Ezekiel 37:1-14

Ezekiel 37:1-14
Easter Vigil A


The handA of the LordB cameC upon me,

Notes on verse 1a

A “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
B “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “came” in v1. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note C below). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
C “came” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.

and he brought me outD by the spiritE of the Lord and set me downF

Notes on verse 1b

D “brought…out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
E “spirit” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
F “set…down” = nuach. This is to rest, calm, camp, free, place, remain, satisfy, settle, station, or wait. It is rest and so implies settling down in a literal or figurative sense. This is perhaps the root verb of the name “Noah.”

in the middleG of a valley;H it was fullI of bones.J 

Notes on verse 1c

G “middle” = tavek. This is among, middle, in the midst, the center. Perhaps, properly, to sever.
H “valley” = biqah. From baqa (to divide, split open, tear, breach, break open, dash to pieces). This is a valley or plain. Properly, it refers to a place where the mountains have split – a wide, flat valley between them.
I “full” = male. From male (fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate; fill in a literal or figurative sense). This is full in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean filling or pregnant.
J “bones” = etsem. From atsam (vast, numerous, strong; to close one’s eyes, to make powerful; to break bones). This is self, life, strength, bone, or substance.

He ledK me all aroundL them;M

Notes on verse 2a

K “led” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
L “all around” = sabib + sabib. From sabab (turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch; to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense). This is a circuit or a circle. It could refer to an environment, one’s neighbors, or a circular path round about.
M {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!

there were veryN manyO lying inP the valley,

Notes on verse 2b

N “very” = meod. Perhaps from the same as uwd (firebrand, a poker). This is very, greatly, exceedingly. It can also mean vehemence, force, abundance.
O “many” = rab. From rabab (increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.). This is abundance, many, elder, exceedingly, great. It refers to abundance of amount, rank, or status.
P “in” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.

andQ they were very dry.R He said to me, “Mortal,S can these bones live?”T

Notes on verses 2c-3a

Q {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v2. See note M above.
R “dry” = yabesh. 9x in OT. From yabesh (to dry up, be withered, be dry; to be ashamed, confused, or disappointed). This is dry, withered (as for plants), or gone.
S “mortal” = ben + adam. Literally, “son of humanity.” Ben is from banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Adam is perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
T “live” = chayah. This is to live or keep alive in a literal or figurative sense. So, it can be revive, nourish, or save.

I answered, “O LordU God,V you know.”W 

Notes on verse 3b

U “Lord” = Adonai. From adon (lord, master, owner); root means to rule or be sovereign. This is the actual Hebrew word for Lord used (in a different form) of humans and (in the present form) of God. It means someone who is in control.
V “God” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.
W “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.

Then he said to me, “ProphesyX to these bones and say to them: O dry bones, hearY the wordZ of the Lord.AA 

Notes on verse 4

X “prophesy” = naba. From nabi (prophet, prophecy, speaker; someone inspired). This is to prophesy. Older usages referred to raving, religious ecstasy that sometimes went along with music. In later usage, it was religious teachings that sometimes held prediction. Prophesying is speaking the truth of what is and where it will lead.
Y “hear” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
Z “word” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
AA “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.

Thus says the LordBB GodCC to these bones:DD I will cause breathEE to enterFF you, and you shall live. 

Notes on verse 5

BB “Lord” = Adonai. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note U above.
CC “God” = YHVH. Related to “came” and “Lord” in v1. From YHVH (see note B above). It has a different vowel pointing, but the same meaning as “Lord.”
DD {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v2. See note M above.
EE “breath” = ruach. Same as “spirit” in v1. See note E above.
FF “enter” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.

I will layGG sinewsHH on you and will cause fleshII to comeJJ upon you

Notes on verse 6a

GG “lay” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
HH “sinews” = gid. 7x in OT. Perhaps from gud (to invade, overcome, attack). This is a sandal strap. Figuratively, it refers to a tendon or sinew.
II “flesh” = basar. From basar (being a messenger, publish, carry preach; properly, this is being fresh, rosy or cheerful as one bearing news). This is flesh, the body, fat, skin, self, nakedness, humankind, or kin. It can also refer to private parts.
JJ “come” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.

and coverKK you with skinLL and putMM breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”NN

Notes on verse 6b

KK “cover” = qaram. 2x in OT – both in Ezekiel 37. This is to spread or cover.
LL “skin” = or. Perhaps from ur (to be made naked, exposed, or bare). This is skin, hide, or leather. It can also refer to a body.
MM “put” = natan. Same as “lay” in v6. See note GG above.
NN “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.

So I prophesied as I had been commanded,OO and as I prophesied, suddenlyPP there wasQQ a noise,RR a rattling,SS and the bones came together,TT bone to its bone. 

Notes on verse 7

OO “commanded” = tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).
PP “suddenly” = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v2. See note M above.
QQ “was” = hayah. Same as “came” in v1. See note C above.
RR “noise” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
SS “rattling” = raash. 17x in OT. From raash (to quake, shake, tremble, shake from fear; leap like a locust). This is quaking, shaking, rattling, or rumbling. It can also be commotion, tumult, earthquake, or confused sounds.
TT “came together” = qarab. This is to come near, offer, make ready, approach, take.

I looked,UU andVV there were sinews on them, and flesh had comeWW upon them, and skin had covered them,XX but there was no breath in them. 

Notes on verse 8

UU “looked” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
VV {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v2. See note M above.
WW “come” = alah. Same as “come” in v6. See note JJ above.
XX {untranslated} = maal. Related to “come” in v6. From alah (see note JJ above). This is the upper part, forward, high above, upwards, greater, heaven, or exceedingly.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the LordYY God:ZZ ComeAAA from the fourBBB winds,CCC O breath, and breatheDDD upon these slain,EEE that they may live.” 

Notes on verse 9

YY “Lord” = Adonai. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note U above.
ZZ “God” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.
AAA “come” = bo. Same as “enter” in v5. See note FF above.
BBB “four” = arba. From raba (to make square or be four-sided). This is four.
CCC “winds” = ruach. Same as “spirit” in v1. See note E above.
DDD “breathe” = naphach. 12x in OT. This is to breathe, puff, inflate, scatter, light on fire, make something lose its life.
EEE “slain” = harag. This is to strike with deadly intent so it can be kill, destroy, murder, or put to death.

10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath cameFFF into them, and they lived and stoodGGG on their feet,HHH a vastIII multitude.JJJ

Notes on verse 10

FFF “came” = bo. Same as “enter” in v5. See note FF above.
GGG “stood” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
HHH “feet” = regel. This is foot, endurance, or journey. It is a foot as the means of walking and so it implies a step or a greater journey. It can be used euphemistically for private parts.
III “vast” = gadol + meod + meod. Gadol is from gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished. Meod is the same as “very” in v2. See note N above.
JJJ “multitude” = chayil. From chul (to be firm, strong, prosperous; to endure). This is strength, wealth, ability, activity. It can refer to soldier or a company of soldiers as well as goods. It is a force of people, means, or goods. It can speak of valor, virtue, or strength.

11 Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the wholeKKK houseLLL of Israel.MMM

Notes on verse 11a

KKK “whole” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
LLL “house” = bayit. Related to “mortal” in v3. Probably from banah (see note S above). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
MMM “Isarel” = Yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.

TheyNNN say, ‘Our bones are dried up,OOO and our hopePPP is lost;QQQ we are cut offRRR completely.’ 

Notes on verse 11b

NNN {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v2. See note M above.
OOO “dried up” = yabesh. Related to “dry” in v2. See note R above.
PPP “hope” = tiqvah. From qavah (to wait, look, gather together, bind together, collect; figuratively, to expect). This is literally a cord used to attach things. Figuratively, it’s expectation, hope, what you long for.
QQQ “is lost” = abad. To wander off, lose self. This implies to perish, destroy, die, vanish, or be broken or corrupt.
RRR “cut off” = gazar. 13x in OT. This is to cut or cut down. Used figuratively, it can mean to divide, exclude, decree, or destroy.

12 ThereforeSSS prophesy and say to them: Thus says the LordTTT God:UUU, VVV

Notes on verse 12a

SSS “therefore” = ken. Perhaps from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.
TTT “Lord” = Adonai. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note U above.
UUU “God” = YHVH. Same as “God” in v5. See note CC above.
VVV {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v2. See note M above.

I am going to openWWW your gravesXXX and bring you upYYY from your graves, O my people,ZZZ and I will bringAAAA you back to the landBBBB of Israel. 

Notes on verse 12b

WWW “open” = pathach. This is to open wide in a literal or figurative sense. So, it is open, draw out, let something go free, break forth. It is also to plow, engrave, or carve.
XXX “graves” = qeber. From qabar (to bury). This is a place where one is buried such as a grave or tomb.
YYY “bring…up” = alah. Same as “come” in v6. See note JJ above.
ZZZ “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
AAAA “bring” = bo. Same as “enter” in v5. See note FF above.
BBBB “land” = adamah. Related to “mortal” in v3. From the same as adam (see note S above). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.

13 And you shall know that I am the LordCCCC when I open your graves and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will placeDDDD you on your own soil;EEEE

Notes on verses 13-14a

CCCC “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.
DDDD “place” = yanach. Perhaps related to “set me down” in v1. Perhaps from the same as nuach (see note F above). This is to lay down, let alone, pacify, cast down, or deposit. It can also mean to allow something or someone to stay.
EEEE “soil” = adamah. Same as “land” in v12. See note BBBB above.

then you shall know that I, the Lord,FFFF have spokenGGGG and will act,HHHH saysIIII the Lord.”JJJJ

Notes on verse 14b

FFFF “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.
GGGG “spoken” = dabar. Related to “word” in v4. See note Z above.
HHHH “act” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
IIII “says” = neum. From na’am (to speak a prophecy; properly, to whisper, which implies saying an oracle). This is an utterance or speaking an oracle.
JJJJ “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.

Image credit: Evangelical Kreuzkirche Wiedenest in Bergneustadt. Photo by Frank Vincentz, 2012.

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