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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Ezekiel 37

 

 

Introduction

In Ezekiel 37:1-14, Ezekiel sees in a vision dead men raised to life; its meaning is given Ezekiel 37:11-14. In it, the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body is at least implied. Such a figure would only have force with those who were familiar with this idea (compare 1 Samuel 2:6; Job 19:25-27; Psalm 16:10-11; Daniel 12:1-13). The vision was intended not only to comfort the despairing children of Israel - prefiguring the reinstatement of Israel now scattered and lifeless, as a community restored to their home, and rein-vigorated with spiritual life - but also to impress upon them the great truth of the Resurrection, which was greatly developed in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, but found its clear and unambiguous enunciation in the New. The prophecy concerns not only the Israel after the flesh but also the Israel of God; it points to a home in heaven and to a life of immortality.


Verse 1

The valley - The same word as “the plain” Ezekiel 3:22; Ezekiel 8:4. The “dry bones” represented the Israelites dispersed abroad, destitute of life national and spiritual.


Verse 4

Prophesy - Not in the sense of predicting what was to come to pass, but simply in that of speaking under the inspiration of God. In Ezekiel 37:5, not “I will cause,” but I cause or am causing.


Verse 7

Bone to his bone - i. e., to its proper place in the frame.


Verse 9

The wind - Rather, as in the margin and as in Ezekiel 37:5. The bones are the bones of the “slain,” because the scene was one which was likely to occur in the time of the Chaldaean invasion, and the fact of violent death reminded the prophet of the miserable condition of the people.


Verse 11

We are cut off for our parts - That is, “as for us, we are cut off.” The people had fallen into despair.


Verses 16-28

A prophecy of the reunion of Israel and Judah, the incorporation of Israel under one Ruler, the kingdom of Messiah upon earth and in heaven.

Ezekiel 37:16

One stick - So in the marginal reference the names of the tribes had been written on rods or sticks.

For Judah … - To the house of David had remained faithful, not only Judah, but also Benjamin, Levi, and part of Simeon, and individual members of various tribes 2 Chronicles 11:12-16. Compare the marginal references.

Joseph … Ephraim - Compare Psalm 78:67; Hosea 5:5 ff “Joseph” is the general name here for the ten tribes, including “Ephraim,” the chief tribe, and his companions. Omit “for” before “all.” “All the house of Israel” is here the ten tribes.

Ezekiel 37:19

In the hand of Ephraim - Because Ephraim was the ruling tribe; the words are contrasted with “in mine hand.”

Ezekiel 37:20

This sign was literally enacted in the presence of the people, not, like some signs, merely in vision (see the Ezekiel 3:1 note).

Ezekiel 37:21

The gathering together of the children of Israel was to take effect in the first place in the return from Babylon, when the distinction of Israel and Judah should cease. The full completion concerns times still future, when all Israel shall come in to acknowledge the rule of Christ.

Ezekiel 37:22

One king - The restoration of Israel to their native soil will lead the way to the coming of the promised King, the Son of David, who will gather into His kingdom the true Israel, all who shall by faith be acknowledged as the Israel of God. The reign of the One King David is the reign of Christ in His kingdom, the Church.

Ezekiel 37:25, Ezekiel 37:26

An enlargement of the promises. The kingdom is to be “forever,” the covenant “everlasting.” This looks forward to the consummation of all God‘s promises 1 Corinthians 15:24, 1 Corinthians 15:28.

Ezekiel 37:27

This gives a final blessing reserved for God‘s accepted servants. The tabernacle and temple were outward symbols of His presence. The re-erection of the temple by Zerubbabel was the first step to a restoration of the presence of God. The second step was the presence of Christ, first in the flesh, then in His Church, and finally the eternal presence of God and of the Lamb in the New Jerusalem Revelation 21.

 


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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 37:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ezekiel-37.html. 1870.

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