|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
37:1-14 No created power could restore human bones to life. God alone could cause them to live. Skin and flesh covered them, and the wind was then told to blow upon these bodies; and they were restored to life. The wind was an emblem of the Spirit of God, and represented his quickening powers. The vision was to encourage the desponding Jews; to predict both their restoration after the captivity, and also their recovery from their present and long-continued dispersion. It was also a clear intimation of the resurrection of the dead; and it represents the power and grace of God, in the conversion of the most hopeless sinners to himself. Let us look to Him who will at last open our graves, and bring us forth to judgment, that He may now deliver us from sin, and put his Spirit within us, and keep us by his power, through faith, unto salvation.
Verse 1. - The hand of the Lord was upon me. The absence of the customary "and" (comp. Ezekiel 1:1, 3; Ezekiel 3:14, 22), wanting only once again (Ezekiel 40:1), appears to indicate something extraordinary and unusual in the prophet's experience. In the words of Ewald, such a never-beheld sight one sees freely (by itself) in a moment of higher inspiration or never;" and that in this whole vision the prophet was the subject of a special and intensified inspiration is evident, not alone from the contents of the vision, but also from the language in which it is recorded. And carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord. So the Vulgate and Hitzig - a translation which Smend thinks might be justified by an appeal to Ezekiel 11:24, in which the similar phrase, "Spirit of God (Elohim)," occurs; though, with Grotius, Havernick, Keil, and others, he prefers the rendering of the LXX., "And Jehovah carried me out in the Spirit." The Revised Version combines the two thus: "And he carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord." Keil suggests that the words, "of God," in Ezekiel 11:24, were omitted here because of the word "Jehovah" immediately following. And set me down in the midst of the valley. As the article indicates, the valley in the neighborhood of Tel-Abib, where the prophet received his first instructions concerning his mission (Ezekiel 3:22); although Hengstenberg holds, wrongly we think, that "the valley here has nothing to do with the valley in Ezekiel 3:22." Which (literally, and it) was full of bones; i.e. of men who had been slaughtered there (ver. 9; comp. Ezekiel 39:11), and whose corpses had been left unburied upon the face of the plain (ver. 3), so that they were seen by the prophet. Whether these bones were actually in the valley, or merely formed part of the vision, can only be conjectured, though the latter opinion seems the more probable. At the same time, such a plain as is here depicted may well have been a battle-ground on which Assyrian and Chaldean armies had often met.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The hand of the Lord was upon me,.... The Spirit of the Lord, a powerful impulse of his upon the prophet; the Targum interprets it a spirit of prophecy; See Gill on Ezekiel 1:3,
and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord: out of the place where he was to another; not really, but visionally, as things appeared to him, and as they were represented to his mind by the Spirit of God:
and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones: of men, as the Targum adds: this valley, Kimchi thinks, was the same by the river Chebar, where the prophet had his visions at first. R. Jochanan says it was the valley of Dura, and these the bones of them that were slain by Nebuchadnezzar there, Daniel 3:1. Rab says these were the children of Ephraim, slain by the men of Gath, 1 Chronicles 7:20. Some of the Jewish Rabbins think there was a real resurrection at this time. R. Eliezer says, the dead Ezekiel quickened stood upon their feet, sung a song, and died. R. Eliezer, the son of R. Jose the Galilean, says, they went up into the land of Israel, married wives, and begat sons and daughters. R. Judah ben Bethira stood upon his feet, and said, I am of their children's children, and these are the "tephillim" my father's father left me (r); but these are all fabulous and romantic: others of them understand the whole in a parabolical way: these bones, and the quickening of them, were an emblem of the restoration of the Jews from their captivity, who were in a helpless and hopeless condition, as appears from Ezekiel 37:11, and of the conversion of that people in the latter day, which will be as life from the dead; and of the revival of the interest and church of Christ, when the slain witnesses shall rise, and ascend to heaven; and of the resurrection of the dead at the last day; and may be applied unto and be used to illustrate the quickening of dead sinners, by the efficacious grace of the Spirit of God.
(r) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 92. 2. Vid. Kimchi & Abendana in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Eze 37:1-28. The Vision of Dry Bones Revivified, Symbolizing Israel's Death and Resurrection.
Three stages in Israel's revival present themselves to the prophet's eye. (1) The new awakening of the people, the resurrection of the dead (Eze 37:1-14). (2) The reunion of the formerly hostile members of the community, whose contentions had affected the whole (Eze 37:15-28). (3) The community thus restored is strong enough to withstand the assault of Gog, &c. (Eze 38:1-39:29) [Ewald].
1. carried … in the spirit—The matters transacted, therefore, were not literal, but in vision.
the valley—probably that by the Chebar (Eze 3:22). The valley represents Mesopotamia, the scene of Israel's sojourn in her state of national deadness.
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