Jesus said not only that Satan was a liar from the beginning and the father of lies, but that he is a murderer. And he fathers violence in people as well. If you have been attending here very long you are quite familiar with persecutions that have happening around the world. In some countries the attempted genocide of Christians is almost as horrific as what was being threatened here in Persia. And I think in chapter 4 there are powerful applications of what our response to worldwide persecution should be. But today, I don’t want to just apply this passage to the persecutions world-wide. If you are alive, you have probably faced some type of stressful and emotional decision in your own life. It may not be nearly as stressful as what they were facing, but I think this passage helps us to think through what our responses should be when things get bad.
Don’t use prophecy as an excuse for passivity (v. 1)
Our focus last week was describing tyranny and applying it to today as well as looking at the sovereignty of God in every detail of life. God was not taken by surprise like Mordecai and Esther were. In fact, I want you to turn with me to Ezekiel 38 and 39. Some of you thought that I rushed through that material too quickly last week, and wanted to see it in context. So I’m going to have you look at Ezekiel 38-39 – at least briefly. What I pointed out at the end of the sermon last week, was that the persecution and attempted genocide that we have described in the book of Esther was prophesied in vivid detail 75 years before this chapter in Esther. Both books are describing the battle of Gog and Magog, or as the Hebrew pronounces it, gôg and mawgôg. And by the way, this battle of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39 is not to be confused with the symbolic battle of Gog and Magog at the end of the book of Revelation which is at the end of history. Almost every commentator agrees that that those are totally different battles. The one in Revelation gets its name and its symbolism from here, just like Revelation borrows symbolism from Babylon (which no longer existed) and from Sodom (which no longer existed). The Revelation battle is symbolism, this one is history. We saw last week, that the first battle of Gog and Magog was fulfilled to a t in Esther.
So just for review, I want to very quickly refresh your memories on the main arguments of why both passages are referring to the same event. I’m just going to pick and choose a few verses. Look at verse 2: Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him. Notice that this verse speaks of the land of Magog. We saw last week that Agag was a term for any Amalekite leader (Numb. 24:7; 1 Sam. 15:8) , and how the Amalekites descended from Magog the son of Japheth. And so he is saying that this ruler comes from the land of Magog, even though he has authority is over many nations. And there have been several essays showing how the land of Magog is that of the Amalekites. So there is a Magog connection with Esther.
But there is also a Gog connection. We saw how Gog and Agag have the same meaning and are almost identical in the Hebrew. There is a vowel change, but the same consonants. But what is more to the point, the ancient Septuagint translation actually translates the word Agag with the name Gog in Numbers 24:7. Gog and Agag were seen as synonyms to the ancient Hebrews.
We also saw even though this guy has an empire wide attack on Israel (and let me put up a map here to show how pervasive this attack is; it stretches from Ethiopia way in the Southwest here to north of Greece, to Turkey and all the way over to India.) - so as I was saying, even though this guy has an empire wide network of people attacking Israel, he is simply a prince in verse 2 here and he is simply a prince in Esther 3:1. It really is odd language. You would expect a king or an emperor to be giving an empire wide assault like this, but in both passages the prince is strangely given unbridled power. We looked at the unaccountable power that Haman had last week. Now it’s true, Haman is the chief prince, and that is the way the NIV actually translates this verse in Ezekiel. But both passages highlight the mystery that a mere prince has authority to mobilize an entire empire even though he is not the emperor.
Third, we looked at a map of Persia, and we saw how every region of the empire that Darius ruled over in 510 BC is mentioned in these two chapters of Ezekiel. And because some of you complained that you couldn’t write fast enough, I have put the labels on the map this time rather than just using my laser pen. Interestingly, India is not mentioned in Ezekielamd this makes sense since Darius doesn’t conquer India for another four years. But verse 5 mentions Ethiopia and Libya way on the southwest side of the empire, verse 6 mentions Togarmah way in the North and we looked at how the other countries mentioned form the borders of the empire, and then in 39:21 He mentions “all the nations” in between. So these borders nail the time down to the Persian empire, and specifically to the first part of the reign of Darius, since India was a part of his empire in another four years.
Verse 8 mentions that this will take place shortly after the Jews return to Israel, and chapter 39 amplifies on that. That fits Esther perfectly since Jews return to Israel under Ezra the same year Esther is coronated according to the old chronology. If you haven’t been here for the first three sermons, you will just have to assume for the sake of argument that king Ahasuerus is king Darius rather than Xerxes. I handed out a paper that outlines numerous reasons of why that has to be. But there are other proofs that this was fulfilled in the persian period.
Look at Ezekiel 38:11 for another proof. It says, You will say, “I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates. In another eight years, this would be changed when Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem to build the walls. At least on the old chronology. But this rules out a fulfillment in the time of the Maccabees or later since Jerusalem always had walls after that time. Again, you can see the narrowing of the options of this horrific war down to the time of Darius.
Verse 12 mentions plunder just as Esther does.
I won’t go over all the proofs, but if you look at chapter 39:11, last phrase, you will see the name of the valley where the Gogites (or the Agagites) dead are buried. It calls it the Valley of Hamon Gog. So Haman’s name (though spelt slightly differently) occurs in Ezekiel, and you can see it repeated in verses 15 and 16.
Both passages refer to a reversal where Israel destroys those who attempted to destroy them.
Both passages speak of an enormous number of dead.
Both passages harmonize on why there is a seven month wait before the dead can be buried. In Ezekiel they are marking the bodies and bones, but wait until the Feast of Tabernacles when the ashes of the heifer are mixed with water for purification. Well, it is exactly seven months from the feast of Purim until the feast of Tabernacles. And so again, there is a meshing even on that seven month wait and it’s reason.
We saw that Ezekiel’s Gog and Magog battle has to be fulfilled in a period of time when Israel is still divided up into tribes (and there are no tribes of Israel now), and when they are still using horses, bows, arrows, war clubs, and other wooden instruments. And it doesn’t just say a few. Notice that Ezekiel 38:4 ends by saying, all spendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling spears. Verse 5 mentions, all of them with shield and helmet. And in chapter 39 it mentions the enormous numbers of javelins, war clubs, arrows, etc. It’s not describing modern warfare.
There are other proofs that I didn’t mention like earthquakes in the Empire during this period of time that Sieberg discovered (1932, p. 803), but I think we have plenty of evidence to show that this massive threat was predicted by God 75 years earlier. God had ordained it. When you are faced with a threat like this, or even a lesser threat, that makes your heart pound, what should you do? Let’s go back to Esther and make a quick survey of this chapter.
The first point is that you should never allow prophecy of the future, or God’s predestination to make you passive in your response. Yes this was prophecied, and Mordecai the prophet may even have been aware that this was prophecied. But that did not make him fatalistic or passive. Verse 1 says, When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He didn’t seek to flee, or go into hiding. He didn’t take a fatalistic attitude of come sere sera – whatever will be will be. Even though God has predestined all things, Mordecai knows that God works through means. He says in James that you have not because you ask not. God works through prayer, and so when there is no prayer, there is no answer.
Daniel is another good example of this. In Daniel 9 Daniel realizes that the 70 years of captivity is now up, and that God had prophecied in Jeremiah that they would return after 70 years. Does he just sit back and do nothing? No. He realizes that both Jeremiah and Leviticus mention that when exiled, God’s people must humble themselves and pray if they are ever to be delivered. And so he prays. He prays passionately. Why do I mention this? Because too many Christians have a hard time living with both divine sovereignty and human responsibility. They tend to ditch one or the other. But both are needed if we are to survive. Both are needed if we are to prosper.
There are people with a different eschatology than we have who have given up on seeking to influence the culture because their prophetic outlook says that things will get progressively worse and worse, and it’s hopeless to try to change it. But if our hearts are in tune with God’s Spirit, we will weep, we will be driven to prayer, we will not be satisfied with the state of our world. God will give to us a holy dissatisfaction. Some people have given up on doing anything for the persecuted church in Sudan and around the world because it seems like such a hopeless cause. But it is not. God calls us to prayer and action and who knows but that your letter will be destined by God to change a jailors heart in China or in Pakistan or in some other part of the world. Some people say, “Why pray if God predestines everything? Let him do it.” But we would respond, “If God is not sovereign, why pray? If God can’t change people’s hearts and minds, why ask Him to try? Let’s pray to the individual. If God’s will is bound by man’s will, why bother praying to God. In some people’s theology God does not have a free will, man does. Calvinism actually should impel us to action and prayer and fasting since we know that He has a plan, and our actions are a part of that plan.
Now I’ve spent a long time on that first point, but it is a critical one. We should never allow prophecy or God’s control of the future to make us passive about the future.
Prayerfully seek human resolution where possible (vv.1-2)
The second point is related. Not only should we be in prayer and fasting (that’s looking to God to change our situation), but we should do everything in our power to encourage people to change the situation, and I think in part that is what Mordecai is doing. Notice in verse 1 that Mordecai is very vocal about his disapproval. He goes into the middle of the city crying out about this injustice, and then in verse 2 he goes as close to the king in protest as he is allowed to go. Verse 2: He went as far as the front of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. The king didn’t like unhappy thoughts. King’s tended to hire court jesters, not court mourners, right? And I think it is a natural impulse for people to not want to think about the negativity of persecution around the world. Or if it is your own personal calamity, there are some people who are in denial about how bad things are at in their marriage, or in their business, or wherever. But Mordecai seeks resolution by confronting others with the reality of how bad things are. We need to be aware of the church as a whole. Subscribe to voice of the Martyrs magazine. Presently there is a project where you buy a vacuum bag for five dollars processing fee, and you fill it with soap, sweaters, underweare and sundry other things so that Voice of the Martyrs can pass that on to Christians being persecuted for their faith.
But the reason I mention this point is that in verse 2 it appears that Mordecai does not want to mourn in private as if there is nothing that can be done about it. He is a magistrate, and he is doing everything in his power to bring this injustice to the attention of the king. He’s not successful. The king is quite insulated from the pain that is out there. Even Esther has no idea that this decree has gone out. But I think the prophet Mordecai stands as an encouragement to us to seek justice from the government as well.; protest to the government. And if you don’t have access, stir up the people who do have access. Stir them up to action. If he could do it in a non-democratic country, surely we can do it in our waning Republic.
But a third point under Roman numeral II – don’t engage in political activism without prayer or without dependence upon God. It’s so easy to become imbalanced in this area and either leave everything up to prayer or leave everything up to political action. Don’t think that prayer without action is enough. Just as faith without works is dead, prayer without works is dead. And the reasons is obvious: God won’t answer disobedient prayers.
Call others to prayer (v. 3)
Third, call others to prayer. Another reason why Mordecai did this publically was as a Jewish leader to call others to join him in this prayer. Verse 3 says, And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. We live in troubling times when millions of babies are being murdered, when freedoms are being taken away – this homeland security act is a scary thing. I think it is a power grab and a privacy invasion that is utterly unnecessary. We live in a time when the bonds of Christ have been successfully cast off by the courts, the congress and the schools, and we need to spend time in fasting and prayer for the cause of Christ in this city and abroad. And if Monday morning prayer breakfast at 6 am is too early for you, I would be happy to start an afternoon prayer meeting. But until I get a group of people committed to coming to an afternoon prayer meeting, we are not going to change. We at least have a faithful remnant of people who are willing to meet on Monday mornings. And I don’t care what time we have the meeting, but I urge you to join in prayer and occasionally in fasting for the advancement of God’s cause in this city.
Do not deal simply with symptoms (v. 4)
A fourth thing that I see in this chapter is simply an observation that it is easy to be satisfied with simply dealing with symptoms. Esther doesn’t have any idea how serious things are, but it bothers her that her cousin is sad. She tries to get him to quit weeping. We don’t like weeping saints like Jeremiah. So verse 4 says, So Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed. Then she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept them. Why should he? The problem is not resolved. Notice that she doesn’t inquire, “What’s wrong?” She simply says “Don’t be sad. God’s loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” Or at least, “Don’t be sad, I love you.” That’s great as far as it goes, but it only deals with symptoms. Too many Christians are symptom treaters when it comes to persecution. They send food and clothing to countries where there is starvation little realizing that they are propping up the very demominc economics of socialism that has caused the famine. And the governments that receive the food use the food as an ideological weapon against their people. That is throwing money at symptoms. Our goal should be to get rid of the disease. That’s why we have a nation discipling perspective on missions, and we want to only support (at least in a regular way) those missions that are trying to change the culture as a whole, and the worldview and are seeking to apply Scripture to all that they do.
But even in our personal lives, we shouldn’t be so quick to take away the pain that we forget to ask what the pain is. I see her failure to ask to be symptomatic of our own trivializing of ministry. A lot of counseling is simply putting a bandaid on cancer. True ministry involves getting involved in each other’s lives in a deeper way.
Get the facts (v. 5-9)
And she quickly wakes up to this. In verses 5-9 she gets the facts. This is point five. Before decisions are made, we ought to try to understand more deeply. Let’s begin at verse 5: Then Esther called Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs whom he had appointed to attend her, and she gave him a command concerning Mordecai, to learn what and why this was. So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square that was in front of the king’s gate. And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Shusah, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people. So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
We’ve already covered the substance of this tyranny in the last chapter. All I want to draw out from this here is that wise decisions cannot be made without knowledge. Knowledge is not the same thing as wisdom, but they are related. In fact, one of the desires that I have had for our congregation as God prospers it and opens opportunities to influence our culture more, is that we will get to the place where we will need a researcher who can help us get the facts and help us to strategize on what actions to take. But even on a personal level, find out the facts before you discipline your children. Get the facts before you buy a house. Some people go to an extreme on never acting because they always want more information. We have to act on limited information at all times. But let’s not go to the other extreme of acting without research
Weigh the options but don’t be driven by uncertainties (vv. 10-14)
The sixth thing that she does is to weigh the options, or at least Mordecai forces her to weigh the options. Let’s read verses 10-14. Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king hold out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days. [This may have been an indication that she had fallen out of favor. But in any case, God has made it providentially harder for her to talk to the king. She will have to be proactive in finding a way. Verse 12] So they told Mordecai Esther’s words. And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. [he has put his finger on the nub of the problem here. Fear. If she is quiet, perhaps Haman won’t know that she is a Jew. Her retinue knows, and they even know she is related to Mordecai. But fear is leading to inaction. And there are many people who are paralyzed into inaction even though action is needed immediately. But anyway, going on in verse 14] For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Why would he say that she would perish when other Jews might be delivered? It’s not a threat as some people have assumed. It’s the realization that God’s people cannot be annihiliated before the Messiah comes, but even if other Jews are saved, he is probably toast since he is so high profile, and since some people know that she is related to him, she will perish as well since the king’s decree is irreversible. Remember that he regretted his decision with Vashti.
He is helping her to weigh the options. Should she take a huge risk now with possible painful results or should she so fear the present results that she is guaranteed to face pain in the future? That’s a hard choice for many people to make. They don’t like either choice, and so they don’t make any choice, and the choice is made for them. It happens all the time. Chain smokers often know that they have a high chance of either emphesema or cancer if they don’t quit, and they don’t like that choice, but they don’t like the choice of the discomfort and pain of quiting. And so they don’t want to think about it. They make a choice by making no choice. It is human nature to take the avenue of least resistance when we are confronted with trouble, isn’t it? It is the easiest path up front, but it is usually the worst decision. How many people have medical conditions that could have been reversed if they had taken proactive action earlier. And the reason they didn’t was that things weren’t so bad now, the medical procedure costs money and it will be inconvenient, I don’t have time. But by failing to weigh the alternatives they procrasitinated until it was too late.
Well, I think this is what is happening in the area of persecution. Sudan is an incredibly strategic country for both Islam invading the south and Christianity invading the north of Africa. What happens to Sudan may seal the fate of many southern countries. But few lack the resolve to help. The same is true even in the good old United States of America. It is inconvenient to step up to the plate and resist a tyrannical action of government that is out there – such as Department of Social Services breaking and entering and forcibly removing children from a Christian home without a warrant simply because some anonymous caller reported them as spanking a child. So much for innocent until proven guilty. But if we don’t stand up on behalf of people out there in another state, it may be us in that situation in the future. Things don’t stay static. They either get better or worse. And we need to weigh the results of involvement or non-involvement. Don’t allow personal comfort, circumstances or other things to dictate. In other words, don’t let circumstances take dominion over you. You take dominion.
While you should not be driven by circumstances (v. 11), you should seek to understand what your role in God’s providence might be (v. 14)
Her circumstances were that she was out of favor with the king, and hadn’t seen him in 30 days (verse 11). She could have excused her lack of involvement with the thought that I can’t do anything. If I could I would. If I was scheduled to go in to see him tonight, I would try to say something. And her excuse would be reasonable. But I want to encourage you people to not just think of the reasonable, but to think outside the box. If a given ministry or responsibility is impossible in your present circumstances, see if there is away of adjusting your circumstances.
Point seven – try to think of what God has shaped you for, not what circumstances dictate. God’s providential control in your life is for a purpose. He has developed you as an absolutely needed part of the body and the kingdom as a whole. Don’t let circumstances get in the way of fulfilling God’s calling upon your life.
Remember that God ordinarily uses people and other means to achieving goals (4:14), but He does this for our blessing, not because He needs us (v. 14)
Point eight – Remember that God ordinarily uses people and means of achieving His goals. In other words, don’t wait for a miracle if there is something you can do. God could have easily sent angels to preach the gospel, but he has chosen weak vessels like you and I. And he has chosen to use us not because He needs us, but because He is giving us opportunities to experience His grace, to grow to know Him and His power, and to mature. It’s for our good that He uses us.
If we fail to respond, God’s purposes will not be thwarted. His kingdom will advance. And Mordecai knows that. He tells her, if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place… God always has alternatives. Mordecai knows that the Jews cannot be exterminated, and he is asking her to think if this is what she has been providentially developed for. But he still says, “if,” and there are a lot of ‘ifs’ in the bible. For example, Jesus’ response to the Pharisees who wanted the children to be quiet was that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” There are “ifs” in God’s plans. These are contingencies that God has ordained (that’s true), but they are contingencies none the less. God commanded the first generation of Israelites to conquer the land, they refused, having grasshopper theology. They said, “WE are as grasshoppers in their sight. We can’t do it.” So God raised up another generation who would be faithful to take the needed risks. Never think that because the future is certain, that you can get away with disobedience or lack of risk. A man reaps what he sows.
God can handle our failures, be we lose. God’s plans do not fail when we become immobilized with fear. But we can lose out.
But having said that we should not be paralyzed by the future, we cannot be paralyzed by past failures either. The co-founder of Western Electric Manufacturing Company, now known as Lucent Technologies, was an Elisha Gray. His patent application for the telephone was filed with the patent office on the same day as Alexander Graham Bell’s was. The courier delivered papers for both just hours apart, and Bell’s got there first and he got the patent. It would be easy for Gray to get discouraged about that and to stop there. But Gray didn’t stop there. He went on to acquire 70 patents, including the world’s first commercial typewriter. You may not be an inventor, but for whatever God has called you to, you need to take action and not be passive. You need to get up when you’ve been knocked down and try again. But never think that you are not important to the advancement of the kingdom. God wouldn’t have created you if your efforts were unimportant. It’s one thing to say “who knows whether I have come to the kingdom for such a time as this,” and it is another matter to know what God wants me to do.
Make a Plan (v. 16)
Just as she plans during the next three days of verse 16, you need to plan. And it may be that you need to take action on the little you do know. Just as ships are only steered as they are moving, so too, we are usually only guided when we are willing to move out in obedience to the responsibilities that we already know that we have. So don’t be passive.
Be willing to prayerfully take risks (v. 16)
The tenth thing we see in this chapter is that we need to be willing to prayerfully take risks. Verse 16 says, go gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will got to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” Some of us almost never take risks or make a step of faith. And that is just not Christian. It is not Christian. Now it is proper, and it is a Chrsitian thing to try minimize risk, and that’s what the plan was about. It’s risk management. But it is not proper to avoid all risk for our comfort’s sake. It is proper to pray. But when you fail to make decisions because of the risk, you have already taken a much larger risk. And the risk is that you will fail to amount to anything that God has called you to be. I’d rather fail trying, and get up and fail again and again, as I take risks, then to risk nothing and to gain nothing. Don’t see failure as something to be ashamed of. That means that you are doing something. Those who never fail have probably never ventured anything of eternal significance.
You know, a lot of us are like Bilbo Baggins was at the beginning. Some of you have seen the movie, Lord of the Rings, but there was a book that goes before that – the Hobbit. And that’s where you are introduced to Bilbo Baggins who up to that time had never risked anything. And for many of us, like Baggins, our life is so neat and tidy and orderly that nothing ever changes. When a Gandolf knocks at our door with opportunity, our first inclination is to refuse. We don’t like risk. But if we risk nothing lost, then we will risk that nothing will be gained. There is always risk. Risk is unavoidable. And either way Esther went she would face risk.
You know the ministries and opportunities and the responsibilities God has called you to do. I won’t bother mentioning any because you can argue with me. I leave you to argue with the Holy Spirit. The end result of what was gained in this book shows that the risk she faced was worth it. And God will never be a debtor to those who give their all to Him. He never just gives back what we gave up. He gives back 100-fold. When things go bad, don’t chicken out, escape or get paralyzed. I urge you to imitate Esther who had a heart of moral courage. And we already looked a couple weeks ago at the essentials needed to gaining a heart of courage. She did the right thing even though there was danger and risk involved. And the Lord gave her wisdom.
Wisdom is given to those with reverence (Prov. 9:10), humility (Prov. 11:2), teachableness (Prov. 9:9; 15:31; 19:20), diligence (Prov. 8:17), uprightness (Prov. 2:7) and faith (James 1:5-8)
I’m not going to cover point eleven. It was there just for your meditation. But it summarizes the kind of people God gives wisdom to. He doesn’t give wisdom in the abstract just to bail us out and make us comfortable. he doesn't give wisdom just because you are curious. His gives it to those who are already using their wisdom to serve Him. We are called to be soldiers who venture all for Christ. But when we do so, He not only promises to reward and bless us, but to do so in such overflow that our sacrifices seem as nothing. I charge you as a congregation to respond with the faith and moral courage of Esther to your own life crises. Amen.
Children of God, I charge you to prepare yourselves to respond as Esther did. If you don’t prepare for bad times, your response will simply be what comes naturally. And what comes naturally is to retreat, to be passive or to be selfish. But if you prayerfully prepare your heart to take on these characteristics, you will be ready in a time of crisis to respond with moral courage. And may God bless you as you prepare. Amen.
“"Agagite" can only be interpreted here as synonymous with "Amalekite" (compare "Agag," king of the Amalekites, the foe of Saul, I Sam. xv. 8, 20, 32; Num. xxiv. 7 … Oppert's attempt to connect the term "Agagite" with "Agaz," a Median tribe mentioned by Sargon, can not be taken seriously. ↩
deduction of Gen. 10:2; Numb. 24:20; 24:7 in LXX; Ezek. 38:17; Ex. 17:16; Josephus ↩
"Gog signifies 'high' and eminent, one in a very exalted station: it comes from the same root, and has the same signification, as Agag, to whose height and exaltation there is an allusion in Num 24:7 … where the Samaritan and Septuagint versions read Gog: it is the same with Arabic, 'Jagog', by which name the Arabians called the Scythians…" (the New John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible) ↩