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§ 1. The Restoration (Ezekiel 33-39)
After an introductory passage (Ezekiel 33:1-20), and two short prophecies against the wicked survivors of Jerusalem and the careless exiles (Ezekiel 33:21-33), this section describes the restoration in connexion with the Ruler, the Land and the People successively. As to the Ruler, God is pictured as the Shepherd of Israel (Ezekiel 34). As to the Land, a prophecy against Edom (Ezekiel 35) introduces a new address to the mountain land of Israel (Ezekiel 36). As to the People, the revival of the dead nation, and the reunion of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah are allegorically set forth (Ezekiel 37). Finally, we have a description of the invasion and overthrow of Gog, the last enemy of God’s people (Ezekiel 38, 39). The beginning of the section is dated in December-January, 585-4 (or 586-5) b.c. See on Ezekiel 33:21.
God’s Final Victory over the Heathen
Ezekiel’s earlier group of prophecies against the nations (Ezekiel 25-32) was concerned with Israel’s nearer neighbours, which had interfered more or less in former times with her prosperity; and their humiliation was regarded as a necessary condition of Israel’s peaceful and happy future. Ezekiel, however, contemplated a wider extension of God’s glory than these prophecies involved. This is described under the form of an invasion of the restored Israel by hordes of the remotest heathen, who will be destroyed by God without any fighting on Israel’s part. His glory will thus be manifested to the very ends of the earth. Ezekiel is alone among the Old Testament prophets in expecting another crisis to arise after the restoration has been accomplished. His conception is reproduced in the New Testament in the book of Revelation (Revelation 20:7-10), and the underlying idea in both cases is that what seems the triumph of God’s kingdom may be followed by a fresh assault of the forces of evil, which, however, are destined to be overthrown at last. The picture of Gog may have been suggested partly by the memory of the great Scythian invasion (see Intro.), and partly by the ravages of Nebuchadrezzar’s armies.
Ezekiel 38 describes Gog’s allies (Ezekiel 38:1-7), his nefarious plans (Ezekiel 38:8-13), his great invasion (Ezekiel 38:14-17), and God’s turning of the forces of nature against him (Ezekiel 38:18-23). Ezekiel 39 foretells that God will lead him on to destruction (Ezekiel 39:1-7); his weapons will provide Israel with fuel for seven years (Ezekiel 39:8-10); seven months will be required to bury the corpses of his host, which will fill a whole valley on the E. of the Dead Sea (Ezekiel 39:11-13); when the seven months are over special officers will still be required to search out and bury the dead bodies that remain (Ezekiel 39:14-16); birds and beasts of prey will enjoy an enormous banquet (Ezekiel 39:17-20); all the earth will recognise the power and glory of the true God, the heathen will understand at last the real meaning of Israel’s exile, and Israel will learn the lessons of all God’s dealings with them in judgment and in mercy (Ezekiel 39:21-29).
2. Leave but the sixth part of thee] RV ’lead thee on.’
6. Isles] RM ’coastlands.’ God will not only destroy the army of Gog in Palestine, but will extend His judgments into the lands from which Gog and his allies have come.
8. It is come.. it is done] RV ’it cometh.. it shall be done.’
9. Set on fire] RV ’make fires of.’ Burn them with fire] RV ’make fires of them’: so in Ezekiel 39:10.
11. There of graves] RV ’for burial.’
Valley of the passengers] RV ’valley of them that pass through.’ Others read, ’a valley of Abarim,’ Abarim being the region E. of the Dead Sea. The sea] the Dead Sea.
Stop the noses, etc.] RV ’stop them that pass through.’ The valley, formerly a roadway, will be blocked by corpses. Hamon-gog] means ’the multitude of Gog.’
14. With the passengers] should probably be omitted, and bury should perhaps be ’search out.’ There were to be two classes of officials, the searchers and the buriers, and this v. deals with the former. The duties of both are described in v.
15. Earth] RV ’land.’
15. And the passengers, etc.] RV ’and they that pass through the land shall pass through.’ When the searchers found any human remains they were to set up a mark to attract the attention of the buriers, who followed them.
16. And.. Hamonah] RV ’and Hamonah shall also be the name of a city.’ The reference seems to be to a city to be built near the valley of Hamon-gog, in commemoration of God’s victory over Gog and his ’multitude.’
18. Bashan] a district E. of the Jordan, famous for its cattle: see Deuteronomy 32:14; Psalms 22:12.
24. Have I done] RV ’did I’
26. After that they have borne] RV ’and they shall bear’; more probably, ’and they shall forget.’
Dwelt safely.. made them afraid] RV ’shall dwell securely.. shall make them afraid.’
28. Have left] RV ’I will leave.’
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 39". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany