The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezekiel 39

Eze 39:1

Eze 39: Eze 39 retells the story of God's attack and defeat but with a slightly different emphasis from that of the prior chapter. Not much attention is given to the attack itself (merely vv 1,2), whereas a great deal of space is devoted to describing the massive slaughter of Gog's forces. In a sense, then, Eze 38 concentrates on the threat from the powers opposed to God and His people, while Eze 39 concentrates more on the deliverance of God's people from that threat. The end of the chapter dwells at length on Israel's restoration (vv 21-29), especially on the immediate (pre-Gog) era of that restoration. Thus the chapter starts with the distant future but ends in the nearer future, with the promise of return from captivity to the land of Canaan and the greater truths which that return points toward.

Eze 39:3

THEN I WILL STRIKE YOUR BOW FROM YOUR LEFT HAND AND MAKE YOUR ARROWS DROP FROM YOUR RIGHT HAND: The Lord promised to defeat Gog there; it would be as though He knocked his weapons out of his hands. Yahweh did not reveal whom He would use to do this or how He would do it, but Eze 38:21 suggests that at least part of the defeat would be a result of Gog's soldiers killing one another (cp Jdg 7:22).

Eze 39:4

I WILL GIVE YOU AS FOOD TO ALL KINDS OF CARRION BIRDS AND TO THE WILD ANIMALS: Gog and his army and allies would fall in the Promised Land, and birds and beasts would eat their corpses (cf vv 17-20; Rev 19:17-21). Such a fate was the ultimate indignity in the minds of the ancients (cp Jezebel in 2Ki 9:35).

Eze 39:6

I WILL SEND FIRE ON MAGOG AND ON THOSE WHO LIVE IN SAFETY IN THE COASTLANDS: Yahweh would also destroy Gog's homeland, Magog, and the remote homelands of his allies (the coastlands, cf Eze 26:15,18; 27:3,6,7,15,35), and those who safely inhabited these regions.

Eze 39:8


Eze 39:9

...USE THE WEAPONS FOR FUEL AND BURN THEM UP... SHIELD... BOWS AND ARROWS... WAR CLUBS... SPEARS: As in much apocalyptic prophecy (cp Rev generally), the Lord revealed to His prophet what would take place in pictures that were familiar to him. This language does not preclude the use of modern implements of warfare in the fulfillment. Here the meaning seems to be that there would be so much combustible material utilized in the invasion that the Israelites would burn it for seven years.

Eze 39:11

The Israelites would also bury Gog and his soldiers in a valley east of the Mediterranean Sea. This probably means that multitudes of the enemy would be buried there, not necessarily Gog personally (cf Rev 19:20,21; 20:10). The slaughter would be so great that it would take a large valley to accommodate all the corpses. This valley would become known as "The Valley of the Multitude of Gog." This cemetery would be so large that travelers would not be able to pass through that part of the land. Probably the Esdraelon Valley is in view since it is east of the Mediterranean Sea and since many travelers normally passed and still pass through it. Furthermore it is the only major east-west valley in Israel. In Biblical times a major highway connecting Egypt and Mesopotamia ran through this valley. John identified this valley as the location of the battle of Armageddon (Rev 16:13-16).

GOG: Gog -- of Reuben (1Ch 5:4), carried captive to land of Magog, etc (1Ch 5:26). Then he returned to "Abarim", where he dwelt before. "Abarim" (travelers in 39:11) = "the beyond"; a mountain chain southeast of Dead Sea, in territory of Reuben (Deu 3:27; 32:49).

Eze 39:12

t would take seven months to bury all the corpses and so clean up this valley (cf Lev 5:2; 21:1; Deu 21:1-9).

Eze 39:13

All the Israelites would get involved in burying the corpses, and this would receive worldwide attention and result in glory for God.

Eze 39:17

The parallel (Rev 19:17-19) occurs AFTER Christ puts on "many crowns" and assumes the name "King of kings" (Rev 19:12,16): "Rev 19 has a vivid symbolic picture of the Word of God going forth against nations whom he is to 'rule with a rod of iron'. He rides at the head of the armies of heaven in the character of King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. At this time an angel cries to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven: 'Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of the mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them..." (Rev 19:13-18). What is this but the culmination of the destruction described in Eze 39? "Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come... Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth" (Eze 39:17,18)" (LD ch 1).

THE GREAT SACRIFICE: Judgment of the wicked described as a sacrifice: Rev 20:9; Gen 19:24; 2Ki 1:10-14; Psa 37:20; Eze 39:6,17-22.

Cp v 4; Isa 34:6; Jer 46:10; Zep 1:7-8. It would be like eating a great sacrifice for them, but those offered as sacrifices to the Lord would be great people of the earth rather than fat rams, lambs, goats, and bulls.

Eze 39:18

BASHAN: Bashan, to the east of the Jordan River, consistently produced fat cattle because there was so much good pasture there.

Eze 39:25

Vv 25-29: This message forms a fitting conclusion to the whole section of prophecies about Israel's restoration to the Promised Land (Eze 33--37) as well as to those about future invasion (Eze 38; 39).

Vv 25,26: The Lord promised to restore the fortunes of Jacob. He promised to have mercy on all of them. He would do this because He wanted to maintain His reputation for holiness (His uniqueness as the only true God). When He restored them to security in the land, following this invasion, they would forget their former disgrace and treachery against Him.

Eze 39:26

THEY WILL FORGET THEIR SHAME...: This rendering is preferable over the KJV: "After that they have borne their shame..."

"This [ie, the KJV rendering] seems to indicate that Israel must suffer for their sins at the hands of Gog. Yet it need not. 'They shall bear their shame' (RV) may mean repentance and acknowledgement of unworthiness rather than the suffering of punishment. In other words, this passage is equivalent to the familiar words of Zec 12:10, which tells of a repentance of Israel not only BEFORE Messiah's coming but even more poignantly AFTERWARDS.

"It should be noted that there is no hint in Eze 38; 39 that Israel suffers in any way from the northern invasion. 'As a cloud to cover the land... to take a spoil and to take a prey' describes intention. There is no lasting achievement. No sooner is the land overrun than it is delivered by divine power.

"The language of Eze 39:3 seems to require this conclusion: 'I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.' This is a picture of an invader still in action with his weapons of offence when he is annihilated. Thus any interpretation, which requires Gog's occupation of the Land to last for several years, or even months, must be disallowed" (TofE ch 18).

Eze 39:27

Vv 27,28: When He would bring them back into the land the other nations of the world would recognize that Yahweh was different from all other gods. Also Israel would acknowledge Yahweh as her God. She would see what God had done in sending her out of the land for her sin and bringing her back permanently by His grace.

Eze 39:29

Yahweh would no longer prove inaccessible to His people, because He would bestow His Spirit on all the Israelites.

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