New Defender's Study Bible Notes
38:2 Gog. “Gog” seems to be the name of the commander-in-chief of this confederation of nations which will invade Israel “in the latter days” (Ezekiel 38:16), sometime after Israel has been reestablished in its land—while still rejecting God and His Christ—as outlined in Ezekiel 37. The name “Gog” may be an accommodation to some such ethnic name as “Georgi.” Magog is evidently Gog’s country, associated also with the countries of Meshech and Tubal. All three countries were named after their founding fathers, each of whom was a son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2), and all three originally settled in what is now Asia Minor, north of Israel.
38:2 chief prince. The words “chief prince” may also be rendered “prince of Rosh,” and some translations so render it. This may well be a reference to the people known as “Rus,” who eventually became Russia. The names “Meshech” and “Tubal” may be preserved today as “Muscovy” or “Moscow,” and “Tobolsk” and “Tbilisi.” Magog is identified by Josephus with the Scythians, and there is considerable evidence that all three tribes eventually migrated farther north. Whether they can be precisely identified as equivalent to modern Russia (or other states of the former Soviet Union) is debatable, but it does appear most probable that the prophecy does refer to a “northern confederacy,” coming out of the “north parts” (Ezekiel 38:15).