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Ezekiel 33-39. Changes and Preparations Necessary for the Blessed Future. Now that the security of Israel for the days to come is guaranteed by the destruction of the foreign nations, the mood of the prophet changes— the old rebellious house” ( Ezekiel 2:5) gives place to “ the children of my people” ( Ezekiel 33:2)— and he passes on to his programme of reconstruction. The turning-point is constituted by the definite announcement of the fall of Jerusalem brought to Babylon by one who had escaped ( Ezekiel 33:21). Ezekiel’ s gloomy threats, so long ignored or disbelieved, have at last been fulfilled; his prophetic reputation is confirmed; and he is now free to utter his message of hope and promise, to prepare his people, and to help them to prepare themselves, for the blessed future, with its restoration and reorganisation of Israel, which he so confidently anticipates. The first and fundamental item on his programme is the
Ezekiel 39:1-10 . Gog’ s Destruction and Burial.— This chapter does little more than repeat, with variations, the message of the last. The slain hordes lie thick upon Israel’ s mountains and fields, to be devoured by beasts and birds. Yahweh, whose power is not limited to His own land, will send His destructive fire upon the enemy’ s land and his islands in the Black (or Mediterranean?) Sea. This is the great day ( Ezekiel 39:8) of which the prophets have spoken, and its doings will convince the world of the uniqueness of Israel’ s God. So great would be the destruction that Israel, which was poor in wood, would find weapons enough of the invaders to burn as fuel for seven years. Thus the spoilers would be spoiled— a precious thought to later Judaism, as we see from the sanguinary and vindictive temper of the Book of Esther.
Ezekiel 39:11-16 . To cleanse the holy land from the defilement caused by the corpses of these heathen hordes, the common people were to spend seven months in collecting and burying them, in a place appointed for that purpose east of the Dead Sea; and after that, to ensure the absolute holiness of the land, permanent officials were to be appointed to go through it scrupulously marking every spot where even a bone was found— that it might be buried in the proper place, and the land cleansed of all defilement. (In Ezekiel 39:11 after “ place” add, with LXX, “ of renown.” For “ of them that pass through,” read with different pointing “ of the Abarim,” i.e. some valley at the N.E. corner of the Dead Sea. For “ it shall stop, etc.” we should perhaps read, “ and they— the Israelites— shall close (the mouth of) the valley.” Hamon means multitude. In Ezekiel 39:14 omit “ them that pass through.” The first half of Ezekiel 39:16 is obscure.)
Ezekiel 39:17-20 . Ezekiel’ s imagination, never weary of contemplating the destruction of those alien hordes, now pictures them as a sacrifice, to devour which Yahweh invites the birds and beasts, who gorge themselves with their flesh and blood.
Ezekiel 39:21-29 .– The Purpose of the Judgment.— The effect of this decisive judgment is to bring glory to Yahweh’ s name: for the world must now see that it is not His impotence but His horror of sin that accounts for the calamities and exile of His people. But now their redemption is complete: they will forget (rather than “ bear” in Ezekiel 39:26) the shame of bygone days, and they will live secure and blessed in their own land for ever, because Yahweh has put His spirit within them. The way is now completely prepared for the reconstruction with which the book closes (Ezekiel 40-48).
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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezekiel 39". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany