more details on Rosh, Meshech, Tubal, and Put


Some versions of the Bible translate the Hebrew word “rosh” in (Ezekiel 38:22) as a noun, referring to a place in Russia.  The least credible support for this view is that Rosh sounds like the modern-day name Russia and Meshech sounds like Moscow.  The Greek translation treats Rosh as the proper name Ros.  Because the ancient Sarmations were known as the Ras, Rashu, and Rus and inhabited Rasapu, which is now Southern Russia, some feel this verse points to Russia as the “prince of Rosh.”  Other support cited for this view is that verses 38:6,15 say the invasion will come from remote parts of the north, and Russia is very remote.

Other versions of the Bible translate “rosh” as an adjective.  The argument here is that in the Masoretic text, the words “chief prince” carry the accents Tiphha and Zaqeph-gadol.  The Tiphha appears under the resh  of the Hebrew word “rosh”; the Zaqeph-gadol appears on top of the sin of the Hebrew word “nish.”  The Tiphha to the right, underneath the initial consonant of the world “rosh,” or chief, is prepositive and does not mark the tone syllable.  The world “nish” or prince has the accent Zaqeph-gadol, which is disjunctive and indicates a pause.  So Ezekiel 38:3 would read:

This is what the Sovereign Lord says:  I am against you, O Gog, the prince, [pause] chief of Meshech and Tubal.
rather than:
This is what the Sovereign Lord says:  I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.
Here “rosh” is translated head or chief as it is 423 other times in the Old Testament.

In short, those who believe “rosh” should be translated as a proper noun may find the interpretation that Russia will be a part of this coalition more reasonable.  Those who believe “rosh” should be an adjective here need to be concerned only with the identies of Meshech and Tubal.

Meshech and Tubal

Meshech and Tubal, in Ezekiel 38:2,3, were the names of the 6th and 5th sons of Japheth, the son of Noah (Genesis 10:2).  Ezekiel 27:13 also mentions Meshech and Tubal as trading partners with Tyre (modern Lebanon).  It is likely that Meshech and Tubal refer to the ancient Moshi/Mushki and Tubalu/Tibareni who dwelled in the area around, primarily south of, the Black and Caspian Sea in Ezekiel’s day.  Today, these nations would be in the modern country of Turkey, parts of Southern Russia and Northern Iran—all areas with a Muslim majority.

Ezekiel 38:5 brings three more names into the mix.  God tells us that “Persia, Cush and Put will be with them.”

In 539 B.C., the Persians conquered the city of Babylon.  A map of the ancient Persian Empire will show that it was centered in the nation known today as Iran.  In fact, Iran was called Persia until 1935, when it was changed to Iran and then to the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, during the Iranian Revolution.  It is no secret that Iran is an archenemy of Israel and the West, as well as a supporter of the Palestinians.  They are actively working to get other Arab countries to change camps in their cooperation with the U.S. and Israel.

The ancient kingdom of Cush in Ezekiel’s time was the land just south of Egypt on the Nile River.  Today this land is occupied by Sudan.  Sudan is home to the National Islamic Front, is ruled by an Islamic military dictatorship, is a strong supporter of Iraq, was home to Osama bin Ladin from 1991 to 1996, and harbors countless Islamic terrorist groups.  Sudan easily would fit into the coalition, as it already has a close alliance with Iran, trading military supplies for docking rights on the Red Sea shipping routes.

Ezekiel 38:6 adds Gomer and Beth-Togarmah to the coalition.  “Gomer” was the first son of Japheth.  The Gomerites were the ancient Cimmerians, expelled in 700 B.C. from the southern steppes of Russia into what is today Turkey.  “Togarmah” is the third son of Gomer, and “beth” at the beginning of the name is the Hebrew word for “house” or “place of.”  In Ezekiel’s time, there was a city in Cappodocia (Modern Turkey) known as Tegarma, Tagarma, Til-garimmu, and Takarama.

The possibility that four of the names mentioned in Ezekiel are now in Turkey makes a reasonable argument for Turkey’s being a part of the end-time invasion of Israel.  Current circumstances in that country also lend this view some credibility.  Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, Turkey has been gaining inroads into Central Asia (Magog).  It also is linked to Central Asia, both ethnically and linguistically, and has a growing number of political parties that support opposition to Israel, establishment of a Turkish Islamic Republic, and the worldwide rule of Islam.

Put and other nations

Ancient Put was the land just west of Egypt, or what is today Libya.  Libya is another sponsor of terrorism, and it openly refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist.  When the coalition against Israel is formed, it is easy to understand how Libya could join.

All the nations listed so far are somewhat distant to Israel.  Ezekiel 38:6 adds, “the many nations with you.”  The phrase could refer to the nations already listed, or it could indicate that other nations and peoples in closer proximity to Israel will join the jihad.  If the latter, other nations that might join the alliance are Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Egypt.  All of these are Islamic nations, and they probably would not hesitate to support the destruction of Israel, were the opportunity to join such a vast coalition presented to them.

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