And I will turn thee back
Not from the land of Israel; for thither it is said in the latter part of the text he would bring him; but the meaning is, that he would "turn him about", as the word
F23 signifies, in his own land, and lead him about at his pleasure, and bring him out of it, unto the land of Israel; signifying hereby that the providence of God would be greatly concerned in this affair; and in which much glory would be brought unto him by the destruction of such a potent enemy of his people; which is the design of bringing him out; (See Gill on Ezekiel 38:4): and leave but a sixth part of thee;
meaning, not that a sixth part only should escape the vengeance of God, and all but a sixth part be destroyed in the land of Israel; for it looks as if the whole army would be utterly destroyed, and none left; but that, when he should come out of his own country upon this expedition, a sixth part of his subjects only should be left behind; five out of six should accompany him; so numerous should his army be, and so drained his country by this enterprise of his. Some render the words, "will draw thee out with an hook of six teeth" F24; that is, out of his own land; and this clause stands in the same place and order as the phrase and "put hooks into thy jaws" does in ( Ezekiel 38:4 ) and so may be thought to explain one another, and agrees with what follows: for, as for the sense of it given by Joseph Kimchi and others,
``I will judge thee with six judgments F25, ( Ezekiel 38:12 ) , pestilence, blood, an overflowing rain, hailstones, fire, and brimstone,''it must be rejected; seeing as yet the account of his punishment is not come to; only an account is given how and by what means he shall be drawn out of his own land; wherefore much better is the Targum,
``I will persuade thee, and I will seduce thee;''so Jarchi seems to understand it: and the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "I will lead thee", agreeably to what follows: and will cause thee to come up from the north parts;
(See Gill on Ezekiel 38:15) and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel;
not to inherit them, but to fall upon them, as in ( Ezekiel 39:4 ) .
F23 (Kytbbv) "circumducam te", Piscator; "circumagam", Grotius.
F24 (Kytavv) "harpagone sextuplici extraham te", Vinarienses apud Starckius. So Buxtorf.
F25 "Sex poenis, [sive] plagis afficiam te", Munster, Tigurine version.