The gathering into one nation (Ezek 37:20-37:22)

“When the sticks

On which

You write

Are in your hand,

Before their eyes,

Then say to them.

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will take

The people of Israel

From the nations

Among which

They have gone.

I will gather them

From every quarter.

I will bring them

To their own land.

I will make them

One nation

In the land,

On the mountains of Israel.

One king

Shall be king

Over them all.

Never again

Shall there be

Two nations.

Never again

Shall they be divided

Into two kingdoms.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel to gather the two written sticks in his hand before the people. Then he was to tell them what Yahweh had said. Yahweh was going to gather all the Israelites from the various places where they were living. He was going to bring them back to their own land. Yahweh was going to make them one nation in the mountainous land of Israel. They would have one king over them. Never again would there be two nations, divided into two kingdoms. There would be one nation and one kingdom with one king.

The explanation of the two sticks (Ezek 37:18-37:19)

“Your people will

Say to you.

‘Will you not show us

What you mean by these?’

Say to them!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am about to take

The stick of Joseph,

That is

In the hand of Ephraim,

With the tribes of Israel

Associated with it.

I will put

The stick of Judah

Upon it.

I will make them

One stick.

Thus,

They may be

One

In my hand.’”

Of course, there was a simple explanation to this action of Ezekiel. When the people would ask Ezekiel what all this meant, he was to explain to them that the sick of Joseph that included Ephraim was the northern tribes associated with him. This stick was to be put on the stick of Judah. Thus, instead of two sticks, there would only be one stick in the hand of Ezekiel. The north was going to be once again connected to the south, Judah.

 

The two sticks (Ezek 37:15-37:17)

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Take a stick!

Write on it!

‘For Judah,

With the Israelites

Associated with him.’

Then take another stick!

Write on it!

‘For Joseph,

The stick of Ephraim,

With all

The house of Israel

Associated with it.’

Join them together

Into one stick.

Thus,

They may become

One

In your hand.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to take two sticks and join them together. Ezekiel was to write on the first stick Judah and everyone associated with him. This was an obvious reference to Judah and the collapsed kingdom of the south. The second stick was a reference to the Israelite kingdom of the north that fell in 721 BCE, a couple of centuries earlier. However, the written title on the second stick was Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons. All those associated with the northern kingdom were included with the house of Israel. Ezekiel was then to take these two sticks and put them together in his hand, so that they would become one stick. This was an obvious reference that Yahweh wanted the people of both the old northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah to come together, just like what had happened in Ezekiel’s hand.

The opening of the graves (Ezek 37:12-37:14)

“Therefore,

Prophesy!

Say to them!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am going to

Open your graves.

I will bring you up

From your graves.

O my people!

I will bring you back

Into the land of Israel.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I open your graves.

I will bring you up

From your graves.

O my people!

I will put

My Spirit

Within you.

You shall live.

I will place you

On your own soil.

Then you shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.

I have done it.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel tried to bring hope to the captured Israelites. He told Ezekiel to tell them that Yahweh, their God, was going to open up their graves and bring them back from the grave. Is this an indication of a personal resurrection? He was going to bring them back to life to live in the land of Israel, on their own soil. Yahweh then repeated himself. Then his people would know that he put his Spirit in them. They would finally realize that Yahweh had spoken and done this.

The dry bones were the house of Israel (Ezek 37:11-37:11)

“Then Yahweh said to me!

‘Son of man!

These bones are

The whole house

Of Israel.

They say.

‘Our bones are

Dried up.

Our hope

Is lost.

We are cut off

Completely.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel that the dry bones were the whole house of Israel that was discouraged in their exile in Babylon. These dejected captives said that their bones were dried up. They had lost hope, since they were completely cut off from Israel.

The ruah spirit comes to the bones (Ezek 37:9-37:10)

“Then Yahweh

Said to me.

‘Prophesy to the spirit!

Prophesy!

Son of man!

Say to the spirit!

Thus says Yahweh God!

Come!

From the four winds!

O spirit!

Breathe

Upon these slain ones

That they may live!’

I prophesied

As he commanded me.

The spirit

Came into them,

They lived.

They stood

On their feet,

A vast multitude.”

Yahweh told Ezekiel to prophesize to the spirit. He was to tell the spirit, ruah, to come from the four winds, ruah, and breathe, ruah, on these dead fleshy dry bones. Thus, they might live. Ezekiel, as usual, did what Yahweh had asked him to do. Then the Spirit of Yahweh, ruah, came to these dried-out bones. All these dead bones got a new life. This great multitude of former dry bones stood on their feet. Mission accomplished.

The skin and flesh of the bones (Ezek 37:8-37:8)

“I looked!

There were sinews

On the dry bones.

Flesh had come

Upon them.

Skin

Had covered them.

But there was

No spirit

In them.”

As Ezekiel looked on, the moving dry bones picked up some sinew or muscle, flesh, and skin. However, they did not have the spirit yet, just bones with some fleshy muscled skin.