentioned.
Thou — Gog with all thy numbers.
The land — The land of the Jews, a people recovered from captivity, into which the sword of their enemy had brought them.
Always waste — It is already two thousand four hundred years since the ten tribes were carried away by Salmanezer.
But it — The land of Canaan, that is, the people of it.
 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,
Unwalled — Weak, and without any considerable defences.
 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?
Sheba — This Sheba was southward, and contains all of that coast which assisted Gog.
Dedan — By these are noted, the eastern nations that assisted.
Tarshish — The inhabitants of the sea-coast westward, and Magog north.
The young lions — Young men thirsty of blood, but more of spoil, resolve to join, if they may rob and spoil for themselves.
Art thou come — This repeated enquiry seems to be an agreement to come to his assistance, on condition they might have, possess, and carry away what they seize.
 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?
Know it — Thou wilt be informed of 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:
The north parts — From Scythia, from the Euxine and Caspian seas, and countries thereabouts.
 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.
I will bring — I will permit thee to come.
Sanctified — Confessed to be a great God over all, a gracious and faithful God to his people, and a dreadful enemy and avenger against the wicked.
Before — ln the sight of all the heathen that are with Gog, and much more in the sight of God's own people.
 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art 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?
Spoken — All these enterprises I have spoken of, and will as well defeat as I did foretel them.
 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;
For — For my own people, and for mine own glory.
Have I spoken — Against mine enemies Gog, and all his herd.
A great shaking — A great disturbance and tumult, like an earthquake.
 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.
Sword — Israel.
Throughout — From all parts of the land, which was full of mountains.
Every man's sword — As it was in Jehoshaphat's time; and these swords may be meant by the sword God will call for through all, for they ranged all over his mountains.
 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 the LORD.
Magnify — Undeniably prove that I am the mighty, just, faithful, wise, holy, and merciful God.
Sanctify — Declare I am holy, and true to my word.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Ezekiel》
38 Chapter 38
Shall things come into thy mind?
The Prince of Meshech; or, thought and sterling character
There is much mystery about the Prince of Meshech. Anyhow, there was much terror spread by him and his people when they overran Israel. Malicious intentions were fostered by the prince. Many things came into his mind, and among them a special “evil thought.” His intention was to go up against the defenceless, “to take a spoil and to take a prey.” God rebuked him and threatened that “Divine fury should come in his face.” Evil thoughts reveal our characters and bring Divine condemnation. God looks at the thoughts, and measures the man by his thoughts. All men have a character of some sort. It is something that attaches itself to us as closely as our shadow. We cannot separate ourselves from the one any more than from the other. The general tone of the thoughts determines the real character, whether of the Prince of Meshech or a peasant of the mountains.
I. The constituents of a really sterling character.
1. In a man of real worth there will be transparency of life. He will be easily seen through,--not in the sense of being detected, but of being so upright that there shall be nothing wrong to detect. Some only pretend to be transparent, like the cobwebbed, unwashed, dust-covered window, opening into some close alley. These affect an openness of life, and yield to practices of which it would be a shame to speak. Others are transparent, because pure; and are like the beautiful rose window in the Cathedral at Amiens, where there is such a charming combination of colours that even the sun’s rays passing through it are tinged with a brighter glory.
2. In the man of sterling character there will be a ready recognition of the supremacy of conscience. Too many have double consciences, one for church life, the other for commerce; one for the sanctuary, the other for the shop and the counting house. They forget that that which they approve in the one must be carried out in the other. If they have principles, let them cling to them; if they claim to be men of sterling worth, let them bow ever before conscience.
3. In the man of sterling character there must ever be a recognition of the value, and the actual possession of real piety. Morality apart from reverence for God is self-glory. It may even produce pride. Pride generally takes up its abode where piety is not enshrined. Pride hides from us our real state in God’s sight. Pride hinders from the acceptance of the Gospel of love and mercy.
4. The man of sterling character must love truth and purity for their own sake. To be good because it brings gain, or pious because it pays, or religious because it is respectable, is hypocrisy. There are inseparable advantages attaching to the possession of good character. Solomon said, “A good name is better than precious ointment.” The Divine approval will be followed by men’s approval, and in this the reward of character will come. But apart from this, we should seek to be true, noble, and pious, for the sake of goodness and truth itself.
II. The way in which true piety of character may be obtained. The desired possession will not be obtained as by some “lucky stroke of business.” It must grow. To obtain it among our fellows is easy when we deserve it. A steady course of uprightness and purity will bring it. We must not be spasmodic in our goodness. We must watch little things, avoid habits that offend in the slightest degree. Getting rid of these things, we must retain our individuality. We must not measure ourselves by other persons, and think because we live just after the same manner, and on the same moral plane as some others, that therefore we are good enough. There are higher possibilities in the nature of each. There is room for, and should be enthusiasm--enthusiasm for the truth, for the welfare of humanity, for the glory of God our Father, and of Christ our Saviour. The Prince of Meshech had those around him who were ready to approve his dastardly intention, when he said, “I will go up,” etc. The mind is coloured by the thoughts and sayings of those surrounding us, even as the lake is blue or greyish according to the qualities of the mountains down the sides of which the streams and torrents flow that fill it. How important then that we should seek to associate chiefly with Christians, and ever keep ourselves surrounded by Christian influences. There is a Persian fable which tells us that a man one day picked up a piece of scented clay, and said to it, “What are you; are you musk?” “No, I am only a poor piece of clay, but I have been near a beautiful rose, and it has given me its own sweet smell.” Keep, therefore, in the society of the good, and live as near as possible to Christ, and then you will gain such purity and nobility of nature that the world will take knowledge of you that you have been with Him. Let me say that we should beware of seeking to build up character in our own strength. Christ’s example, Christ’s sacrifice, Christ’s pardon, Christ’s help, Christ’s love, Christ Himself, in the fulness of His power, these form the only true and safe foundation. (F. Hastings, M. A.)
──《The Biblical Illustrator》