For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2003 James Melough

39:1.  “Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:”


See 38:3 for comments relative to Meshech and Tubal.


39:2.  “And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:”


Gog, like many another before and since then, was unaware that he was but an instrument in God’s hand for the accomplishment of His purposes, He being the One Who was leading Gog to attack rebel Israel.  His coming “from the north parts” was because Magog, his land, was far north of Israel.


Since the north is the biblical direction that is associated with intelligence operating in opposition to God, a further lesson here may be that mere intelligence which is not directed by God,  almost invariably works against Him, but like Gog, is also brought to nothing.


Since six is the biblical number of man, incompleteness, and weakness, God’s leaving but a sixth part of Magog declares that it will no longer be of any account among the nations.


39:3.  “And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.”


The Magogites (Scythians) were renowned for their skill as bowmen, but God would render powerless all the hordes of Gog.


39:4.  “Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.”


The mountains which they had expected to make the graveyard of Israel, would become the places where they themselves and their allies would lie slain, their carcases becoming food for birds and animals.


39:5.  “Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.”


Instead of dying natural deaths in their own land, they would come to a violent end in the land they had expected to ravage, the certainty of their doom being declared in the words, “I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.”


39:6.  “And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the Lord.”


God will bring destruction upon the land of Gog, and upon all those who live in imagined security on the coast-lands and islands, they thus learning the bitter truth that the One they had despised is the Almighty.


This destruction of Gog and all his hordes is but the foreshadowing of what will be in the now imminent Great Tribulation, for the Beast - of whom Gog is a type - and all his allies assembled to destroy Israel, will suffer a similar fate: God will destroy them, and deliver His people, the survivors thus learning that He is indeed the Lord.


39:7.  “So I will make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.”


By means of the terrible judgments of the Great Tribulation, Israel will learn that the One she had ignored and despised is the Holy One of Israel, that knowledge ending their long profanation of His name, and leading them to see the enormity of their guilt, the crowning act of which was their crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ two thousand years ago.  Those same Tribulation judgments will also bring the Gentiles to a true knowledge of God.


39:8.  “Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is the day whereof I have spoken.”


God, knowing that His Word will be fulfilled, speaks here of what is still future as having been already accomplished, “whereof I have spoken” having reference to the words of the prophets through whom He has already foretold future events, the fulfillment being the proof that He is the omnipotent, omniscient Jehovah.


It is instructive to note that in relation to prophecy it is written, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts,” 2 Pe 1:19.  The fulfillment of the greater part of prophecy is one of the strongest proofs of the Divine authorship of the Bible.


39:9.  “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:”


39:10.  “So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord God.”


Whether the seven years are literal, or symbolic of a long time, is immaterial.  What is described here is the complete destruction of those who will come against Israel in the Great Tribulation.  The weapons with which those foes had expected to destroy Israel, will become instead the fuel for her fires to warm her and cook her food, so that she will have no need to cut wood.  How different are the plans of Israel’s foes from those of God!  What they intended for her destruction He will transmute into blessing.


39:11.  “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers; and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.”


It is significant that the God-appointed graveyard of Gog and his multitude is on the east side of the Dead Sea, for the east is the biblical direction of sin and departure from God.  The name of the place, incidentally, is Abarim, meaning the regions beyond: the passages.


“... it shall stop the noses of the passengers” is understood by some to mean that the stench of the dead bodies would cause travelers to hold their noses, but the majority of translators take it to mean that the multitude of dead bodies would block it as a passage-way for travelers.


Hamongog means the multitude of Gog.


39:12.  “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.”


So great will be the number of dead bodies that it will take seven months to bury them all, that burial cleansing the land from the defilement of the decaying corpses.


39:13.  “Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord God.”


The number of the slain Magogites will be so great that it will take the work of all the Israelites for seven months to complete the burial; but that day when the work will be finished will be a day of honor and glory for Israel, and one in which the Lord Himself will be glorified and vindicated.


39:14.  “And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.”


For seven months, men of Israel, specially selected for the purpose, will pass through the length and breadth of the land searching for and burying the bodies of the slain Magogites.


39:15.  “And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog.”


When the searchers find a human bone they will set up a marker beside it so that the buriers can take it to the valley on the east side of the Dead Sea and bury it there, that valley being called Hamongog, and meaning the multitude of Gog, or Gog’s horde.


39:16.  “And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah.  Thus shall they cleanse the land.”


Hamonah means multitudinous; and it is uncertain whether a city will exist there, or will be built to accommodate those engaged in the work of burying the Magogites, this latter view being the one adopted by most commentators.


39:17.  “And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.”


While the scene here is similar to that described in Re 19, it is not the same, for Re 19 refers to the Armageddon conflict which occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation, and as has been noted already, what is described here begins at least, in the first half of the Tribulation era.


39:18.  “Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.”


This continues God’s address to the birds and beasts relative to His destruction of the Magogite armies when they attack Israel.  They, the Magogites, will be utterly destroyed by God’s hand when they enter the land of Israel bent on murder and rapine, the slaughtered including all levels from the princes to the common soldiers.


39:19.  “And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.”


39:20.  “Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord.”


The extent of the slaughter is declared by the fact that the birds and animals feeding on the carcases of the slain, would gorge themselves until they were glutted.


39:21.  “And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.”


God will manifest His glory amongst the Gentiles by means of His  judgment upon the Magogites that will result in their utter destruction.


39:22.  “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward.”


His annihilation of the Magogites will open the eyes of Israel to see that the destroyer of their enemy is their God, the One they have for so long ignored and failed to recognize; and that knowledge will result in the conversion of multitudes of Israelites in the Tribulation era.


39:23.  “And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.”


A further result of God’s slaughter of the Magogites will be that the Gentiles will then understand that Israel’s rebellion against Him was the cause of their having been delivered into the hand of their enemies to be slaughtered.


39:24.  “According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.”


God’s punishment of Israel will be shown to have been the just recompense of their filthy sins and brazen rebellion against Him.


39:25.  “Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;”


Israel’s return from Assyrian and Babylonian captivity was only a partial fulfillment of this promise.  The deliverance promised here will be that which is still future: their regathering from the dispersal which will occur in the Great Tribulation as a result of their bitter persecution by the Beast.


Their being called both Jacob and Israel is the symbolic announcement of the fact that except for the believing remnant which will pass out of the Great Tribulation into the Millennium, Israel will be what she has always been: a divided nation made up of true believers and mere false professors, the name Israel representing the former; and Jacob, the latter.  The unbelieving Jews and Gentiles will be allowed to live in the Millennium as long as their sin remains covert; but overt sin will bring death in that halcyon age.


39:26.  “After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.”


The truth declared here is more clearly stated by The Revised Standard Version of the Bible, “They shall forget their shame, and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid.”  This refers to their state in the Millennium.


39:27.  “When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;”


This refers to Israel’s return from amongst the nations at the beginning of the Millennium, their regathering vindicating God, and manifesting His holiness as it will then be displayed in their obedience.


39:28.  “Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.”


Only when they are brought back from amongst the nations at the beginning of the Millennium, and are settled securely in their own land, with not one of them left among the Gentiles, will they understand that the One against Whom they had so blatantly rebelled, is their Lord and their God.


39:29.  “Neither shall I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.”


The hiding of God’s face is synonymous with judgment, as the revelation or shining of His face is with blessing, that shining being implied here in His assurance that He will not hide His face from His redeemed people.


The pouring out of His Spirit in the Millennium is declared also in Joel 2:28; Zech 12:10, and in the NT, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy,” Ac 2:17-18.


“... for I have poured out of my spirit.”  God’s speaking here of the event as being already accomplished is the guarantee that He will fulfill His Word.

[Ezekiel 40]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough