Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Back. The people were just returned when the nations around fell upon them, and were miraculously defeated. (Theodoret) — We shall follow the system respecting Gog, given [in] Ezechiel xxxviii. (Calmet) — Most people, with St. Jerome, suppose that the general judgment is described, though some explain it of the captives delivered from their enemies. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Josaphat, “the judgment of the Lord,” (Haydock) marks the place where the Judge will sit, on the east of Jerusalem, between the temple and Olivet, whence our Lord ascended into heaven. (Worthington) — There also he had been seized and treated contumeliously. (Haydock) — But many of the Fathers assert that the whole world will be the scene of judgment, and the first author who determines the situation of Josaphat, is one in the works of Ven. Bede. Here it may denote the great plain reaching from Carmel to the Jordan, where the army of Cambyses perished with its chief. People of almost all nations were there, Ezechiel xxxviii. — Land. The Chaldeans, now governed by a Persian, had scattered the Jews, and the Idumeans had seized part of their land.
Ver. 3. Boy, to gratify their brutal passions; (Lamentations v.) or, they have exchanged such for harlots, (Calmet) and paid the latter with captive boys. (Septuagint) (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Me. These cities and nations had rejoiced at the ruin of the Jews, Ezechiel xxv. (Calmet) — Coast. Septuagint, “Galilee of strangers.” (Haydock)
Ver. 5. Temples, or palaces. The Chaldeans had done so, and perhaps had sold some to others.
Ver. 6. Greeks: the Ionians carried on such a traffic, Ezechiel xxvii. 13. Tyre and the Philistines were ready to sell, Ezechiel xxvi. 2., and xxv. 15.
Ver. 7. Them, particularly under Hystaspes and Artaxerxes.
Ver. 8. Sabeans; probably at the bottom of Arabia. (Calmet) — Thirty thousand Tyreans were sold by Alexander. (Arrian ii.) — The Jews would not fail to purchase. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Prepare. Literally, “sanctify.” (Haydock) — God sends Cambyses to chastise Egypt. His turn will then come.
Ver. 11. Down. Many perished in Egypt, the rest in Judea, ver. 2.
Ver. 12. Valley, at Jezrahel, the valley of destruction, ver. 14.
Ver. 13. Harvest, the time of vengeance, Matthew xiii. 30., and Apocalypse xiv. 15. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Nations. Hebrew hamonim, “multitudes.” (Haydock) — This alludes to the place Amona, where Gog was buried, Ezechiel xxx. 15, 18. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “sounds have been heard in the vale of justice,” where sentence has been pronounced and executed. (Haydock) — The repetition of peoples and destruction, shews the crowds (Haydock) which shall be judged and cut in pieces like fuel for the fire, Psalm cxxviii. 4. (Worthington)
Ver. 15. Shining. All shall be amazed at the fall of Cambyses, chap. ii. 30., and Ezechiel xxviii. 30. A storm shall overwhelm his army. (Calmet)
Ver. 16. Roar, in thunder, Jeremias xxv. 30., and Amos i. 2. (Haydock)
Ver. 17. No more, for a long time. Antiochus and the Romans again profaned the temple. But the Church of Christ is always holy.
Ver. 18. Sweetness; oil and honey. (Calmet) — Fountain, &c., viz., the fountain of grace in the Church militant, and of glory in the Church triumphant; which shall water the torrent or valley of thorns, that is, the souls that before, like barren ground, brought forth nothing but thorns, or that were afflicted with the thorns of crosses and tribulations. (Challoner) — Septuagint have, “bands.” Hebrew shittim. (Haydock) — Abundance shall ensue after the death of Cambyses, as a figure of the graces which shall be granted to Christians, Ezechiel xlvii. 2.
Ver. 19. Desolation. Cambyses laid it waste for three years, as Ochus did afterwards. — Edom. Judas and Hircan punished them for their former barbarity, Psalm cxxxvi. 7., and 2 Machabees x. 16., and Ezechiel xxv. 12. (Calmet)
Ver. 20. Judea and Jerusalem. That is, the spiritual Jerusalem, viz., the Church of Christ. (Challoner) — Judea was unmolested for a considerable time.
Ver. 21. Which must be supplied in Hebrew. The Idumeans had been spared for a long time. But they shall not escape. (Chaldean, &c.) (Calmet) — The rites of the law could not purify, as the sacraments of Christ do. (St. Jerome) — God will cleanse his people, and will chastise the Ammonites, &c., who had injured them. Septuagint, “I will seek (or avenge) their blood, and will not pronounce innocent;” athooso. (Haydock) — Sion, in heaven, (Menochius) and in the tabernacles of the Catholic Church, from the beginning of the world unto eternity. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The Lord shall judge all nations in the valley of Josaphat. The evils that shall fall upon the enemies of God’s people: his blessing upon the Church of the saints.
1 For behold in those days, and in that time when I shall bring back the captivity of Juda, and Jerusalem:
2 I will gather together all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Josaphat: and I will plead with them there for my people, and for my inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and have parted my land.
3 And they have cast lots upon my people: and the boy they have put in the stews, and the girl they have sold for wine, that they might drink.
4 But what have you to do with me, O Tyre, and Sidon, and all the coast of the Philistines? will you revenge yourselves on me? and if you revenge yourselves on me, I will very soon return you a recompense upon your own head.
5 For you have taken away my silver, and my gold: and my desirable, and most beautiful things you have carried into your temples.
6 And the children of Juda, and the children of Jerusalem, you have sold to the children of the Greeks, that you might remove them far off from their own country.
7 Behold, I will raise them up out of the place wherein you have sold them: and I will return your recompense upon your own heads.
8 And I will sell your sons, and your daughters, by the hands of the children of Juda, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, a nation far off, for the Lord hath spoken it.
9 Proclaim ye this among the nations: prepare war, rouse up the strong: let them come, let all the men of war come up.
10 Cut your plough-shares into swords, and your spades into spears. Let the weak say: I am strong.
11 Break forth, and come, all ye nations from round about, and gather yourselves together: there will the Lord cause all thy strong ones to fall down.
12 Let them arise, and let the nations come up into the valley of Josaphat: for there I will sit to judge all nations round about.
13 *Put ye in the sickles, for the harvest is ripe: come and go down, for the press is full, the fats run over: for their wickedness is multiplied.
14 Nations, nations in the valley of destruction: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of destruction.
15 *The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining.
16 *And the Lord shall roar out of Sion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem: and the heavens and the earth shall be moved, and the Lord shall be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
17 And you shall know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Sion, my holy mountain: and Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall pass through it no more.
18 And it shall come to pass in that day, *that the mountains shall drop down sweetness, and the hills shall flow with milk: and waters shall flow through all the rivers of Juda: and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the torrent of thorns.
19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom a wilderness destroyed: because they have done unjustly against the children of Juda, and have shed innocent blood in their land.
20 And Judea shall be inhabited for ever, and Jerusalem to generation and generation.
21 And I will cleanse their blood, which I had not cleansed: and the Lord will dwell in Sion.
13: Apocalypse xiv. 15.
15: Joel ii. 10. and 31.
16: Jeremias xxv. 30.; Amos i. 2.
18: Amos ix. 13.