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Restoration assured (36:1-15)
With the removal of the people of Israel from their ancient homeland (both northern and southern kingdoms) certain neighbouring nations took the opportunity to seize Israel’s former territory for themselves (36:1-2). God comforts his people with the reminder that the land rightly belongs to him, and he will not tolerate the contempt of these enemies (3-5). He will now deal justly with those who despised his people (6-7).
Having dealt with his enemies, God will bring the people of Israel back to their former territory. The deserted land will be repopulated, cities will be rebuilt, farm and pasture lands will again become productive, and flocks and herds will increase (8-12). In the past the land may at times have appeared to be hostile to its inhabitants, but now it will be favourable to them (13-15).
For the sake of God’s holy name (36:16-38)
God had driven the people of Israel out of their land because their sins had made them unclean in his sight (16-19). Onlooking nations, however, did not see it that way. They mocked God, saying that the removal of Israel from its land showed that he was weak. He could not save his people from the superior gods of the nations (20-21).
Therefore, God will correct this misunderstanding and restore his honour by bringing Israel back to its land (22-24). He will cleanse his people from their idolatry and put a new spirit within them. Then, instead of being stubborn as in former days, they will have a readiness to do God’s will (25-27). The land will give them the best of agricultural blessings (28-30). They will be ashamed when they remember their bad conduct in the past, whereas God will be honoured by the nations that once mocked him (31-32).
These nations will be amazed when they see the fertility of the formerly desolated land and the prosperity of the formerly conquered people. They will realize that God is not weak as they supposed, but is working in Israel’s history according to his plan (33-36). As flocks of sacrificial animals once filled Jerusalem at festival times, so will multitudes of Jews fill Israel’s cities again (37-38).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Ezekiel 36". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany