New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Vision of the Dry Bones.[a] 1 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he led me out in the spirit of the Lord and set me in the center of the broad valley. It was filled with bones. 2 He made me walk among them in every direction. So many lay on the surface of the valley! How dry they were! 3 He asked me: Son of man, can these bones come back to life? “Lord God,” I answered, “you alone know that.”(A) 4 Then he said to me: Prophesy over these bones, and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Listen! I will make breath enter you so you may come to life. 6 I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow over you, cover you with skin, and put breath into you so you may come to life. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. 7 I prophesied as I had been commanded. A sound started up, as I was prophesying, rattling like thunder. The bones came together, bone joining to bone. 8 As I watched, sinews appeared on them, flesh grew over them, skin covered them on top, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me: Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man! Say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: From the four winds come, O breath, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.[b](B) 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army.(C) 11 He said to me: Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel! They are saying, “Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost, and we are cut off.” 12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord God: Look! I am going to open your graves; I will make you come up out of your graves, my people, and bring you back to the land of Israel.(D) 13 You shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and make you come up out of them, my people! 14 I will put my spirit in you that you may come to life, and I will settle you in your land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. I have spoken; I will do it—oracle of the Lord.(E)
The Two Sticks. 15 [c]Thus the word of the Lord came to me: 16 As for you, son of man, take one stick and write on it, “Judah and those Israelites associated with it.” Then take another stick and write on it: “Joseph, Ephraim’s stick, and the whole house of Israel associated with it.” 17 Join the two sticks together so they become one stick in your hand. 18 When your people ask you, “Will you not tell us what you mean by all this?” 19 answer them: Thus says the Lord God: I will take the stick of Joseph, now in Ephraim’s hand, and the tribes of Israel associated with it, and join to it the stick of Judah, making them one stick; they shall become one in my hand.(F) 20 The sticks on which you write, you must hold in your hand in their sight. 21 Say to them: Thus says the Lord God: I will soon take the Israelites from among the nations to which they have gone and gather them from all around to bring them back to their land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel, and there shall be one king for them all. They shall never again be two nations, never again be divided into two kingdoms.(G)
23 No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols, their abominations, and all their transgressions. I will deliver them from all their apostasy through which they sinned. I will cleanse them so that they will be my people, and I will be their God.(H) 24 (I)David my servant shall be king over them; they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my ordinances, observe my statutes, and keep them. 25 They shall live on the land I gave to Jacob my servant, the land where their ancestors lived; they shall live on it always, they, their children, and their children’s children, with David my servant as their prince forever. 26 (J)I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them. I will multiply them and put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.(K) 28 Then the nations shall know that I, the Lord, make Israel holy, by putting my sanctuary among them forever.
- 37:1–14 This account is a figurative description of God’s creation of a new Israel. Even though that creation begins with the remains of the old Israel, the exiles under the image of dry bones, depicting a totally hopeless situation, the new Israel is radically different: it is an ideal people, shaped by God’s spirit to live the covenant faithfully, something the old Israel, exiles included, were unable to do. While this passage in its present context is not about the doctrine of individual or communal resurrection, many Jewish and Christian commentators suggest that the doctrine is foreshadowed here.
- 37:9 The Hebrew word rûah has multiple related meanings expressed by different English words: wind, spirit, breath. In this translation, rûah is rendered “spirit,” a powerful force that creates vision and insight (v. 1); “breath,” physical energy that quickens and enlivens (vv. 5–6); “wind,” invisible physical energy, sometimes destructive, sometimes invigorating (e.g., the rain-bearing winter winds), also a metaphor for restoration and new life (vv. 9–10); “my spirit,” a share in God’s power so the people observe the law that assures them life in the land (v. 14).
- 37:15–22 The symbolic action of joining two sticks into one continues Ezekiel’s description of God’s future saving action: the unification of Judah and Israel under an ideal ruler.
New International Version
The Valley of Dry Bones
37 The hand of the Lord was on me,(A) and he brought me out by the Spirit(B) of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley;(C) it was full of bones.(D) 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.(E)”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!(F) 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life.(G) 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.(H)’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath;(I) prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds(J) and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded(K) me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.(L)
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’(M) 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.(N) 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord,(O) when I open your graves and bring you up from them.(P) 14 I will put my Spirit(Q) in you and you will live, and I will settle(R) you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.(S)’”
One Nation Under One King
15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites(T) associated with him.(U)’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ 17 Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.(V)
18 “When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’(W) 19 say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’(X) 20 Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on 21 and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.(Y) 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel.(Z) There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.(AA) 23 They will no longer defile(AB) themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding,[b](AC) and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.(AD)
24 “‘My servant David(AE) will be king(AF) over them, and they will all have one shepherd.(AG) They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.(AH) 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived.(AI) They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever,(AJ) and David my servant will be their prince forever.(AK) 26 I will make a covenant of peace(AL) with them; it will be an everlasting covenant.(AM) I will establish them and increase their numbers,(AN) and I will put my sanctuary among them(AO) forever.(AP) 27 My dwelling place(AQ) will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.(AR) 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy,(AS) when my sanctuary is among them forever.(AT)’”