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The Jews and Israel having gone in great numbers from different parts of the world to Palestine, and transported with them vast sums of property; their silver and their gold with them unto the name of the Lord; * this will naturally turn the attention of the multitudes, among whom they have resided, after them. No doubt some will feel as though they have a right to pursue and recover them, as their subjects; or to plunder them, as having conveyed off vast wealth from their territories. They may hence be excited to pursue them, like Pharaoh of old, rallying his army to pursue Israel, when leaving his dominions. And all the mighty movements will fall under the direction of Gog, or Antichrist.
The Most High addresses him. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou and all thy company, that are assembled unto thee; and be thou a guard unto them. Most significant, ironical admonition! After many days thou shalt be visited; in the latter years thou shalt come into the land, that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the moun. tains of Israel, which have been always waste; but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. In the last days God will fulfil these things by you against his people, just recovered from their long dispersion, and dwelling heedlessly; or, they shall be built up, notwithstanding all your rage against them. Thou shalt ascend, and come like a storm; thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Your attack shall be like a terrible shower, which ascends from the horizon, rises, approaches, roars, darkens the hemisphere, extends its wings beyond sight, becomes terrific with its lightning, thunder, and wild commotion, till it over. whelms all, and seems about to blend the heavens and earth in ruin. Thus saith the Lord God, it shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought. And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages, I will go to them who are at rest, and dwell safely,
*Isai. lx, 9.
all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, to take a spoil, and to take a prey, to turn thine hand upon the desolate places, that are now in. habited, and upon the people, that are gathered out of the nations, who have gotten cattle and goods, and dwell in the midst of the land. Here one inotive of the vast movement is exposed, which is plunder. They will expect to make an easy prey of the rich and defenceless. The Hebrews will return with much riches, of cattle and goods: Their silver and their gold with them unto the name of the Lord.* They will have no city walls, nor gates; will have made no effectual arrangements for defence; but will appear an easy prey. This text clearly indicates, that the attack will be made not long after Israel's return: And yet that it will be a season; probably a number of years.
Mark 'what follows. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? Hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? To carry away silver, and gold; to take away cattle and goods; to take a great spoil? Who are these? Is this an additional account of the nations in the confederacy under Gog? Or does it present a coalition in opposition to him? In favor of the latter, it may be observed, that the nations in a coalition un. der Gog, from every point of the compass, were before enumerated. And it does not seem probable, that the Holy Spirit would resume this subject, as though several powers had been forgotten or passed over. We must conjecture, that Gog had anticipated a powerful opposition in this enterprise. Else why had he collected so vast an army? The motive of the Most High is, to destroy his enemies; and that the nations should be collected, to see his justice and glorious power. But this is no part of the motive of Gog. And he too must have a motive, or reason for collecting so vast an army. Do such sagacious generals make such vast collections of forces to beat the
*Isai. lx, 9.
air? Or to take a city, where they expect little or no opposition? No verily! The movements of Gog indicate, that he expects powerful opposition. The earth had previously helped the woman, and swallowed up his floods cast forth for her destruction. And he, in vexation and rage, undertakes this new expedition.* Tidings out of the east and out of the north trouble him. Some rival power assisting in the restoration of the Hebrews, or the conversion of the latter, fills him with wrath: Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.t This text, and the vast collection, which he makes of forces, clearly indicate an expectation of vastly more opposition than he can expect from the Jews and Israel in Palestine. It is evident in this 38th chapter of Ezekiel, that he expects little or none from the latter. His expectations of opposition must be from another quarter beside the Jews. Palestine is at that time chosen as the seat of contest with a more formidable power, although the affairs of the Jews and Israel afford a pretext for the expedition. A most desperate effort Antichrist now makes, to utterly make away many; to exterminate the forces of some rival enemy. Hence the vastness of his confederacy.
And this rival enemy is here presented, under the name of Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof. Their language is not that of friendship, but of opposition. Art thou come to take a spoil? Hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? To carry away silver and gold; to take away cattle and goods; to take a great spoil? Here then is a voice, that dares to interrogate Gog, in the height of his glory, at the head of his countless legions, in those days of revolution and of blood!
But who are they, that constitute this coalition? Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof. God can either raise up, or strengthen an opposition to Gog, from nations, that may now appear the most unlikely. And he probably will do it. Some noted power may be aided by others now insignificant, or unknown. Who are these merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof? Tarshish was a grandson of Shem. He peopled Cilicia. And from him the city Tarshish, or Tarsus, there (the birth place of St. Paul) had its name. Its inhabitants became the most expert seamen, built the best ships, * and many of them became merchants.t The Mediterranean in their vicinity came to be called the sea of Tarshish. This name was given to a city in Spain, Tartossus, or Tarshish. The west end of the Mediterranean came to bear the same name. And finally, authors inform us, Tarshish came to be a name for the sea in general. Accordingly, the ships of Tarshish, Psalm xlviii, 7, and other places, mean the ships of the sea. (See Pool on this passage.) Nothing is more common, than for names in prophetic language to be thus extended, and transmitted from one place and even nation to another. When we read therefore of the merchants of Tarshish, at the time of the resto. ration of Israel, we must understand, not the descend. ants of any of those ancient cities of that name; but the merchants of the sea; or some great mercantile, maritime power.
*Rev. xii, 17.
+ Dan. xi, 44.
And their ships of war, we may suppose, are designed by all the young lions thereof.' The lion may be the sign of their navy, or their coat of arms.
This naval, mercantile power will appear interested for the Jews, and will dare to interrogate the leader of the coalition against them.
This idea receives countenance from collateral prophecies. In Isaiah lx, the re
, turn of the Jews is predicted in lively colors; flying as clouds, and as doves to their windows. In verse 9th, we are informed of an agency employed in their restoration. Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God. Here we find the same power, the isles, and the ships of Tarshish first officiating in the return of the ancient people of God, with their treasures, to Palestine. And
*1 Kings x, 22.
+Ezek. xxvii, 25, and Jer. x, 9.
as this naval power of the isles will be found with ability to do this, in those days of revolution and of terror; so we must naturally expect they would do what is indicated by the above interrogations to Gog, when he shall be about to plunder the Jews of their treasures, and to seek their ruin. The isles and ships of Tarshish first bring back the people of Israel, and their silver and gold with them unto the name of the Lord. Gog rises to plunder, and ruin them. And the merchants of Tarshish, with all their young lions, and with others, upon this occasion, interrogate Gog; Art thou come to take a spoil? Hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? To carry away silver and gold; to take away cattle and goods; to take a great spoil? Surely then, the isles, and the ships of Tarshish, in Isa. lx, 9; and the merchants of Tarshish, and all the young lions thereof, in the passage under consideration, must be the same.
In Psalm lxxii, we find the same thing. To predict the Millennium is the object of the Psalm. And in verse 10 we read, The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents. In the light of the preceding texts, we must naturally conceive, that this bringing of presents, by the powers of Tarshish and of the isles, must refer to the restoration of the house of Israel; which is a most prominent event in the prophecies of the introduction of the Millennium. Then that ancient people of God will need just such services; but probably not afterward. In Zeph. iii, 10, we read, From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, my suppliants, the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. Or, From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, away in the western hemisphere, my worshippers shall bring mine of fering, viz. the children of my dispersed, or of Israel. It is natural then to expect, that this mercantile, naval power, be it which it may, with all its lions of naval strength, will be found, with whatever nations they may
find to unite with them, in opposition to Gog in his expedition against the house of Israel in Palestine.
But who are the Sheba and Dcdan connected with them in this passage. We find several of the name