In Amos 7:1 LXX we have a most intriguing passage. Most English translations read something like this: “The sovereign LORD showed me this: I saw him making locusts just as the crops planted late were beginning to sprout. (The crops planted late sprout after the royal harvest.)” (NET Bible)
Gog the Grasshopper
The LXX, however, reads: οὕτως ἔδειξέν μοι κύριος καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐπιγονὴ ἀκρίδων ἐρχομένη ἑωθινή καὶ ἰδοὺ βροῦχος εἷς Γωγ ὁ βασιλεύς. In English: “Thus the Lord showed me, and behold, a swarm of locusts coming early, and behold, one locust, Gog, the king.” It’s possible that the translator has seen in Amos 7:1 a link to Joel’s locust army, which comes from the north (Joel 2:20), and has thus linked it to Ezekiel’s Gog, which also comes from the north (Ezek 38:15). Of course, he could also have talked to Eldad and Medad, who gave him the inside scoop.
Gog Elsewhere in the LXX
Within the LXX (and Samaritan Pentateuch), Gog is mentioned, of course, throughout Ezekiel 38-39, but also, intriguingly, at Num 24:7, where MT has “Agag” instead. We will explore Num 24 LXX in a future post, but for now, let it suffice to note that it speaks of a person (ἄνθρωπος) who will come to rule many nations. Gog is specifically singled out as one whose kingdom will be surpassed or excelled by this person’s coming kingdom (καὶ ὑψωθήσεται ἢ Γωγ βασιλεία αὐτοῦ). Thus, Num 24 may be one reason the LXX translator saw Amos 7 depicting Gog as a king. In Vaticanus, Deut 3:1, 13 read Γωγ instead of Ὠγ as the king of Βασάν. Og, of course, also takes on mythic proportions in Jewish tradition.
Gog and the Apocalypse
Why is this important for NT students to know? Well, it opens up the possibility that the abyss-sourced locust army in Revelation 9:1-11 is recalling Amos 7. This possibility is especially suggested by the way Rev 9:11 makes special mention of the angelic king of the locusts, giving his name in both Hebrew and Greek: Abaddon/Apollyon. If John is drawing on Amos 7, then it would appear that he thinks of Gog, locust-king, as an angel.
One more thing: since John actually mentions Gog by name in Rev 20:7-9, it may be that we should see this as recapitulating Revelation 9’s demon-locust army attack.
And here you thought I was going to talk about the Russians!