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The Revival and Reunion of Iseael
From the future of the land Ezekiel now turns to that of the nation, long ago divided by the revolt of the Ten Tribes, and now seemingly extinct. The exiles feel themselves to be but its scattered bones (Ezekiel 37:11). In a striking and beautiful vision, suggested no doubt by this current saying, Ezekiel predicts that the dead nation will come to life again (Ezekiel 37:1-14), and by a symbolic action he represents the coming reunion of the rival kingdoms of Israel and Judah (Ezekiel 37:15-28).
(a) The Revival (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
Ezekiel is transported into a valley full of dry bones. As he prophesies to them they come together into complete skeletons, which become covered with sinews, flesh, and skin. Then the wind blows upon the inanimate bodies and they stand up alive. The prophecy does not refer to a literal resurrection of the Israelites actually dead, but to a revival of the dead nation, of which the exiles seemed to be the scattered remains.
1. Ezekiel saw this vision in a prophetic trance, under the influence of God’s inspiration. At the same time its details were no doubt due to the peculiar working of his imaginative mind on the thought expressed by the exiles in Ezekiel 37:11.
7. A shaking] RV ’an earthquake.’
8, 9. Wind.. breath] The same Hebrew word means wind, breath, or spirit. The wind of the vision represents the Spirit of God in the actual process of the nation’s revival: see Ezekiel 37:14.
11. Cut off for our parts] RV ’clean cut off.’
12, 13. Graves] The figure here is somewhat changed. Still the reference is not to the graves of those actually dead, but to the heathen world as the grave of the dead nation of Israel, compared to which their own land was the land of the living.
14. My spirit] see on Ezekiel 37:8, Ezekiel 37:9.
(b) The Reunion (Ezekiel 37:15-28)
Ezekiel is directed to take two pieces of wood, one having ’Judah’ and the other ’Joseph’ inscribed upon it, and to join them together (Ezekiel 37:15-17). The explanation of the symbol is that the two divisions of the nation, so long separated, will be reunited in their former land, governed by one king of the house of David, under the same covenant with God, and worshipping at the same sanctuary (Ezekiel 37:18-28).
16. Judah] the southern kingdom of the Two Tribes. Joseph.. Ephraim] the northern kingdom of the Ten Tribes; Ephraim, one of the two tribes descended from Joseph, being the principal one of the ten. Israel] used here and in Ezekiel 37:19, as generally by Ezekiel, in the sense, not of the northern kingdom, but of the whole nation.
19. Him] RV ’it.’ Mine hand] probably rather, ’his’ (Judah’s) ’hand,’ to correspond with ’the hand of Ephraim’ already mentioned in the v. The united stick is placed in Judah’s hand because the king is to belong to Judah’s royal house.
23. Dwellingplaces] RM ’backslidings.’ So shall they be my people, etc.] another feature taken from Jeremiah’s New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:33): see also Ezekiel 37:26, Ezekiel 37:27.
24, 25. My servant David] in the same sense as in Ezekiel 34:23, Ezekiel 34:24.
26. A covenant of peace] as in Ezekiel 34:25.
26, 27. My sanctuary.. my tabernacle] Jeroboam had set up rival sanctuaries to Jerusalem at Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12:28-32), but the reunited nation would have one centre of religious worship. God had forsaken the Temple at Jerusalem (Ezekiel 11:23), but He would return, never to leave it again. The latter aspect of the promise is developed in Ezekiel 40-48.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 37". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12