The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
In this vision, the dry bones aptly represent the ruined and desperate state of both Israel and Judah; and the revivification of these bones signifies their restoration to their own land after their captivity, and also their recovery from their present long dispersion. Although this is the primary and genuine scope of the vision, yet the doctrine of a general resurrection of the dead may justly be inferred from it; for "a simile of the resurrection," says Jerome, after Tertullian and others, "would never have been used to signify the restoration of the people of Israel, unless such a future resurrection had been believed and known; because no one attempts to confirm uncertain things by things which have no existence."
And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
O Lord God
Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
I prophesied as
Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
or, breath. Come.
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
I will open
This is a pointed allusion to the resurrection; under which figure Isaiah (ch. 26:9) also describes the restoration of the house of Israel, when he says, "thy dead men shall live;" at which time their bones are said to flourish, (ch. 66:14,) or to be restored to their former strength and vigour; and, in like manner, St. Paul, (Ro 11:15,) expresses their conversion by "life from the dead." In the land of their captivity, they seemed as absolutely deprived of their country as persons committed to the grave are cut off from the land of the living; but when Cyrus issued his proclamation, Jehovah, as it were, opened their graves, and when he stirred up their spirits to embrace the proffered liberty, he put his Spirit within them, that they might live; and their re-establishment in their own land evinced the truth of God in the prediction, and his power in its accomplishment.
And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
I the Lord
Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?
Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
I will make
It is evident that the grand union of Israel and Judah here predicted, and their government under one king, and that king to be David, must still be future; for, politically speaking, they never had a king from that day to this, far less a king or prince of that name. (See on ch. 34:23.)
Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
shall they defile
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
they shall dwell in
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
I will make
My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.