The Mountains of Israel to Be Blessed
“And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say, ‘You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God, “Because the enemy has said of you, ‘Aha!’ and, ‘The ancient heights have become our property,’ therefore prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “For good reason they have made you a desolation, and they crushed you from every side so that you would become a possession of the rest of the nations and you have become the talk and the whispering of the people.”’” Therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God. Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys, to the desolate ruins and to the deserted cities which have become prey and a mockery to the rest of the nations which surround you, therefore thus says the Lord God, “Most certainly in the fire of My jealousy (love for that which is Mine) I have spoken against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who appropriated My land for themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and with uttermost contempt, so that they might empty it out [and possess it] as prey.” Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel and say to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy (love for that which is Mine) and in My wrath because you have endured the [shameful] insults of the nations.’ Therefore thus says the Lord God, ‘I have lifted up My hand and sworn [an oath] that the nations that are around you will themselves endure their [shameful] insults. But you, O mountains of Israel, will put out your branches and bear your fruit to My people Israel; for they will soon come [home]. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you [in favor], and you shall be cultivated and sown. I will multiply people on you, all the house of Israel, [indeed] all of it; the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins will be rebuilt. I will multiply on you man and animal; and they will increase and be fruitful. And I will cause you to be inhabited as you were formerly, and I will do better [things] for you than at your beginning. Then you will know [with great confidence] that I am the Lord. Yes, [O mountains of Israel] I will cause men—My people Israel—to walk on you and take possession of you, so that you will become their inheritance and never again bereave them of children.’
“Thus says the Lord God, ‘Because they say to you, “You [O land] are a devourer of people and have bereaved your nation of children,” therefore you will no longer devour people, and no longer bereave your nation of children,’ says the Lord God. I will not let you hear insults from the nations anymore, nor will you bear disgrace from the peoples any longer, nor will you cause your nation to stumble [through idolatry] any longer,” says the Lord God.’”
Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, when the house of Israel was living in their own land, they defiled it by their [own] behavior and by their [idolatrous] actions. Their conduct before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman during her [physical] impurity. So I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on the land and because they had defiled it with their idols. Also I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the countries. I judged and punished them in accordance with their conduct and their [idolatrous] behavior. When they came to the nations wherever they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord; yet they have come out of His land.’ But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went.
Israel to Be Renewed for His Name’s Sake
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. For I will [a]take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My ordinances and do them. You will live in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you will be My people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleanness, and I will call for the grain and make it abundant, and I will not bring famine on you. I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not suffer again the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember [clearly] your [own] evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your sins and for your outrageous atrocities. I am not doing this for your sake,” says the Lord God. “Let that be known to you. Be ashamed and humiliated for your [wicked] ways, O house of Israel!”
‘Thus says the Lord God, “On the day that I cleanse you from all your sins I will also cause the cities [of Israel] to be inhabited, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. Then they will say, ‘This land that was deserted and desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate, and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations that are left around you will know that I the Lord have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and will do it.”
‘Thus says the Lord God, “This too I will let the house of Israel ask Me to do for them: I will increase their people like a flock. Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so will the desolate cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know [with confident assurance] that I am the Lord.”’”
- Ezekiel 36:24 This prophecy has been in the process of fulfillment since World War II. The Jews have for centuries been dispersed among all the nations with only a few remaining in the homeland. But by a.d. 1960 one-sixth of the Jewish population of the world was in Israel. Already they had been made “one nation” (37:22a)—between sunrise of one day and sunset of the next—“a nation born in one day” (Is 66:8). But the greatest event of all is yet to come (Ezek 37:22b-25). This prophecy will be fulfilled in its entirety.
Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass all around them, and behold, there were very many [human bones] in the open valley; and lo, they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will make [a]breath enter you so that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin, and I will put breath in you so that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a [thundering] noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on the bones, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood up on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
The Vision Explained
Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is lost. We are completely cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and make you come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you [back home] to the land of Israel. Then you will know [with confidence] that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and made you come up out of your graves, My people. I will put My [b]Spirit in you and you will come to life, and I will place you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and fulfilled it,” says the Lord.’”
Reunion of Judah and Israel
The word of the Lord came again to me, saying, “And you, son of man, take a stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.’ Then join them together into one stick, so that they may become one in your hand. When your people say to you, ‘Will you not tell us what you mean by these?’ say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am going to take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join the stick of Judah with it and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”’ The sticks on which you write shall be in your hand before their eyes. Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am going to take the children of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will [c]gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one [d]king will be king over all of them; and they will no longer be two nations, and will no longer be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will save them from all their transgressions in which they have sinned, and I will cleanse them. So they will be My people, and I will be their God.
The Davidic Kingdom
“[e]My servant David will be king over them, and they all will have one shepherd. They will also walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. They will live in the land where your fathers lived, [the land] that I gave to My servant Jacob, and they will live there, they and their children and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David will be their leader forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will put My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Then the nations will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord who sets apart and sanctifies Israel [for holy use], when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”’”
- Ezekiel 37:5 Or spirit, and so throughout the chapter.
- Ezekiel 37:14 Or breath.
- Ezekiel 37:21 See note 36:24.
- Ezekiel 37:22 A reference to the coming Messianic ruler, who would achieve for Israel what David had, but with perfection. See also note 34:23.
- Ezekiel 37:24 See note 34:23.