The coastland invasion (Dan 11:18-11:18)

Afterward,

He shall turn

To the coastlands.

He shall capture many.

But a commander

Shall put an end

To his insolence.

Indeed,

He shall turn

His insolence

Back upon him.”

Then King Antiochus III would turn to the coastlands in Asia Minor where he would be fairly successful. However, he ran into the Roman commanders who put a stop to his progress around the year 190 BCE.

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Against Gog (Ezek 39:1-39:2)

“You!

Son of man!

Prophesy against Gog!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am against you!

O Gog!

Chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal!

I will turn you around!

I will drive you forward!

I will bring you up

From the remotest parts

Of the north!

I will lead you

Against the mountains

Of Israel!’”

As if one chapter were not enough, Ezekiel has another chapter about Gog.   Yahweh God, as usual, came to the prophet Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, he wanted Ezekiel to prophesy against Gog, who is now called the prince of Meshech and Tubal and not from Magog. Like in the last chapter, Gog was clearly an enemy of Yahweh. Yet Yahweh used him for his own purposes. Yahweh was going to turn Gog around and drive him forward from the remotest parts of the northern area. In fact, Yahweh was going to lead Gog against the mountains of Israel. The only possible historical basis for this Gog, might be the supposedly chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, two 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor of Turkey.

Against Gog (Ezek 38:1-38:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward Gog,

Of the land of Magog.

The chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal.

Prophesy against him!’”

This section represents an example of apocalyptic literature. The emphasis in this type of literature is on a future that would be better compared to the sufferings of the present time. This thinking predominated in Second Temple Judaism after the return from the exile. This Messianic hope prefigured a future victory of good over evil. The prophet Daniel and the Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse are better examples of this apocalyptic literature. As usual, the word of God came to Ezekiel, the son of man. However, this time he was to prophesize against Gog. Who is this Gog? This is the first mention of Gog in the biblical literature, who clearly was an enemy of Yahweh. There appears to be no historical basis for this Gog from Magog. According to Genesis, chapter 10, Magog was descended from Japheth, the son of Noah. Here Gog is a person and Magog is the land where he comes from. However, in later literature they were usually combined into ‘Gog and Magog,’ perhaps due to the Septuagint Greek translation. Magog might have been a code name for Babylon. There were also other legends about Gog and Magog in the later Greek and Roman times. Both are mentioned in later Jewish and Muslim writings. Meshech and Tubal were 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor or present day Turkey. Gog appears to be the chief prince of these two kingdoms also.

The mercenary army at Tyre (Ezek 27:10-27:11)

“Persia,

Lud,

Put,

Were all in your army.

They were

Your mighty warriors.

They hung their shield

With you.

They hung their helmet

With you.

They gave you splendor.

The men of Arvad,

The men of Helech,

Were on your walls

All around.

The men of Gamad

Were at your towers.

They hung their quivers

All around

Your walls.

They made perfect

Your beauty.”

Tyre had a mercenary army with people from Persia, Lydia (Lud), and Libya (Put). These were the mighty warriors of Tyre who hung their shields and helmets in Tyre to give the town more splendor. Within the town, guarding the walls, were the men from the Arvad island and Cilicia (Helech), a coastal town in Asia Minor. Meanwhile, the men of Cappadocia (Gamad) guarded the towers of Tyre. They kept their bow and arrows in the town. Thus the city of Tyre had an international army protecting it, inside and outside, to make it a thing of beauty.

The nations prepare for war against Babylon (Jer 51:27-51:28)

“Raise a standard

In the land!

Blow the trumpet

Among the nations!

Prepare the nations

For war

Against her!

Summon

Against her

The kingdoms,

Of Ararat,

Of Minni,

Of Ashkenaz!

Appoint a marshal

Against her!

Bring up horses

Like bristling locusts!

Prepare the nations

For war

Against her!

The kings

Of the Medes,

With their governors,

Their deputies,

With every land

Under their dominion

Shall come!”

Yahweh via Jeremiah wants to call various nations to fight against Babylon. The standard and the trumpet of war should sound to prepare nations to attack her. In particular 3 countries are named. Ararat was considered the place where Noah’s ark landed in Genesis, chapter 8. The assumption is that this mountain was in southern Turkey, what today is in Kurdish land, near the Russian and Iranian borders. Minni may be a reference to the Mannaeans who lived in what is now northwestern Iran or Armenia. Ashkenaz was a son of Noah and a land around Asia Minor near Armenia. Jewish people from the Rhineland area were called Ashkenazi, and this term was later adapted for all eastern European Jews. These countries would have joined with the Persians to attack Babylon. They would have so many horses that they would seem like swarms of locusts. Joining them would be the kings of Medes with all their officials and deputies, plus all the people from the land that they dominated. These were the ancient Persian people in what is now northwestern Iran. There was no specific mention of the Persians here.

The gathering from the whole world (Isa 66:19-66:19)

“I will set a sign among them.

From them,

I will send survivors to the nations,

To Tarshish,

To Put,

To Lud,

To those who draw the bow,

To Tubal

To Javan,

To the coastlands far away.

They have not heard of my fame.

They have not seen my glory.

They shall declare my glory

Among the nations.”

How were they going to get all these people into Jerusalem? Some people would go out to various places and have people from there come to Jerusalem to see the glory of Yahweh. Tarshish was the place that had the famous sailing ships. Perhaps it was some place in Spain or on the Mediterranean Sea. Put or Pul may have been in Somalia. Lud refers to some place in Libya or Asia Minor. Tubal and Javan were probably wealthy places in Asia Minor that would send ships to Tyre on the Mediterranean coast. Obviously all the coastal cities on the great sea were to be included. They had no idea about the fame and glory of Yahweh. They would all like to see the fame and glory of Jerusalem. The glory of Yahweh was to be declared to all these nations.