I wrote recently that I could begin to publish articles about Ezekiel 38 and Ezekiel 39 as soon as the next week (which would have been last week) if things worked out. Several days have passed since then, yet there have been no in-depth articles published.

The reason I have not begun to publish any in-depth articles is that I am trying to gain a further understanding of several chapters relating to Ezekiel 38 and Ezekiel 39 simultaneously. I want to avoid a situation where I publish an article where I say something that I have to take completely back a few days later…

The past couple of days I’ve been trying to figure out whether the army in Joel 2 is the same army mentioned in Ezekiel 39.

  • It is very important to find out whether there is a connection between the army in Joel 2 and the army mentioned in Ezekiel 39 because it may provide a clearer indication of when the events of Joel 2 may occur and potentially link Ezekiel 39 with other prophecies in the Bible which may be related to Joel 2 (i.e. Isaiah 13, which I’ll explain in a future article).
Today I want to provide an update on my ongoing study by sharing some of my observations about Joel 2:20 and Ezekiel 39:11.
  • I feel it is useful to share some of my observations since the process of writing about my observations helps me to collect my thoughts and may help give someone who is also studying these two verses and/or Joel 2 and Ezekiel 39 something to consider. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of articles on the Internet that examine Joel 2:20 and Ezekiel 39:11 closely…

Gog’s Ezekiel 39 army and the army in Joel 2 share the common characteristic of invading from the north:

“(1) Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: (2) And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel” (Eze 39:1-2)

“But I will remove far off from you the northern army and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.” (Joel 2:20)

This parallel alone has made some people conclude that these armies are identical.

  • I personally would like to find more evidence than this parallel before I am ready to say that these two armies are identical…

Another parallel is that the Lord will defeat the northern army and Gog’s army:

“And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand” (Eze 39:3)

“But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.” (Joel 2:20)

The detail about the origins of the army is not the only detail found in Joel 2:20 concerning the army. Joel 2:20 also suggests that the Lord promises to remove the northern army and to have the defeated army face towards the east sea (the Dead Sea) and the back portion towards the utmost sea (the Mediterranean Sea). In addition, Joel 2:20 indicates that the smell of the corpses will be extremely noticeable:

“But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.” (Joe 2:20)

I believe Ezekiel 39:11 could potentially provide at least another link to connect Joel 2 with Ezekiel 39. Ezekiel 39:11 says the following about Gog’s defeated army:

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.” (Eze 39:11)

Some people discount the possibility that Gog’s Ezekiel 39 army is the same army as the one mentioned in Joel 2 since Ezekiel 39:11 apparently says that Gog’s army is buried “east of the sea” (the Dead Sea) while the remains of the northern army mentioned in Joel is between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea.

I examined several Bible commentaries to figure out if there were any nuisances I missed in Ezekiel 39:11. The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament analysis of Ezekiel 39 included an interesting statement about the usage/definition of the word “east” (Hebrew קדמה) in Ezekiel 39:11:

“The definition indicates this, viz., קִדְמַת, on the front of the sea; not to the east of the sea, as it is generally rendered, for קִדְמַת never has this meaning”

In other words, the translation “east of the sea” in Ezekiel 39:11 is very questionable in the minds of Keil and Delitzsch. Instead, the Keil and Delitzsch suggested that the term actually means “on the front of the sea”. Keil and Delitzsch also suggested that the remnant of the corpses of Gog’s army will be located “above” the Dead Sea at the Jordan Valley rather than “east of the sea” .

  • I don’t know for sure if I agree with Keil and Delitzsch yet, but I am considering what they wrote about the word קִדְמַת and what they proposed about the location of the army’s remains. Their analysis on this issue opens up the possibility for the remains of Gog’s forces to be located where Joel suggested the remains of the northern army will be…
  • It’s worth noting that the word קִדְמַת only appears four times in the Old Testament. There is a different Hebrew word used in Old Testament to denote “east” the majority of the time.

Another interesting thing I noticed is that the King James Bible (the Bible version I believe is the most accurate of the existing versions) is the only major Bible translation that has the phrase “it shall stop the noses of the passengers” in Ezekiel 39:11.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.” (Eze 39:11)

Meanwhile, the other major Bible translations like the NIV and the NASB suggest that people will be blocked by the remains of Gog’s army.

Ezekiel 39:11 Comparison
KJVNIVNASB
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it the valley of Hamongog.On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east toward the Sea. It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog.On that day I will give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea, and it will block off those who would pass by. So they will bury Gog there with all his horde, and they will call it the valley of Hamon-gog.

The phrase “it shall stop the noses of the passengers” is an important phrase to examine because it may provide another parallel between Ezekiel 39 and Joel 2.

  • If the King James translation of Ezekiel 39:11 is consistent with the idea conveyed in the Hebrew text then we can say that people will be stopped by the stench of Gog’s army remains.
  • Recall that Joel 2:20 indicates that there is going to be a strong stench emanating from the remains of the northern army.

The Hebrew word châsam (חסם) is the word that the King James Bible uses in Ezekiel 39:11 to come up with the expression “it shall stop the noses”. According to Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, the word means to “to muzzle; by analogy to stop the nose: – muzzle, stop”.

The only other time where the word “châsam” is found in the Bible is Deuteronomy 25:4:

“Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.” (Deu 25:4)

Keil and Delitzsch believe that the word “châsam” in Ezekiel 39:11 probably means “to stop” based on an Arabic translation. Meanwhile, the study notes of the Geneva Study Bible for Ezekiel 39:11 suggest that people will be stopped by the stink of the carcasses.

  • The usage of the word châsam is so unusual and rare that is hard to get a grasp of what the text is trying to convey with regards to people being stopped by the remains of Gog’s army. However, I can imagine people being stopped by the stench since many dead corpses will be sitting above the ground for several months…

I plan to spend some more time comparing Ezekiel 39 and Joel 2. Once I have made a determination of whether these chapters speak of the same army or not I should be close to being ready to begin writing in-depth articles relating to Ezekiel 38 and Ezekiel 39.

Please feel free to share whether you think the northern army mentioned in Joel 2 is the same or different than Gog’s army in Ezekiel 39 (if you have an opinion on the topic). Perhaps you may have noticed something about these two chapters that I have not noticed yet…