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Sunday, June 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 37

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-28


The nation revived and reunited (37:1-28)

With Jerusalem destroyed and the people in exile, Israel’s national life had come to an end. To Ezekiel it appeared as if a great army had been slaughtered in battle and the bodies of the dead left to rot in the sun. All that was left was a lot of dry bones. Israel’s condition appeared to be beyond hope (37:1-3).
God now promises Ezekiel that he will do the impossible. He will bring Israel back to life - as if he brings the scattered bones together, puts flesh on them and breathes life into them. Dead Israel will become a living nation again, but only through the direct creative action of God (4-10).
The interpretation of the vision is combined with another picture illustrating Israel’s revival. This is the picture of buried bodies coming back to life. Again the renewal of life is only by the direct activity of God (11-14).
When the nation is re-established in its own land, there will not be the division that previously existed between the southern kingdom (Judah) and the northern kingdom (Ephraim). To demonstrate the unity of this new kingdom, Ezekiel took two sticks, symbolizing the two former kingdoms, and held them together so that they appeared as one (15-19). In explaining the meaning of his actions to the people, Ezekiel stressed that there will be no idolatry in the restored nation (20-23).
The king who will rule over this unified nation will be none other than the promised Messiah of the dynasty of David. The people will live in the land promised to their ancestors and they will walk in God’s ways (24-25). God will give his people the covenant blessings. He will establish his everlasting presence among them, and all people will know that Israel is his people (26-28).

Strange prophecies

Chapters 38 and 39 give a pictorial description of an attack by evil powers on the people of God. The setting for this attack is the land of the restored people of Israel, who are enjoying an existence of peace and contentment.
Restored Israel did, in fact, suffer an onslaught by evil powers when, in 171-165 BC, Antiochus Epiphanes butchered their people and almost wiped out their religion. But it is clear from a reading of the two chapters that the language cannot be interpreted literally of the period of Antiochus or any other period of Israel’s recorded history.

As with some of Ezekiel’s other visions, the meaning extends beyond the period of post-exilic Israel. It speaks of the final victory that God has prepared for his people in a hostile world. The vision is concerned only with that limited area of the world with which the exiles were familiar, but its meaning is relevant to God’s people in any age, no matter where they live (cf. Revelation 20:7-10). The purpose of the vision is not to teach the exiles history, but to show people in general, and God’s people in particular, that God is holy and that his sovereign purposes will be fulfilled (see 38:23; 39:21-22).

Bibliographical Information
Fleming, Donald C. "Commentary on Ezekiel 37". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/ezekiel-37.html. 2005.
 
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