Ezekiel 37

The Valley of Dry Bones

1The hand
Or “power.”
Hand in the OT can refer metaphorically to power, authority, or influence. In Ezekiel God’s hand being on the prophet is regularly associated with communication or a vision from God (3:14, 22; 8:1; 37:1; 40:1).
of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed
Heb “caused me to rest.”
me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones.
2He made me walk all around among them.
Heb “and he made me pass over them, around, around.”
I realized
The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and is here translated as “I realized” because it results from Ezekiel’s recognition of the situation around him. In Hebrew, the exclamation is repeated in the following sentence.
there were a great many bones in the valley and they were very dry.
3He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said to him, “Sovereign Lord, you know.” 4Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5This is what the sovereign Lord says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath
Heb “I am about to bring a spirit.”
into you and you will live.
6I will put tendons
The exact physiological meaning of the term is uncertain. In addition to v. 8, the term occurs only in Gen 32:33; Job 10:11; 40:17; and Jer 48:4.
on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath
Or “a spirit.”
in you and you will live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. There was a sound when I prophesied – I heard
The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.
a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone.
8As I watched, I saw
The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.
tendons on them, then muscles appeared,
Heb “came up.”
and skin covered over them from above, but there was no breath
Or “spirit.”
in them.

9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath,
Or “spirit,” and several times in this verse.
– prophesy, son of man – and say to the breath: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these corpses so that they may live.’”
10So I prophesied as I was commanded, and the breath came into them; they lived and stood on their feet, an extremely great army.

11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are all the house of Israel. Look, they are saying, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to open your graves and will raise you from your graves, my people. I will bring you to the land of Israel. 13Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. 14I will place my breath
Or “spirit.” This is likely an allusion to Gen 2 and God’s breath which creates life.
in you and you will live; I will give you rest in your own land. Then you will know that I am the Lord – I have spoken and I will act, declares the Lord.’”

15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16“As for you, son of man, take one branch, and write on it, ‘For Judah, and for the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another branch and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the branch of Ephraim and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ 17Join
Heb “bring near.”
them as one stick;
Heb “one to one for you for one stick.”
they will be as one in your hand.
18When your people
Heb “the sons of your people.”
say to you, ‘Will you not tell us what these things mean?’
19tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to take the branch of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and I will place them on the stick of Judah,
Heb “I will place them on it, that is, on the stick of Judah.”
and make them into one stick – they will be one in my hand.’
The reunification of Israel and Judah is envisioned as well in Ezek 33:23, 29; Jer 3:18; 23:5–6; Hos 1:11; Amos 9:11.
20The sticks you write on will be in your hand in front of them. 21Then tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to take the Israelites from among the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from round about and bring them to their land. 22I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over them all. They will never again be two nations and never again be divided into two kingdoms.
Jeremiah also attested to the reuniting of the northern and southern kingdoms (Jer 3:12, 14; 31:2–6).
23They will not defile themselves with their idols, their detestable things, and all their rebellious deeds. I will save them from all their unfaithfulness
Heb “their dwellings.” The text as it stands does not make sense. Based on the LXX, a slight emendation of two vowels, including a mater, yields the reading “from their turning,” a reference here to their turning from God and deviating from his commandments. See BDB 1000 s.v. מְשׁוּבָה, and D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:407.
by which they sinned. I will purify them; they will become my people and I will become their God.

24 “‘My servant David will be king over them; there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow
Heb “walk [in].”
my regulations and carefully observe my statutes.
Heb “and my statutes they will guard and they will do them.”
25They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, in which your fathers lived; they will live in it – they and their children and their grandchildren forever. David my servant will be prince over them forever. 26I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be a perpetual covenant with them.
See Isa 24:5; 55:3; 61:8; Jer 32:40; 50:5; Ezek 16:60, for other references to perpetual covenants.
I will establish them,
Heb “give them.”
increase their numbers, and place my sanctuary among them forever.
27My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28Then, when my sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel.’”
The sanctuary of Israel becomes the main focus of Ezek 40–48.

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