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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Ezekiel 37

Verses 1-14

EZEKIEL - CHAPTER 37

VISION OF DRY BONES

Verses 1-14:

RESURRECTION OF A DECOMPOSED NATION--ISRAEL

Verses 1, 2 declare that "The hand of the Lord," power and influence of the Lord, was upon Ezekiel. This indicates that what he had to say was by the overruling hand of Divine Providence. This revival of Israel is viewed as a valley of very many dry bones, in three ways: 1) First, v. 1-14 describes the awakening of the dry bones from the dead; 2) Second, v. 15-28 describes the reunion of the former hostile ones whose contentions had influenced others, and 3) Third, Israel, restored, was strong enough to withstand the assault of Gog, further described, chs. 38, 39.

The vision Ezekiel saw, in the Spirit of the Lord, when carried out and sat down in the open valley, in the midst of very many, very dry bones, perhaps took place near his Chebar residence. The bones were bleached by long exposure to the dry sun and blistering winds, Ezekiel 3:14; Luke 4:1.

Verse 3 recounts the Lord’s question to Ezekiel, as "Son of man," whether or not these bones could live, come to life, be revived. To this Ezekiel responded, "O Lord God, thou knowest." The implication is that they certainly could not, on natural grounds. But on supernatural grounds, "all things are possible with God," Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6; John 5:21; Romans 4:17; 2 Corinthians 1:9. And in His integrity He has promised the resurrection.

Verse 4 relates that the Lord commanded Ezekiel to prophesy upon these bones, upon their future; And command or exhort these dry bones to hear, or give attention to the word of the Lord. He was to declare to them the quickening power of God, the giver, restorer, and sustainer of life, Numbers 20:8; 1 Kings 13:2; Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 21:21; John 2:5; Romans 10:17.

Verse 5 declares that the Lord promised to cause breath to enter into these bones that they should live, even as He breathed breath into Adam and he became a living soul, Genesis 2:7. These bones represented the barren hope of Israel. Yet God the giver and sustainer of covenant grace was to make Israel live again. This is Blessed Hope for the house of Israel, even as it is for the church of Jesus Christ, Titus 2:13. See also Psalms 104:30; John 20:22; Romans 8:2; Ephesians 2:5.

Verse 6 promises to the valley of dry bones (the house of Israel) that the Lord will lay sinews or muscles upon their bones, cause flesh to come upon them, put breath in the dead bodies, Genesis 2:7, and cover them with skin, that they may live. They will then know, recognize, or comprehend that He is the Lord, the living God over all the universe, Deuteronomy 29:6; 1 Kings 20:28; Isaiah 49:23; Joel 2:27; Joel 3:17.

Verses 7, 8 then witness that when Ezekiel had prophesied to the valley of very dry bones, there was a noise, a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone, or fit together as they should. He then stood and gazed in awe at the bones that came each to his own skeleton, with sinews, flesh, and skin; But each body was dead, without life, as they lay in dead-corpse form before him. For there was no breath in them, evidently symbolizing Israel’s regathering to her land, without the Spirit of God within her at first, Genesis 2:7; Zechariah 13:8-9.

Verse 9 tells of the Lord’s command for Ezekiel to prophesy to the four winds, or spirit of life, and call them to come and breathe on these lifeless, slain corpses, that they might live, Acts 2:2; Psalms 104:30. They are to be regathered from the four winds, even as they were scattered there, Isaiah 43:5-6; Jeremiah 31:8; Ezekiel 5:10; Ezekiel 12:14; Ezekiel 17:21; Revelation 7:1; Revelation 7:4.

Verse 10 recounts that Ezekiel did prophesy as God commanded. Breath of life came into each corpse and each arose and stood upon his feet, constituting a great army in the valley, Revelation 11:11; Jeremiah 5:25-29. This alludes to the certain restoration of Israel to her homeland, at the end of this age; See Isaiah 25:8; Isaiah 26:10; Daniel 12:2; Hosea 6:1; Hosea 13:14.

Verse 11 recounts the explanation or interpretation of this vision, as given by the Lord to Ezekiel. The bones are certified (by the Lord) to be the "whole house of Israel," not the divided house of Judah and Israel any more. The people were lamenting that their bones were dried up, and their hopes of national life again were lost, and that they had been cut off. And they were, but not forever, because of God’s covenant of Grace toward them, Psalms 141:7; Isaiah 49:14; Genesis 12:1-2; See also Romans 11:25-27.

Verse 12 continues God’s further promise, or hope for them, as related through Ezekiel. He said, "O my people," my people of promise, "I will open your graves, cause you to come up out of them, and bring you into the land of Israel," Ezekiel 28:25; Ezekiel 36:24; Amos 9:14. They were to be brought alive politically, from their national graves, as "restoration" from the dead, Romans 11:15.

Verses 13, 14 declare that the house of Israel will know with certainty that the Lord is God, when He has brought them out of their international graves, from among the nations, put His spirit in them and placed them alive in their own land, Ezekiel 36:27; Ezekiel 36:36; Isaiah 14:1; See too Ezekiel 17:24; Ezekiel 22:14.

Verses 15-28

THE SIGN OF THE TWO STICKS

Verses 15-28:

ALL ISRAEL TO BECOME ONE UNITED NATION AGAIN

Verses 15, 16 recount the Lord’s command to Ezekiel to take two sticks. First, upon one he was to write or engrave upon it Judah and Israel, his companions. Then, second, he was to write upon the other stick for Joseph, the stick or stem of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, also to be his companions, Numbers 17:1; See also 1Ch 51; 2 Chronicles 10:17; 2 Chronicles 11:12-13; 2 Chronicles 11:16; 2 Chronicles 15:9; 2 Chronicles 30:11; 2 Chronicles 30:18; Genesis 48:19.

Verses 17, 18 call upon Ezekiel to join or bind them together into one stick, that they might become one in his hand. This was for an object and visual aid lesson in his prophesying to Israel, that they might ask him the meaning of the union or joining of the two sticks as one in his hand. This suggests the principle, "seek, ask, and knock," and you will find, Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9; John 15:7; James 1:5; Isaiah 55:6; Luke 13:25.

Verse 19 directs Ezekiel to respond when they ask him, "will you show us what this means?" Ezekiel 12:9; Ezekiel 17:12; Ezekiel 20:49; Ezekiel 24:19. He was to explain that the Lord would take the stick of Joseph, which was in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel who were his associates, formerly of the northern kingdom, and would put them with Judah. Then they would be one stick or staff again, in the hand of the Lord, 1 Chronicles 9:1-3; Zechariah 10:6; Ephesians 2:13-14; Colossians 3:11.

Verse 20 instructs that the sticks on which Ezekiel had written were to be held up before the eyes of the captive people of Israel in Babylon, for their clear view, Numbers 17:1; Numbers 17:9; Ezekiel 12:3; Hosea 12:10.

Verse 21 further charges Ezekiel to declare to the people, that the Lord God had solemnly assured him, that He would take the children of Israel from among the heathen nations wherever then disbursed and gather them on every side, from all parts of the earth, back into their own land of promise, Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 27:12-13; Isaiah 43:6; Ezekiel 36:24; Ezekiel 39:25; Amos 9:14.

Verse 22 reaffirms the covenant of the Lord, that He will make them again to be one nation, upon the mountains of Israel, with one king over them all, with rival kings and two nations of them to be no more in the land. Neither would they ever be two kingdoms any more, Isaiah 11:13; Jeremiah 3:18; Jeremiah 50:4; Hosea 1:11; Genesis 49:10; Ezekiel 34:23; John 10:16. Jealousy and envy shall be no more between them forever.

Verse 23 adds that they shall thereafter defile themselves no more with idols, detestable things, nor with any of their former transgressions, Isaiah 2:18; Ezekiel 20:43; Ezekiel 36:25; Ezekiel 44:7-8; Hosea 14:8; Zechariah 13:1-2. The Lord pledged to save or liberate them out of all their dwelling places wherein they have sinned in the past. Thus they shall be His and He their God, Ezekiel 36:28.

Verse 24 declares that David, God’s servant, the Messiah, shall then rule over them and be their one Shepherd. They shall then walk in the judgments of the Lord, and observe and do His statutes, as His redeemed should, Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 30:9; Hosea 3:5; Luke 1:32; Psalms 78:71-72; Zechariah 13:7; John 10:16.

Verse 25 assures that Israel, reunited under their Messiah, will dwell in the land the Lord gave to Jacob His servant, in which their fathers once dwelt. They and their children are assured that they thereafter shall dwell there forever, with David their prince (or ruler) to rule over them forever, without cessation, Isaiah 60:21; Amos 9:15; Joel 3:10; John 12:34; Luke 1:32.

Verse 26 pledges that the Lord will make a security covenant or peace with Israel in that day, even an everlasting or unending covenant, to place (locate) and multiply them, and set His sanctuary in the midst of them forever, Psalms 89:3; Isaiah 55:3; Jeremiah 32:40; See also 2 Corinthians 6:16.

Verse 27 certifies that the Lord’s tabernacle shall also be with them, as foretold Genesis 9:27; Leviticus 26:11; John 1:14. The word dwelt or "tabernacled" among us, first in the flesh, in humiliation, and will hereafter in glory, Revelation 21:3.

Verse 28 concludes that the heathen shall then know that the Lord does sanctify Israel, when His sanctuary shall be in their midst, Ezekiel 36:23; Ezekiel 19:5-6.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Ezekiel 37". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ezekiel-37.html. 1985.