The valley of dry bones
37:1God gave Ezekiel this picture in his mind about the future of Israel.
1 The Lord showed me a picture in my mind. His Spirit took me and put me in the middle of a dry valley. It was full of bones. 2 He made me walk up and down among them. There, on the ground in the valley, I saw many very dry bones.
3 ‘Son of man,’ he asked me. ‘Can these dry bones become alive?’ ‘Lord God,’ I said. ‘Only you know the answer.’
4 ‘Prophesy to these bones,’ he said. ‘Say to them, “Dry bones, listen to the Lord's word.” 5 This is what the Lord God says to these dry bones. “I will make you become alive. 6 I will make your bones join together and I will put meat on your bones. I will cover you with skin. I will blow air into your bodies. You will become alive. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” ’
7 So I prophesied as he had said. While I did this, I heard noises. The bones hit each other when they came together. 8 Then I looked. And I saw meat and skin cover the bones. But the bodies were not alive. They did not move or take in air.
9 Then the Lord spoke to me. ‘Prophesy to the air,’ he said. ‘Say that the four winds must come. And they must blow air into these dead bodies. Then they can become alive.’ 10 So I prophesied and air blew into them. They became alive and they stood on their feet. They were a great army. 11 Then the Lord said, ‘Son of man, these bones are all Israel's people. They say, “Our bones are dry and we cannot hope for anything. We are lost.” 12 So prophesy and say to them, “This is what the Lord God says: ‘My people, I am going to open the places where men bury your bodies. I will take you out of them and I will bring you back to the country called Israel. 13 I will open the places where they buried you. I will bring you out. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will become alive. And you will stay in your own country. Then you will know that I, the Lord have spoken. You will know that I have done this,’ says the Lord.” ’
37:9The Hebrew word for the air is the same word as for his Spirit. So when the Lord puts air into a man he is also putting his Spirit into that man.
37:14Israel's people believe that they cannot hope for anything. God gives Ezekiel a picture of dry human bones. The bones are like Israel's life as slaves in foreign countries. They had been there for more than 10 years. So the bones are very dry! But the Lord is showing them that he will bring them back to their own country. He wants them to hope that he will save them. He wants them to believe the things that he tells them.
15 The Lord spoke to me. 16 ‘Son of man,’ he said. ‘Take a wooden stick and write on it. Write, “This stick belongs to Judah and all the people with him.” Then take another stick and write on it, “Ephraim's stick belongs to Joseph and all Israel's people that are with him.” 17 Make the two sticks join together to become one stick in your hand. 18 Your people, Israel's people, will ask you why you did this. They will ask, “Please tell us what this means.” 19 Say to them, “This is what the Lord God says: ‘Joseph's stick is the land of Ephraim and all the Israelite tribes who are with him. I will cause it to join Judah's stick and I will make them one stick in my hand.’ ”
37:16Ephraim was a name that people used for the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
20 Hold the sticks with words on them in front of their eyes.
21 Say to them “This is what the Lord God says: ‘I will take Israel's people out from the nations where they have gone. I will fetch them back from all the places round them. I will bring them into their own country. 22 I will make them become one nation. They will be in the country. They will live on Israel's mountains. They will have one king over them all. They will never become two nations or two kingdoms again. 23 They will no longer worship idols and make themselves not clean. They will no longer do those things that make me angry. I will save them from all the wrong things that they did. I will make them clean. They will be my people and I will be their God.
24 My servant David will be their king and he will be their shepherd. They will all have one ruler. And they will obey all my rules. 25 They will live in the country that I gave to my servant Jacob and his sons. It is the country where your fathers lived. My people and their children and grandchildren will live there. They will live there until the end of time. And David my servant will always be their king. 26 I will make a promise with them to give them peace. It is a promise that will never change. They will remain there and I will keep them safe. Their numbers will grow greater. 27 I will put my temple there and it will always remain there. I will live among them. I will be their God and they will be my people. 28 I have put my temple among them. It will remain until the end of time. Then the nations will know that I, the Lord make Israel holy.’ ” ’
1 The Lord spoke to me.
2 ‘Gog rules the country of Magog. Son of man, turn your face against him,’ he said. ‘Gog is the most important prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him 3 and say: This is what the Lord God says. I am against you, Gog, important prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4 And I will turn you round. I will catch your mouth with a sharp piece of metal like a fish. I will catch you and your great army with its men on horses. I will take you and all your soldiers. They have small shields. They hold their swords high. 5 Persia, Cush (Sudan) and Put (Libya) will be there with their metal hats and their shields. 6 Gomer will be there with its armies. And Beth Togarmah and its armies from the north will be with them. I will catch all these many nations with you.
7 Prepare to fight. Make all the armies round you ready. You must tell them what they should do. 8 After many days you will fight. In a future year, you will attack a country. That country's people will not have fought for a long time. The people there came back to Israel's mountains from many nations. I had brought them out from the nations and they were safe there. 9 You, your armies and all the nations with you will go to attack them. You will be like a storm cloud that is moving over the country.’
10 This is what the Lord God says, ‘On that day you will have bad thoughts. You will decide to do an evil thing. 11 You will say: “We will attack a country whose villages have no walls. The people have peace. So they do not think that anyone will attack them. They have no walls or gates to keep them safe. 12 I will turn against the people who have returned to build up their broken cities. I will take their good things and their many animals. Now they are in the middle of the land.” 13 The men in Sheba and Dedan will ask you questions. So will those from Tarshish and its villages. Their people buy and sell things. They will say, “Have you come to take away their good things? Have you and your armies come to carry away their silver and gold? Will you take their animals and other things?” ’
14 So, son of man, you must prophesy to Gog. Say, ‘This is what the Lord God says: Now you see my people Israel. They are living in peace. 15 So you will come from your country far in the north. You will come with your great armies. All the soldiers will ride on horses. They will be very many men. 16 Your armies will be like a cloud that covers the land. I will make you, Gog, attack my country on a future day. I will use you to show the nations that I am holy. Then they will know me.’
17 This is what the Lord God says: ‘I spoke to you in days long ago. I spoke by my servants, the prophets of Israel. For many years they have said that I would bring you against my people. 18 When that day comes, I will become very angry. Gog will attack Israel,’ says the Lord God. 19 ‘Then I will make the whole country of Israel shake because I am so angry. 20 The fish in the sea, and the birds in the air will be very afraid. And all the animals on the land will be afraid. Everything that moves and all the people on the earth will be afraid. They will all shake when they see that I am so angry. I will make the mountains fall and break into pieces. All the walls will fall down. 21 I will call the men on the mountains to show their swords,’ the Lord God says. ‘Every man of yours will fight his brothers. 22 I will judge Gog. I will make his men ill and they will die. I will send rain, hail, fire and sulphur to pour down from the sky on him and his armies. 23 I will show the nations how great and holy I am. Then they will all know that I am the Lord.’
1 Son of man, you must prophesy against the nations. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord God says: I am against you, Gog, prince of Meshech and Tubal. 2 I will turn you round and I will pull you along. I will bring you from the far north to attack the mountains of Israel. 3 Then I will knock your weapons out of your hands. 4 You will fall on Israel's mountains. You and your soldiers and the nations with you will all fall there. Birds of many kinds and wild animals will feed on your dead bodies. 5 I have decided that you will fall in the fields.’ That is what the Lord God says.
6 ‘I will send fire to burn Magog and the people who live in safe towns by the sea. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
7 My people, Israel will know that my name is holy. No longer will I let them say bad things about me. And the nations round you will know that I, the Lord am the holy God in Israel. 8 I promise that I will cause this to happen. You can be sure that this day will come,’ says the Lord God.
‘I told you that this day would come.
9 Then those who live in Israel's towns will go out. They will pick up the weapons and they will burn them. They will burn the small and large shields, the heavy sticks, the throwing sticks and the sharp pointed sticks (swords). They will use them to make their fires. They will have enough wood for seven years of fires. 10 They will not have to go into the fields or forests to find wood. They will take away the things from those who took their things,’ says the Lord God.
11 ‘They will bury Gog in the valley east of the sea. They will bury Gog and all his armies there. So men will not be able to walk through this valley. They will call it the valley of Hamon Gog (Gog's army).
12 Israel's people will need seven months to bury all the dead bodies. Then the land will be clean. 13 All the people in the country will bury the dead bodies. They will always remember that day, the day that I won the fight. They will give me glory,’ says the Lord God.
14 ‘They will choose some men to clean the land. They will travel through all the country. Other men will bury the dead bodies that remain on the ground. They will begin to do this at the end of the seven months. 15 The men who walk through the country will find dead men's bones. They will put a sign by each one. Then the men who bury the bodies will bury them in the valley of Hamon Gog. 16 (A town called Hamonah is also there.) That is how they will make the land clean.’
17 Son of man, this is what the Lord God says: ‘Shout to all kinds of birds and wild animals, “Come here from all the country to eat the meal that I have prepared for you. It is a great sacrifice on Israel's mountains. There you will eat meat and you will drink blood. 18 You will eat the meat of great men and you will drink the blood of kings. You will eat them like the fat sheep, cows and animals from Bashan that you eat. 19 At this sacrifice, you will eat so much fat that you cannot eat any more. You will drink so much blood that you become drunk. 20 I will give you horses and their riders to eat. I will give you great men and many kinds of soldiers to eat”,’ says the Lord God.
21 ‘I will show my glory to all the nations. They will see that I can punish people. And they will know that I decide how and when to punish them. 22 From that time and for all the time after that, Israel's people will know that I am the Lord their God. 23 And the nations will know that I sent Israel's people away from their country. They will know that I punished my people because of their sin. They had not been faithful to me so I turned away from them. I let their enemies take them and kill them with swords. 24 I punished them because they had not kept themselves clean from sin. I hid myself from them because they had done so many evil things.’
25 So this is what the Lord God says. ‘Now I will bring back Jacob (Israel) from the countries where his people are prisoners. I will be kind to all Israel's people. And I will make them see that I am holy. 26 They will forget that they were ashamed. They will forget that they failed to keep their promises to me. That was when they lived in a safe country. In that country, nobody made them afraid. 27 I will bring them back from the lands where their enemies took them. The nations will see what I have done. So all the nations will know that I am holy. 28 Then Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. I sent my people away to far countries. But I will bring them all back to their own country. I will not leave any behind. 29 No longer will I turn away from them. I will pour my Spirit over Israel's people,’ says the Lord God.