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Ezekiel 36:1--37:28

Context
Blessings on the Mountains of Israel

36:1 “As for you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say: ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord! 36:2 This is what the sovereign Lord says: The enemy has spoken against you, saying “Aha!” and, “The ancient heights 1  have become our property!”’ 36:3 So 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 2  and slander among the people, 36:4 therefore, 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 – 36:5 therefore 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.’

36:6 “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. 36:7 So this is what the sovereign Lord says: I vow 3  that the nations around you will endure insults as well.

36:8 “‘But you, mountains of Israel, will grow your branches, and bear your fruit for my people Israel; for they will arrive soon. 4  36:9 For indeed, I am on your side; 5  I will turn to you, and you will be plowed and planted. 36:10 I will multiply your people 6  – the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities will be populated and the ruins rebuilt. 36:11 I will increase the number of people and animals on you; they will increase and be fruitful. 7  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. 8  Then you will know that I am the Lord. 36:12 I 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.

36:13 “‘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,” 36:14 therefore you will no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children, declares the sovereign Lord. 36:15 I will no longer subject you to 9  the nations’ insults; no longer will you bear the shame of the peoples, and no longer will you bereave 10  your nation, declares the sovereign Lord.’”

36:16 The word of the Lord came to me: 36:17 “Son of man, when the house of Israel was living on their own land, they defiled it by their behavior 11  and their deeds. In my sight their behavior was like the uncleanness of a woman having her monthly period. 36:18 So I poured my anger on them 12  because of the blood they shed on the land and because of the idols with which they defiled it. 13  36:19 I scattered them among the nations; they were dispersed throughout foreign countries. In accordance with their behavior and their deeds I judged them. 36:20 But 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.’ 36:21 I was concerned for my holy reputation 14  which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they went.

36:22 “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 15  which you profaned among the nations where you went. 36:23 I will magnify 16  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.

36:24 “‘I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries; then I will bring you to your land. 36:25 I will sprinkle you with pure water 17  and you will be clean from all your impurities. I will purify you from all your idols. 36:26 I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone 18  from your body and give you a heart of flesh. 19  36:27 I will put my Spirit within you; 20  I will take the initiative and you will obey my statutes 21  and carefully observe my regulations. 22  36:28 Then you will live in the land I gave to your fathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 23  36:29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and multiply it; I will not bring a famine on you. 36:30 I 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. 36:31 Then you will remember your evil behavior 24  and your deeds which were not good; you will loathe yourselves on account of your sins and your abominable deeds. 36:32 Understand that 25  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.

36:33 “‘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. 36:34 The desolate land will be plowed, instead of being desolate in the sight of everyone who passes by. 36:35 They will say, “This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; the ruined, desolate, and destroyed cities are now fortified and inhabited.” 36:36 Then 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!’

36:37 “This is what the sovereign Lord says: I will allow the house of Israel to ask me to do this for them: 26  I will multiply their people like sheep. 27  36:38 Like the sheep for offerings, like the sheep of Jerusalem 28  during her appointed feasts, so will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

The Valley of Dry Bones

37:1 The hand 29  of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed 30  me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. 37:2 He made me walk all around among them. 31  I realized 32  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 33  into you and you will live. 37:6 I will put tendons 34  on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath 35  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 36  a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 37:8 As I watched, I saw 37  tendons on them, then muscles appeared, 38  and skin covered over them from above, but there was no breath 39  in them.

37:9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, 40  – 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.

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 41  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 42  them as one stick; 43  they will be as one in your hand. 37:18 When your people 44  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, 45  and make them into one stick – they will be one in my hand.’ 46  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. 47  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 48  by which they sinned. I will purify them; they will become my people and I will become their God.

37:24 “‘My servant David will be king over them; there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow 49  my regulations and carefully observe my statutes. 50  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. 51  I will establish them, 52  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.’” 53 

1 tn Or “high places.”

2 tn Heb “lip of the tongue.”

3 tn Heb “I lifted up my hand.”

4 tn Heb “they draw near to arrive.”

5 tn Heb “I (am) toward you.”

6 tn Heb “I will multiply on you human(s).”

7 sn These verbs occur together in Gen 1:22, 28; 9:1.

8 tn Heb “your beginning.”

9 tn Heb “cause you to hear.”

10 tc The MT reads תַכְשִׁלִי (takhshiliy), a metathesis for תַשְׁכִלִי (tashkhiliy) from the root שָׁכַל (shakhal) which is used in each of the previous verses.

11 tn Heb “way.”

12 sn See Ezek 7:8; 9:8; 14:19; 20:8, 13, 21; 22:22; 30:15.

13 sn For the concept of defiling the land in legal literature, see Lev 18:28; Deut 21:23.

14 tn Heb “name.”

15 sn 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.

16 tn Or “sanctify,” Heb “make holy.”

17 sn 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.

18 sn 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).

19 sn That is, a heart which symbolizes a will that is responsive and obedient to God.

20 tn Or “in the midst of you.” The word “you” is plural.

21 tn 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.

22 tn Heb “and my laws you will guard and you will do them.” Jer 31:31-34 is parallel to this passage.

23 sn This promise reflects the ancient covenantal ideal (see Exod 6:7).

24 tn Heb “ways.”

25 tn Heb “Let it be known.”

26 tn 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.”

27 sn Heb “I will multiply them like sheep, human(s).”

28 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

29 tn Or “power.”

sn 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).

30 tn Heb “caused me to rest.”

31 tn Heb “and he made me pass over them, around, around.”

32 tn 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.

33 tn Heb “I am about to bring a spirit.”

34 tn 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.

35 tn Or “a spirit.”

36 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.

37 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.

38 tn Heb “came up.”

39 tn Or “spirit.”

40 tn Or “spirit,” and several times in this verse.

41 tn Or “spirit.” This is likely an allusion to Gen 2 and God’s breath which creates life.

42 tn Heb “bring near.”

43 tn Heb “one to one for you for one stick.”

44 tn Heb “the sons of your people.”

45 tn Heb “I will place them on it, that is, on the stick of Judah.”

46 sn 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.

47 sn Jeremiah also attested to the reuniting of the northern and southern kingdoms (Jer 3:12, 14; 31:2-6).

48 tc 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.

49 tn Heb “walk [in].”

50 tn Heb “and my statutes they will guard and they will do them.”

51 sn See Isa 24:5; 55:3; 61:8; Jer 32:40; 50:5; Ezek 16:60, for other references to perpetual covenants.

52 tn Heb “give them.”

53 sn The sanctuary of Israel becomes the main focus of Ezek 40-48.



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