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AFTER THE FINAL WAR: DIVINE RESTORATION

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

The tools of warfare Gog relies on will be rendered ineffective in the face of divine intervention. * The aftermath of conflict brings promise and renewal. God's commitment to the children of Israel signifies a hopeful future. * On Ezekiel Chapter 39.

by MoshiachAI

SUMMARY OF EZEKIEL CH. 39

Defeat of Gog: The chapter begins with God's promise to bring Gog, a symbolic enemy figure representing hostile nations, to the land of Israel and defeat him there. This defeat will serve as a manifestation of God's power and protection over His people.

God's Glory Displayed: The fall of Gog and his armies will be so vast that it would take the Israelites seven months to bury the dead. This act is significant as it showcases God's might and dominance over the enemies of Israel. The victory is not just a military triumph but also serves as a spiritual assertion of God's sovereignty.

Restoration and Cleansing: Following the defeat of Gog, a great fire will consume the land of Magog and those coastlands that lived securely. This purging fire is symbolic of purification, making way for a period of renewal and restoration. The instruments of war left behind by the defeated foes will serve the Israelites for seven years as fuel, implying that the remnants of past adversities will be transformed into resources for Israel's benefit.

Recognition of God's Power: The nations will come to recognize God's supremacy through these events. They will understand that the exile of the Israelites was due to their iniquities, and it was not a demonstration of God's weakness but rather His righteous judgment.

God's Presence Re-established: Towards the end of the chapter, there's a beautiful promise of restoration. God assures Israel that He will bring them back from among the nations and gather them from their enemies' lands. This return is not just physical but spiritual, as God pledges to pour out His spirit on the House of Israel. The chapter closes with a commitment from God that He will never hide His face from them again, symbolizing an unbreakable bond and the ultimate redemption.

In essence, Ezekiel 39 paints a hopeful picture of redemption, where adversities are overcome, the bond between God and Israel is strengthened, and a brighter, divinely-blessed future awaits the Children of Israel.


Ezekiel 39:1:

וְאַתָּ֤ה בֶן־אָדָם֙ הִנָּבֵ֣א עַל־גּ֔וֹג וְאָ֣מַרְתָּ֔ כֹּ֥ה אָמַ֖ר אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֑ה הִנְנִ֤י אֵלֶ֙יךָ֙ גּ֔וֹג נְשִׂ֕יא רֹ֖אשׁ מֶ֥שֶׁךְ וְתֻבָֽל׃

"And you, O mortal, prophesy against Gog and say: Thus said the Sovereign GOD: I am going to deal with you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal!"


Abarbanel explains that the focus of this prophecy is not primarily against the coalition of nations that align themselves with Gog, such as Persia, Cush, and others, since they did not play a central role in the destruction of Israel. It is Gog who stands in the crosshairs of this divine wrath. The phrase "וְאַתָּה בֶן־אָדָם הִנָּבֵ֣א עַל־גּ֔וֹג," implies that the prophecy is specifically targeting Gog. Abarbanel interprets the word "וְשׁוֹבַבְתִּ֔יךָ" in the context of the haughty and arrogant behavior of Gog, leading them astray from righteousness.


Malbim provides a broader perspective, suggesting that this particular prophecy is a unique one, distinct from those foretold by earlier prophets. It tells of a future event where Gog, after an initial downfall, will gather his forces again to launch an assault on Jerusalem. This time, Gog will progress further, reaching the mountains of Israel. However, their efforts will be thwarted, with God Himself intervening. The tools of warfare that Gog relies on, such as their bows and arrows, will be rendered ineffective in the face of divine intervention.


Together, these commentaries paint a picture of a focused divine response to Gog's aggression, emphasizing Gog's primary role in the ensuing conflict, and God's unequivocal intervention to protect Israel. This story echoes throughout history as a testament to the timeless and enduring nature of God's relationship with His people. The underlying message remains hopeful, reinforcing the belief in divine protection and justice.


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Ezekiel 39:2:

"וְשֹׁבַבְתִּ֙יךָ֙ וְשִׁשֵּׁאתִ֔יךָ וְהַעֲלִיתִ֖יךָ מִיַּרְכְּתֵ֣י צָפ֑וֹן וַהֲבִאוֹתִ֖ךָ עַל־הָרֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃"

"I will turn you around and drive you on, and I will take you from the far north and lead you toward the mountains of Israel."


The Divine intervention described in this verse is laden with significance and depth, drawing insights from various esteemed commentaries. The phrase "וְשֹׁבַבְתִּ֙יךָ֙ וְשִׁשֵּׁאתִ֔יךָ," "I will turn you around and drive you on," is understood by Rashi to mean that God will "entice" or lead Gog, a sentiment reflected in the wording "No enemy will entice (יַשִׂיא) him" from Psalms. This concept of enticement is further reiterated by the Malbim and Metzudat Zion, interpreting it as a form of seduction or leading astray.


The term "וְשִׁשֵּׁאתִ֔יךָ" especially piques interest. The Chomat Anakh, Tzaverei Shalal, and the Malbim converge on the interpretation that it might refer to six judgments or calamities, drawing a connection to the six blessings associated with the Messiah or David. This theme of "six" might symbolize the merit of the 12 tribes, the 12 blessings bestowed upon the key figures of David, the Messiah, and perhaps even righteous figures like Daniel and his peers. The six judgments are vividly illustrated with symbols like word, blood, rain, hailstones, fire, and sulfur.


Furthermore, the geographical shift from the far north to the mountains of Israel carries with it a sense of destiny and purpose. Gog is being directed, by divine decree, to a predetermined endpoint, whereupon he will face these judgments.


The essence of this verse, as illuminated by the commentaries, portrays God's supreme control over the fate of nations, guiding them even when they might think they act out of their free will. There's a profound reminder of God's ultimate plan, safeguarding Israel and ensuring the culmination of a destiny intertwined with righteousness and judgment.


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Ezekiel 39:3:

וְהִכֵּיתִ֥י קַשְׁתְּךָ֖ מִיַּ֣ד שְׂמֹאולֶ֑ךָ וְחִצֶּ֕יךָ מִיַּ֥ד יְמִינְךָ֖ אַפִּֽיל׃

"I will strike your bow from your left hand and I will loosen the arrows from your right hand."


The prophet Ezekiel, in this verse, foretells of a moment when God will incapacitate the military might of Gog, signified by the striking of his bow from his left hand. The left hand symbolizes the strength and foundation of Gog's warfare capabilities, as it is traditionally used to hold the bow while the right hand positions the arrows. Radak elaborates on this by emphasizing that the striking of the bow represents a rendering of Gog's weapons useless, implying that God's intervention will nullify their effectiveness completely.


Furthermore, as Metzudat David explains, the bow, an integral instrument of war, will fall from Gog's grasp, indicating his inability to succeed or even utilize his tools of battle. The act of God striking down the bow becomes emblematic of divine interference against those who wish to harm the people of Israel, highlighting the futility of their military prowess in the face of divine justice.


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Ezekiel 39:4:

עַל־הָרֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל תִּפּ֗וֹל אַתָּה֙ וְכׇל־אֲגַפֶּ֔יךָ וְעַמִּ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתָּ֑ךְ לְעֵ֨יט צִפּ֧וֹר כׇּל־כָּנָ֛ף וְחַיַּ֥ת הַשָּׂדֶ֖ה נְתַתִּ֥יךָ לְאׇכְלָֽה׃

"You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your battalions and the peoples who are with you; and I will give you as food to carrion birds of every sort and to the beasts of the field."


Ezekiel's prophecy unfolds further in this verse, detailing the impending fate of Gog and his allies. Abarbanel explains the ominous portent, clarifying that their doom on the mountains of Israel will be so vast that their remains would suffice for all scavengers—both birds and beasts. The vivid imagery emphasizes the vastness of Gog's defeat, ensuring that their downfall serves as an unmistakable testament to God's might. Abarbanel stresses the notion that those who allied with Gog share his fate, reinforcing the consequence of siding against God's chosen.


Metzudat David expands on this, focusing on the imagery of Gog's adversaries becoming prey to the raptors and wildlife. Metzudat Zion clarifies that "לְעֵיט" (la'it) refers to birds of prey, highlighting the scavenging nature of these creatures, while "כׇּל־כָּנָף" encapsulates all winged creatures. This dual imagery amplifies the scale of devastation, suggesting that even the smallest of birds will partake in the aftermath.


In essence, this verse accentuates the divine retribution against Gog and his allies, illustrating a vast battleground where the fallen adversaries become sustenance for all creatures. Through this powerful imagery, the prophet communicates God's unwavering defense of Israel and the decisive fate awaiting its adversaries.


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Ezekiel 39:5:

עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַשָּׂדֶ֖ה תִּפּ֑וֹל כִּ֚י אֲנִ֣י דִבַּ֔רְתִּי נְאֻ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֥י יֱהֹוִֽה׃

"As you lie in the open field. For I have spoken—declares the Sovereign G-d."


The aftermath of the conflict unfolds in the most transparent of places - the open field. Metzudat David underscores that the open field here is emblematic of the battleground, a place where no obstruction or refuge can shield from the divine verdict. The landscape itself becomes a vast canvas, mirroring the magnitude of the impending judgment.


Moreover, the notion that the outcome is not merely due to natural events but is directly orchestrated by the divine is emphasized by God's assertion: "For I have spoken." Metzudat David elaborates on this, conveying that when God speaks, the decree becomes irrevocable, emphasizing the profound weight and certainty of the Divine's proclamation. In other words, it's not just an expression of intent but a firm assurance of what will unfailingly come to pass.


The entire scene, set against the vastness of the open field and underscored by the unyielding force of the Divine's word, paints a poignant tableau of divine justice being meted out, witnessed by all and uncontested by any. The narrative is a testament to the inexorable will of the Sovereign GOD, where His words set the course of events, and His justice is executed for all to see.


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Ezekiel 39:6:

וְשִׁלַּחְתִּי־אֵ֣שׁ בְּמָג֔וֹג וּבְיֹשְׁבֵ֥י הָאִיִּ֖ים לָבֶ֑טַח וְיָדְע֖וּ כִּי־אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָֽה׃

"And I will send a fire against Magog and against those who dwell secure in the coastlands. And they shall know that I am GOD."


The divine retaliation against Gog's alliance is manifested not only on the battleground but extends even to their distant homelands. Specifically, a fire will be sent upon Magog. This "fire" is symbolic of devastation, possibly an overwhelming calamity or pestilence. Malbim suggests that this is a widespread affliction, potentially reaching even the isolated regions where people live in security.


Additionally, those "dwellers in the coastlands" who felt secure and unthreatened in their territories, as Metzudat David points out, will also be affected. These are likely allies or sympathizers of Gog, who perhaps believed that their insular locations would protect them from any fallout of the conflict. Their belief in their invulnerability will be shattered.


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Ezekiel 39:7:

וְאֶת־שֵׁ֨ם קׇדְשִׁ֜י אוֹדִ֗יעַ בְּתוֹךְ֙ עַמִּ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְלֹא־אַחֵ֥ל אֶת־שֵׁם־קׇדְשִׁ֖י ע֑וֹד וְיָדְע֤וּ הַגּוֹיִם֙ כִּֽי־אֲנִ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה קָד֖וֹשׁ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

"I will make My holy name known among My people Israel, and never again will I let My holy name be profaned. And the nations shall know that I, GOD, am holy in Israel."


The sanctity and reverence for God's name stand at the forefront of His concerns. At a time when the divine name might have seemed diminished among nations, God asserts His intention to rectify this. Metzudat David clarifies this intent, noting, "אודיע. אפרסם שם קדשי בתוך עמי ישראל," meaning, God will "make known and publicize His holy name among His people, Israel." This proclamation isn't just about awareness, but about deep, reverential knowledge.


Furthermore, the challenges faced by Israel, as interpreted by Rashi, directly affect the perception of God's name. Rashi illuminates, "For Israel’s degradation is a profanation of His Name, 'inasmuch as it is said of them, ‘these are the people of the Lord’,' and He is unable to save them." The very afflictions of Israel become an indirect slight to God's might and holiness.


Yet, the Almighty's promise extends beyond mere awareness. He commits to guarding the sanctity of His name. Metzudat David emphasizes this pledge, stating, "ולא אחל. ר״ל לא אניח עוד את שמי להיות מחולל," indicating that God "will not allow His name to be profaned or treated casually anymore." Radak too notes the significance of this, highlighting how during "האריכו הגלות," the extended exile, God's name seemed to be desecrated among the nations.


Malbim, on the other hand, envisions God's extraordinary intervention, saying, "כי אז אודיע לישראל שאני מנהיגם בדרך הקדושה," which translates to, "Then, I will reveal to Israel that I lead them in a path of holiness." Through such divine actions, even the most distant of nations will come to recognize God's sanctity.


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Ezekiel 39:8:

הִנֵּ֤ה בָאָה֙ וְנִֽהְיָ֔תָה נְאֻ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֑ה ה֥וּא הַיּ֖וֹם אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּֽרְתִּי׃

"Ah! It has come, it has happened—declares the Sovereign GOD: this is that day that I decreed."


This verse reflects a moment of profound revelation, highlighting the fulfilment of God's prophecy. In this declaration, the words "Ah! It has come, it has happened" aren't merely the conveyance of a moment's realization but an affirmation of God's unwavering word and its manifesting reality. When Ezekiel proclaims, "this is that day that I decreed," he isn't merely acknowledging a prophecy fulfilled but is emphasizing the accuracy and inevitability of God's decree.


Diving deeper, Abarbanel asserts that since this prophetic vision appeared to be set in a distant future, spanning the long expanse of exile, the emphatic statement "Ah! It has come, it has happened" conveys the vision's actualization. He suggests that God showed Ezekiel this prophecy as if it had already been actualized, making the point that once God decrees something, it's as if it has already come to pass.


Echoing this perspective, the Chomat Anakh and Nachal Sorek both reference the Zohar, a foundational text of Jewish mysticism. They note the seeming contradiction in the verse’s language: the future and the past seem to meld. They offer that once God determines an outcome, it's as if it's already occurred. This understanding underscores the unwavering nature of God’s decrees.


Malbim offers another layer, suggesting that this day, foreseen by God, is a hidden one. The day is preordained, sealed, and known only to God. Yet, its realization in the physical world, as emphasized by "Ah! It has come, it has happened," demonstrates God's sovereignty, where the Divine vision and the earthly reality align perfectly.


Metzudat David simplifies this profound realization, encapsulating the essence of the verse: the time has now come, and salvation has been realized. This is the day that was promised, foreseen, and decreed. It stands as an eternal testament to the fidelity of God's word.


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Ezekiel 39:9:

וְֽיָצְא֞וּ יֹֽשְׁבֵ֣י ׀ עָרֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וּבִעֲר֡וּ וְ֠הִשִּׂ֠יקוּ בְּנֶ֨שֶׁק וּמָגֵ֤ן וְצִנָּה֙ בְּקֶ֣שֶׁת וּבְחִצִּ֔ים וּבְמַקֵּ֥ל יָ֖ד וּבְרֹ֑מַח וּבִעֲר֥וּ בָהֶ֛ם אֵ֖שׁ שֶׁ֥בַע שָׁנִֽים׃

"Then the inhabitants of the cities of Israel will go out and make fires and feed them with the weapons—shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, clubs and spears; they shall use them as fuel for seven years."


This verse describes a future in which the inhabitants of Israel's cities no longer need the weapons of war. Instead, they repurpose them into tools for peace and survival, transforming instruments of destruction into sources of warmth and sustenance.


Abarbanel emphasizes the overwhelming magnitude of the devastation. The sheer number of casualties among the nations is so vast that the remnants of their weapons alone are enough to sustain the fires of Israel for seven years. The people of Israel, who until now have not ventured out into battle, will emerge to collect these abandoned weapons. The abundance of these armaments signifies that the people will not need to gather wood from the fields or forests, making it easier to fuel their fires.


The descriptions by Malbim and Metzudat David further illustrate this transformation. Malbim mentions that the inhabitants of Israel's cities, who previously did not participate in warfare, will venture out to the battlefield. However, they will not be searching for spoils of war but for materials to sustain them, symbolizing a transition from war to peace. Metzudat David highlights that the weapons, primarily made of wood, will be used as fuel.


The commentaries elucidate the specific weaponry: The term "נשק" denotes weaponry in general, as explained by Metzudat Zion, and Rashi defines it as "armures" or weapons in Old French. The "מקל יד" is described as a long staff with a metal point at the end, used to pierce through enemies.


Additionally, several commentaries, including the Malbim Beur Hamilot, Metzudat Zion, and Radak, emphasize the duality of the language used. The terms "וּבִעֲר֡וּ" (to make fires) and "וְ֠הִשִּׂ֠יקוּ" (to feed them) represent parallel actions but with different words. Rashi further clarifies the latter term by drawing from Mishnaic language, where it means to heat up, akin to heating an oven.


In essence, this verse and its commentaries depict a world transformed. The instruments of war, previously symbols of fear and destruction, are rendered obsolete and repurposed. The inhabitants of Israel are no longer warriors but survivors, drawing warmth and hope from the remnants of a bygone era of conflict.


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Ezekiel 39:10:

וְלֹא־יִשְׂא֨וּ עֵצִ֜ים מִן־הַשָּׂדֶ֗ה וְלֹ֤א יַחְטְבוּ֙ מִן־הַיְּעָרִ֔ים כִּ֥י בַנֶּ֖שֶׁק יְבַעֲרוּ־אֵ֑שׁ וְשָׁלְל֣וּ אֶת־שֹׁלְלֵיהֶ֗ם וּבָֽזְזוּ֙ אֶת־בֹּ֣זְזֵיהֶ֔ם נְאֻ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֥י יֱהֹוִֽה׃ {ס}

"They will not gather firewood in the fields or cut any in the forests, but will use the weapons as fuel for their fires. They will despoil those who despoiled them and plunder those who plundered them—declares the Sovereign GOD."


The ensuing days of peace and tranquility for Israel are reflected in the profound shift of how weapons of war transform into sources of sustenance. It underscores that Israel will no longer need to procure wood from the fields or forests for warmth and sustenance. Rather, "לא יצטרכו כי יספיקו בכלי הזיין" ("They won't need to for they'll have enough with the weapons"), as Radak puts it. Instead of cutting trees, weapons will be the primary source of fuel, echoing the sentiment, "כִּ֥י בַנֶּ֖שֶׁק יְבַעֲרוּ־אֵ֑שׁ" (using the weapons as fuel for their fires).


But it isn't merely about the practical use of weapons for warmth. The act is symbolic of Israel's triumph over its adversaries. Metzudat David emphasizes that the Israelites will plunder "את העובדי כוכבים אשר שללו אותם בימי הגולה" ("the idolaters who had previously plundered them during their exile"). It's a just turn of events where Israel reclaims not just physical belongings but also their dignity and sense of security.


In essence, the actions described in this verse signify a redemptive arc, a reversal of fortune for Israel. The very instruments that once symbolized threat and hostility towards Israel are now repurposed, serving the very community they were once used against. This transformation is both literal, in the reuse of weaponry, and symbolic, indicating the establishment of peace and the justice of retribution. The culmination is God's proclamation, emphasizing the Divine hand in these events.


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Ezekiel 39:11 states:

וְהָיָ֣ה בַיּ֣וֹם הַה֡וּא אֶתֵּ֣ן לְגוֹג֩ ׀ מְקֽוֹם־שָׁ֨ם קֶ֜בֶר בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל גֵּ֤י הָעֹֽבְרִים֙ קִדְמַ֣ת הַיָּ֔ם וְחֹסֶ֥מֶת הִ֖יא אֶת־הָעֹֽבְרִ֑ים וְקָ֣בְרוּ שָׁ֗ם אֶת־גּוֹג֙ וְאֶת־כׇּל־הֲמוֹנֹ֔ה וְקָ֣רְא֔וּ גֵּ֖יא הֲמ֥וֹן גּֽוֹג׃

"On that day I will assign to Gog a burial site there in Israel—the Valley of the Travelers, east of the Sea. It shall block the path of travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. It shall be called the Valley of Gog’s Multitude."


In this prophetic vision, the downfall of Gog and his multitude has reached its tragic climax. The verse conjures an image of an immense graveyard, not just in its physical expanse but also in its symbolic weight. As the battleground becomes a burial ground, its very geography seems to change.


The burial site's name, "The Valley of the Travelers," suggests a commonly trodden path, a place where many pass through. However, the sheer number of bodies that will be buried here will obstruct this path. The travelers, accustomed to journeying through this valley, will now be met with a morbid blockade. The valley will take on a new name, reflecting its transformed character: "The Valley of Gog’s Multitude."


But why Gog? "Because he is of the seed of Japtheth, who covered his father’s nakedness, he therefore merited burial," explains Rashi. Even though Gog is presented as an adversary, he is still granted the dignity of burial, emphasizing the Jewish tradition's humanity.


This burial will not be one of honor or ceremony. The sheer magnitude of the fallen makes individual rites impossible. Instead, as Abarbanel points out, the earth will swallow up Gog and his forces in a singular, vast grave, a place of containment rather than commemoration.


Abarbanel and Radak both highlight that the burial's primary purpose is purification, to cleanse the land of the decay and impurity brought about by countless rotting corpses. This cleansing is crucial not only for hygienic reasons but also for spiritual ones. The land of Israel is holy, and it cannot remain defiled.


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Ezekiel 39:12 states:

וּקְבָרוּם֙ בֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לְמַ֖עַן טַהֵ֣ר אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ שִׁבְעָ֖ה חֳדָשִֽׁים׃

"The House of Israel shall spend seven months burying them, in order to purify the land."


The grave task assigned to the House of Israel in this verse is profoundly symbolic. The act of burial is not to honor the fallen foes but rather, as Metzudat David elucidates, to purify the land. Burying them is an act of sanctification, ensuring that the land remains untainted. The scale of the burial task is monumental; Israel will labor for seven months to bury the vast multitudes. The sheer enormity of this number paints a vivid picture of the aftermath of the battle, emphasizing the substantial toll of the war.


Radak provides a perspective that offers historical resonance. He reminds us that the Divine mandate to bury the fallen isn't unprecedented. The prohibition against leaving the dead unburied is rooted in the concern that unburied corpses would defile the land. This recalls the Biblical commandment that warns against allowing a corpse to hang overnight, as it would defile the Holy Land. Radak further underscores the urgency and magnitude of this task by drawing a parallel to Joshua's directive to bury the five kings. Just as in the days of Joshua, Israel will once again be tasked with burying their enemies to purify their land, a poignant reminder of the cycles of history and the enduring sanctity of the land.


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Ezekiel 39:13:

וְקָֽבְרוּ֙ כׇּל־עַ֣ם הָאָ֔רֶץ וְהָיָ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם לְשֵׁ֑ם י֚וֹם הִכָּ֣בְדִ֔י נְאֻ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֥י יֱהֹוִֽה׃

*all the people of the land shall bury them. The day I manifest My glory shall bring renown to them —declares the Sovereign GOD.*


This verse accentuates a remarkable event in the narrative where the entirety of Israel's population undertakes the responsibility of burying the fallen, a task typically assigned to designated individuals, especially given the risk of contagion from decaying bodies. In most situations, people would be cautious about burying those who perished during an epidemic, especially fallen soldiers who have lain unburied for some time, emitting putrid smells and attracting disease. Customarily, only specific groups would be entrusted with this somber duty to prevent the spread of diseases, ensuring that the populace at large is shielded from potential contagions. However, this scenario is dramatically different.


The act of burying in this context is not born out of an obligation to honor the dead but rather to purify the land. As the *Metzudat David* notes, "למען טהר. ר״ל לא יקברום בעבור כבודם כ״א למען טהר את הארץ" - it implies that their primary goal wasn't to honor them but to cleanse the land. This significant act, taking seven months, isn't merely about physical purification; it's a symbolic gesture that resonates with deeper meanings.


Israel's collective act of burial will not go unnoticed. It becomes a source of recognition and renown, elevating Israel's stature among the nations. As the *Radak* elaborates, "והיה להם לשם. כי אומות העולם יזכרו אותם לטובה בזה ויאמרו ראו מה טובה אומה זו" - the nations will recall Israel's noble act and exclaim about the goodness of this nation. The world will look on in admiration, remarking on the unparalleled compassion of a nation burying its foes. *Rashi* too emphasizes the sentiment, noting the commendable nature of a nation that buries even its adversaries: "and they will be renowned... do you find a man who buries his enemy who rose up against him to kill him?"


On this day, God's glory will be manifested, and Israel's actions will be a testament to that divine radiance. This day, as the verse concludes, becomes a "י֚וֹם הִכָּ֣בְדִ֔י", a day of divine honor, wherein God's magnificence is displayed not just through miraculous interventions but also through the commendable actions of His people.


*


Ezekiel 39:14:

וְאַנְשֵׁ֨י תָמִ֤יד יַבְדִּ֙ילוּ֙ עֹבְרִ֣ים בָּאָ֔רֶץ מְקַבְּרִ֣ים אֶת־הָעֹֽבְרִ֗ים אֶת־הַנּוֹתָרִ֛ים עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הָאָ֖רֶץ לְטַהֲרָ֑הּ מִקְצֵ֥ה שִׁבְעָה־חֳדָשִׁ֖ים יַחְקֹֽרוּ׃

*And they shall appoint members of a corps to traverse the land and bury any invaders who remain above ground, in order to purify it. The search shall go on for a period of seven months.*


The pressing urgency of this burial task is unmistakable. Every person in Israel became involved in the purifying act of burial. After seven months, when the majority of the visible corpses had been laid to rest, a specialized group, termed as "אנשי תמיד" or "men of continuous employment," would be designated. These individuals, as Rashi elucidates, were "Men designed to continuously devote themselves to this." Their primary responsibility was to probe deeper, reaching into the more concealed places like briars and among the thorns, ensuring that no deceased body remained unburied.


But why was this task given such importance? The Abarbanel shares an insight. The dedication to this process of purification was so profound that even after the populace had been involved in burial for seven months, there was still an initiative to designate a special corps for the purpose. These select individuals would constantly traverse the land, searching for any deceased that may have been missed, ensuring the land's sanctity was maintained. They were supported by passersby in their mission. These passersby would identify any corpses they encountered during their travels, and the designated burial corps would take on the duty of burial, as Radak mentions, "Israel will separate out individuals to continuously traverse the land, ensuring every last fallen individual was honored with burial."


Yet, the underlying intent went beyond mere purification of the physical land. Malbim adds a layer of depth: While the primary concern was purifying the land, the overarching mission was to underscore the sanctity of life and the importance of treating even one's adversaries with respect. The sheer dedication to this task was bound to echo throughout the world. Radak adds that the nations would remark on Israel's nobility, recognizing their good deeds even towards their foes. They would say, "Look at the benevolence of this nation, that even in death, they honor those who sought to harm them."


In essence, through this rigorous and continuous effort, not only was the land purified, but the very ethos of Israel — an ethos that values life and dignity — was reaffirmed and broadcast to the entire world.


*


Ezekiel 39:15:

וְעָבְר֤וּ הָעֹֽבְרִים֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ וְרָאָה֙ עֶ֣צֶם אָדָ֔ם וּבָנָ֥ה אֶצְל֖וֹ צִיּ֑וּן עַ֣ד קָבְר֤וּ אֹתוֹ֙ הַֽמְקַבְּרִ֔ים אֶל־גֵּ֖יא הֲמ֥וֹן גּֽוֹג׃

*As those who traverse the country make their rounds, any one of them who sees a human bone shall erect a marker beside it, until the buriers have interred them in the Valley of Gog’s Multitude.*


In this scenario, Israel has been immersed in the sobering task of burying the vast numbers of the deceased. As wayfarers travel through the land, their responsibility extends beyond mere journeying. Should they come across a human bone, they are mandated to construct a marker, a "ציון," next to it. This act is more than a simple gesture of respect. Rashi brings to light the practicality behind it, noting that this marker serves as a warning, ensuring that those preparing ritually pure food or others would maintain a distance, thus preserving their state of purity.


Yet, this directive might bring forth the question of the nature of the "ציון." Both the Tosefta in Moed Katan and Chomat Anakh delve into this, suggesting that marking graves might be an obligation rooted in Torah law. However, there's a tension here; some sources hint that this might be a Rabbinic enactment. Regardless of its legal origin, the act carries profound significance, bearing witness to the meticulous care with which Israel treated even the remains of their adversaries.


Following this marking by the wayfarers, there is another group that enters the narrative, those designated for continual search and burial, described as "אנשי תמיד." These individuals, as highlighted by Radak and Malbim, aren't just random individuals but a dedicated team whose task is to ensure that every bone marked by a ציון finds its final resting place. Their objective is to bring these remains to a specific location, the "Valley of Gog’s Multitude." Radak further elucidates that these bones aren't scattered haphazardly but are gathered and buried collectively in one place, serving as a perpetual testimony to future generations of God's mighty acts.


Through these actions, the land of Israel is not only physically purified but also symbolically sanctified, demonstrating unwavering respect for life, remembrance, and the divine plan that unfolds even in the aftermath of conflict.


*


Ezekiel 39:16:

וְגַ֥ם שֶׁם־עִ֛יר הֲמוֹנָ֖הֿ וְטִהֲר֥וּ הָאָֽרֶץ׃

"There shall also be a city named Multitude. And thus the land shall be purified."


In the aftermath of a massive confrontation, where countless members of Gog's army meet their end, the land carries the weight of this history. Amidst the echoes of past conflicts, a city is christened "Hamonah" – Multitude. This isn't a mere naming ceremony. It's a declaration, capturing the scale of the event and serving as an enduring testament to the tremendous occurrences the nation had witnessed.


Names, especially in ancient traditions, are not chosen arbitrarily. They resonate with the essence of the events, places, or people they represent. The naming of a city as "Hamonah" reinforces the magnitude of what had transpired. Radak hints that this city could be adjacent to the valley where these events unfolded or might even be alluding to Jerusalem itself. The very heart of the nation, then, stands in proximity to this monumental event's memories, reflecting on how close the nation came to potential catastrophe.


Abarbanel expands on this, drawing attention to the power of collective memory embedded within places. The city's name serves as a living testament, not only of the challenges that were surmounted but also of the divine interventions that shaped these historical moments. It's an everlasting reminder to future generations, urging them to recognize and honor their shared history.


Yet, it isn't just about remembrance. The latter part of the verse alludes to purification. The act of cleansing – both in the literal sense with the burial of the deceased and in the symbolic, with the naming of the city – offers a profound lesson about the cyclical nature of life. After strife comes reflection, then healing, and ultimately, rejuvenation. The verse encapsulates this cycle, emphasizing the need to acknowledge the past, learn from it, and pave the way for a future anchored in clarity and hope.


*


Ezekiel 39:17:

וְאַתָּ֨ה בֶן־אָדָ֜ם כֹּה־אָמַ֣ר ׀ אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֗ה אֱמֹר֩ לְצִפּ֨וֹר כׇּל־כָּנָ֜ף וּלְכֹ֣ל ׀ חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֗ה הִקָּבְצ֤וּ וָבֹ֙אוּ֙ הֵאָסְפ֣וּ מִסָּבִ֔יב עַל־זִבְחִ֗י אֲשֶׁ֨ר אֲנִ֜י זֹבֵ֤חַ לָכֶם֙ זֶ֣בַח גָּד֔וֹל עַ֖ל הָרֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַאֲכַלְתֶּ֥ם בָּשָׂ֖ר וּשְׁתִ֥יתֶם דָּֽם׃

"And you, O mortal, say to every winged bird and to all the wild beasts: Thus said the Sovereign GOD: Assemble, come and gather from all around for the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you—a great sacrificial feast—upon the mountains of Israel, and eat flesh and drink blood."


Ezekiel is summoned by God with an imperative directed not just at him but through him, towards nature itself – every winged bird and all the wild beasts. They are called upon to partake in a grand sacrificial feast, one that's set upon the mountains of Israel. This feast isn't any ordinary one. The very offerings, as Abarbanel points out, are the fallen from the hordes of Gog. The vastness of this enemy and their devastating intent is turned on its head; where they intended destruction, their very bodies become sustenance for the creatures of the land and sky.


But the purpose of this feast is deeper than mere physical sustenance. Malbim elaborates that this feast signifies purification. Seven months after the climactic battle, there will remain no unburied bodies. Nature, in consuming the fallen, plays an essential role in cleansing the land. The narrative paints a picture of nature, in its raw form, being harnessed for a divine purpose, almost returning things to a balanced state.


Metzudat David clarifies the specifics, noting that every winged creature is invited to this divine feast. This all-encompassing invitation highlights the universal nature of God's message. It's not limited to humans or a particular set of beings; all creatures play a role in God's grand design. The sacrificial feast is an embodiment of that concept, a transformation of tragedy into a means of purification, a turning of chaos back into order, and an affirmation of divine control over all facets of existence.


*


Ezekiel 39:18:

"בְּשַׂ֤ר גִּבּוֹרִים֙ תֹּאכֵ֔לוּ וְדַם־נְשִׂיאֵ֥י הָאָ֖רֶץ תִּשְׁתּ֑וּ אֵילִ֨ים כָּרִ֤ים וְעַתּוּדִים֙ פָּרִ֔ים מְרִיאֵ֥י בָשָׁ֖ן כֻּלָּֽם׃"

"You shall eat the flesh of warriors and drink the blood of the princes of the earth: rams, lambs, he-goats, and bulls—fatlings of Bashan all of them."


Drawing insights from the verse, we see a poetic and allegorical invitation to a vast banquet. The banquet serves as a metaphorical representation of the downfall of Israel's enemies. In this feast, the most potent and revered of the enemies are symbolized by the choice of animals. The *"בְּשַׂ֤ר גִּבּוֹרִים" (flesh of warriors)* and the "דַם־נְשִׂיאֵ֥י הָאָ֖רֶץ" (blood of the princes of the earth) represent the mighty ones of the nations. The imagery is reminiscent of a grand feast where the most sumptuous and rich foods are presented, but here, it carries a deeper, more profound meaning.


The animals mentioned - the rams, lambs, he-goats, and bulls, are not just any ordinary creatures. They symbolize the nobility and the elite. As Rashi aptly puts it, these animals represent "kings and dukes, rulers, and princes." The "מְרִיאֵ֥י בָשָׁ֖ן" (fatlings of Bashan), as explained by Rashi, are those that are given to be fattened, perhaps an allusion to the indulgence of these rulers. It underscores the grandeur and the richness of the banquet, and by extension, the significance of the downfall of these great enemies. Bashan, known for its fertile lands, provides the backdrop for these fatlings, symbolizing the best and the mightiest.


Further, Radak sheds light on the transition between the defeat in battle to the subsequent ceremonial feast. He suggests that what is being metaphorically "eaten" is the period between the slaying of the enemies and their burial. The idea is that the downfall of the enemies is not instantaneous but is a process that offers Israel the chance to witness and reflect upon.


Thus, the allegory of the banquet presents not just a scene of victory but also a reflection on the magnitude of Israel's triumph over its foes. The enemies, once great and mighty, are now likened to a feast for the birds and wild beasts, highlighting the complete reversal of their fortunes.


*


Ezekiel 39:19:

"וַאֲכַלְתֶּם־חֵ֣לֶב לְשׇׂבְעָ֔ה וּשְׁתִ֥יתֶם דָּ֖ם לְשִׁכָּר֑וֹן מִזִּבְחִ֖י אֲשֶׁר־זָבַ֥חְתִּי לָכֶֽם׃"

"You shall eat fat to satiety and drink your fill of blood from the sacrificial feast that I have prepared for you."


The lavish feast continues in this verse, inviting participants to indulge to their heart's content. Here, the feast's opulence is accentuated by the richness of what's being offered: fat and blood. Eating to satiety isn't merely about filling the stomach; it's about reaching a level of contentment and fulfillment. The term "לְשׇׂבְעָ֔ה" means precisely that, to be sated, as clarified by Metzudat David, implying a state of fullness from the fat consumed.


However, the reference to drinking blood might appear unsettling to a modern audience. Yet, in the context, the blood isn't merely a beverage. As Metzudat David enlightens us, drinking the blood "לְשִׁכָּר֑וֹן" alludes to the intoxicating effect of wine, suggesting excess beyond what is needed, a potent symbol of the overwhelming defeat of the enemies. In this allegory, the blood isn't just blood; it's a potent representation of victory, drunk in the aftermath of battle, embodying the totality of the triumph. This notion is further reinforced by Malbim, emphasizing that the feast's sheer quantity allows the eaters to indulge both in the fat for satiety and the blood for intoxication.


Radak, too, finds the message self-evident, underscoring that the divine feast's abundance is both a manifestation of Israel's triumph and a poignant reminder of the mighty enemies' fall. The allusion to a sacrificial feast, "מִזִּבְחִ֖י אֲשֶׁר־זָבַ֥חְתִּי לָכֶֽם," reinforces that the victory is divinely orchestrated, linking back to the spiritual and ceremonial aspects of sacrifice in ancient Israelite culture. It's a victory that has divine blessings, and the feast is both a celebration and a symbol of that divine favor.


*


Ezekiel 39:20:

"וּשְׂבַעְתֶּ֤ם עַל־שֻׁלְחָנִי֙ ס֣וּס וָרֶ֔כֶב גִּבּ֖וֹר וְכׇל־אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה נְאֻ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֥י יֱהֹוִֽה׃"

"And you shall sate yourselves at My table with horses, charioteers, warriors, and all soldiers—declares the Sovereign GOD."


The feast described is not ordinary; it’s expansive, encompassing various symbols of strength and warfare. The very table at which this feast takes place is God's, emphasizing divine sanction and intervention. At this table, the representation of fallen enemies is explicit: horses, charioteers, powerful warriors, and every kind of soldier. It's a vivid image of victory and retribution, where the very symbols of the enemy's might become sustenance.


Malbim elaborates on this portrayal, indicating that even after the grand feast is over, the table remains abundant and ever-prepared. There's an unending supply of fallen enemies symbolized as various types of sustenance. This not only emphasizes the vastness of the enemy’s defeat but also the providence of the divine. It’s as if God’s table never runs out of these signs of victory, continually reminding the Israelites of their triumph.


Metzudat David draws a picture of the aftermath, suggesting that even the beasts and birds, typically unconcerned with the affairs of nations, partake in this victory by feasting on the fallen horses, their riders, and the warriors. The repetition of the various kinds of fallen - horses, charioteers, and every warrior - serves as a form of poetic emphasis, driving home the totality of the defeat. It's not just a military triumph; it's a profound transformation of these mighty symbols into food, into sustenance.


Radak succinctly concurs with the explicit nature of the verse. The message is clear and potent: God’s table is set with the evidence of a grand divine victory over the enemies of Israel, and those partaking in the feast are filled with not just food but the tangible signs of this triumph. The narrative evokes deep gratitude and reverence, as every morsel consumed serves as a reminder of the omnipotence of the Sovereign God.


*


Ezekiel 39:21:

"וְנָתַתִּ֥י אֶת־כְּבוֹדִ֖י בַּגּוֹיִ֑ם וְרָא֣וּ כׇל־הַגּוֹיִ֗ם אֶת־מִשְׁפָּטִי֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשִׂ֔יתִי וְאֶת־יָדִ֖י אֲשֶׁר־שַׂ֥מְתִּי בָהֶֽם׃"

"Thus will I manifest My glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see the judgment that I executed and the power that I wielded against them."


The grandeur of God's actions will be unequivocal, extending beyond Israel and into the nations' heart. The Divine glory's display serves as a profound testimony to God's supreme power and the righteousness of His judgments.


Abarbanel emphasizes a notion that counters a possible misconception: that the diminishing of nations would diminish God's glory. He reminds us that the opposite is true. The verse suggests that God's glory is enhanced among the nations when they witness the precise retribution delivered upon them. God's glory isn't contingent upon the number of nations but upon the righteousness and fairness of His actions.


Malbim delves into two core elements: Firstly, the nations will witness God's judgments – a retribution that matches their sins. The punishment isn't random; it is a direct consequence of their deeds, a measure-for-measure retribution. Secondly, they will see the manifestation of God's power, which will be evident in the extraordinary and miraculous nature of the punishment. This will not be just any form of punishment; it will be one that unequivocally showcases the divine hand behind it.


Metzudat David reflects a similar theme, underscoring that God's glory will be proclaimed among the nations. They will witness firsthand the consequences of their actions and recognize the divine force behind their fate.


Rashi, with his concise precision, clarifies the term "מִשְׁפָּטִי" (my judgment) as God's retribution or punishment. It is a display of divine justice, a direct response to the actions of the nations.


In essence, God's actions will be a declaration, not just to Israel but to all nations. The message is unmistakable: God's judgments are just, His power unparalleled, and His glory will be manifest to all who observe. It's a testament to God's unwavering commitment to justice and righteousness.


*


Ezekiel 39:22:

"וְנָתַתִּ֥י אֶת־כְּבוֹדִ֖י בַּגּוֹיִ֑ם וְרָא֣וּ כׇל־הַגּוֹיִ֗ם אֶת־מִשְׁפָּטִי֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשִׂ֔יתִי וְאֶת־יָדִ֖י אֲשֶׁר־שַׂ֥מְתִּי בָהֶֽם׃"

"Thus will I manifest My glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see the judgment that I executed and the power that I wielded against them."


Ezekiel's prophetic message is not only one of divine retribution but also of enlightenment. The nations, once witness to the manifest power of God, will come to a deep understanding of His righteousness and the just nature of His judgments.


Abarbanel explains that the grandeur of God's actions will not only be recognized but will also eradicate any misconceptions about the source of Israel's tribulations. He states, "And do not think that by the killing of these nations, My glory will decrease. On the contrary, I will then bestow My glory upon the nations, and all nations will see the judgment I have executed." This highlights that God's actions serve to correct any misunderstandings, clarifying that Israel's sufferings were due to their transgressions, not God's inability to protect them.


Malbim adds depth by pointing out two subsequent realizations from this event. First, Israel will recognize that God is truly their protector and guardian. He states, "From that day and onwards, they will know that I am the Lord their God." Secondly, the nations will discern that God's retribution upon them was just, directly corresponding to their deeds. In Malbim's words, they will see "My judgment that I executed, measure for measure, according to their sins."


Metzudat David emphasizes God's unwavering support for Israel. The nation will recognize Him as their savior from their enemies, and from that day forward, God will not forsake them to the hands of foreign nations.


Radak, in his concise commentary, indicates that from the day of this divine manifestation, neither Ezekiel nor any other prophet will deviate or misunderstand God's intentions and actions.


In conclusion, this verse underscores a pivotal moment when God's manifest power brings about a profound realization among the nations and Israel alike. It heralds a time of enlightenment where the righteousness of God's judgments is acknowledged and celebrated, solidifying His eternal bond with Israel.


*


Ezekiel 39:23:

"וְיָדְע֣וּ הַ֠גּוֹיִ֠ם כִּ֣י בַעֲוֺנָ֞ם גָּל֣וּ בֵֽית־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל עַ֚ל אֲשֶׁ֣ר מָעֲלוּ־בִ֔י וָֽאַסְתִּ֥ר פָּנַ֖י מֵהֶ֑ם וָֽאֶתְּנֵם֙ בְּיַ֣ד צָרֵיהֶ֔ם וַיִּפְּל֥וּ בַחֶ֖רֶב כֻּלָּֽם׃"

"And the nations shall know that the House of Israel were exiled only for their iniquity, because they trespassed against Me, so that I hid My face from them and delivered them into the hands of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword."


In this verse, Ezekiel addresses the misconceptions surrounding the exile of the Israelites. The nations will come to recognize that the exile was not a consequence of God's incapacity to protect Israel, but rather due to Israel's transgressions against Him.


Malbim elaborates on this, suggesting that initially, the exile brought about a desecration of God's name. The nations believed that Israel was abandoned due to God's inability. However, this prophecy clarifies that the exile was a direct result of Israel's sins and their betrayal against God. The nations will realize that God hid His face from Israel as a consequence of their iniquities.


Metzudat David also touches on this theme, noting that the nations, upon witnessing God's might, will understand that Israel's exile was not due to a divine shortfall. Rather, it was Israel's iniquities that led God to conceal His face and hand them over to their adversaries.


Rashi further emphasizes this, explaining that the nations will recognize that Israel's exile wasn't because of God's inability to save them. Instead, it was their sins that caused God to hide His face, leading to their exile.


In a more detailed interpretation, Abarbanel clarifies that the nations shouldn't misconstrue the diminishing of Israel as a diminishment of God's glory. The truth is contrary: God's glory is magnified among the nations when they witness the exact retribution He enacts upon the wrongdoers.


In essence, this prophecy serves as a clarification of God's righteous actions. The exile, as unfortunate as it was, was a direct result of Israel's actions, and not a testament to God's weakness. The nations will come to this realization, further magnifying God's justice and righteousness in their eyes.


*


Ezekiel 39:24:

"When I hid My face from them, I dealt with them according to their impurity and their transgressions."


The divine act of hiding His face denotes a withdrawal of divine favor, protection, or presence. It signifies a period during which God allows events to unfold as they will, without overtly intervening, particularly in the form of protection or assistance.


Metzudat David comments on this verse, providing insight into the reasons behind God's actions:: "According to their impurity. As a response to their impurity and their transgressions, I acted towards them and hid My face from them so as not to see their distress. A person who hides his face from someone being rebuked by him does so in order not to be moved by compassion."


In essence, the commentary offers that God's decision to "hide His face" was a direct consequence of Israel's impurity and transgressions. The act of hiding His face was purposeful, allowing the natural consequences of Israel's actions to take place without divine intervention. The metaphor of a person hiding their face to avoid being swayed by compassion underscores the deliberate nature of this divine act, emphasizing the notion of justice and consequence.


*


Ezekiel 39:25:

"Assuredly, thus said the Sovereign GOD: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and take the whole House of Israel back in love; and I will be zealous for My holy name."

In Ezekiel 39:25, the scripture reads, "לָכֵ֗ן כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֔ה עַתָּ֗ה אָשִׁיב֙ אֶת־(שבית) [שְׁב֣וּת] יַעֲקֹ֔ב וְרִחַמְתִּ֖י כׇּל־בֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְקִנֵּאתִ֖י לְשֵׁ֥ם קׇדְשִֽׁי׃," which translates to, "Assuredly, thus said the Sovereign GOD: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and take the whole House of Israel back in love; and I will be zealous for My holy name."


This scripture poignantly brings forth God's commitment to the restoration of Jacob's fortunes and His unwavering affection for the entire House of Israel. Yet, it is not just a benevolent act; it's deeply anchored in God's fervent desire to protect the sanctity of His name. By redeeming His people, God simultaneously vindicates His name, which might have been misconstrued by the nations opposed to Israel.


Abarbanel provides context, suggesting that following God's retribution upon the nations, there is a turning point where the divine gaze shifts towards Israel. Post-vengeance, it becomes the ordained time for God to uplift Jacob and enshroud the House of Israel with His compassion. This sequential unfolding of events exemplifies the harmony of divine justice and mercy.


From Malbim's perspective, there's a distinction between the ten tribes named 'Jacob' and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin referred to as 'Israel'. While 'Jacob' has felt the pang of exile, 'Israel' has experienced more severe consequences. This differentiation underscores that the former merely seeks a return, while the latter, having undergone greater trials, longs deeply for divine mercy.


Metzudat David speaks to this sequence of divine actions, emphasizing that once Israel faced their destined trials, the landscape is prepared for God's benevolent intervention.


Rashi brings clarity to the narrative, focusing on God's passionate zeal for His holy name. For Rashi, this isn't an abstract theological point; it's the pulsating core of God's actions. Every divine measure, be it retribution or restoration, is fundamentally anchored in God's commitment to ensuring His name remains unprofaned.


In this unified narrative, what emerges is a vivid portrait of God, deeply bound to His people, whose actions, whether restorative or retributive, are driven by His respect for the sanctity of His name. The insights from these commentaries emphasize God's multifaceted nature, His unwavering commitment to justice and mercy, and His enduring relationship with the people of Israel.


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Ezekiel 39:26:

In Ezekiel 39:26, we encounter the verse, "וְנָשׂוּ֙ אֶת־כְּלִמָּתָ֔ם וְאֶת־כׇּל־מַעֲלָ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר מָעֲלוּ־בִ֑י בְּשִׁבְתָּ֧ם עַל־אַדְמָתָ֛ם לָבֶ֖טַח וְאֵ֥ין מַחֲרִֽיד׃," which translates to, "They will bear their shame and all their trespasses that they committed against Me, when they dwell in their land secure and untroubled."


This verse echoes the profound transformation the Children of Israel undergo upon their return to their homeland. As they settle back into their land, living without fear, they will confront the weight of their past misdeeds and the shame associated with them. This acknowledgment is not merely a burden; it becomes a process of self-reflection, leading to personal and collective growth.


Drawing from Malbim, the concept of bearing shame, "ונשו את כלימתם," has dual implications. While the exile brought a palpable sense of disgrace to the Israelites, their return to their land will also mark a period where they recognize and confront their past transgressions, symbolized by "ונשו את מעלם."


Metzudat David offers a poignant portrayal of this dynamic. When the Children of Israel, now back in their land, enjoy safety and security, the contrast between their current blessings and past misdeeds becomes starker. The more they appreciate the goodness surrounding them, the more acutely they feel the embarrassment of their previous actions. It's like receiving an undeserved kindness after causing harm; the gratitude is profound, but so is the regret.


The term "ונשו" is layered with significance. Radak interprets it as bearing or carrying, akin to carrying a weight or burden in one's heart, a continuous reminder of their past disgrace. Yet, Rashi offers a contrasting perspective. He aligns with Menahem's interpretation, where "ונשו" echoes the sentiment of Psalm 32:1, referring to forgiveness or atonement. Here, "ונשו" doesn't just signify bearing shame; it signifies the atonement and subsequent liberation from that shame.


The Children of Israel's journey, as reflected in this verse and illuminated by these commentaries, is not just physical—from exile to their homeland—but also emotional and spiritual. It's about confronting the past, seeking atonement, and moving forward in the light of God's grace and the security of their ancestral land.


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Ezekiel 39:27:

In Ezekiel 39:27, the text reads, "בְּשׁוֹבְבִ֤י אוֹתָם֙ מִן־הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים וְקִבַּצְתִּ֣י אֹתָ֔ם מֵאַרְצ֖וֹת אֹיְבֵיהֶ֑ם וְנִקְדַּ֣שְׁתִּי בָ֔ם לְעֵינֵ֖י הַגּוֹיִ֥ם רַבִּֽים׃", which can be translated as, "when I have brought them back from among the peoples and gathered them out of the lands of their enemies and have manifested My holiness through them in the sight of many nations."


The return of the Children of Israel from exile is not a mere act of resettlement. It's an event that unfolds on multiple dimensions, deeply rooted in their relationship with God and witnessed by nations far and wide. The core of the verse underscores God's proactive role in restoring Israel. The term "בְּשׁוֹבְבִי," as Metzudat David and Radak both elucidate, is derived from the word for return, suggesting God's active role in bringing the Children of Israel back from their dispersion among the nations.


Abarbanel offers an insightful contrast. If the Israelites' redemption were solely by the volition of the nations, without divine intervention, they would not forget their disgrace. However, God's involvement in their return, specifically from the lands of their enemies and showcasing His sanctity through them, becomes a testament for the world. This divine display of holiness, as Malbim articulates, is not only seen through their good deeds but also through the miracles that will manifest during this period. This powerful juxtaposition makes it clear that it is not merely about physical return; it's a spiritual homecoming, a reclaiming of their place with God's grace.


Metzudat David further adds layers to this understanding. When the Israelites are brought back, they will shine as a beacon of God's salvation, a living testament to His might and holiness. The nations will witness this and will no longer dare to profane God's name by doubting His ability to save.


In this redemption and return, God's name is sanctified, and the Israelites' relationship with Him is renewed and strengthened. It's not just a physical return to their homeland but a profound spiritual reconnection with their divine purpose and identity, resonating far beyond their own community and into the annals of nations.


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Ezekiel 39:28:

In Ezekiel 39:28, the verse states, "וְיָדְע֗וּ כִּ֣י אֲנִ֤י יְהֹוָה֙ אֱלֹ֣הֵיהֶ֔ם בְּהַגְלוֹתִ֤י אֹתָם֙ אֶל־הַגּוֹיִ֔ם וְכִנַּסְתִּ֖ים עַל־אַדְמָתָ֑ם וְלֹא־אוֹתִ֥יר ע֛וֹד מֵהֶ֖ם שָֽׁם׃", which translates as, "They shall know that I the ETERNAL am their GOD when, having exiled them among the nations, I gather them back into their land and leave none of them behind."


The crux of this verse is the affirmation of God's continuous, unwavering sovereignty over the Israelites, even during times when they felt distanced or estranged from Him. The exile among the nations was not a mere abandonment; it was a facet of God's overarching plan. As Malbim interprets, the Israelites would realize that even during their exile, God remained their guiding deity. The exile was not meant as punishment per se, but rather, a form of benevolent guidance.


Furthermore, the gathering of the Israelites back to their homeland signifies a full-circle moment. As Metzudat David expounds, this return will lead to a profound understanding among the Israelites: that God is the force directing and ruling over them. This realization comes not just from their return but also from the completeness of it, as emphasized in the phrase "וְלֹא־אוֹתִ֥יר ע֛וֹד מֵהֶ֖ם שָֽׁם׃" (and leave none of them behind). Such a comprehensive return, from all corners of the world where they were dispersed, underscores God's omnipotence.


Abarbanel further accentuates this sentiment by suggesting that a voluntary return, initiated by other nations without God's intervention, wouldn't have led to this profound realization. Only a return orchestrated by God, in such a grand manner, will lead the Israelites to a deep recognition of His guiding hand in their history.


In essence, this verse encapsulates a profound journey, one that moves from exile and dispersion to return and recognition. It serves as a poignant reminder that even in the moments of deepest despair, God's connection with the Children of Israel remains unbroken, and His plans, while at times seemingly inscrutable, always aim for their ultimate well-being.


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Ezekiel 39:29:

In Ezekiel 39:29, the verse states, "וְלֹא־אַסְתִּ֥יר ע֛וֹד פָּנַ֖י מֵהֶ֑ם אֲשֶׁ֨ר שָׁפַ֤כְתִּי אֶת־רוּחִי֙ עַל־בֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל נְאֻ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֥י יֱהֹוִֽה׃", which translates as, "I will never again hide My face from them, for I will pour out My spirit upon the House of Israel—declares the Sovereign GOD."


The verse conveys a message of renewal and restoration. God promises to cease hiding His face from Israel, meaning He will no longer be distant or withhold His benevolence. The pouring of His spirit onto the House of Israel symbolizes an outpouring of divine influence and blessings, potentially also referring to the restoration of prophetic visions and divine inspiration, often represented by the concept of "Ruach Hakodesh" (the Holy Spirit) in Jewish literature.


Abarbanel expands on this idea by pointing out that God assures them that there will be no more exiles in the future. The mention of pouring out His spirit hints at the revival of prophecy and divine inspiration. Abarbanel further underscores that this prophecy could not have been fulfilled during the Second Temple period, as its hallmarks did not materialize at that time. The prophecy indicates a future time when God's presence will be felt in an unparalleled manner among the Israelites.


Metzudat David delves into the metaphorical aspects of the verse. The imagery of hiding one's face is akin to a person who, not wanting to fulfill someone's request, hides their face to avoid interaction. In contrast, God's commitment to "no longer hide His face" symbolizes His readiness and willingness to heed the calls and prayers of the Israelites. The pouring of the spirit signifies divine empowerment for the Israelites, positioning them to receive and appreciate the divine goodness bestowed upon them.


In essence, this verse speaks of a profound reconnection, a moment in the future where the perceived distance between God and the Children of Israel is bridged, with divine favor and blessings flooding back into their lives. It conveys hope and an enduring bond that will be revitalized in its fullest essence.

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