The Valley of Dry Bones, 1-28
37:1 The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and placed me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. 37:2 He made me walk all around among them. I realized there were a great many bones in the valley and they were very dry. 37:3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said to him, “Sovereign Lord, you know.” 37:4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 37:5 This is what the sovereign LORD says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath into you and you will live. 37:6 I will put tendons on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath in you and you will live. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”
37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. There was a sound when I prophesied—I heard a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 37:8 As I watched, I saw tendons on them, then muscles appeared, and skin covered over them from above, but there was no breath in them.
37:9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath,—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.’ ” 37:10 So I prophesied as I was commanded, and the breath came into them; they lived and stood on their feet, an extremely great army.
v10 Speaking on June 16, 1864, under the auspices of The British Society for the Propagation of
the Gospel amongst the Jews, during the course of a message based upon Ezekiel 37:1-10, C.H. Spurgeon said:-
‘Israel is now blotted out from the map of nations; her sons are scattered far and wide; her daughters mourn beside all the rivers of the earth. Her sacred song is hushed; no king reigns in Jerusalem; she bringeth forth no governors among her tribes. But she is to be restored; she is to be restored “as from the dead.” When her own sons have given up all hope of her, then is God to appear for her. She is to be reorganized; her scattered bones are to be brought together.
There will be a native government again; there will again be the form of a body politic; a state shall be incorporated, and a king shall reign. Israel has now become alienated from her own land. Her sons, though they can never forget the sacred dust of Palestine, yet die at a hopeless distance from her consecrated shores, but it shall not be so for ever, for her sons shall again rejoice in her: her land shall be called Beulah, for as a young man marrieth a virgin so shall her sons marry her. “I will place you in your own land,” is God’s promise to them. They shall again walk upon her mountains, shall once more sit under her vines and rejoice under her fig-trees.
And they are also to be re-united. There shall not be two, nor ten, nor twelve, but one-one Israel praising one God, serving one king, and that one king the Son of David, the descended Messiah. They are to have a national prosperity which shall make them famous; nay, so glorious shall they be that Egypt, and Tyre, and Greece, and Rome, shall all forget their glory in the greater splendor of the throne of David. The day shall yet come when all the high hills shall
leap with envy, because this is the hill which God hath chosen, when Zion’s shrine shall again be visited by the constant feet of the pilgrim; when her valleys shall echo with songs, and her hill-tops shall drop with wine and oil. If there be meaning in words this must be the meaning of this chapter. I wish never to learn the art of tearing God’s meaning out of his own words. If there be anything clear and plain, the literal sense and meaning of this passage-a meaning not to be spirited or spiritualized away-must be evident that both the two and the ten tribes of Israel
are to be restored to their own land, and that a king is to rule over them. “Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.”’
37:11 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.’ 37:12 Therefore 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. 37:13 Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. 37:14 I will place my breath 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.’ ”
37:15 The word of the LORD came to me: 37:16 “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.’ 37:17 Join them as one stick; they will be as one in your hand. 37:18 When your people say to you, ‘Will you not tell us what these things mean?’ 37:19 tell 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, and make them into one stick—they will be one in my hand.’ 37:20 The sticks you write on will be in your hand in front of them. 37:21 Then 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. 37:22 I 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. 37:23 They will not defile themselves with their idols, their detestable things, and all their rebellious deeds. I will save them from all their unfaithfulness by which they sinned. I will purify them; they will become my people and I will become their God.
vv21-23 This prophecy admits of multiple fulfilments:
- When the exiled Jews returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the city and the temple
- At Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit became a powerful and living presence in the lives of believers
- During times of spiritual renewal, when, through prayer and the ministry of the Word, whole communities are transformed by the Holy Spirit’s power
- (Many Christians also believe in the future salvation of a large number of Jewish people, Rom 11:25-32, and would count this as a fulfilment of this prophecy).
- When God finally brings about the New Heavens and the New Earth.
37:24 “ ‘My servant David will be king over them; there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow my regulations and carefully observe my statutes. 37:25 They 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. 37:26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be a perpetual covenant with them. I will establish them, increase their numbers, and place my sanctuary among them forever. 37:27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 37:28 Then, when my sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel.’ ”