Ezekiel's vision of a valley of dry bones
Ezekiel 37:1-14 (abridged)
The imagery of this apocalyptic vision is striking. God shows Ezekiel a valley full of dry bones and tells him to prophesy to them. When he does, the bones re-connect and are covered with sinew, flesh, and skin. Ezekiel prophesies again and they come to life. Our familiarity with this vision comes in part from the spiritual, “Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.” The meaning of this vision is that God will cause the nation of Israel to live again, both as a physical nation and spiritually.
The hand of the Lord was upon me, . . . and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones. And . . . they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And . . . he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. . . .
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I . . . shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.