The LORD put his strong hand on me. His Spirit brought me away from my home. He put me down in the middle of a valley. It was full of bones.
He led me back and forth among them. I saw a huge number of bones in the valley. The bones were very dry.
The LORD asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "LORD and King, you are the only one who knows."
Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones. Tell them, 'Dry bones, listen to the LORD's message.
The LORD and King speaks to you. He says, "I will put breath in you. Then you will come to life again.
I will attach tendons to you. I will put flesh on you. I will cover you with skin. So I will put breath in you. And you will come to life again. Then you will know that I am the Lord." ' "
So I prophesied just as the LORD commanded me to. As I was prophesying, I heard a noise. It was a rattling sound. The bones came together. One bone connected itself to another.
I saw tendons and flesh appear on them. Skin covered them. But there was no breath in them.
Then the LORD said to me, "Prophesy to the breath. Prophesy, son of man. Tell it, 'The LORD and King says, "Breath, come from all four directions. Go into these dead bodies. Then they can live." ' "
So I prophesied just as he commanded me to. And the breath entered them. Then they came to life again. They stood up on their feet. They were like a huge army.
Then the LORD said to me, "Son of man, these bones stand for all of the people of Israel. The people say, 'Our bones are dried up. We've lost all hope. We are cut off.'
"So prophesy. Tell them, 'The LORD and King says, "My people, I am going to open up your graves. I am going to bring you out of them. I will take you back to the land of Israel.
So I will open up your graves and bring you out of them. Then you will know that I am the Lord. You are my people.
I will put my Spirit in you. And you will live again. I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I have spoken. I have done it," announces the Lord.' "
A message came to me from the Lord. He said,
"Son of man, get a stick of wood. Write on it, 'Belonging to the tribe of Judah and the Israelites who are connected with it.' Then get another stick. Write on it, 'Ephraim's stick. Belonging to the tribes of Joseph and all of the Israelites connected with them.'
Join them together into one stick in your hand.
"The people of your own country will ask you, 'What do you mean by this?'
Tell them, 'The LORD and King says, "I am going to get the stick of Joseph and the Israelites connected with it. That stick is in Ephraim's hand. I am going to join it to Judah's stick. They will become a single stick of wood in my hand." '
"Show them the sticks you wrote on.
Tell them, 'The LORD and King says, "I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them together from all around. I will bring them back to their own land.
There I will make them one nation. They will live on the mountains of Israel. All of them will have one king. They will never be two nations again. They will never again be separated into two kingdoms.
" ' "They will no longer pollute themselves by worshiping any of their evil gods. They will not do wrong things anymore. They always turn away from me. But I will save them from that sin. I will make them pure and clean. They will be my people. And I will be their God.
" ' "A man who belongs to the family line of my servant David will be their king. All of them will have one shepherd. They will follow my laws. And they will be careful to keep my rules.
They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob. That is where your people lived long ago. They, their children, their children's children, and their children after them will live there forever. And my servant from David's line will be their prince forever.
" ' "I will make a covenant with them. It promises to give them peace. The covenant will last forever. I will make them my people. And I will increase their numbers. I will put my temple among them forever.
I will live with them. I will be their God. And they will be my people.
My temple will be among them forever. Then the nations will know that I make Israel holy. I am the Lord." ' "