Then said he unto me, prophesy unto the wind
Before he had been prophesying to the bones, and over them; and something was done, but not to purpose, breath being wanting; wherefore he is bid to prophesy a second time, and that not to bones, but to the "wind", afterwards rendered "breath"; and may allude to the soul or breath of man reentering the body, as at a resurrection, which causes it to live: it signifies the "spirit" F24, for the same word is used for the wind, for breath, and for the spirit; and in the mystical sense may be applied to the Spirit of God: and if ever ministers prophesy or preach to purpose, it must be with a view to the Spirit of God, both to assist them in their work, and to make their ministrations effectual; without which, how many formal professors soever may be made, not one dead sinner will be quickened. The Syriac and Arabic versions render it, "concerning the Spirit": and to discourse concerning the person, operations, and grace of the Spirit, is one part of the Gospel ministry, and a means of the conversion of sinners. Prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind;
ministers must not only preach, but they must pray for the Spirit to accompany the word with his power, and make it the savour of life unto life: thus saith the Lord, come from the four winds, O breath;
or "spirit": because the Jews were to be brought from each of the parts where they were, as they will be at their conversion in the latter day; and so the Lord has a people in each of the parts of the world, that lie dead in sin, and must be quickened by the Spirit: and breathe upon these slain, that they may live;
though not slain with the sword, yet being as dead men, who are slain by death, are so called: so in a spiritual sense men are slain by sin, and are slain by the words of the Lord's mouth; killed with the law, the killing letter; and it is only the Spirit of God that can give them life; and the breath or spirit here is applied to the Spirit of the Messiah by the ancient Jews F25.
F24 (xwrh) "ad spiritum", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Starckius; "alloquens spiritum", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus.
F25 Zohar in Nunb. fol. 92. 1.