Ezekiel 37 – “Symbolic Actions: Reviving the Dry Bones and Combining the Sticks”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God demonstrates his commitment to restoring the people by having Ezekiel resurrect a pile of dry bones. He also tells Ezekiel to take two sticks, one representing Judah and the other Israel, and promises to unite the two.

II. Photo
Ezekiel revives the dry bones: “And while I was prophesying, suddenly there was a sound of rattling, and the bones came together, bone to matching bone.” (v. 7b)

III. Important Verses
1-6: The hand of the LORD came upon me. He took me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the valley. It was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many of them spread over the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “O mortal, can these bones live again?” I replied, “O Lord GOD, only You know.” And He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! Thus said the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live again. I will lay sinews upon you, and cover you with flesh, and form skin over you. And I will put breath into you, and you shall live again. And you shall know that I am the LORD!”
11-12: And He said to me, “O mortal, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone; we are doomed.’ Prophesy, therefore, and say to them: Thus said the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves and lift you out of the graves, O My people, and bring you to the land of Israel.
16-17: And you, O mortal, take a stick and write on it, “Of Judah and the Israelites associated with him”; and take another stick and write on it, “Of Joseph — the stick of Ephraim — and all the House of Israel associated with him.” Bring them close to each other, so that they become one stick, joined together in your hand.
24: My servant David shall be king over them; there shall be one shepherd for all of them. They shall follow My rules and faithfully obey My laws.

IV. Outline

1-14. Vision Report / Report of a Symbolic Action: The Valley of Dry Bones
    1a. Superscription
    1b-6. God sends Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones
    7-8. The bones grow flesh
    9. God sends Ezekiel to prophesy to the bodies
    10. The bodies begin to breathe
    11-14a. God explains the symbolic action
    14b. Postscript
15-28. Report of a Symbolic Action: The sticks of Judah and Israel
    15. Superscript
    16-17. Ezekiel is to bring two sticks
    18-23. Ezekiel’s message to the people: God will reunite Judah with Israel
    24-25. The people will serve God under the house of David
    26-27. God will establish a covenant with Israel
    28. Recognition of God formula: the nations will know God

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Allen, Leslie C. “Ezekiel 1-19” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 28 (Waco, Texas: Wordbook, 1994).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Hals, Ronald M. “Ezekiel” The forms of the Old Testament Literature vol. 19 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1989)
Photo taken from http://gallery.photo.net/photo/6572526-md.jpg