The wonderful vision of the valley filled with bones was now granted to the prophet. As he gazed on them, he was asked, "Son of man, can these bones live?" His utter abandonment to God, even in the matter of his conception, was evident in his reply, "O Lord God, Thou knowest." Over these bones he was then told to prophesy, commanding the people to hear the word of the Lord, proclaiming to them the promise that breath should enter into them and flesh be restored to them. He obeyed, and beheld the bones coming together, and being clothed with sinews and with flesh. As yet the wonder had proceeded only so far as the restoration of dry and scattered bones to corpses.
Again he was commanded to prophesy to the wind, calling it to come and breathe on the slain so that they might live. He obeyed, and beheld the corpses standing on their feet, a living army. This vision was the outcome of a proverb current among the people, "Our bones are dried up and our hope is lost, we are clean cut off." The application of the vision was made in the declaration that God would bring His people from their graves, and make them live.
Having thus foretold the renewal of the people, the prophet was instructed to take two sticks and inscribe on them for Judah and for Joseph, and all the house of Israel. These he was to join together, so that they should be one stick in his hand. When the people inquired what he meant by this, he was to tell them that the purpose of God was not only renewal, but also reunion.
The prophet then repeated the promise of the coming of the one Shepherd, under whose rule Jehovah's original intention for His people would be fulfilled. With them He would make a covenant of peace, and, as symbolized in the ancient economy, would dwell in the midst of them forevermore.
Again the underlying purpose of the whole history of Israel is revealed in the final promise, "The nations shall know that I am Jehovah."
the Second Week after Epiphany