New English Translation
A Prophecy Against False Shepherds
34 The Lord’s message came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds[a] of Israel; prophesy, and say to them—to the shepherds: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not shepherds feed the flock? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the choice animals, but you do not feed the sheep! 4 You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost, but with force and harshness[b] you have ruled over them. 5 They were scattered because they had no shepherd, and they became food for every wild beast.[c] 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over the entire face of the earth with no one looking or searching for them.
7 “‘Therefore, you shepherds, listen to the Lord’s message: 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, my sheep have become prey and have become food for all the wild beasts. There was no shepherd, and my shepherds did not search for my flock, but fed themselves and did not feed my sheep. 9 Therefore, you shepherds, listen to the Lord’s message. 10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand my sheep from their hand. I will no longer let them be shepherds;[d] the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they will no longer be food for them.
11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I myself will search for my sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will seek out my flock. I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a cloudy, dark day.[e] 13 I will bring them out from among the peoples and gather them from foreign countries; I will bring them to their own land. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams and all the inhabited places of the land. 14 In a good pasture I will feed them; the mountain heights of Israel will be their pasture. There they will lie down in a lush[f] pasture, and they will feed on rich grass on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will feed my sheep and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will seek the lost and bring back the strays; I will bandage the injured and strengthen the sick, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them—with judgment!
17 “‘As for you, my sheep, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must trample the rest of your pastures with your feet? When you drink clean water, must you muddy the rest of the water by trampling it with your feet? 19 As for my sheep, they must eat what you trampled with your feet and drink what you have muddied with your feet!
20 “‘Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: Look, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with your side and your shoulder, and thrust your horns at all the weak sheep until you scatter them abroad,[g] 22 I will save my sheep; they will no longer be prey. I will judge between one sheep and another.
23 “‘I will set one shepherd over them, and he will feed them—namely, my servant David.[h] He will feed them and will be their shepherd. 24 I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David will be prince[i] among them; I, the Lord, have spoken!
25 “‘I will make a covenant of peace with them and will rid the land of wild beasts, so that they can live securely[j] in the wilderness and even sleep in the woods.[k] 26 I will turn them and the regions around my hill into a blessing. I will make showers come down in their season; they will be showers that bring blessing.[l] 27 The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the earth will yield its crops. They will live securely on their land; they will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 They will no longer be prey for the nations, and the wild beasts will not devour them. They will live securely, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will prepare for them a healthy[m] planting. They will no longer be victims[n] of famine in the land and will no longer bear the insults of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them,[o] and that they are my people, the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.[p] 31 And you, my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are my people,[q] and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
Prophecy Against Mount Seir
“‘Look, I am against you, Mount Seir;
I will stretch out my hand against you
and turn you into a desolate ruin.
4 I will lay waste your cities,
and you will become desolate.
Then you will know that I am the Lord!
5 “‘You have shown unrelenting hostility and poured the people of Israel onto the blades of a sword[t] at the time of their calamity, at the time of their final punishment. 6 Therefore, as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will subject you to bloodshed, and bloodshed will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you. 7 I will turn Mount Seir into a desolate ruin;[u] I will cut off[v] from it the one who passes through or returns. 8 I will fill its mountains with its dead; on your hills and in your valleys and in all your ravines, those killed by the sword will fall. 9 I will turn you into a perpetual desolation, and your cities will not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
10 “‘You said, “These two nations, these two lands[w] will be mine, and we will possess them,”[x] (although the Lord was there); 11 therefore, as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will deal with you according to your anger and your envy, by which you acted spitefully against them. I will reveal myself to them when I judge you. 12 Then you will know that I, the Lord, have heard all the insults you spoke against the mountains of Israel, saying, “They are desolate; they have been given to us for food.” 13 You exalted yourselves against me with your speech[y] and hurled many insults against me[z]—I have heard them all! 14 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: While the whole earth rejoices, I will turn you into a desolation. 15 As you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel because it was desolate, so will I deal with you—you will be desolate, Mount Seir, and all Edom—all of it! Then they will know that I am the Lord.’”
Blessings on the Mountains of Israel
36 “As for you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say: ‘O mountains of Israel, listen to the Lord’s message! 2 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The enemy has spoken against you, saying “Aha!” and, “The ancient heights[aa] have become our property!”’ 3 So prophesy and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Surely because they have made you desolate and crushed you from all directions, so that you have become the property of the rest of the nations, and have become the subject of gossip[ab] and slander among the people, 4 therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says to the mountains and hills, the ravines and valleys, and to the desolate ruins and the abandoned cities that have become prey and an object of derision to the rest of the nations round about; 5 therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Surely I have spoken in the fire of my zeal against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who with great joy and utter contempt have made my land their property and prey, because of its pasture.’
6 “Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, the ravines and valleys, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I have spoken in my zeal and in my anger, because you have endured the insults of the nations. 7 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I vow[ac] that the nations around you will endure insults as well.
8 “‘But you, mountains of Israel, will grow your branches and bear your fruit for my people Israel, for they will arrive soon.[ad] 9 For indeed, I am on your side;[ae] I will turn to you, and you will be plowed and planted. 10 I will multiply your people[af]—the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities will be populated and the ruins rebuilt. 11 I will increase the number of people and animals on you; they will increase and be fruitful.[ag] I will cause you to be inhabited as in ancient times and will do more good for you than at the beginning of your history.[ah] Then you will know that I am the Lord. 12 I will lead people, my people Israel, across you; they will possess you, and you will become their inheritance. No longer will you bereave them of their children.
13 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because they are saying to you, “You are a devourer of men and bereave your nation of children,” 14 therefore you will no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children, declares the Sovereign Lord. 15 I will no longer subject you to[ai] the nations’ insults; no longer will you bear the shame of the peoples, and no longer will you bereave[aj] your nation, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
16 The Lord’s message came to me: 17 “Son of man, when the house of Israel was living on their own land, they defiled it by their behavior[ak] and their deeds. In my sight their behavior was like the uncleanness of a woman having her monthly period. 18 So I poured my anger on them[al] because of the blood they shed on the land and because of the idols with which they defiled it.[am] 19 I scattered them among the nations; they were dispersed throughout foreign countries. In accordance with their behavior and their deeds I judged them. 20 But when they arrived in the nations where they went, they profaned my holy name. It was said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, yet they have departed from his land.’ 21 I was concerned for my holy reputation,[an] which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they went.
22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake that I am about to act, O house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy reputation,[ao] which you profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will magnify[ap] my great name that has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I magnify myself among you in their sight.
24 “‘I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries; then I will bring you to your land. 25 I will sprinkle you with pure water,[aq] and you will be clean from all your impurities. I will purify you from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone[ar] from your body and give you a heart of flesh.[as] 27 I will put my Spirit within you;[at] I will take the initiative, and you will obey my statutes[au] and carefully observe my regulations.[av] 28 Then you will live in the land I gave to your fathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.[aw] 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and multiply it; I will not bring a famine on you. 30 I will multiply the fruit of the trees and the produce of the fields, so that you will never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil behavior[ax] and your deeds that were not good; you will loathe yourselves on account of your sins and your abominable deeds. 32 Understand that[ay] it is not for your sake I am about to act, declares the Sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and embarrassed by your behavior, O house of Israel.
33 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will populate the cities, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be plowed, instead of being desolate in the sight of everyone who passes by. 35 They will say, “This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; the ruined, desolate, and destroyed cities are now fortified and inhabited.” 36 Then the nations that remain around you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken—and I will do it!’
37 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will allow the house of Israel to ask me to do this for them:[az] I will multiply their people like sheep.[ba] 38 Like the sheep for offerings, like the sheep of Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so the ruined cities will be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
The Valley of Dry Bones
37 The hand[bb] of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed[bc] me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. 2 He made me walk all around among them.[bd] I realized[be] there were a great many bones in the valley, and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said to him, “Sovereign Lord, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ‘Dry bones, listen to the Lord’s message. 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath[bf] into you and you will live. 6 I will put tendons[bg] on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath[bh] in you, and you will live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. There was a sound when I prophesied— I heard[bi] a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 As I watched, I saw[bj] tendons on them, then muscles appeared,[bk] and skin covered over them from above, but there was no breath[bl] in them.
9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath,[bm]—prophesy, son of man—and say to the breath: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these corpses so that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as I was commanded, and the breath came into them; they lived and stood on their feet, an extremely great army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are all the house of Israel. Look, they are saying, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to open your graves and will raise you from your graves, my people. I will bring you to the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. 14 I will place my breath[bn] in you and you will live; I will give you rest in your own land. Then you will know that I am the Lord—I have spoken and I will act, declares the Lord.’”
15 The Lord’s message came to me: 16 “As for you, son of man, take one branch and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another branch and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the branch of Ephraim, and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ 17 Join[bo] them as one stick;[bp] they will be as one in your hand. 18 When your people[bq] say to you, ‘Will you not tell us what these things mean?’ 19 tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to take the branch of Joseph that is in the hand of Ephraim and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and I will place them on the stick of Judah[br] and make them into one stick—they will be one in my hand.’[bs] 20 The sticks you write on will be in your hand in front of them. 21 Then tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to take the Israelites from among the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from round about and bring them to their land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over them all. They will never again be two nations and never again be divided into two kingdoms.[bt] 23 They will not defile themselves with their idols, their detestable things, and all their rebellious deeds. I will save them from all their unfaithfulness[bu] by which they sinned. I will purify them; they will become my people, and I will become their God.
24 “‘My servant David will be king over them; there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow[bv] my regulations and carefully observe my statutes.[bw] 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, in which your fathers lived; they will live in it—they and their children and their grandchildren forever. David my servant will be prince over them forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be a perpetual covenant with them.[bx] I will establish them,[by] increase their numbers, and place my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then, when my sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel.’”[bz]
- Ezekiel 34:2 tn The term shepherd is applied to kings in the ancient Near East. In the OT the Lord is often addressed as shepherd of Israel (Gen 49:24; Ps 8:1). The imagery of shepherds as Israel’s leaders is also employed (Jer 23:1-2).
- Ezekiel 34:4 tn The term translated “harshness” is used to describe the oppression the Israelites suffered as slaves in Egypt (Exod 1:13).
- Ezekiel 34:5 tn As a case of dittography, the MT repeats “and they were scattered” at the end of the verse.
- Ezekiel 34:10 tn Heb “I will cause them to cease from feeding sheep.”
- Ezekiel 34:12 sn The imagery may reflect the overthrow of the Israelites by the Babylonians in 587/6 b.c.
- Ezekiel 34:14 tn Heb “good.”
- Ezekiel 34:21 tn Heb “outside.”
- Ezekiel 34:23 sn The messianic king is here called “David” (see Jer 30:9 and Hos 3:5, as well as Isa 11:1 and Mic 5:2) because he will fulfill the Davidic royal ideal depicted in the prophets and royal psalms (see Pss 2; 89).
- Ezekiel 34:24 sn The messianic king (“David”) is called both “king” and “prince” in 37:24-25. The use of the term “prince” for this king facilitates the contrast between this ideal ruler and the Davidic “princes” denounced in earlier prophecies (see 7:27; 12:10, 12; 19:1; 21:25; 22:6, 25).
- Ezekiel 34:25 tn The phrase “live securely” occurs in Ezek 28:26; 38:8, 11, 14; 39:26 as an expression of freedom from fear. It is a promised blessing resulting from obedience (see Lev 26:5-6).
- Ezekiel 34:25 sn The woods were typically considered to be places of danger (Ps 104:20-21; Jer 5:6).
- Ezekiel 34:26 tn Heb “showers of blessing.” Abundant rain, which in turn produces fruit and crops (v. 27), is a covenantal blessing for obedience (Lev 26:4).
- Ezekiel 34:29 tc The MT reads לְשֵׁם (leshem, “for a name”), meaning perhaps a renowned planting (place). The translation takes this to be a metathesis of שָׁלֹם (shalom), as was read by the LXX.
- Ezekiel 34:29 tn Heb “those gathered” for famine.
- Ezekiel 34:30 sn A promise given to Abraham (Gen 15:7) and his descendants (Gen 15:8; Exod 6:7).
- Ezekiel 34:30 sn The blessings described in vv. 25-30 are those promised for obedience in Lev 26:4-13.
- Ezekiel 34:31 tn Heb, “the sheep of my pasture, you are human.” See 36:37-38 for a similar expression. The possessive pronoun “my” is supplied in the translation to balance “I am your God” in the next clause.
- Ezekiel 35:2 tn Heb “set your face against.”
- Ezekiel 35:2 sn Mount Seir is to be identified with Edom (Ezek 35:15), home of Esau’s descendants (Gen 25:21-30).
- Ezekiel 35:5 tn Or “gave over…to the power of the sword.” This phrase also occurs in Jer 18:21 and Ps 63:10.
- Ezekiel 35:7 tc The translation reads with some manuscripts לְשִׁמְמָה וּמְשַׁמָּה (leshimemah umeshammah, “desolate ruin”) as in verse 3 and often in Ezekiel. The majority reading reverses the first mem (מ) with the shin (שׁ), resulting in the repetition of the word desolate: לְשִׁמְמָה וּשְׁמָמָה (leshimemah ushemamah).
- Ezekiel 35:7 tn Or “kill.”
- Ezekiel 35:10 sn The reference is to Israel and Judah.
- Ezekiel 35:10 tn Heb “it.”
- Ezekiel 35:13 tn Heb “your mouth.”
- Ezekiel 35:13 tn Heb “and you multiplied against me your words.” The Hebrew verb occurs only here and in Prov 27:6, where it refers to the “excessive” kisses of an enemy. The basic idea of the verb appears to be “to be abundant.” Here it occurs in the causative (Hiphil) stem.
- Ezekiel 36:2 tn Or “high places.”
- Ezekiel 36:3 tn Heb “lip of the tongue.”
- Ezekiel 36:7 tn Heb “I lifted up my hand.”
- Ezekiel 36:8 tn Heb “they draw near to arrive.”
- Ezekiel 36:9 tn Heb “I (am) toward you.”
- Ezekiel 36:10 tn Heb “I will multiply on you human(s).”
- Ezekiel 36:11 sn These verbs occur together in Gen 1:22, 28 and 9:1.
- Ezekiel 36:11 tn Heb “your beginning.”
- Ezekiel 36:15 tn Heb “cause you to hear.”
- Ezekiel 36:15 tc The MT reads תַכְשִׁלִי (takhshiliy, “you will cause to stumble”), a Hiphil of כָּשַׁל (kashal, “to stumble”). This is a metathesis for תְשַׁכְּלִי (teshakkeliy), “you will deprive of children”), a Piel from the root שָׁכַל (shakhal), which is used in the previous verses.
- Ezekiel 36:17 tn Heb “way.”
- Ezekiel 36:18 sn See Ezek 7:8; 9:8; 14:19; 20:8, 13, 21; 22:22; 30:15.
- Ezekiel 36:18 sn For the concept of defiling the land in legal literature, see Lev 18:28 and Deut 21:23.
- Ezekiel 36:21 tn Heb “name.”
- Ezekiel 36:22 sn In Ezek 20:22 God refrained from punishment for the sake of his holy name. Here God’s reputation is the basis for Israel’s restoration.
- Ezekiel 36:23 tn Or “sanctify,” Heb “make holy.”
- Ezekiel 36:25 sn The Lord here uses a metaphor from the realm of ritual purification. For the use of water in ritual cleansing, see Exod 30:19-20; Lev 14:51; Num 19:18; Heb 10:22.
- Ezekiel 36:26 sn That is, a heart that symbolizes a will that is stubborn and unresponsive (see 1 Sam 25:37). In Rabbinic literature a “stone” was associated with an evil inclination (b. Sukkah 52a).
- Ezekiel 36:26 sn That is, a heart that symbolizes a will that is responsive and obedient to God.
- Ezekiel 36:27 tn Or “in the midst of you.” The word “you” is plural.
- Ezekiel 36:27 tn Heb “and I will do that which in my statutes you will walk.” The awkward syntax (verb “to do, act” + accusative sign + relative clause + prepositional phrase + second person verb) is unique, though Eccl 3:14 contains a similar construction. In the last line of that verse we read that “God acts so that (relative pronoun) they fear before him.” However, unlike Ezek 36:27, the statement has no accusative sign before the relative pronoun.
- Ezekiel 36:27 tn Heb “and my laws you will guard and you will do them.” Jer 31:31-34 is parallel to this passage.
- Ezekiel 36:28 sn This promise reflects the ancient covenantal ideal (see Exod 6:7).
- Ezekiel 36:31 tn Heb “ways.”
- Ezekiel 36:32 tn Heb “Let it be known.”
- Ezekiel 36:37 tn The Niphal verb may have a tolerative function here: “Again (for) this I will allow myself to be sought by the house of Israel to act for them.” Or it may be reflexive: “I will reveal myself to the house of Israel by doing this also.”
- Ezekiel 36:37 sn Heb “I will multiply them like sheep, human(s).”
- Ezekiel 37:1 tn Or “power.” sn Hand in the OT can refer metaphorically to power, authority, or influence. In Ezekiel God’s hand being on the prophet is regularly associated with communication or a vision from God (3:14, 22; 8:1; 37:1; 40:1).
- Ezekiel 37:1 tn Heb “caused me to rest.”
- Ezekiel 37:2 tn Heb “and he made me pass over them, around, around.”
- Ezekiel 37:2 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and is here translated as “I realized” because it results from Ezekiel’s recognition of the situation around him. In Hebrew, the exclamation is repeated in the following sentence.
- Ezekiel 37:5 tn Heb “I am about to bring a spirit.”
- Ezekiel 37:6 tn The exact anatomical referent of the term is uncertain. In addition to v. 8, the term occurs only in Gen 32:32 (32:33 Heb); Job 10:11; 40:17; Is 48:4.
- Ezekiel 37:6 tn Or “a spirit.”
- Ezekiel 37:7 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.
- Ezekiel 37:8 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.
- Ezekiel 37:8 tn Heb “came up.”
- Ezekiel 37:8 tn Or “spirit.”
- Ezekiel 37:9 tn Or “spirit,” and several times in this verse.
- Ezekiel 37:14 tn Or “spirit.” This is likely an allusion to Gen 2 and God’s breath that creates life.
- Ezekiel 37:17 tn Heb “bring near.”
- Ezekiel 37:17 tn Heb “one to one for you for one stick.”
- Ezekiel 37:18 tn Heb “the sons of your people.”
- Ezekiel 37:19 tn Heb “I will place them on it, that is, on the stick of Judah.”
- Ezekiel 37:19 sn The reunification of Israel and Judah is envisioned as well in Ezek 33:23, 29; Jer 3:18; 23:5-6; Hos 1:11; Amos 9:11.
- Ezekiel 37:22 sn Jeremiah also attested to the reuniting of the northern and southern kingdoms (Jer 3:12, 14; 31:2-6).
- Ezekiel 37:23 tc Heb “their dwellings.” The text as it stands does not make sense. Based on the LXX, a slight emendation of two vowels, including a mater lectionis, yields the reading “from their turning,” a reference here to their turning from God and deviating from his commandments. See BDB 1000 s.v. מְשׁוּבָה, and D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:407.
- Ezekiel 37:24 tn Heb “walk [in].”
- Ezekiel 37:24 tn Heb “and my statutes they will guard and they will do them.”
- Ezekiel 37:26 sn See Isa 24:5; 55:3; 61:8; Jer 32:40; 50:5; Ezek 16:60 for other references to perpetual covenants.
- Ezekiel 37:26 tn Heb “give them.”
- Ezekiel 37:28 sn The sanctuary of Israel becomes the main focus of Ezek 40-48.