Ezekiel 37

CHAPTER XXXVII

This chapter treats of the same subject with the preceding, in

a beautiful and significant vision. Under the emblem of the

open valley being thickly strewed with very dry bones is

represented the hopeless state of the Jews when dispersed

throughout the provinces of the Chaldean empire. But God,

contrary to every human probability, restores these bones to

life, thereby prefiguring the restoration of that people from

the Babylonish captivity, and their resettlement in the land of

their forefathers, 1-14.

The prophet then makes an easy and elegant transition to the

blessedness of the people of God under the Gospel dispensation,

in the plenitude of its manifestation, when the genuine

converts to Christianity, the spiritual Israel, shall be no

longer under the domination of heathen and anti-christian

rulers, but shall be collected together into one visible

kingdom, and constitute but one flock under one Shepherd, 15-28.

The vision of the dry bones reviving is considered by some as

having a remote view to the general resurrection.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXXVII

Verse 1. The hand of the Lord was upon me] The prophetic

influence was communicated.

And carried me out in the spirit] Or, And the Lord brought me

out in the spirit; that is, a spiritual vision, in which all these

things were doubtless transacted.

The valley which was full of bones] This vision of the dry bones

was designed, first, as an emblem of the then wretched state of

the Jews; secondly, of the general resurrection of the body.

Verse 3. Can these bones live?] Is it possible that the persons

whose bones these are can return to life?

Verse 4. Prophesy upon these bones]; Declare to your miserable

countrymen the gracious designs of the Lord; show them that their

state, however deplorable, is not hopeless.

Verse 5. Behold, I will cause breath] ruach signifies both

soul, breath, and wind; and sometimes the Spirit of God. Soul

is its proper meaning in this vision, where it refers to the

bones: "I will cause the SOUL to enter into you."

Verse 6. I will lay sinews upon you] Observe the progress: 1.

Here are the bones. 2. The ligaments, called here sinews, are to

be added in order to unite the bones, that the skeleton might be

complete. 3. The flesh (the whole muscular system, the subjacent

and superjacent muscles, including the arterial and venous

system) clothes this skeleton. 4. The skin (the dermis and

epidermis, or cutis and cuticle) envelopes the whole of these

muscles or flesh; and now these bodies are in the state that the

body of Adam was before it received the animal and intellectual

principle from God. 5. There was no breath in them-they had not

yet received their souls. 6. The wind, ruach, the soul,

came into them. They were endued with animal and intellectual

life; and they arose and evidenced a complete restoration to

life, and began to perform its functions, Eze 37:10.

Verse 9. Prophesy unto the wind] ruach. Address thyself to

the soul, and command it to enter into these well-organized

bodies, that they may live.

Come from the four winds] SOULS, come from all parts where ye

are scattered; and reanimate these bodies from; which ye have been

so long separated. The four winds signify all parts-in every

direction. Literally it is, "Souls, come from the four souls;"

"Breath, come from the four breaths;" or, "Wind, come from the

four winds." But here ruach has both of its most general

meanings, wind or breath, and soul.

Verse 11. These bones are the whole house of Israel] That is,

their state is represented by these bones; and their restoration

to their own land is represented by the revivification of these

bones.

Verse 12. I will open your graves] Here is a pointed allusion to

the general resurrection; a doctrine properly credited and

understood by the Jews, and to which our Lord refers,

Joh 5:25, 28, 29: "The hour is coming when they that are in

their graves shall hear his voice, and come forth."

And cause you to come up out of your graves] I am determined

that ye shall be restored; so that were ye even in your graves, as

mankind at the general resurrection, yet my all-powerful voice

shall call you forth.

Verse 13. When I have opened your graves] When I shall have done

for you what was beyond your hope, and deemed impossible, then

shall ye know that I am Jehovah.

Verse 14. And shall put my Spirit] ruchi. Here

ruach is taken for the Holy Ghost. They were living souls,

animal and intellectual beings, when they had received their

souls, as mentioned above: but they could only become spiritual,

holy, and obedient creatures by the Spirit of God actuating

their spirits. See the notes on Eze 36:25-27.

THREE degrees or processes have been remarked in this mystic

vision. When the prophet was commanded to prophesy-to foretell, on

the authority of God, that there should be a restoration to their

own land,-

1. There was a noise, which was followed by a general shaking,

during which the bones became arranged and united.

2. The flesh and skin came upon them, so that the dry bones

were no longer seen.

3. The spirit or soul came into them, and they stood up

perfectly vivified.

Perhaps these might be illustrated by three periods of time,

which marked the regeneration of the Jewish polity.

1. The publication of the edict of Cyrus in behalf of the Jews,

which caused a general shaking or stir among the people, so that

the several families began to approach each other. and prepare for

their return to Judea, Ezr 1:2, 3. But though partially restored,

they were obliged to discontinue the rebuilding of their temple.

2. The edict published by Darius in the second year of his

reign, Ezr 4:23, 24, which removed the impediments thrown in the

way of the Jews. Ezr 6:6, 7, &c.

3. The mission of Nehemiah, with orders from Artaxerxes to

complete the building of the temple and the city, Ne 2:7, &c.

Then the Jews became a great army, and found themselves in

sufficient force to defend themselves and city against all their

enemies.

As to the spiritual uses of this curious vision, I must leave

them to preachers. I have given the literal meaning, and what the

different parts refer to; and if they found their observations on

these, they may profit their hearers.

Verse 16. Son of man, take thee one stick] The two sticks

mentioned in this symbolical transaction represented, as the text

declares, the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which vere formed

in the days of Rehoboam, and continued distinct till the time of

the captivity. The kingdom of Judah was composed of the tribes of

Judah and Benjamin, with the Levites; all the rest went off in

the schism with Jeroboam, and formed the kingdom of Israel. Though

some out of those tribes did rejoin themselves to Judah, yet no

whole tribe ever returned to that kingdom. Common sufferings in

their captivity became the means of reviving a kinder feeling; and

to encourage this, God promises that he will reunite them, and

restore them to their own land; and that there shall no more be

any divisions or feuds among them. To represent this in such a way

as would make it a subject of thought, reflection, and inquiry,

the prophet is ordered to take the two sticks mentioned above, to

write on them the distinguishing names of the divided kingdoms,

and then by a notch, dovetail, glue, or some such method, to unite

them both before the people. He did so, and on their inquiry,

showed them the full meaning of this symbolical action.

Verse 19. The stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim]

Jeroboam, the first king of the ten tribes, was an Ephraimite.

Joseph represents the ten tribes in general; they were in the

hand of Ephraim, that is, under the government of Jeroboam.

Verse 22. I will make them one nation] There was no distinction

after the return from Babylon.

And one king shall be king to them all] Politically speaking

they never had a king from that day to this; and the grand

junction and government spoken of here must refer to another

time-to that in which they shall be brought into the Christian

Church with the fulness of the Gentiles; when JESUS, the King of

kings and Lord of lords, shall rule over all.

Verse 24. And David my servant shall be King] That this refers

to Jesus Christ, see proved, Eze 34:23.

Verse 25. The land that I have given unto Jacob my servant]

Jacob means here the twelve tribes; and the land given to them was

the whole land of Palestine; consequently, the promise states

that, when they return, they are to possess the whole of the

Promised Land.

Verse 26. Covenant of peace] See this explained Eze 34:25.

Verse 27. My tabernacle] Jesus Christ, the true tabernacle, in

whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

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