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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ezekiel 37

 

 

Verse 1

Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which [was] full of bones,

Ver. 1. The hand of the Lord,] i.e., The force and impulse of the Holy Spirit, fitly called "the hand of the Lord"; (a) because holy men of old spake and acted as they were moved or carried out by the Holy Ghost. [2 Peter 2:22]

In the spirit,] i.e., In a spiritual rapture.

And set me down.] Not really, but visionally.

In the midst of the valley.] That same valley, some think, where [Ezekiel 1:3] he saw that glorious vision. Prophecies were often received, and prayers are best made, in one and the same place.

Which was full of bones.] So it appeared to him in his ecstasy.


Verse 2

Ezekiel 37:2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, [there were] very many in the open valley; and, lo, [they were] very dry.

Ver. 2. And, lo, they were very dry.] Ex vetustare et carie. This added to the miracle.


Verse 3

Ezekiel 37:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

Ver. 3. Can these bones live?] In the resurrection at the last day he knew they should, for among the Jews that was generally believed; [John 11:24] but whether in this world, and at this time, that was the question. The Jewish doctors boldly, but groundlessly, answer that these dead bones and bodies did then revive, and that many of them did return into the land of Israel, and married wives and begat children. But this is as true as that other dotage of theirs, that the dead bodies of Jews, in what country soever buried, do by certain underground passages travel into Judea, and there rest until the general resurrection.

O Lord God, thou knowest.] And he to whom thou art pleased to reveal it. Eπεχω. The Russians in a difficult question use to answer, God and our great duke know all this.


Verse 4

Ezekiel 37:4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

Ver. 4. Prophesy upon these bones.] Be thou the interpreter of my will, who by mine all-powerful word do quicken the dead, and call things that are not as if they were. [Romans 4:17]

And say unto them, O ye dry bones.] Together with God’s word many times there goeth forth a power; [Luke 5:17] as when he said, Lazarus, come forth. [John 11:43] So it is in the first resurrection, and so it shall be at the last. {John 5:25; John 5:28-29 {See Trapp on "John 5:25"} {See Trapp on "John 5:28"} {See Trapp on "John 5:29"}


Verse 5

Ezekiel 37:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:

Ver. 5. Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you,] i.e., Into each number of you that belong to each body. Neither need the resurrection of the dead be held a thing incredible, [Acts 26:8] considering God’s power and truth. The keeping green of Noah’s olive tree in the time of the flood, the blossoming of Aaron’s dry rod, the flesh and sinews coming to these dry bones, and the breath entering into them, what were they all but so many lively emblems of the resurrection?


Verse 6

Ezekiel 37:6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.

Ver. 6. And cover you with skin.] Superindam; that the flesh may not look ghastly. The word rendered cover is Chaldee, and found only here and Ezekiel 37:8.

And put breath in you, and ye shall live.] As when man was first created. [Genesis 2:7] And cannot God as easily remake us of something as at first he made us of nothing?


Verse 7

Ezekiel 37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.

Ver. 7. So I prophesied.] He might have said, Why should I speak to these bones? will it be to any purpose? But God’s commands are not to be disputed, but despatched without sciscitation.

And there was a noise.] A rattle, perhaps a thunderclap.

And behold a shaking.] Perhaps an earthquake, as was at Christ’s resurrection. God will one day shake both the heavens and the earth. "The heavens shall pass away with a great noise; the earth also and the works therein shall be burned, and fall with a great crack." [2 Peter 3:10] Then "the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout," &c. [1 Thessalonians 4:16] - such as is that of mariners in a storm, or of soldiers when to join battle with the enemy.


Verse 8

Ezekiel 37:8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but [there was] no breath in them.

Ver. 8. Lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them.] The body is the soul’s sheath, [Daniel 7:15] the soul’s suit. The upper garment is the skin, the inner the flesh; the inmost of all, bones and sinews.


Verse 9

Ezekiel 37:9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

Ver. 9. And say to the wind.] To the reasonable soul, that "breath of God"; [Genesis 2:7] divinae particula aurae, as one calleth it. In this better part of man he is not absolutely perfect till after the resurrection; for though the soul do in heaven enjoy an estate free from sin, pain, or misery, yet two of the faculties or operations of the soul, viz., that of vegetation and of sense, are without exercise till it be reunited to the body. Here we have a representation at least of the resurrection, which the Hebrews call Gilgul, the revolution.

Come from the four winds, O breath,] i.e., From God that gave you, return again at his command to your own numerical bodies wherever they lie. And to this text our Saviour seemeth to allude, Matthew 24:31.


Verse 10

Ezekiel 37:10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

Ver. 10. And the breath came into them.] De foras, from without: as at first they were infused by God, so they are still. This Augustine sometime and for some length of time doubted about, and was therefore censured boldly, but unadvisedly, by one Vincentius Victor, as Chemnitius relateth it.

And they lived, and stood up upon their feet.] As life will show itself by sense and motion. Live things will be stirring. Arida etiam peccatorum cords Deus gratis vitali vegetabit.


Verse 11

Ezekiel 37:11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.

Ver. 11. These bones are.] That is, they signify and betoken. And here we have the accommodation or application of the preceding parable or type; where also we may soon see that this chapter is of the same subject and method with the former, only that which is there plainly is here more elegantly discoursed, viz., the deplorable condition of the Israelites in Babylon, together with their wonderful deliverance and restitution in this and the three next verses.

Our bones are dried.] We lie in Babylon as in a sepulchre; we are buried alive, as it were; we are "free among the dead," free of that company.

We are cut off for our parts,] q.d., Let them hope as hope can: we have hanged up all our hopes now that the city and temple are destroyed. Thus carnal confidence, as it riseth up into a corky, frothy hope, when it seeth sufficient help, so it sitteth down in a faithless, sullen discontent and despair, when it can see no second causes.


Verse 12

Ezekiel 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

Ver. 12. Behold, O my people.] God owneth them still, though they had little deserved it. "Shall men’s unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" [Romans 3:3] Tumulos desperationis aperit; he openeth the graves of desperation, and lets in a marvellous light. So the Lord did for his poor Church by this blessed Reformation begun by Luther, whose book, De Captivitate Babylonica, did abundance of good. As for that wrought here in England, a foreigner (a) saith of it, that it is such as the ages past had despaired about, the present worthily admireth, and future ages shall stand amazed at. O beatos qui Deum ducem e spirituali Babylonia eos educentem secuti sunt!


Verse 13

Ezekiel 37:13 And ye shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

Ver. 13. And ye shall know that I am the Lord.] Ye shall experiment it. The Reformed Churches have done so abundantly. Gloria Deo in excelsis.

When I have opened your graves.] This is spoken over and over for their confirmation who were apt to think the news was too good to be true.


Verse 14

Ezekiel 37:14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken [it], and performed [it], saith the LORD.

Ver. 14. And shall put my Spirit in you.] Even my "spirit of adoption," that soul of the soul: this was more than all the rest. Thrice happy are they that are thus spirited; they shall live, and live comfortably.


Verse 15

Ezekiel 37:15 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,

Ver. 15. And the word of the Lord.] See Ezekiel 18:1.


Verse 16

Ezekiel 37:16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and [for] all the house of Israel his companions:

Ver. 16. Take thee one stick.] A cleft stick, which is res vilis et exilis, a poor business in itself; but if God please to make use of so slender a thing, it may serve for very great purpose; as here by the uniting of two sorry sticks in the hand of the prophet is prefigured the uniting of Judah and Israel, yea, of Jews and Gentiles, "in the hand of the Lord," that is, in Christ Jesus, who is the hand, the right hand, and the arm of God the Father.

His companions,] i.e., Benjamin and Levi. [2 Chronicles 11:12-13]


Verse 17

Ezekiel 37:17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.

Ver. 17. And join them one to another into one stick.] See on Ezekiel 37:16. Man and wife are as these two branches in the prophet’s hand, enclosed in one bark; and so closing together that they make but one branch.


Verse 18

Ezekiel 37:18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou [meanest] by these?

Ver. 18. Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these?] People, though they should not be question sick, as some in St Paul’s time were, [1 Timothy 6:4] yet they should be inquisitive after truth according to godliness. [Titus 1:1]


Verse 19

Ezekiel 37:19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which [is] in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, [even] with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

Ver. 19. And make them one stick.] Taking away the deadly feud that hath so long time been between them, breaking down the partition wall, &c. I will once more bring them all under one king, and make them of one mind. Religion is the only best bond of affection. The very heathens honoured the primitive Christians for their unanimity. See Song of Solomon 6:9. {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 6:9"}


Verse 20

Ezekiel 37:20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.

Ver. 20. Shall be in thine hand before their eyes.] That by this vision publicly acted they may be the better affected.


Verse 21

Ezekiel 37:21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:

Ver. 21. Behold, I will take the children of Israel,] This was fulfilled when the Jews, and with them many of the ten tribes also, returned to their own country under Zerubbabel and Ezra. As for the rest of the ten tribes that returned not, they degenerated into Gentiles. The Jews say that they were shut up by Alexander the Great in the Caspian mountains, and shall therehence break forth when the Messiah appeareth. Of the Jews in general Tacitus hath observed, that they are very kind to their own countrymen, but to all others very cruel. This might haply move Alexander to serve them in that kind. There are those who understand that text, [Revelation 16:12] the kings of the East, concerning the ten tribes whom they place in China, which is called the "land of Sinim," as Junius conjectureth; [Isaiah 49:12] and who knows but that when all Israel shall be called, [Romans 11:26] raised from the dead, [Ezekiel 37:14] joined into one stick, as here, many of those poor heathens in Asia and America may have part in the same resurrection?


Verse 22

Ezekiel 37:22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

Ver. 22. And I will make them one nation.] Who were before at deadly feud, and fought many bloody battles. Solemur et nos hac promissione contra schismata, Let us also comfort ourselves with this promise against schisms, saith Oecolampadius. Christ will cause the false prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land; [Zechariah 13:2] he will also so work in the hearts of his people, that they shall, "with one mind and one mouth, glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." [Romans 15:6]


Verse 23

Ezekiel 37:23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

Ver. 23. Neither shall they defile.] After the captivity the Jews could never endure idolatry. The Popish image worship is at this day a very great stumblingblock to them.

Out of all their dwellingplaces.] Where, being mingled among the heathen, they learned their works. [Psalms 106:35]


Verse 24

Ezekiel 37:24 And David my servant [shall be] king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

Ver. 24. And David my servant,] i.e., Christ, who came to do the will of his Father in the shape of a servant. [Philippians 2:7 Isaiah 42:1]

And they shall all have one shepherd.] Even David their king is for his clemency here called a shepherd, saith Jerome, tending and tendering his people. See Ezekiel 34:23-24

They shall also walk in my judgments.] All Christ’s subjects can say, as those primitive Christians did, Nos non eloquimur magna, sed vivimus. Athenagoras in his apology saith, No Christian is a bad man, ει μη υποκρινηται τον λογον, unless he be a counterfeit.


Verse 25

Ezekiel 37:25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, [even] they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David [shall be] their prince for ever.

Ver. 25. And they shall dwell in the land.] So they did for six hundred years, or nearly so; and in heaven, whereof Canaan was a type, they shall live and reign for ever.


Verse 26

Ezekiel 37:26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

Ver. 26. Moreover, &c.] See Ezekiel 34:25.

And it shall be an everlasting covenant with them.] With all the Israel of God.

And I will place them,] sc., In the Holy Land, saith Piscator; or else I understand not what this word "place them," or give them, meaneth.

And will set my sanctuary in the midst of them,] i.e., I will indwell in them, and walk in them, &c. {as 2 Corinthians 6:16} The Jews pray earnestly for the rebuilding of their material temple. Pray we as hard for the building up of the mystical temple.


Verse 27

Ezekiel 37:27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Ver. 27. My tabernacle also,] i.e., Mine ordinances, those testimonies of my spedal presence. See Revelation 21:3.


Verse 28

Ezekiel 37:28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

Ver. 28. Do sanctify Israel,] i.e., Do set them apart for mine use, and will see to their safety.

When my sanctuary.] Wherehence they shall have continual both direction and protection.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 37:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ezekiel-37.html. 1865-1868.

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