YAHWEH GLORIFIES HIS NAME BY HIS SOVEREIGN CONTROL AND COVENANT PROTECTION OF ISRAEL AGAINST THE INVADING CONFEDERACY OF NATIONS LED BY GOG IN THE END TIMES
These two chapters form a cohesive unit detailing the end-times invasion of Israel led by Gog and a confederacy of nations. This attack was orchestrated by God for His revelatory purposes. The resounding defeat was totally God’s work with only the clean-up of the dead carcasses assigned to His people as part of the cleansing of the land. The sovereign deliverance of Israel set the stage for the reiteration of the blessings of their restoration after the necessary discipline of captivity and exile.
Daniel Block: The boundaries of the Gog oracle are clearly defined. The word-event formula in 38:1, followed by Yahweh’s direct address of the prophet and the command to set his face toward Gog and prophesy against him in v. 2, sets this text off from the preceding. The signatory formula in 39:29 forms an appropriate closing, a conclusion confirmed by 40:1, which commences a new visionary account with a date notice. The intervening text is presented as a single oracle describing first the invasion of the land of Israel by Gog and his hordes, and then Yahweh’s utter annihilation of these forces.
Douglas Stuart: Chapter 39 retells the story of Gog’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, Chapter 38 concentrates on the threat from the powers opposed to God and His people, while Chapter 39 concentrates more on the deliverance of God’s people from that threat.
David Guzik: In Hebrew literature, it was common to give an account and then to repeat it to give emphasis and a few additional details. Ezekiel 39:1-8 is a summary of what was described in Ezekiel 38.
Leslie Allen: The resultant eschatological hope is presented as a warranty of faith in Yahweh’s supremacy and Israel’s permanent security. It is offered as an assurance to counteract the trauma of exile, with the pastoral message that “if God is for us, who is against us?” and “in all these (sufferings) we are more than conquerors” (Rom 8:31, 37).
Iain Duguid: Ezekiel 38 and 39 form a single unit made up of two panels that describe the defeat of Gog (38:1–23) and the disposal of Gog (39:1–29). Together, the two panels depict the ultimate onslaught of evil against God’s apparently helpless people and God’s decisive intervention to deliver them from the threat to end all threats.
I. (38:1-13) GOG’S MILITARY MOBILIZATION AND GREEDY OBJECTIVE
(:1-2) The Identification of the Invading Adversary as Gog
“And the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2 ‘Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,’”
Constable: It is probably safe to say, at least, that “Gog” refers to the name or title of a ruler who will be active in history while Israel is dwelling safely in her land (cf. v. 8). Perhaps Ezekiel referred to this unnamed future enemy of Israel as a dark figure (unknown and evil) calling him “Dark” much as we might refer to such a person as a new Hitler This may be the future “king of the North” (cf. Dan. 11:40-45). I think “Gog” probably does refer to the king of the North here, but “Gog” also probably represents another important figure who will appear in the end times.
MacArthur: Gog came to be used as a general title for an enemy of God’s people. “Gog” most likely carries the idea “high” or “supreme one,” based on the comparison in Nu 24:7. It refers to a person, described as a “prince” from the land of Magog, who is the final Antichrist.
Ralph Alexander: The biblical and extrabiblical data, though sparse, would imply that Meshech and Tubal refer to geographical areas or countries in eastern modern Turkey, southwest of Russia and northwest of Iran.
A. (:3-9) God’s Summons to Mobilize the Invading Forces
“and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’”
1. (:3b-6) Divine Opposition and Control of Gog
a. (:3b) Opposition
“Behold, I am against you,
O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.”
Daniel Block: The conflict will inevitably touch Israel, but what Ezekiel envisages is essentially a duel between Yahweh and Gog. Unlike most of the previous occurrences of the challenge formula, which had generally been followed up with threats of severe divine punishment, the opening frame sounds more like a summons to battle. Indeed, the emphasis is on Yahweh’s direct and deliberate manipulation of Gog, calling him into the fray (vv. 4–6), and announcing the military strategy he is to pursue (vv. 7–9).
b. (:4) Control
“And I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws,
and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and
horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords;”
c. (:5-6) Confederacy
“Persia, Ethiopia, and Put with them,
all of them with shield and helmet;
6 Gomer with all its troops;
Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops– many peoples with you.”
Constable: Along with Gog, the Lord would take Persia, Ethiopia, Put, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah captive. This would involve vast numbers of soldiers. Persia lay to Israel’s northeast, Ethiopia to her southwest, Put to her southeast (on the African coast of the southern Red Sea), Gomer to her northwest (in the Taurus mountains of Anatolia and possibly farther northwest in modern western Europe), and Beth-togarmah to her northwest (southeast of the Black Sea). Thus peoples all around Israel would unite against her under Gog’s leadership. As Babylonia sought to destroy Israel in the past, so this latter-day Babylon will seek to destroy her in the future (cf. Rev. 16:13-14; 17:5). Ezekiel pictured a large alliance of nations against Israel.
2. (:7-9) Divine Mobilization of Invading Forces
a. (:7) Preparation for Battle as a Confederacy of Nations
“Be prepared, and prepare yourself,
you and all your companies that are assembled about you,
and be a guard for them.”
b. (:8) Summons to Invade a Secure and Unsuspecting People
“After many days you will be summoned;
in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword,
whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste;
but its people were brought out from the nations,
and they are living securely, all of them.”
Leslie Allen: Living in security becomes a key phrase in the overall unit (cf. vv 11, 14; 39:6, 26). Here it is threatened by the prospect of post-exilic invasion, but the context both before and after makes it clear that Yahweh would prove an adequate protection.
c. (:9) Imagery of Overwhelming Forces
“And you will go up, you will come like a storm;
you will be like a cloud covering the land,
you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.”
Leslie Allen: The piece ends with a refrain (cf. v 4b) harking back to the gigantic forces at Gog’s disposal. But the ironic truth is that Gog is carrying out Yahweh’s orders and operates within limits that Yahweh has set.
Daniel Block: The opening frame portrays Yahweh as a general mobilizing the forces of Gog and his allies for his own military agenda. In so doing it raises several questions. How can Gog, whom vv. 3–6 had portrayed as the enemy of Yahweh, simultaneously play the role of Yahweh’s agent? How can Yahweh employ foreign nations against his people after the reestablishment of the eternal covenant relationship and the restoration of the people to the land? In raising these questions this frame sets the rhetorical agenda for the following frames of the prophecy against Gog. Meanwhile, the audience has been informed that Gog’s invasion of the land represents part of the calculated plan of God for his people.
B. (:10-13) Gog’s Evil Scheme
“Thus says the Lord God,”
1. (:10b-12) Motivation of Instigating Commander
a. (:10b) Origin of the Evil Plan
“It will come about on that day,
that thoughts will come into your mind,
and you will devise an evil plan,”
b. (:11) Opportunistic Exploitation of Vulnerabilities
“and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls, and having no bars or gates,’”
David Guzik: The first evil thought Gog had against Israel was to attack them because they seemed defenseless as they were gathered back into the land. The second was to take plunder and to take booty; to attack Israel out of economic interest. Gathered back to the land in prosperity, there was plunder to seize.
c. (:12) Objective of Plundering Israel
“to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.”
Feinberg: Rabbinic literature states: “As the navel is set in the centre of the human body, so is the land of Israel the navel of the world…situated in the centre of the world, and Jerusalem in the centre of the land of Israel, and the sanctuary in the centre of Jerusalem, and the holy place in the centre of the sanctuary, and the ark in the centre of the holy place, and the foundation stone before the holy place, because from it the world was founded.”
2. (:13) Motivation of Participating Vultures
“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all its villages, will say to you, ‘Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?’”
Daniel Block: The attention turns to outside witnesses to Gog’s preparation for his campaign. The interested parties represent merchant peoples who conduct their trade via the overland routes across the Arabian Desert to the east of Israel (Sheba and Dedan), and the maritime Mediterranean route to the west (Tarshish). Like the list of Gog’s allies, who come from the northern and southern extremes of the world known to Israel, these names constitute a merism, from east to west, connoting all nations involved in international commerce. . .
Are these decent nations challenging Gog’s greed, or are they wishing to capitalize on the opportunity themselves? Since their questions echo many of the expressions found in the previous verse, it seems Gog’s disposition is mirrored in their own covetousness. They too have their eyes on spoil (šālāl), booty (baz), silver (kesep), gold (zāhāb), livestock (miqneh), and the movable property (qinyān). These merchants are vultures, hoping to take advantage of the spoils of this war.
II. (38:14-23) GOG’S EXPECTATION OF EASY VICTORY MET WITH ANGRY DIVINE JUDGMENT
“Therefore, prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog,”
A. (:14b-16) Gog’s Expectation of Easy Victory
“Thus says the Lord God,”
1. (:14c) Strategic Timing and Circumstances
“On that day when My people Israel are living securely,
will you not know it?”
2. (:15-16a) Superiority of Forces
“And you will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army; 16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land.”
Douglas Stuart: God’s control of all that Gog does (even though Gog may not realize it) is outlined in verses 14–16. Gog will be aware of the restored, prosperous, but undefended Israel (v. 14), will mount an impressive coalition of troops from his location in the north, that is, the Black Sea region (v. 15), will attack Israel in the latter days in such great numbers that the army will appear like a cloud covering the earth—but nevertheless all is under God’s control (v. 16).
Daniel Block: Verses 14b–16a highlight the opportunism of the invader. Precisely when Yahweh’s people are enjoying their security in his land, Gog will pounce on the unsuspecting victim. The description of the military action summarizes vv. 4–9: he will emerge from his homeland in the far reaches of the north country; he and his vast host will sweep down on Yahweh’s people riding their horses; and they will cover the land like a cloud.
3. (:16b) Recognition Refrain
“It will come about in the last days that I shall bring you against My land, in order that the nations may know Me when I shall be sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.”
B. (:17-23) God’s Angry Divine Judgment against Gog
“Thus says the Lord God,”
1. (:17b) End Times Invasion of Israel Should be no Surprise
“Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days through My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring you against them?”
Constable: This was not the first revelation of a powerful enemy whom God would bring against the Israelites (cf. Deut. 31:17; Ps. 2:1-3; Isa. 14:24-25; 26:20-21; 29:1-8; Jer. 4:5; 6:26; 30:18-24; Joel 2:20; 3:9-21; Zeph. 1:14-18; 3:8, 15-20; Zech. 12:2-3; 14:2).
2. (:18-22) Covenant Curses Unleashed by God’s Wrath
a. (:18-20) Judgment by Earthquake
“’And it will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,’ declares the Lord God, ‘that My fury will mount up in My anger. 19 And in My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 And the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse, and every wall will fall to the ground.’”
Feinberg: The reaction to the audacity and effrontery of the invasion of Gog and his forces was stated in bold terms and a vivid anthropomorphism (see Psalm 18:8). The picture is of the breath which an angered man inhales and exhales through his nose. God’s patience would be exhausted with the repeated attempts of Israel’s enemies to annihilate her.
Daniel Block: Yahweh’s emotional reaction to Gog’s invasion is obvious as he explodes, heaping up expressions for anger unparalleled in the book, if not in the entire OT. Fortunately for Israel, the wrath previously poured out on them will now fall on their enemy. The firmness of Yahweh’s resolve is reflected not only in the signatory formula, which interrupts the outburst, but also in the expressed motive for his utterance: “I have spoken in my passion,” in v. 19a leaves no doubt that the following threats arise out of his anger.
b. (:21) Judgment by Sword
“’And I shall call for a sword against him on all My mountains,’ declares the Lord God. ‘Every man’s sword will be against his brother.’”
c. (:22a) Judgment by Pestilence and Blood
“And with pestilence and with blood
I shall enter into judgment with him;”
d. (:22b) Judgment by Torrential Rain, Hailstones, Fire, and Brimstone
“and I shall rain on him, and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire, and brimstone.”
3. (:23) Divine Objective
a. Magnifying His Name = His Greatness, Holiness and Person
“And I shall magnify Myself, sanctify Myself,
and make Myself known in the sight of many nations;”
Daniel Block: The first panel of the Gog oracle climaxes with a powerful interpretive statement, highlighting Yahweh’s threefold revelatory purpose: to display his greatness (hitgaddēl), his holiness (hitqaddēš), and his person (nôdaʿ).
b. Recognition Refrain
“and they will know that I am the LORD.”
Douglas Stuart: The covenant curses of pestilence (e.g., Deut. 32:24), bloodshed (e.g., Deut. 32:42), flood (Gen. 6), hail, fire, and brimstone (Deut. 29:23) will all be un leashed against Gog’s forces (v. 22). Thereby God will have shown Himself supreme, Superior to all the powers of darkness and evil, the only true God in all the world, and the nations will recognize it, however grudgingly (v. 23).
III. (39:1-16) GOG’S SLAUGHTERED CARCASSES GLORIFY GOD’S HOLY NAME AND REQUIRE SPECIAL BURIAL INSTRUCTIONS TO ENSURE THE CLEANSING OF THE LAND
“And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say,
‘Thus says the Lord God,’”
Daniel Block: The present frame recapitulates some of the action of 38:19–23, but the tone and emphasis have changed. Like 38:1–9, the description is more objective and focused. There is no reference to divine emotion; instead the attention shifts to the actions of Yahweh against Gog. Except for two references to Gog’s forces falling (vv. 4, 5) and two recognition formulae (vv. 6, 7), Yahweh is the subject of every verb in the frame. In spite of the recapitulation the plot advances, moving from the defeat of Gog to the disposal of the vanquished enemy.
John Taylor: The overthrow of Gog and his forces is here retold in different language and in fuller detail. This is typical of Hebrew poetry and of the kind of semi-poetical writing which is used in these oracles. It is fond of repetition and delights to revert to previous statements and enlarge on them, even though the result is to destroy all sense of consecutive arrangement.
A. (:1b-5) Military Rout of Gog’s Invading Forces
1. (:1b) Divine Opposition
“Behold, I am against you,
O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal;”
2. (:2) Divine Instrument of Aggression against Israel
“and I shall turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel.”
3. (:3) Divine Disarming by God
“And I shall strike your bow from your left hand,
and dash down your arrows from your right hand.”
4. (:4-5) Destiny = Defeated, Dead and Dishonored
“’You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops, and the peoples who are with you; I shall give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field. 5 You will fall on the open field;
for it is I who have spoken,’ declares the Lord God.”
David Guzik: Gog and his armies would not only be dead but disgraced as their unburied corpses littered the field of battle.
Leslie Allen: The divine encounter with Gog (v 1) would result in his weapons being dashed from his hands and in his military destination (38:8) becoming the scene of defeat and of dishonor for his corpse, like a second Pharaoh (29:5).
B. (:6-8a) Motivation = to Highlight God’s Holy Name
1. (:6) Revelatory Retribution
a. Torching the Secure Coastlands
“And I shall send fire upon Magog
and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety;”
b. Recognition Refrain
“and they will know that I am the LORD.”
2. (:7) Reinforcement of God’s Holy Name
a. Revelatory Objective
“And My holy name I shall make known in the midst of My people Israel;
and I shall not let My holy name be profaned anymore.”
Daniel Block: The Gog debacle will demonstrate once and for all the holiness of Yahweh, not as a theological abstraction but in action, as he stands to defend his people against the universal conspiracy of evil.
b. Recognition Refrain
“And the nations will know that I am the LORD,
the Holy One in Israel.”
3. (:8a) Reassurance of Coming Divine Judgment
“‘Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,’
declares the Lord God.”
C. (:8b-10) Magnitude of Gog’s Defeat
“That is the day of which I have spoken.”
1. (:9-10a) Discarded Weapons Burned for Fuel for Seven Years
“Then those who inhabit the cities of Israel will go out, and make fires with the weapons and burn them, both shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears and for seven years they will make fires of them. And they will not take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons;”
Daniel Block: he cites the practical benefit that the pile of weapons offered the Israelites. Rather than being burned in one gigantic bonfire, the armaments provided the land with seven years’ worth of firewood, relieving the inhabitants of the task of scrounging for fuel in the fields, or cutting down the forests. This had the added benefit of providing the environment with a sabbatical week of years to recover from the devastation the invading army had wreaked.
2. (:10b) Tables Turned on the Greedy Invaders
“’and they will take the spoil of those who despoiled them,
and seize the plunder of those who plundered them,’
declares the Lord God.”
Constable: After the Lord destroyed the forces of Gog, the Israelites would use the enemy’s numerous implements of warfare for fuel for seven years. The Israelites would not need to burn traditional fuel, because there would be so many old weapons and implements left to burn. They would also take, as spoil, what the invaders had brought into the land, when they came to despoil the Israelites. God would turn the tables on the invaders.
Lamar Cooper: These verses [:9-16] describe the disposal of Gog’s army and offer two illustrations of the magnitude of Gog’s defeat. First, Gog’s weapons will supply Israel with fuel for seven years (vv. 9–10). Gog came to plunder Israel (38:12) but instead will become Israel’s (v. 10).
Second, the debacle will be such that a valley in Israel will be required as a graveyard for the slain soldiers of the army of Gog. The valley is not identified other than that it was a route for those traveling “east toward the sea” (v. 11). Most interpreters identify the “sea” as the Dead Sea since it is the one sea that lies to the east of Israel.
Daniel Block: Ezekiel recognizes the irony in the event: the plunderers (cf. 38:12–13) have become the plundered, and vice versa. How the tables have turned! Those who had not raised a finger in their own defense may now divide the booty that has been delivered to their doorstep (cf. Judg. 5:30; 8:24–26; 2 K. 7:16; Isa. 9:2 [Eng. 3]).
D. (:11-13) Multitude Buried in the Valley of Hamon-gog
1. (:11) Burial Plot Designated for Gog
“And it will come about on that day that I shall give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea, and it will block off the passers-by. So they will bury Gog there with all his multitude, and they will call it the valley of Hamon-gog.”
2. (:12) Burial Process Requires Seven Months to Cleanse the Land
“For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them
in order to cleanse the land.”
3. (:13) Burial Participants Honored as God Glorifies Himself
“‘Even all the people of the land will bury them;
and it will be to their renown on the day that I glorify Myself,’
declares the Lord God.”
E. (:14-16) Maintenance Procedures to Ensure Total Cleansing of the Land
“And they will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through, even those left on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search.”
“And as those who pass through the land pass through and anyone sees a man’s bone, then he will set up a marker by it until the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog.”
“And even the name of the city will be Hamonah.
So they will cleanse the land.”
Daniel Block: The seventh frame concludes by reiterating that the primary concern in all this human activity is the cleansing of the land. Yahweh is not satisfied with having defeated Gog and his allies; so long as their corpses are visible, the land remains unclean. A totally restored covenant relationship demands a God with a holy name, a holy people, and a holy land.
IV. (39:17-29) GOG’S SACRIFICIAL FEAST REVEALS GOD’S GLORY AND HIGHLIGHTS ISRAEL’S RESTORATION
“And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God,”
A. (:17b-20) The Sacrificial Feast of Gog
1. (:17b) Summons to the Feast
“Speak to every kind of bird and to every beast of the field,
‘Assemble and come, gather from every side to My sacrifice
which I am going to sacrifice for you, as a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.’”
Daniel Block: Ezekiel’s designation of this banquet as a zebaḥ classifies it as a ritual event. But by altering all the roles he grossly caricatures the normal image of a zebaḥ. In place of a human worshiper slaughtering animals in the presence of Yahweh, Yahweh slaughters humans for the sake of animals, who gather from all over the world (missābîb) for this gigantic celebration (zebaḥ gādôl) on the mountains of Israel. The battlefield has been transformed into a huge sacrificial table. . .
The literary image sketched here must have been shocking for a person as sensitive to cultic matters as Ezekiel. Even worse than the lack of restraint is the skewing of roles. Yahweh, the sovereign Lord, hosts foul scavenging creatures. Instead of serving clean, edible food, the divine host offers his guests human flesh, thereby violating the most serious taboo of all: the desecration of human life. Gen. 9:1–7 sanctions animal flesh as food for humans, but no one, neither human nor animal, was to shed human blood, let alone consume it! How the priestly prophet reacted to this horrifying image one may only speculate.
2. (:18-20) Substance of the Feast
“’You shall eat the flesh of mighty men, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, as though they were rams, lambs, goats, and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. 19 So you will eat fat until you are glutted, and drink blood until you are drunk, from My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. 20 And you will be glutted at My table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all the men of war,’ declares the Lord God.”
B. (:21-24) The Glory of the Lord Revealed
1. (:21) Recognition by the Nations of God’s Sovereign Judgment
“And I shall set My glory among the nations;
and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed,
and My hand which I have laid on them.”
2. (:22) Recognition Refrain
“And the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God
from that day onward.”
3. (:23) Vindication of the Discipline of Captivity
“And the nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile
for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me,
and I hid My face from them;
so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries,
and all of them fell by the sword.”
Lamar Cooper: The amount of plunder will be awesome and the stench of bodies overpowering as the birds of prey devour the flesh of what was perhaps the greatest army ever assembled (39:9–20). All the nations of the world will see and learn as all the pretense of human glory is extinguished before the pure and ineffable glory of the Holy God of Israel. No longer will the accusation be heard that Israel’s God had abandoned them in unfaithfulness or proved unable to defend them against the nations and their gods. It will be clear to all that it was Israel’s sin and unfaithfulness that led to their exile, that their troubles had been recompense for their uncleanness and their offenses.
4. (:24) Consequences of Israel’s Transgressions
“According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions
I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them.”
Leslie Allen: The epilogue falls into two sections, vv 23–24, with negative emphasis on Israel’s sin and its divine consequences, and vv 25–29, which positively stress Israel’s restoration in both human and divine terms.
C. (:25-29) The Restoration of Israel
“Therefore thus says the Lord God,”
1. (:25b) Accomplished by God’s Mercy to Protect His Reputation
“Now I shall restore the fortunes of Jacob,
and have mercy on the whole house of Israel;
and I shall be jealous for My holy name.”
2. (:26) Transformed from Fear and Treachery to Security and Loyalty
“And they shall forget their disgrace and all their treachery
which they perpetrated against Me,
when they live securely on their own land
with no one to make them afraid.”
3. (:27) Regathered and Sanctified
“When I bring them back from the peoples
and gather them from the lands of their enemies,
then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations.”
4. (:28) Submitted to God’s Revelatory Agenda
a. Recognition Refrain
“Then they will know that I am the LORD their God”
b. Historical Summary of Exile, Regathering and Security
“because I made them go into exile among the nations,
and then gathered them again to their own land;
and I will leave none of them there any longer.”
5. (:29) United with God via the Abiding Presence of the Spirit
“‘And I will not hide My face from them any longer,
for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’
declares the Lord God.”
Lamar Cooper: In this summary Ezekiel listed seven purposes that God would achieve by ending the exile.
– First, God would initiate a new era in relationship with Israel, hence the use of “now.”
– Second, God had demonstrated the discipline of love by chastening his people (Prov 3:11–12; Heb 12:5–8). He would show the compassion of love by restoring them to their former place.
– Third, God would be zealous for his holy name’s sake. He would reverse the profaning of his name that was reported in 36:20–23 and promote the sanctification of his name among the heathen (36:23).
– Fourth, Israel would forget their shame and unfaithfulness (v. 26) in that their time of disgrace would be past (36:30–31).
– Fifth, God would demonstrate his holiness through regathering Israel from the countries of their enemies and reestablishing them in their land (v. 27).
– Sixth, Israel would know that Yahweh is their God, for he would leave none in exile but return everyone to the land (v. 28).
– Seventh, God would pour out his spirit on the house of Israel as he promised (36:27; Joel 2:29), a promise that was associated with the messianic age (v. 29).
These verses are very similar to the concluding verses of the preceding section (39:21–24). They both declare what the Lord was going to do and how Israel and the nations would respond, and they both refer to the exile and the Lord hiding his face. Both passages mention the nations seeing what the Lord does, but the Lord’s actions in vv. 21–24 involve only judgment on the army of Gog, while in vv. 25–29 they include all aspects of the restoration of Israel. Both passages stress the resultant revelation of the knowledge of God for both Israel and the nations. For Israel, receiving the Spirit (v. 29) will be “a sign and seal of the covenant,” representing “the divine mark of ownership” (cf. Isa 32:15; 44:1–5; Joel 3:1; Zech 12:10), the “guarantee of new life, peace, and prosperity.” It will be “the definitive act whereby he [Yahweh] claimed and sealed the newly gathered nation of Israel as his own.
Daniel Block: Gog is an agent of the revelatory purposes of Yahweh. That purpose has two dimensions: to declare the greatness, holiness, and glory of Yahweh’s person, and to declare the firmness of his commitment to his people. The defense of this people, who did not need so much as to lift a sword, vindicates his great name while at the same time confirming his word. The presence of the Spirit of Yahweh poured out on the returned exiles guarantees that he would never leave any of the house of Israel at the mercy of their enemies, and that he would never again hide his face from them, as the contemporaries of Ezekiel had just witnessed. In short, Gog becomes the agent through whom Yahweh declares concretely that the events of 586 B.C. will never be repeated.