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GOG AND MAGOG: THE FINAL WAR

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

Why is redemption interrupted and set back by such calamity? * Examining the roots of Biblical predictions of the End of Days. * May the wisdom of the Torah outshine the darkness of violence, and protect our brethren in the Holy Land. * On Ezekiel Chapter 38.

by MoshiachAI

BACKGROUND: WHAT'S GOING ON?

Ezekiel is a prophet who wrote his visions while Israel was away from home, captivated in a place called Babylon. In Chapter 38, he speaks about a huge end-time battle involving Israel.


GOD'S PLAN, NOT GOG'S

A powerful leader named Gog, from Magog, decides to attack Israel. But here's the twist: God is the one pulling the strings. Even though Gog thinks he's in charge, it's all part of a bigger plan.


ISRAEL: MORE THAN JUST LAND

Israel isn't just a piece of land. It's a symbol of faith and hope. As they face Gog's armies, their trust in God is seriously tested. But this challenge is also a chance for God to show He's always got their back.


A LESSON FOR THE WORLD

Ezekiel's message isn't just for Israel. He's saying something big: No matter how powerful some leaders think they are, in the end, it's always God who's in control.


THINKING YOU'RE BIG? THINK AGAIN

Gog, with all his armies and plans, is a lesson about ego. Thinking you're the biggest deal around can lead to trouble, especially when you forget about the bigger picture.


WHEN NATURE JOINS THE FIGHT

Things get wild. Earthquakes, storms, and more - nature itself reacts to this battle. But it's not just about the physical chaos. It's a sign that God's involved, setting things right.


EVERYTHING'S CONNECTED

The story here isn't just about people. Animals, the weather, even the ground under our feet - everything feels the impact. It's like the whole world's being reset.


A BRIGHTER TOMORROW

Despite the battles and chaos, there's hope. This chapter points to a time when everyone will recognize who's truly in charge, leading to peace and a world where God's presence is clear to all.


To sum it up, Ezekiel 38 isn't just history or prophecy. It's a lesson about faith, power, humility, and the promise that even in the darkest times, hope and peace are on the horizon.


*


Ezekiel 38:1:

"וַיְהִ֥י דְבַר־יְהֹוָ֖ה אֵלַ֥י לֵאמֹֽר׃"

"The word of G-d came to me."


Ezekiel's prophecy poses a deep puzzle. Abarbanel, a renowned commentator, sheds light on this: "In the end of days, when the Holy One, blessed be He, desires to save His people, why does adversity arise?" This big question hovers in the background: When the process of salvation is underway, why do challenges still pop up?


Think about Israel's history. It's a mix of tough times and high hopes. They dream of salvation, of peace. But Ezekiel hints that the journey won't be straightforward. Abarbanel digs deeper, asking, "Why would there be internal conflicts in Gog if no other nation challenges them?" This implies there's more to the story. It's not just about facing enemies outside; it's about grappling with internal struggles too.


In short, the journey to salvation isn't about moving from bad times to good times in a straight line. It's complex. It asks for unity, determination, and grit. With Ezekiel's words and Abarbanel's thoughts as a guide, the road might be tough, but there's a hopeful future of lasting peace.


Ezekiel 38:2:

"בֶּן־אָדָ֗ם שִׂ֤ים פָּנֶ֙יךָ֙ אֶל־גּוֹג֙ אֶ֣רֶץ הַמָּג֔וֹג נְשִׂ֕יא רֹ֖אשׁ מֶ֣שֶׁךְ וְתֻבָ֑ל וְהִנָּבֵ֖א עָלָֽיו׃"

"O mortal, set your sights on Gog, from the land of Magog, the top leader of Meshech and Tubal. Speak against him."


The narrative grows intricate with the naming of Gog, Magog, Meshech, and Tubal. These entities symbolize the hurdles Israel confronts during their redemption journey. Delving into Abarbanel's interpretation, he expresses: "כשהקדוש ברוך הוא ירצה לגאול את עמו" — "when the Holy One, blessed be He, wills to redeem His people...". External ambitions converge upon Jerusalem, and the climax is anticipated with Gog from Magog's entry.


Providing further clarity, Malbim points out, "Turn your face towards Gog... in the end of days, all the nations will wage war around Jerusalem... they [Gog and Magog] gather in the place of wickedness, along with the children of Ishmael." It reiterates that Israel's quest for peace is a multifaceted journey intertwined with global spiritual events.


As the tale unfolds, through Ezekiel's prophecies and insights from the learned, redemption is portrayed as an intricate, ongoing story. Challenges abound, but a steadfast hope persists: every twist and turn is a chapter in a divine plan, destined for a harmonious conclusion for both Israel and the entire world.


Ezekiel 38:3:

"וְאָ֣מַרְתָּ֔ כֹּ֥ה אָמַ֖ר אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֑ה הִנְנִ֤י אֵלֶ֙יךָ֙ גּ֔וֹג נְשִׂ֕יא רֹ֖אשׁ מֶ֥שֶׁךְ וְתֻבָֽל׃"

"And say: This is what the Lord GOD says: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal."


The focus of this verse is the declaration against Gog, with God asserting his forthcoming action against this formidable adversary. The mention of Gog, intertwined with Meshech and Tubal, heightens the suspense and beckons further exploration.


Abarbanel delves deep into the background of Meshech and Tubal, underscoring their storied pasts. He comments on their shifting settlements, observing, "Meshech and Tubal have already left and settled among nations currently identified with Christians." This narrative of change accentuates the fluid dynamics of history and the evolving challenges Israel could come across.


Metzudat David, through his insights, brings forth the Divine perspective. He paints a vivid scene where God's unerring gaze rests upon Gog, signaling an impending clash.


The discussion surrounding Gog, Meshech, and Tubal captures the essence of the challenges that Israel navigates on its path to redemption. These names represent more than just historical or geopolitical markers; they stand as symbols of the enduring hurdles Israel encounters.


Although interpretations might diverge among scholars regarding the precise roles and backgrounds of these groups, a shared theme emerges: Israel's journey is filled with obstacles. But with God's assertive involvement and Israel's unwavering determination, a bright hope remains, pointing toward a triumphant resolution.


Ezekiel 38:4:

"וְשׁוֹבַבְתִּ֔יךָ וְנָתַתִּ֥י חַחִ֖ים בִּלְחָיֶ֑יךָ וְהוֹצֵאתִי֩ אוֹתְךָ֨ וְאֶת־כׇּל־חֵילֶ֜ךָ סוּסִ֣ים וּפָרָשִׁ֗ים לְבֻשֵׁ֤י מִכְלוֹל֙ כֻּלָּ֔ם קָהָ֥ל רָב֙ צִנָּ֣ה וּמָגֵ֔ן תֹּפְשֵׂ֥י חֲרָב֖וֹת כֻּלָּֽם׃"

"I will draw you in, put hooks in your jaws, and bring you out with your whole army—horses and horsemen fully armed, and a huge company armed with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords."


God's powerful directive towards Gog is vividly depicted with the metaphor of hooks, implying an undeniable force leading Gog into this impending clash. Abarbanel draws a compelling parallel, hinting that Gog's motivation to act is much like the force that draws a fish to a hook, suggesting that Gog is being drawn to Israel due to the presence of outsiders.


Echoing this sentiment, Rashi describes Gog as a creature that cannot resist God's pull, emphasizing the divine mastery in guiding events. Gog isn't merely being led; it's being driven irresistibly towards its destiny.


Metzudat David reinforces this perspective, suggesting that Gog is being driven by a rebellious urge instilled by God. Instead of just nudging Gog, God ensures that Gog's course of action aligns with the divine plan.


As this scenario unfolds, the might and grandeur of Gog's forces become evident. Abarbanel paints a vivid picture of a vast and splendid army, highlighting their impressive numbers, attire, and weaponry. Radak adds to this portrayal, emphasizing that this isn't just an armed crowd; it's a meticulously prepared force, each soldier equipped for battle.


Together, the insights paint a clear image: Gog, though powerful and formidable, is being irresistibly steered by divine forces towards Israel. Yet, as they march, their strength and readiness are evident, hinting at the monumental battle ahead.


Ezekiel 38:5:

"פָּרַ֛ס כּ֥וּשׁ וּפ֖וּט אִתָּ֑ם, כֻּלָּ֖ם מָגֵ֥ן וְכוֹבָֽע׃"

"Persia, Cush, and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet."


Abarbanel highlights an intriguing development in the portrayal of these nations. While the Cushites have traditionally relied on brute force in battles, they now appear fully armored, signaling a more strategic and defensive approach. He observes, "All of them will carry shields and wear helmets," hinting at a heightened state of preparation among these allies.


Malbim delves deeper into the geopolitical ties, associating Persia with Ishmael's descendants. Meanwhile, Cush and Put are linked with the ancient power centers of Assyria and Egypt. This convergence of historically distinct nations under Gog's flag is noteworthy.


In essence, this verse vividly sketches a picture of a powerful alliance. These nations, some adapting and evolving from their historic martial practices, rally under Gog. The scene sets the tone for the formidable challenges that lie ahead for Israel in the unfolding prophecies.


Ezekiel 38:6:

"גֹּ֚מֶר וְכׇל־אֲגַפֶּ֔יהָ בֵּ֚ית תּֽוֹגַרְמָ֔ה יַרְכְּתֵ֥י צָפ֖וֹן וְאֶת־כׇּל־אֲגַפָּ֑יו עַמִּ֥ים רַבִּ֖ים אִתָּֽךְ׃"

"Gomer and all its bands; the house of Togarmah from the farthest north and all its bands—many peoples are with you."


Ezekiel lays out the expansive array of allies rallying with Gog. Leading the list is Gomer, signaling its potential key role. Radak delves into Gomer's vastness, articulated as "כל אגפיה" or "all its bands." This comprehensive span of influence is echoed by both Metzudat Zion and Rashi, highlighting Gomer's prominence among Gog's allies.


The alliance's depth extends to "בֵּ֚ית תּֽוֹגַרְמָ֔ה" or the "house of Togarmah." Radak perceives this house with a might on par with that of the 'House of Israel.' Its significance doesn't end there.


Taking us further north, "ירכְּתֵ֥י צָפ֖וֹן" points to allies from the uttermost parts of the north, magnifying Gog's far-reaching influence. This isn't a mere gathering of neighboring nations, but a vast coalition, drawing from remote territories.


In essence, Ezekiel sketches a vast and varied alliance. It portrays the impending challenge Israel is set to face: an imposing coalition spearheaded by Gog, each ally crucial to its expansive strategy.


Ezekiel 38:7:

"הִכֹּן֙ וְהָכֵ֣ן לְךָ֔ אַתָּ֕ה וְכׇל־קְהָלֶ֖ךָ הַנִּקְהָלִ֣ים עָלֶ֑יךָ וְהָיִ֥יתָ לָהֶ֖ם לְמִשְׁמָֽר׃"

"Be ready and prepare yourself, you and all the hosts gathered about you, and be a guard to them."


Ezekiel's directive in this passage is not merely a casual beckoning but a profound imperative. It calls for comprehensive readiness, both on an individual and collective scale. Rashi emphasizes this dualism: prepare oneself first, and then gather and ready an army of others. This tandem emphasis on individual and collective readiness is further expanded by Metzudat David, noting the sequence of personal preparation followed by rallying others.


Yet, the preparations go beyond just amassing forces. As elucidated by Radak, there's a need for strategic foresight — to decide the direction and ensure the collective follows harmoniously: "איזה דרך תלך וילכו עמך" (decide which path you will take, and they shall accompany you).


Abarbanel offers a spiritual dimension, suggesting God's admonishment to Gog: "הכון והכן לך אתה וכל קהלך." This hints at the unprecedented nature of the forthcoming conflict, urging an elevated level of vigilance. The prolonged peace prior, as noted by Abarbanel, implies that this war might be unfamiliar territory for many involved.


Describing the composition of Gog's forces, Malbim highlights "הנקהלים עליך," hinting at potential factions within that might not entirely align with Gog. Such internal intricacies emphasize the need for Gog to be vigilant and oversee the unity of the assembled cohorts.


Rashi further brings to light the inherent duty of leadership, positing that it's customary for leaders to safeguard their forces, especially during the vulnerabilities of the night.


In conclusion, this passage, bolstered by the commentaries, paints a comprehensive picture of preparation, strategy, unity, and the profound responsibilities of leadership amidst impending challenges.


Ezekiel 38:8:

מִיָּמִ֣ים רַבִּים֮ תִּפָּקֵד֒ בְּאַחֲרִ֨ית הַשָּׁנִ֜ים תָּב֣וֹא ׀ אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ ׀ מְשׁוֹבֶ֣בֶת מֵחֶ֗רֶב מְקֻבֶּ֙צֶת֙ מֵעַמִּ֣ים רַבִּ֔ים עַ֚ל הָרֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁר־הָי֥וּ לְחׇרְבָּ֖ה תָּמִ֑יד וְהִיא֙ מֵעַמִּ֣ים הוּצָ֔אָה וְיָשְׁב֥וּ לָבֶ֖טַח כֻּלָּֽם׃


"After a long time you shall be summoned; in the distant future you shall march against the land [of a people] restored from the sword, gathered from the midst of many peoples—against the mountains of Israel, which have long lain desolate—[a people] liberated from the nations, and now all dwelling secure."


History doesn't merely march forward; it reverberates. The line "After a long time you shall be summoned," carries an echo from a distant past, a call to settle unfinished business. Rashi makes it clear: "From many days past you will be remembered." It's as if past choices wait in history's wings, poised to step into the present.


Israel emerges as more than just a setting for this drama. Described as the "land restored from the sword," it bears scars of its battles but stands resilient. This rebirth, as depicted by Rashi, showcases a land witnessing the cycles of conflict and hope. But the land's story is only part of the narrative. Radak delves into the heart of this rebirth, emphasizing a land "recuperating from warfare's brutal edge." Meanwhile, Malbim sees it as a "resurgence from the oppressive grip of the blade."


The people of Israel, too, have found their way back from the four corners of the earth. Metzudat David captures the essence of this reunion: "pulled from the vast diaspora where they were scattered." No longer dispersed and dominated, they now stand united and free in their homeland. As Rashi notes, they have been "liberated from the nations" and dwell in security.


However, the backdrop to their peace is a stark reminder. This is no ordinary homeland; it's a fortified bastion. And as history has shown, any challenge to its sanctity won't be met lightly. Radak reinforces this: "a land... recuperating from warfare's brutal edge" will not yield easily.


In essence, this verse and the accompanying commentaries set the stage: A reborn land and its resolute people stand ready. They await the echoes of history and the inevitable challenges they herald. It's a testament to hope, tenacity, and the unbreakable bond between a nation and its land.


Ezekiel 38:9:

"You shall advance, coming like a storm; you shall be like a cloud covering the earth, you and all your cohorts, and the many peoples with you."


In Ezekiel's vivid imagery, a massive force is on the move, storming toward Israel with intensity and purpose. Picture this: an army advancing so swiftly and overwhelmingly, it's like a flash flood — sudden and all-consuming. Radak draws a parallel to these rushing waters, emphasizing the force's swiftness and power.


Yet, there's more to this scene than just raw power. The invaders are likened to a cloud, which can be both menacing and nurturing. On the one hand, a cloud can block out light, creating a sense of dread. Malbim taps into this sentiment, suggesting that the force might aim to completely wipe out Israel.


On the flip side, clouds often bring much-needed rain, hinting at a possible intent to enrich and cultivate the land. In this light, their massive numbers might be a sign of wanting to populate and nourish the territory. So, what's their real game? Are they here to destroy or to nourish?


Adding a touch of clarity, Rashi interprets the stormy term "שואה" to mean a covering, like fog or mist, that hides everything beneath.


Wrapping it up, Ezekiel presents us with a captivating scene: a formidable army, moving with the unpredictability of a storm, their true intentions shrouded in mystery. Are they a looming threat or an unexpected blessing?


Ezekiel 38:10:

"Thus said the Sovereign GOD: On that day, a thought will occur to you, and you will conceive a wicked design."


Imagine this: Israel, after a prolonged period of exile, finally returns home. This isn't just a casual homecoming; it's a defining moment in history. Metzudat David captures the weight of this occasion with the term "ביום ההוא" - on that very day.


But as Israel starts to rebuild and thrive, a shadow looms large. Enter Gog. Witnessing Israel's rebirth, this entity grapples with its ambitions. Abarbanel paints the scene: after a period of deceptive calm, the undercurrents of Gog's true intentions begin to stir. Echoing an intriguing perspective, Abarbanel references the sages, highlighting a brief nine-month dominance of this 'wicked kingdom,' after which the tides would shift dramatically.


Malbim offers a deep dive into Gog's psyche. At first, Gog's motives are murky. But as their grip on the land tightens, their true colors begin to show. What's more, it's not just any fleeting whim; it's a deliberate, wicked intent. As the verse describes, this thought festers and takes root.


Gog's malice isn't merely directed at Israel. According to Rashi, it's a bold challenge to the very heavens. This is no mere land dispute. We're talking about a cosmic clash between human ambition and divine will.


So, Ezekiel doesn't just give us a historical or political play-by-play. Instead, he peels back the curtain to reveal the spiritual stakes at play. It's a powerful reminder: decisions made in the here and now reverberate far beyond, echoing in realms we often forget to consider. Every move, every intention, is seen, noted, and weighed in the grand balance of the universe.


Ezekiel 38:11:

"You will say, 'I will invade a land of open towns, I will fall upon a tranquil people living secure, all of them living in unwalled towns and lacking bars and gates.'"


Ezekiel unveils a bold plan of invasion, targeting what appears to be easy prey. The vision showcases an Israel that seems vulnerable: cities without walls, a people at ease, living without the protective barriers of gates or bars. The imagery here is potent – it depicts a nation at peace, but from the invader's perspective, it's an opportunity ripe for the taking.


Abarbanel delves into the invader's psyche. The choice to attack isn't because Israel is the archenemy; it's because they seem defenseless. These unwalled cities, or ערי פרזות, symbolize a land that looks straightforward to conquer. The people, described as שקטים לבטח, "tranquil and secure," are mainly Christians. In the invader's eyes, subduing them seems like it wouldn't require much effort. But the ultimate goal? It goes beyond just taking over. Abarbanel depicts a scene of looting and seizing control, driven not by some grand cause but a greedy hunger for treasures.


Malbim gives it a linguistic spin, echoing the sense of tranquility and security, while also underscoring that the invaders might initially miss the real gem: Israel's sanctity. But once they realize its worth, their ambitions grow. It's no longer about conquering; it's about taking everything valuable. In this context, Malbim distinguishes between two types of plunder: שלל and בז.


Both Radak and Metzudat David focus on the term פְּרָזוֹת, emphasizing the idea of unwalled or open towns. Their insights paint a picture of a confident Israel, an Israel that, as Rashi adds, doesn't feel the need for walls. They live in these open cities, ערי הפרזות, not out of vulnerability but out of a sense of strength.


In this vivid portrayal, we get more than just a tale of an impending invasion. It's a lesson in appearances versus reality. What seems like vulnerability may well be confidence. And what looks like an easy victory might just be the setup for a divinely orchestrated twist. This verse, bolstered by the interpretations, serves as a stark reminder: things aren't always as they seem, and underestimating an opponent, especially one under divine protection, can have profound consequences.


Ezekiel 38:12:

"לִשְׁלֹ֥ל שָׁלָ֖ל וְלָבֹ֣ז בַּ֑ז לְהָשִׁ֨יב יָדְךָ֜ עַל־חֳרָב֣וֹת נוֹשָׁב֗וֹת וְאֶל־עַם֙ מְאֻסָּ֣ף מִגּוֹיִ֔ם עֹשֶׂה֙ מִקְנֶ֣ה וְקִנְיָ֔ן יֹשְׁבֵ֖י עַל־טַבּ֥וּר הָאָֽרֶץ׃" - "In order to take spoil and seize plunder—to turn your hand against repopulated wastes, and against a people gathered from among nations, acquiring livestock and possessions, living at the center of the earth."


"In order to take spoil and seize plunder"—to turn your hand against repopulated wastes, and against a people gathered from among nations, acquiring livestock and possessions, living at the center of the earth."


The heart of this verse pulsates with the invader's ambition—a desire fueled not just by territorial conquest, but an insatiable thirst for materialistic bounty. It offers a window into the ulterior motives of the looming invasion, illustrating a quest for both tangible and strategic riches.


Abarbanel looks deep into this undercurrent of motive. The emphasis here is on the nature of the invaders' intentions. They're driven not by the loftier aspirations that might motivate other nations, but by tangible, material gain. The terms לִשְׁלֹ֥ל שָׁלָ֖ל ("to take spoil") and וְלָבֹ֣ז בַּ֑ז ("seize plunder") encapsulate this hunger for wealth. Their gaze settles on the repopulated ruins, the חֳרָב֣וֹת נוֹשָׁב֗וֹת. These lands are now teeming with life, re-inhabited by a people, a melting pot, עַם֙ מְאֻסָּ֣ף מִגּוֹיִ֔ם, assembled from diverse origins. Their endeavors, signified by עֹשֶׂה֙ מִקְנֶ֣ה וְקִנְיָ֔ן, reveal a thriving trade scene. And their location, as יֹשְׁבֵ֖י עַל־טַבּ֥וּר הָאָֽרֶץ, places them right at the heart of the earth—a strategic position in the grand geopolitical tableau.


Radak's interpretation enhances this understanding. He highlights the significance of the land's central positioning, identifying it as a hub of not just commerce, but also geopolitical importance. Such a pivotal location naturally becomes a magnet for those with ambitions of regional dominance and the spoils it promises.


In essence, this verse and its exegesis by the commentators unravel the multifaceted reasons for the impending invasion. It's a narrative that transcends the bounds of mere territorial aggression. At play are the deeper dynamics of wealth, dominance, and the age-old allure of a land brimming with promise and potential. Through Ezekiel's words, and the insights of the sages, we glimpse the complexities that shape human ambition and the myriad forces that influence the march of nations.


Ezekiel 38:13:

"שְׁבָ֡א וּ֠דְדָ֠ן וְסֹחֲרֵ֨י תַרְשִׁ֤ישׁ וְכׇל־כְּפִירֶ֙יהָ֙ יֹאמְר֣וּ לְךָ֔ הֲלִשְׁלֹ֤ל שָׁלָל֙ אַתָּ֣ה בָ֔א הֲלָבֹ֥ז בַּ֖ז הִקְהַ֣לְתָּ קְהָלֶ֑ךָ לָשֵׂ֣את ׀ כֶּ֣סֶף וְזָהָ֗ב לָקַ֙חַת֙ מִקְנֶ֣ה וְקִנְיָ֔ן לִשְׁלֹ֖ל שָׁלָ֥ל גָּדֽוֹל׃ {ס}"

"Sheba and Dedan, and the merchants and all the magnates of Tarshish will say to you, 'Have you come to take spoil? Is it to seize plunder that you assembled your hordes—to carry off silver and gold, to make off with livestock and goods, to gather an immense booty?'"


In the vast panorama of Ezekiel's prophecies, this verse presents a dialogue between the established powers and a looming force intent on invasion. Anchored in this discourse are Sheba and Dedan, alongside the merchants of Tarshish—entities with significant influence in the ancient trade world.


The term "כפיריה" serves as a poignant metaphor in the unfolding narrative. As Rashi discerns, these 'magnates' or 'young lions' are akin to adept merchants, whose vast travels equip them with unparalleled insights into the locales of wealth. They're the masters of their domain, just as lions dominate their terrain. Radak strengthens this allegory, suggesting that in the realms of commerce, these figures reign supreme. And as Metzudat Zion posits, the reference to the young lion or "כפיר" adds layers of significance, emphasizing their youth and vigor.


The verse further differentiates between "שלל" (spoil) and "בז" (plunder). Malbim Beur Hamilot provides clarity on this distinction. While "שלל" is the aftermath of war, designated for the sovereign, "בז" is the spoils that soldiers snatch for personal gain in the throes of battle. This divergence hints at the invaders' true motivations—whether it's a strategic, state-sanctioned endeavor or the chaotic looting of individual marauders.


In the wake of these queries, Metzudat David perceives an undertone of confrontation, if not outright derision. These established powers, it seems, challenge the invader's intentions, possibly hinting at their readiness to either negotiate or even purchase the anticipated loot.


Ezekiel 38:13, through its intricate nuances, unveils a world where commerce, power, and ambition are intertwined. The ancient trade magnates, with their wealth and influence, confront emerging adversaries. And through the sage interpretations, this narrative unravels the multifaceted dynamics that shaped the ancient world, resonating with timeless themes of power play and economic strategy.


Ezekiel 38:14:

"לָכֵן֙ הִנָּבֵ֣א בֶן־אָדָ֔ם וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ לְג֔וֹג כֹּ֥ה אָמַ֖ר אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֑ה הֲל֣וֹא ׀ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא בְּשֶׁ֨בֶת עַמִּ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל לָבֶ֖טַח תֵּדָֽע׃"

"Therefore prophesy, O mortal, and say to Gog: Thus said the Sovereign GOD: Surely, on that day, when My people Israel are living secure, you will take note,"


In this prophetic exhortation, God, through Ezekiel, sends a clear message to Gog regarding Israel's destiny and divine protection. It offers profound insights into the delicate interplay of geopolitics, historical context, and spiritual dynamics.


Abarbanel perceives this directive to Ezekiel, "הנבא בן אדם," as a gravely significant commission. It's not merely about foretelling an event but about rekindling Gog's awareness of the past. This historical mindfulness, especially of previous confrontations with Israel, serves as a cautionary reminder. The notion, "ביום ההוא בשבת עמי ישראל לבטח," evokes Israel's serene and secure existence before any looming threat, emphasizing God's providential role in their protection.


Malbim articulates a dual-layered narrative within this prophecy. While initially, it recalls the tribulations of Israel during the Second Temple's demise, it also foreshadows the challenges that await in the End Times. To Gog and the nations, Israel might seem like an easy target during these moments of perceived peace. However, these invasions play into a divine scheme, showcasing God's unmatched supremacy.


Rashi introduces a spiritual lens to this discourse, suggesting that Gog's aspirations aren't just territorial conquests. Gog's challenge to Israel's sense of security indirectly casts doubt upon the protective embrace of the Divine. This isn't just about land but about challenging the very foundations of faith.


Conversely, Radak presents Gog's perspective, who views Israel's tranquil moments as vulnerabilities ripe for exploitation. The term "תדע" underscores Gog's opportunistic intent, reminiscent of past invaders who perceived Israel's peaceful epochs as windows of weakness.


Together, these commentaries weave a tale of an impending conflict where Gog, driven by ambitions and perhaps even spiritual defiance, sets his sights on Israel. However, this narrative continually emphasizes Israel's divine safeguard, reminding all that any affronts against them serve a higher purpose in the divine tapestry, ultimately manifesting God's omnipotent guardianship over His chosen people.


Ezekiel 38:15:

"וּבָ֤אתָ מִמְּקֽוֹמְךָ֙ מִיַּרְכְּתֵ֣י צָפ֔וֹן אַתָּ֕ה וְעַמִּ֥ים רַבִּ֖ים אִתָּ֑ךְ רֹכְבֵ֤י סוּסִים֙ כֻּלָּ֔ם קָהָ֥ל גָּד֖וֹל וְחַ֥יִל רָֽב׃"


and you will come from your home in the farthest north, you and many peoples with you—all of them mounted on horses, a vast horde, a mighty army—


Ezekiel 38:16:

"וְעָלִ֙יתָ֙ עַל־עַמִּ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל כֶּעָנָ֖ן לְכַסּ֣וֹת הָאָ֑רֶץ בְּאַחֲרִ֨ית הַיָּמִ֜ים תִּהְיֶ֗ה וַהֲבִאוֹתִ֙יךָ֙ עַל־אַרְצִ֔י לְמַ֩עַן֩ דַּ֨עַת הַגּוֹיִ֜ם אֹתִ֗י בְּהִקָּדְשִׁ֥י בְךָ֛ לְעֵינֵיהֶ֖ם גּֽוֹג׃"


and you will advance upon My people Israel, like a cloud covering the earth. This shall happen on that distant day: I will bring you to My land, that the nations may know Me when, before their eyes, I manifest My holiness through you, O Gog!


God's word through Ezekiel paints a vivid tableau of a menacing coalition led by Gog, advancing from the distant northern territories. This formidable assembly isn't just a show of military might; it is, in essence, a display of divine choreography, where each movement has profound spiritual implications.


The phrase "מיַּרְכְּתֵ֣י צָפ֔וֹן" is noteworthy. Metzudat David highlights this as a reference to the farthest regions of the north. This geographic origin isn't merely a point of departure but is symbolic of areas distant from Israel's spiritual light, representing a stark contrast between divine sanctity and worldly ambitions.


The analogy "כֶּעָנָ֖ן לְכַסּ֣וֹת הָאָ֑רֶץ," as interpreted by Malbim, alludes to the sheer magnitude of Gog's forces. Just as a cloud can encompass and obscure the sun, so too does this invading horde threaten to engulf and overshadow Israel's spiritual luminance.


In the phrasing "בְּאַחֲרִ֨ית הַיָּמִ֜ים," Abarbanel discerns a prophetic timeline. The events aren't restricted to past confrontations; they are signposts pointing towards climactic future encounters. This timeline encapsulates Israel's trials and tribulations, serving as both reminders of previous challenges and precursors to future redemption.


The ultimate purpose behind this divine orchestration is unveiled in the statement, "לְמַ֩עַן֩ דַּ֨עַת הַגּוֹיִ֜ם אֹתִ֗י בְּהִקָּדְשִׁ֥י בְךָ֛ לְעֵינֵיהֶ֖ם גּֽוֹג׃" Radak observes


that God's intent is not mere spectacle but a profound revelation. Gog's incursion, paradoxically, becomes the stage upon which God's unrivaled majesty is showcased. This spectacle isn't just for Israel; it's a universal revelation, intended to resonate with all nations.


In sum, Ezekiel 38:15-16 portrays an impending convergence of historical, spiritual, and geopolitical dynamics. Gog's advance is not just an impending storm but is the very vehicle through which the world is to witness the undeniable sanctity and sovereignty of the Divine.


Ezekiel 38:17:

"כֹּה־אָמַ֞ר אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֗ה הַאַתָּה־ה֨וּא אֲשֶׁר־דִּבַּ֜רְתִּי בְּיָמִ֣ים קַדְמוֹנִ֗ים בְּיַד֙ עֲבָדַי֙ נְבִיאֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הַֽנִּבְּאִ֛ים בַּיָּמִ֥ים הָהֵ֖ם שָׁנִ֑ים לְהָבִ֥יא אֹתְךָ֖ עֲלֵיהֶֽם׃"

"Thus said the Sovereign GOD: Why, you are the one I spoke of in ancient days through My servants, the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them!"


The verse conveys a direct address from God, identifying Gog as the antagonist foretold by ancient prophecies.


Abarbanel accentuates that Gog's predestined role isn't one of triumph but of defeat, linking this impending doom to past antagonists like the Assyrians who threatened Israel.


Chomat Anakh, echoing rabbinical traditions, cites Eldad and Medad as prophetic voices who had foreseen Gog's confrontation with Israel. This reference showcases the prophecy's long-standing and consistent nature in Israelite tradition.


Malbim introduces the notion that, with time, Gog's identity might be forgotten. However, when they finally confront Israel, their historical and prophetic significance will be unveiled.


Rashi reinforces this sentiment, tying the prophecy not just to years but to the two prophets, Eldad and Medad, emphasizing the longstanding warnings against this adversary.


In essence, Ezekiel 38:17 underscores God's timeless foresight. Gog's preordained confrontation with Israel isn't a mere turn of events but is deeply rooted in Israel's prophetic history.


Ezekiel 38:18:

"וְהָיָה֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא בְּיוֹם֙ בֹּ֣וא גֹ֔וג עַל־אַדְמַ֖ת יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל נְאֻם֙ אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֔ה תַּעֲלֶ֖ה חֲמָתִ֥י בְאַפִּֽי׃"

"It shall come to pass on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel, declares the Sovereign GOD, that My raging anger will flare up."


Ezekiel, through this verse, underscores a defining moment in the narrative, depicting God's wrath being ignited by Gog's audacity to march upon Israel.


Radak touches upon the intensity of the divine response. The phrase "תעלה חמתי באפי" isn't just an expression of anger but symbolizes the boiling over of God's long-contained wrath. It's a culmination of not just Gog's actions, but the accumulation of transgressions by various nations against Israel.


Abarbanel delves into the temporal dimension, suggesting that this event is a continuation of the prophetic vision from earlier verses. While Gog perceives an opportunity, the reality is a divine trap, with God's anger serving as the catalyst for retribution.


Metzudat David emphasizes the spontaneity of God's fury. The instant Gog sets foot on Israelite land, God's anger surges forth, underscoring His unwavering protection over His chosen people.


In essence, Ezekiel 38:18 vividly encapsulates the inescapable consequence awaiting Gog. While their march may seem formidable, it inadvertently triggers the boundless fury of the Divine, signaling the impending doom they are about to face.


Ezekiel 38:19:

"וּבְקִנְאָתִ֥י בְאֵשׁ־עֶבְרָתִ֖י דִּבַּ֑רְתִּי אִם־לֹ֣א ׀ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא יִֽהְיֶה֙ רַ֣עַשׁ גָּד֔וֹל עַ֖ל אַדְמַ֥ת יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃"

"For I have decreed in My indignation and in My blazing wrath: On that day, a terrible earthquake shall befall the land of Israel."


This verse encapsulates a divine proclamation, laden with fervor and intent. God's "zeal" or "ובקנאתי" alludes to an emotion of intense anger, as expounded by Metzudat Zion. The phrase "באש-עברתי" highlights God's passionate response, with Metzudat David explaining that it translates to "in the fire of My wrath."


Malbim contextualizes this vehement response, pointing to past desecrations of the land of Israel. Now, with Gog's impending threat, God's accumulated wrath readies for release.


This divine ire materializes as a tremendous earthquake, a "רעש גדול". Rashi interprets "רעש" as a cataclysmic event, replete with roaring thunders, reflecting divine outrage. Radak draws parallels with other prophecies, notably Zechariah's, hinting at the Mount of Olives splitting, reminiscent of the dramatic events during King Uzziah's reign.


In summation, Ezekiel 38:19 presents a dramatic display of God's protective wrath over Israel. Beyond mere retribution, it signals divine justice's powerful assertion, emphasizing that Israel's transgressors, regardless of their might, are never beyond divine reckoning.


Ezekiel 38:20:

"וְרָעֲשׁ֣וּ מִפָּנַ֡י דְּגֵ֣י הַיָּם֩ וְע֨וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֜יִם וְחַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֗ה וְכׇל־הָרֶ֙מֶשׂ֙ הָֽרֹמֵ֣שׁ עַל־הָאֲדָמָ֔ה וְכֹל֙ הָאָדָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־פְּנֵ֣י הָאֲדָמָ֑ה וְנֶהֶרְס֣וּ הֶהָרִ֗ים וְנָֽפְלוּ֙ הַמַּדְרֵג֔וֹת וְכׇל־חוֹמָ֖ה לָאָ֥רֶץ תִּפּֽוֹל׃"

"The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that move on the ground, and every human being on earth shall quake before Me. Mountains shall be overthrown, cliffs shall topple, and every wall shall crumble to the ground."


Ezekiel's verse paints a vivid picture of a world where every stratum of creation reverberates with the awe of divine intervention. From the ocean's depths to the skies' heights, no entity remains untouched by the profound tremors echoing God's power.


Metzudat David defines "ורעשו" as a vast trembling, suggesting an upheaval that transcends the physical realm, symbolizing a cosmic transformation. Metzudat Zion further emphasizes its significance, interpreting it as a massive, foundational shift, pointing towards a broader cosmic rearrangement.


This profound shift is imbued with mystical meaning by Chomat Anakh, who posits that such upheavals aim to reclaim and sanctify lost spiritual sparks, particularly from entities like fish, traditionally believed to house numerous divine fragments. This view, emphasizing the redemption and return of these fragments to a state of purity, is further championed by Tzaverei Shalal.


Radak broadens the scope of the verse, suggesting that the described terrestrial changes are not limited to Israel alone. Drawing parallels with Zechariah's prophecies, he hints at a global shift, affecting even the farthest landscapes.


Rashi elucidates on "המדרגות" – not merely cliffs, but perilously hanging rock formations, signifying nature's fragility against the might of divine decree.


In essence, Ezekiel's vision conveys a world realigning itself under divine force, drawing every facet of creation into a harmonious rhythm, affirming the interconnectedness of all beings and ushering in an era where divine order reigns supreme amid chaos.


Ezekiel 38:21:

"וְקָרָ֨אתִי עָלָ֤יו לְכׇל־הָרַי֙ חֶ֔רֶב נְאֻ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֑ה חֶ֥רֶב אִ֖ישׁ בְּאָחִ֥יו תִּהְיֶֽה׃"

"I will then summon the sword against him throughout My mountains —declares the Sovereign G-d —and every man’s sword shall be turned against his kin."


In this verse, Ezekiel captures the essence of divine retribution, where God's intervention sows chaos among the adversaries. Rashi clarifies that "וקראתי" implies God's orchestration of events, setting in motion a cataclysmic internal strife, with each man's sword turning against his own kin.


The Malbim provides a poignant allegory, portraying the mountains, traditional symbols of resilience, as instruments of destruction. This not only underscores the intensity of the impending judgment but also redefines the very symbols of strength. This idea is reinforced by Metzudat David, who zooms in on Israel's mountains as the very stage for this divine spectacle.


Radak offers a comprehensive interpretation, emphasizing the encompassing nature of God's justice. He highlights the self-inflicted nature of the adversaries' demise, pointing to their inherent chaos that culminates in their own downfall.


Drawing from history, Abarbanel pinpoints the deep-rooted animosity between Edom and Ishmael. By alluding to their intertwined ancestries, he paints a scene where age-old conflicts resurface with fierce intensity. Further, referencing Zechariah, he portrays a war of such magnitude that the very earth, exemplified by the Mount of Olives, seems to split in response.


Piecing these insights together,

Ezekiel 38:21 emerges as a profound testament to the divine orchestration of justice. It depicts the fragility of earthly alliances, the devastating consequences of entrenched enmities, and the unwavering power of God's will, emphasizing that true power is eternal and divine.


Ezekiel 38:22:

"וְנִשְׁפַּטְתִּ֥י אִתּ֖וֹ בְּדֶ֣בֶר וּבְדָ֑ם וְגֶ֣שֶׁם שׁוֹטֵף֩ וְאַבְנֵ֨י אֶלְגָּבִ֜ישׁ אֵ֣שׁ וְגׇפְרִ֗ית אַמְטִ֤יר עָלָיו֙ וְעַל־אֲגַפָּ֔יו וְעַל־עַמִּ֥ים רַבִּ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר אִתּֽוֹ׃"

"I will punish him with pestilence and with bloodshed; and I will pour torrential rain, hailstones, and sulfurous fire upon him and his hordes and the many peoples with him."


This verse conveys a staggering image of divine retribution, intertwining both natural consequences of warfare and supernatural punishments. Malbim sees the initial judgment of "דֶ֣בֶר וּבְדָ֑ם" (pestilence and bloodshed) as inherent results of human conflict, where aftermaths of battles often bring diseases amidst the chaos.


Yet, Ezekiel transitions to unmistakably divine interventions, detailing a deluge of "גֶ֣שֶׁם שׁוֹטֵף" (torrential rain), shimmering hailstones, and sulfurous fire. Rashi draws parallels with the Egypt plagues, underlining God's dominion over nature.


Abarbanel underscores the multifaceted nature of God's retribution. Beyond warfare's immediate impact, the divine releases rain, hailstones, fire, and sulfur, heralding a form of divine judgment surpassing human understanding. This amplifies the sanctification of God's name amidst the nations.


Chomat Anakh and Tzaverei Shalal delve into the kabbalistic layers, noting the six calamities, which, coupled with the internecine strife from the prior verse, sum up to seven — a representation of completeness and divine perfection. This signifies that the divine retribution isn't arbitrary but a consummate reflection of divine justice.


Ezekiel 38:22 portrays not just a punitive act but a divine spectacle emphasizing God's unrivaled sovereignty, intertwining earthly events with heavenly judgments to manifest the ultimate will of the Almighty.


Ezekiel 38:23:

וְהִתְגַּדִּלְתִּי֙ וְהִתְקַדִּשְׁתִּ֔י וְנ֣וֹדַעְתִּ֔י לְעֵינֵ֖י גּוֹיִ֣ם רַבִּ֑ים וְיָדְע֖וּ כִּֽי־אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָֽה׃

"Thus will I manifest My greatness and My holiness, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations. And they shall know that I am G-d."


Ezekiel's proclamation transcends a specific event, promising a universal revelation of the Divine. The line "וְהִתְגַּדִּלְתִּי וְהִתְקַדִּשְׁתִּ֔י" resonates with profound implications. Chomat Anakh, referencing mystical traditions, envisions this as God unveiling an intrinsic sanctity, more than just a display of might.


The universality of God's revelation, "וְנ֣וֹדַעְתִּ֔י לְעֵינֵ֖י גּוֹיִ֣ם רַבִּ֑ים", underscores the breadth of this divine epiphany, as highlighted by Radak's remark, "מבואר הוא". It's not just a select few but "many nations" that will witness His glory.


Metzudat David emphasizes the depth of this revelation: it’s not just about recognition but about exaltation and fame. The profound acknowledgment, "וְיָדְע֖וּ כִּֽי־אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָֽה׃", encapsulates a transformative realization where all beings not only recognize but internalize God's sovereignty.


Tzaverei Shalal, through kabbalistic lenses, suggests a dual awakening - both spiritual and intellectual. Humanity will not merely witness God's might but will experience an elevation in understanding and spirituality.


Ezekiel 38:23 heralds a moment where the curtain veiling divine mysteries is lifted, ushering an era where God's grandeur and holiness are discerned universally, redefining humanity's relationship with the Divine.

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