Prophesy of the dry bones (Ezek 37:3-37:4)

“Yahweh said to me.

‘Son of man!

Can these bones live?’

I answered.

‘O Yahweh God!

You know!’

Then he said to me.

‘Prophesy

To these bones!

Say to them!

O dry bones!

Hear

The word of Yahweh!’”

This is a short crisp dialogue between Yahweh and Ezekiel. Normally, these oracles were long Yahweh monologues. Yahweh here asked Ezekiel if these dry bones could live. Ezekiel wisely responded that if anyone knew about them, it would be Yahweh himself. Then Yahweh told Ezekiel to prophesize to these dry bones. Ezekiel was to tell these dry bones to listen to the word of Yahweh, a common theme of many Yahweh oracles.

The mountains of Israel (Ezek 36:1-36:1)

“You!

Son of man!

Prophesy

To the mountains

Of Israel!

Say!

‘O mountains of Israel!

Hear

The word of Yahweh.’”

Next Yahweh, via Ezekiel, turned to the mountains of Israel. As opposed to the mountains of Edom, Mount Seir, Yahweh wanted these mountains to listen to the word of Yahweh as presented by Ezekiel.

Yahweh will rescue the sheep (Ezek 34:9-34:10)

“Therefore,

You shepherds!

Hear

The word of Yahweh!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am

Against the shepherds!

I will demand

My sheep

At their hand.

I will put a stop

To their feeding

Of the sheep.

No longer

Shall the shepherds

Feed themselves.

I will rescue

My sheep

From their mouths.

Thus,

These sheep

May not

Be food

For them.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was mad at the shepherds of Israel. They were to listen to the word of Yahweh. Yahweh, their God, wanted his sheep back. These shepherds or leaders of Israel were to stop eating his sheep. Yahweh was going to rescue his sheep from the mouths of these shepherds. Yahweh’s sheep would no longer be their food.

The distressed sheep (Ezek 34:7-34:8)

“Therefore,

You shepherds!

Hear

The word of Yahweh!

Says Yahweh God!

‘As I live!

My sheep

Have become

A prey.

My sheep

Have become

Food

For all the wild animals.

Because there was

No shepherd.

Because my shepherds

Have not searched

For my sheep.

But the shepherds

Have fed themselves.

They have not fed

My sheep.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, wanted those Israelite shepherds to listen. Yahweh’s sheep, the Israelites, had become a prey and food for all the wild animals of the foreign countries. There was no shepherd or leader. Thus, Yahweh’s sheep had been scattered, but no one searched for them. These shepherds or so-called leaders fed themselves, but they never fed Yahweh’s sheep.

The captivity of the Ammonites (Ezek 25:3-25:4)

“Say to the Ammonites!

Hear

The word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You said.

‘Aha!’

Over my sanctuary

When it was profaned.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the land of Israel

When it was made desolate.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the house of Judah

When it went into exile.

Therefore

I am handing you over

To the people of the East

For a possession.

They shall set

Their encampments

Among you.

They shall pitch

Their tents

In your midst.

They shall eat

Your fruit.

They shall drink

Your milk.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to tell the Ammonites to listen to the word of Yahweh, their God. However, they had their own gods. Apparently the Ammonites had profaned the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They had laughed when the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed. They had even laughed at the exile of the people from Judah. Their punishment would be that they would be handed over to the people of the East, who would set up encampments and tents in their territory. These invaders would even eat their fruit and drink their milk. This probably was an allusion to the Assyrians, whom the Ammonites were dependent upon.

Oracle about the fire against the south (Ezek 20:45-20:48)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward the south!

Preach

Against the south!

Prophesy

Against the forest land

In the Negeb!

Say to the forest

Of the Negeb!

Hear the word of Yahweh!

Thus says Yahweh God!

I will kindle

A fire in you.

It shall devour

Every green tree

In you.

It shall devour

Every dry tree.

The blazing flame

Shall not be quenched.

All faces,

From south to north,

Shall be scorched by it.

All flesh

Shall see

That I,

Yahweh,

Have kindled it.

It shall not be quenched.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He was to set his face to the south. He was to preach and prophesy against the south, the forest land in the Negeb, the dry like wilderness south of Judah, perhaps the kingdom of Edom. He was to tell them to listen to the word of Yahweh. Yahweh was going to kindle a fire that would devour every green tree and every dry tree. This blazing flame would not be quenched. Everyone’s face would be scorched by it. Everyone would know that Yahweh set this unquenchable fire. This section is the first part of the next chapter in the Jerusalem Bible.

The rebellion (Ezek 20:8-20:8)

“But they rebelled

Against me.

They would not listen

To me.

Not one of them

Cast away

The detestable things

That their eyes feasted on.

They did not forsake

The idols of Egypt.”

Yahweh said that they rebelled against him. They would not listen to him. They kept their good looking detestable things instead of getting rid of them. They even kept their Egyptian idols instead of giving them up. They kept to their wicked evil ways.