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.

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Yahweh was going to destroy Gog and his army (Ezek 38:3-38:4)

“Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am against you!

O Gog!

Chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal.

I will turn you around!

I will put hooks

Into your jaws.

I will lead you out

With all your army,

Horses,

Horsemen,

All clothed

In full armor,

A great company,

All of them

With bucklers,

With shields,

Wielding swords.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to give Gog a message. How he was going to do this is not clear. Nevertheless, Yahweh God was against Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Yahweh was going to turn back Gog and put hooks into his jaws. This was not only going to happen to him, but also his whole army, their horses, their cavalry, their armored soldiers, and those with bucklers, shields, and swords. No one would be spared.

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.

Meshech and Tubal in the grave (Ezek 32:26-32:26)

“Meshech

With Tubal

Are there.

All their multitude

Is there.

Their graves are

All around them.

All of them were

Uncircumcised.

They had been killed

By the sword.

They had spread terror

In the land

Of the living.”

Ezekiel had mentioned both these obscure kingdoms in chapter 27 when he was talking about the trading partners of Tyre. Meshech were the Assyrians in the mountain country of present day Turkey. Tubal seemed to be some Assyrians who had settled in today’s southern Turkey. Like those preceding, these two groups of people were uncircumcised. They, too, had spread terror in the land of the living, but also died by the sword.

Trading humans (Ezek 27:13-27:13)

“Javan,

Tubal,

Meshech

Traded with you.

They exchanged

Human beings,

As well as vessels of bronze

For your merchandise.”

Ezekiel mentioned 3 other trading partners of Tyre. Javan, the Ionians or the Greeks was one partner. Tubal seems to be the Assyrians who had settled in today’s southern Turkey. Meshech were the Assyrians in the mountain country of present day Turkey. They all traded with Tyre. Interesting enough there must have been a slave trade, since there was a mention of exchanging human beings. They also traded bronze vessels for all the great things that Tyre had.

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.