The Valley of Dry Bones
37 I felt the powerful presence of the Lord, and his spirit took me and set me down in a valley where the ground was covered with bones. 2 He led me all around the valley, and I could see that there were very many bones and that they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Mortal man, can these bones come back to life?”
I replied, “Sovereign Lord, only you can answer that!”
4 He said, “Prophesy to the bones. Tell these dry bones to listen to the word of the Lord. 5 Tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them: I am going to put breath into you and bring you back to life. 6 I will give you sinews and muscles, and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you and bring you back to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
7 So I prophesied as I had been told. While I was speaking, I heard a rattling noise, and the bones began to join together. 8 While I watched, the bones were covered with sinews and muscles, and then with skin. But there was no breath in the bodies.
9 God said to me, “Mortal man, prophesy to the wind.[a] Tell the wind that the Sovereign Lord commands it to come from every direction, to breathe into these dead bodies, and to bring them back to life.”
10 (A)So I prophesied as I had been told. Breath entered the bodies, and they came to life and stood up. There were enough of them to form an army.
11 God said to me, “Mortal man, the people of Israel are like these bones. They say that they are dried up, without any hope and with no future. 12 So prophesy to my people Israel and tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am going to open their graves. I am going to take them out and bring them back to the land of Israel. 13 When I open the graves where my people are buried and bring them out, they will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will put my breath in them, bring them back to life, and let them live in their own land. Then they will know that I am the Lord. I have promised that I would do this—and I will. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
Judah and Israel in One Kingdom
15 The Lord spoke to me again. 16 “Mortal man,” he said, “take a wooden stick and write on it the words, ‘The kingdom of Judah.’ Then take another stick and write on it the words, ‘The kingdom of Israel.’ 17 Then hold the two sticks end to end in your hand so that they look like one stick. 18 When your people ask you to tell them what this means, 19 tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am going to take the stick representing Israel and put it with the one that represents Judah. Out of the two I will make one stick and hold it in my hand.
20 “Hold in your hand the two sticks and let the people see them. 21 Then tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am going to take all my people out of the nations where they have gone, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. 22 I will unite them into one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. They will have one king to rule over them, and they will no longer be divided into two nations or split into two kingdoms. 23 They will not defile themselves with disgusting idols any more or corrupt themselves with sin. I will free them from all the ways in which they sin and betray me. I will purify them; they will be my people, and I will be their God. 24 (B)A king like my servant David will be their king. They will all be united under one ruler and will obey my laws faithfully. 25 They will live on the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived. They will live there forever, and so will their children and all their descendants. A king like my servant David will rule them forever. 26 I will make a covenant with them that guarantees their security forever. I will establish them and increase their population, and will see to it that my Temple stands forever in their land. 27 (C)I will live there with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 When I place my Temple there to be among them forever, then the nations will know that I, the Lord, have chosen Israel to be my own people.”
Gog as the Instrument of God
38 The Lord spoke to me. 2 (D)“Mortal man,” he said, “denounce Gog, chief ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal in the land of Magog. Denounce him 3 and tell him that I, the Sovereign Lord, am his enemy. 4 I will turn him around, put hooks in his jaws, and drag him and all his troops away. His army, with its horses and uniformed riders, is enormous, and every soldier carries a shield and is armed with a sword. 5 Troops from Persia, Ethiopia,[b] and Libya are with him, and all have shields and helmets. 6 All the fighting men of the lands of Gomer and Beth Togarmah in the north are with him, and so are men from many other nations. 7 Tell him to get ready and have all his troops ready at his command. 8 After many years I will order him to invade a country where the people were brought back together from many nations and have lived without fear of war. He will invade the mountains of Israel, which were desolate and deserted so long, but where all the people now live in safety. 9 He and his army and the many nations with him will attack like a storm and cover the land like a cloud.”
10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Gog: “When that time comes, you will start thinking up an evil plan. 11 You will decide to invade a helpless country where the people live in peace and security in unwalled towns that have no defenses. 12 You will plunder and loot the people who live in cities that were once in ruins. They have been gathered from the nations, and now they have livestock and property and live at the crossroads of the world. 13 The people of Sheba and Dedan and the merchants from the towns of Spain will ask you, ‘Have you assembled your army and attacked in order to loot and plunder? Do you intend to get silver and gold, livestock and property, and march off with all those spoils?’”
14 So the Sovereign Lord sent me to tell Gog what he was saying to him: “Now while my people Israel live in security, you will set out[c] 15 to come from your place in the far north, leading a large, powerful army of soldiers from many nations, all of them on horseback. 16 You will attack my people Israel like a storm moving across the land. When the time comes, I will send you to invade my land in order to show the nations who I am, to show my holiness by what I do through you. 17 You are the one I was talking about long ago, when I announced through my servants, the prophets of Israel, that in days to come I would bring someone to attack Israel.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.
God's Punishment of Gog
18 The Sovereign Lord says, “On the day when Gog invades Israel, I will become furious. 19 I declare in the heat of my anger that on that day there will be a severe earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 Every fish and bird, every animal large and small, and every human being on the face of the earth will tremble for fear of me. Mountains will fall, cliffs will crumble, and every wall will collapse. 21 I will terrify Gog with all sorts of calamities.[d] I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. His men will turn their swords against one another. 22 I will punish him with disease and bloodshed. Torrents of rain and hail, together with fire and sulfur, will pour down on him and his army and on the many nations that are on his side. 23 In this way I will show all the nations that I am great and that I am holy. They will know then that I am the Lord.”
- Ezekiel 37:9 wind; or spirit. The same Hebrew word may mean wind, or spirit, or breath.
- Ezekiel 38:5 Hebrew Cush: Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
- Ezekiel 38:14 One ancient translation set out; Hebrew know.
- Ezekiel 38:21 One ancient translation terrify … calamities; Hebrew unclear.
Hearing and Doing
19 (A)Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. 20 Human anger does not achieve God's righteous purpose. 21 So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you.
22 Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. 23 If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. 24 They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. 25 But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice—you will be blessed by God in what you do.
26 Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself. 27 What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.
Warning against Prejudice
2 My friends, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, you must never treat people in different ways according to their outward appearance. 2 Suppose a rich man wearing a gold ring and fine clothes comes to your meeting, and a poor man in ragged clothes also comes. 3 If you show more respect to the well-dressed man and say to him, “Have this best seat here,” but say to the poor man, “Stand over there, or sit here on the floor by my feet,” 4 then you are guilty of creating distinctions among yourselves and of making judgments based on evil motives.
5 Listen, my dear friends! God chose the poor people of this world to be rich in faith and to possess the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. 6 But you dishonor the poor! Who are the ones who oppress you and drag you before the judges? The rich! 7 They are the ones who speak evil of that good name which has been given to you.
8 (B)You will be doing the right thing if you obey the law of the Kingdom, which is found in the scripture, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” 9 But if you treat people according to their outward appearance, you are guilty of sin, and the Law condemns you as a lawbreaker. 10 Whoever breaks one commandment is guilty of breaking them all. 11 (C)For the same one who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Even if you do not commit adultery, you have become a lawbreaker if you commit murder. 12 Speak and act as people who will be judged by the law that sets us free. 13 For God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful; but mercy triumphs over judgment.
Faith and Actions
14 My friends, what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it? Can that faith save you? 15 Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don't have enough to eat. 16 What good is there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!”—if you don't give them the necessities of life? 17 So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead.
28 The wicked run when no one is chasing them, but an honest person is as brave as a lion.