GOG AND MAGOG
GOG AND MAGOG (Heb. גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג). Gog and Magog are first mentioned together in Ezekiel 38–39 in the vision of the end of days, where the prophet describes the war of the Lord against "Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal." After the ingathering of Israel Gog will come up against Israel with many peoples from the furthest north to plunder it and carry away spoil. The Lord Himself will go to war against Gog and punish him "with pestilence, and with blood, and with overflowing rain," and His name will be magnified and sanctified in the eyes of many nations. Gog will die in the land of Israel and his place of burial will be called "the valley of hamon Gog" and for seven years the inhabitants of Israel will use the weapons of the enemy for fuel.
Since, in the list of the sons of Noah (Gen. 10:2), Magog is mentioned as the brother of Gomer and Madai, the most reasonable identification put forward is with Giges, also known as Gogo, king of Lydia, and Magog, with his country. That, however, does not affect in any way the symbolic nature of the name and the special character of Ezekiel's vision. Gog and his people are not historical enemies of Israel, like Babylonia and Assyria. They will attack simply out of a lust for violence and with the intention of destroying a peaceful kingdom. Indeed, other prophets prophesied about a people that would come up from the north to besiege Israel in the end of days, but Ezekiel, who prophesied after the destruction of the Temple, fixed the date of the last war after the ingathering of the exiles and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
In the Septuagint the name Gog appears in two other places where it is not mentioned in the Hebrew text. In Numbers 24:7, Gog appears instead of Agag, and in Amos 7:1, the reading is "Gog," instead of gizei ("the mowings"). These variants
From the biblical sources and the tradition of the rabbis, the stories about Gog and Magog passed to the Church Fathers. At the time of the Gothic migrations it was customary to identify the Goths with Gog and Magog. An ancient Christian tradition also identified Gog and Magog with the barbarian peoples whom Alexander the Great locked away behind iron gates next to the Caspian Sea but who are destined to break forth in the end of days. During the Islamic conquests, Christians identified the Muslim armies with Gog and Magog.
Kaufmann Y., Toledot, 3 (1954), 578–83; Ginzberg, Legends, index; P. Volz, Die Eschatologie der juedischen Gemeinde im neutestamentlichen Zeitalter (1934), 150ff.; J. Klausner, The Messianic Idea in Israel (1955); M. Waxman, Galut u-Ge'ulah (1952), 218–33. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Lust, in: DDD, 373–75.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.