Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
In Eze 37:1-14, Ezekiel sees in a vision dead men raised to life; its meaning is given Eze 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 Sa1 2:6; Job 19:25-27; Psa 16:10-11; Dan 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.
The valley - The same word as "the plain" Eze 3:22; Eze 8:4. The "dry bones" represented the Israelites dispersed abroad, destitute of life national and spiritual.
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 Eze 37:5, not "I will cause," but I cause or am causing.
Bone to his bone - i. e., to its proper place in the frame.
The wind - Rather, as in the margin and as in Eze 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.
We are cut off for our parts - That is, "as for us, we are cut off." The people had fallen into despair.
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.
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 Ch2 11:12-16. Compare the marginal references.
Joseph ... Ephraim - Compare Psa 78:67; Hos 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.
In the hand of Ephraim - Because Ephraim was the ruling tribe; the words are contrasted with "in mine hand."
This sign was literally enacted in the presence of the people, not, like some signs, merely in vision (see the Eze 3:1 note).
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.
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.
Eze 37:25, Eze 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 Co1 15:24, Co1 15:28.
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 Rev. 21.