So I prophesied as I was commanded
The prophet was not disobedient to the heavenly vision; he was right to observe the orders and instructions given, whatever were the issue and success of them; that he was to leave with the Lord, and did. So Gospel ministers prophesy or preach according to the commission given them, and leave their work with the Lord: this was the first prophesying; for there is another after mentioned: these two are carefully to be observed and distinguished, different effects following the one and the other: this was a prophesying to the dry bones, upon them, over them, and concerning them; and what is next related was the consequence of it; and as I prophesied, there was a noise;
or, "a voice" F23; this, in the literal sense, was the proclamation by Cyrus, giving the Jews leave to return to their own land, ( Ezra 1:1-3 ) , at the revival of the interest of Christ, a great voice will be heard from heaven, saying to the witnesses, come up hither, ( Revelation 11:12 ) , and at the descent of Christ to raise his dead first, there will be the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God, ( 1 Thessalonians 4:16 ) , and, as while the prophet was prophesying, there was not only his voice heard, but the voice of God, perhaps a thunder clap: so in the ministry of the Gospel there is a voice heard, which, at first, is only externally heard; men hear a noise, a voice, but it is a confused one; they do not know what to make of it, and yet it has some effect upon them; it causes a noise in them, an outcry about sin, and hell, and damnation; and yet, at present, no spiritual life or breath is in them: and behold a shaking;
of the bones; a rattling among them, as may be conceived must be where there is, as here, a tumbling of dry bones one over another, to get to their proper bone: so in the first effect of the word upon the conscience of a sinner, which works wrath there, there is a shaking and trembling through fear of damnation; which in some issues in real conversion, as in Saul and the jailer, ( Acts 9:6 ) ( 16:29 ) , but in others it goes off again, and comes to nothing, as in Felix, ( Acts 24:25 ) : and the bones came together, bone to his bone:
so the Jews scattered up and down in the provinces of Babylon gathered together upon the proclamation of Cyrus, and went up in a body to their own land; as they will do also at the time of their conversion, ( Hosea 1:11 ) , thus, when persons are only under slight convictions, they may gather together, and have their religious meetings and societies, and yet be only a parcel of dry bones, without any spiritual life and breath in them.