The Valley of Dry Bones

1 The hand1 of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed2 me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. 2 He made me walk all around among them.3 I realized4 there were a great many bones in the valley and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said to him, “Sovereign Lord, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 This is what the sovereign Lord says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath5 into you and you will live. 6 I will put tendons6 on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath7 in you and you will live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. There was a sound when I prophesied – I heard8 a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 As I watched, I saw9 tendons on them, then muscles appeared,10 and skin covered over them from above, but there was no breath11 in them.

9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath,12prophesy, son of man – and say to the breath: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these corpses so that they may live.’ 10 So I prophesied as I was commanded, and the breath came into them; they lived and stood on their feet, an extremely great army.

11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are all the house of Israel. Look, they are saying, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to open your graves and will raise you from your graves, my people. I will bring you to the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. 14 I will place my breath13 in you and you will live; I will give you rest in your own land. Then you will know that I am the LordI have spoken and I will act, declares the Lord.’

15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 As for you, son of man, take one branch, and write on it, ‘For Judah, and for the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another branch and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the branch of Ephraim and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ 17 Join14 them as one stick;15 they will be as one in your hand. 18 When your people16 say to you, ‘Will you not tell us what these things mean?’ 19 tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to take the branch of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and I will place them on the stick of Judah,17 and make them into one stick – they will be one in my hand.’18 20 The sticks you write on will be in your hand in front of them. 21 Then tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to take the Israelites from among the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from round about and bring them to their land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over them all. They will never again be two nations and never again be divided into two kingdoms.19 23 They will not defile themselves with their idols, their detestable things, and all their rebellious deeds. I will save them from all their unfaithfulness20 by which they sinned. I will purify them; they will become my people and I will become their God.

24‘My servant David will be king over them; there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow21 my regulations and carefully observe my statutes.22 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, in which your fathers lived; they will live in it – they and their children and their grandchildren forever. David my servant will be prince over them forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be a perpetual covenant with them.23 I will establish them,24 increase their numbers, and place my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then, when my sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel.’25

137:1tn Or “power.”sn Hand in the OT can refer metaphorically to power, authority, or influence. In Ezekiel God’s hand being on the prophet is regularly associated with communication or a vision from God (3:14, 22; 8:1; 37:1; 40:1). 237:1tn Heb “caused me to rest.” 337:2tn Heb “and he made me pass over them, around, around.” 437:2tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and is here translated as “I realized” because it results from Ezekiel’s recognition of the situation around him. In Hebrew, the exclamation is repeated in the following sentence. 537:5tn Heb “I am about to bring a spirit.” 637:6tn The exact physiological meaning of the term is uncertain. In addition to v. 8, the term occurs only in Gen 32:33; Job 10:11; 40:17; and Jer 48:4. 737:6tn Or “a spirit.” 837:7tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb. 937:8tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb. 1037:8tn Heb “came up.” 1137:8tn Or “spirit.” 1237:9tn Or “spirit,” and several times in this verse. 1337:14tn Or “spirit.” This is likely an allusion to Gen 2 and God’s breath which creates life. 1437:17tn Heb “bring near.” 1537:17tn Heb “one to one for you for one stick.” 1637:18tn Heb “the sons of your people.” 1737:19tn Heb “I will place them on it, that is, on the stick of Judah.” 1837:19sn The reunification of Israel and Judah is envisioned as well in Ezek 33:23, 29; Jer 3:18; 23:5-6; Hos 1:11; Amos 9:11. 1937:22sn Jeremiah also attested to the reuniting of the northern and southern kingdoms (Jer 3:12, 14; 31:2-6). 2037:23tc Heb “their dwellings.” The text as it stands does not make sense. Based on the LXX, a slight emendation of two vowels, including a mater, yields the reading “from their turning,” a reference here to their turning from God and deviating from his commandments. See BDB 1000 s.v. מְשׁוּבָה, and D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:407. 2137:24tn Heb “walk [in].” 2237:24tn Heb “and my statutes they will guard and they will do them.” 2337:26sn See Isa 24:5; 55:3; 61:8; Jer 32:40; 50:5; Ezek 16:60, for other references to perpetual covenants. 2437:26tn Heb “give them.” 2537:28sn The sanctuary of Israel becomes the main focus of Ezek 40-48.