Ezekiel 36

Blessings on the Mountains of Israel

1“As for you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say: ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord! 2This is what the sovereign Lord says: The enemy has spoken against you, saying “Aha!” and, “The ancient heights
Or “high places.”
have become our property!”’
3So prophesy and say: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Surely because they have made you desolate and crushed you from all directions, so that you have become the property of the rest of the nations, and have become the subject of gossip
Heb “lip of the tongue.”
and slander among the people,
4therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the sovereign Lord: This is what the sovereign Lord says to the mountains and hills, the ravines and valleys, and to the desolate ruins and the abandoned cities that have become prey and an object of derision to the rest of the nations round about – 5therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Surely I have spoken in the fire of my zeal against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who with great joy and utter contempt have made my land their property and prey, because of its pasture.’

6 “Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, the ravines and valleys, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I have spoken in my zeal and in my anger, because you have endured the insults of the nations. 7So this is what the sovereign Lord says: I vow
Heb “I lifted up my hand.”
that the nations around you will endure insults as well.

8 “‘But you, mountains of Israel, will grow your branches, and bear your fruit for my people Israel; for they will arrive soon.
Heb “they draw near to arrive.”
9For indeed, I am on your side;
Heb “I (am) toward you.”
I will turn to you, and you will be plowed and planted.
10I will multiply your people
Heb “I will multiply on you human(s).”
– the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities will be populated and the ruins rebuilt.
11I will increase the number of people and animals on you; they will increase and be fruitful.
These verbs occur together in Gen 1:22, 28; 9:1.
I will cause you to be inhabited as in ancient times, and will do more good for you than at the beginning of your history.
Heb “your beginning.”
Then you will know that I am the Lord.
12I will lead people, my people Israel, across you; they will possess you and you will become their inheritance. No longer will you bereave them of their children.

13 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Because they are saying to you, “You are a devourer of men, and bereave your nation of children,” 14therefore you will no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children, declares the sovereign Lord. 15I will no longer subject you to
Heb “cause you to hear.”
the nations’ insults; no longer will you bear the shame of the peoples, and no longer will you bereave
The MT reads תַכְשִׁלִי (takhshiliy), a metathesis for תַשְׁכִלִי (tashkhiliy) from the root שָׁכַל (shakhal) which is used in each of the previous verses.
your nation, declares the sovereign Lord.’”

16 The word of the Lord came to me: 17“Son of man, when the house of Israel was living on their own land, they defiled it by their behavior
Heb “way.”
and their deeds. In my sight their behavior was like the uncleanness of a woman having her monthly period.
18So I poured my anger on them because of the blood they shed on the land and because of the idols with which they defiled it.
For the concept of defiling the land in legal literature, see Lev 18:28; Deut 21:23.
19I scattered them among the nations; they were dispersed throughout foreign countries. In accordance with their behavior and their deeds I judged them. 20But when they arrived in the nations where they went, they profaned my holy name. It was said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, yet they have departed from his land.’ 21I was concerned for my holy reputation
Heb “name.”
which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they went.

22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake that I am about to act, O house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy reputation
In Ezek 20:22 God refrained from punishment for the sake of his holy name. Here God’s reputation is the basis for Israel’s restoration.
which you profaned among the nations where you went.
23I will magnify
Or “sanctify,” Heb “make holy.”
my great name that has been profaned among the nations, that you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the sovereign Lord, when I magnify myself among you in their sight.

24 “‘I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries; then I will bring you to your land. 25I will sprinkle you with pure water
The Lord here uses a metaphor from the realm of ritual purification. For the use of water in ritual cleansing, see Exod 30:19–20; Lev 14:51; Num 19:18; Heb 10:22.
and you will be clean from all your impurities. I will purify you from all your idols.
26I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone
That is, a heart which symbolizes a will that is stubborn and unresponsive (see 1 Sam 25:37). In Rabbinic literature a “stone” was associated with an evil inclination (b. Sukkah 52a).
from your body and give you a heart of flesh.
That is, a heart which symbolizes a will that is responsive and obedient to God.
27I will put my Spirit within you;
Or “in the midst of you.” The word “you” is plural.
I will take the initiative and you will obey my statutes
Heb “and I will do that which in my statutes you will walk.” The awkward syntax (verb “to do, act” + accusative sign + relative clause + prepositional phrase + second person verb) is unique, though Eccl 3:14 contains a similar construction. In the last line of that verse we read that “God acts so that (relative pronoun) they fear before him.” However, unlike Ezek 36:27, the statement has no accusative sign before the relative pronoun.
and carefully observe my regulations.
Heb “and my laws you will guard and you will do them.” Jer 31:31–34 is parallel to this passage.
28Then you will live in the land I gave to your fathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
This promise reflects the ancient covenantal ideal (see Exod 6:7).
29I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and multiply it; I will not bring a famine on you. 30I will multiply the fruit of the trees and the produce of the fields, so that you will never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31Then you will remember your evil behavior
Heb “ways.”
and your deeds which were not good; you will loathe yourselves on account of your sins and your abominable deeds.
32Understand that
Heb “Let it be known.”
it is not for your sake I am about to act, declares the sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and embarrassed by your behavior, O house of Israel.

33 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: In the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will populate the cities and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34The desolate land will be plowed, instead of being desolate in the sight of everyone who passes by. 35They will say, “This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; the ruined, desolate, and destroyed cities are now fortified and inhabited.” 36Then the nations which remain around you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken – and I will do it!’

37 “This is what the sovereign Lord says: I will allow the house of Israel to ask me to do this for them:
The Niphal verb may have a tolerative function here, “Again (for) this I will allow myself to be sought by the house of Israel to act for them.” Or it may be reflexive: “I will reveal myself to the house of Israel by doing this also.”
I will multiply their people like sheep.
Heb “I will multiply them like sheep, human(s).”
38Like the sheep for offerings, like the sheep of Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

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