The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezekiel 36

Eze 36:1

PROPHESY TO THE MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL: Yahweh commanded Ezekiel to prophesy to the mountains of Israel (in contrast to Mount Seir: Eze 35:1-15; cp Eze 6:1-14). The reason was threefold. First, Israel's enemy had cursed her (ie, Gen 12:3) by rejoicing that the everlasting heights (mountains) of the land had come into their possession (cf Eze 6:3; 20:29). Second, the enemy of Israel had destroyed her for good reason, namely her sinfulness. Third, now she was the possession of the nations of the world and the subject of their scorn (v 3; cf Deu 28:37; Jer 24:9).

The "mountains" of Israel are also significant, in view of the prophecy of Isa 2:2,3: "In the last days the mountain of the LORD'S temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.' The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem."

Eze 36:2

THE ANCIENT HEIGHTS: The "high places" of the land were the sites of worship. And particularly this may refer to the GREATEST "high place" from ancient times: the Temple Mount at Jerusalem -- the site of the Muslim mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

The "ancient" heights here echoes the ref to the "ancient" hostility of Edom (Eze 35:5) -- and that that hostility was (and will be) directed against the GREAT mountain Holy Place of Jerusalem.

Eze 36:3

RAVAGED: Or "made you desolate" (AV). Cp Dan 9:26,27; 11:31; 12:11; cp Mat 24:15; Mar 13:14; Luk 19:43; 21:20: "Desolations have been decreed... an abomination that causes desolation." "Not one stone... left on another" (Mar 13:2).

THE OBJECT OF PEOPLE'S MALICIOUS TALK AND SLANDER: They talked publicly and privately about her fate.

Eze 36:4

NATIONS AROUND YOU: See Lesson, Nations "round about".

Eze 36:5

MY BURNING ZEAL: The fire of God's "jealousy" (AV) is His burning anger. The "zeal" or "jealousy" will cause Him to act to preserve His remnant (Isa 37:32), will cause Him to arm His warrior (Isa 59:17), to fight against the enemy (Isa 42:13; Zec 8:2), to gather them for judgment (Zep 3:8), and ultimately to restore the throne of David in glory (Isa 9:7).

FOR WITH GLEE AND WITH MALICE IN THEIR HEARTS THEY MADE MY LAND THEIR OWN POSSESSION...: Because Edom and the other nations had taken over the Lord's land joyfully and had scorned the Israelites, He would pronounce judgment on them in his hot jealousy. Israel's enemies had dealt with her in their anger and envy (Eze 35:11), but now Yahweh would deal with them in His fierce jealousy over Israel's welfare.

Eze 36:7

I SWEAR WITH UPLIFTED HAND: The gesture made in confirming an oath. God has made two great oaths: (1) the first to confirm the promises to Abraham (Gen 22:16), and (2) the second to confirm the promises to David (Psa 132:11). Both these oaths concern the future of His land and people Israel: (1) To Abraham, "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Gen 12:2,3). (2) To David, "I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning" (2Sa 7:10). These promises are confirmed by oaths, and are therefore immutable, or unchangeable (Heb 6:18). Thus the hope of the righteous and faithful, and the hope of the future, is the "hope of Israel" (Acts 28:20).

THAT THE NATIONS AROUND YOU WILL ALSO SUFFER SCORN: Ezekiel was to announce to the whole Promised Land that Yahweh had spoken in His jealousy and wrath because Israel had suffered the insults of the nations (cf Gen 12:3). The nations round about Israel would surely have to endure the consequences of their insults against Israel.

Eze 36:10

I WILL MULTIPLY THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE UPON YOU, EVEN THE WHOLE HOUSE OF ISRAEL: Not just the two tribes of Judah, but the whole of the ten tribes of Israel as well (cp Eze 37:21,22). "And so ALL Israel will be saved" (Rom 11:26).

Eze 36:11

I WILL SETTLE PEOPLE ON YOU AS IN THE PAST AND WILL MAKE YOU PROSPER MORE THAN BEFORE: Israel is to be restored "as in the days of old", or "as it used to be" (Amo 9:11) -- so that the golden era of David and Solomon will be typical of the restored glory of God's Kingdom. The past (the history of David and Solomon) and future (God's coming Kingdom) are thus compared: (a) Jerusalem the throne of Yahweh (1Ch 29:23; Jer 3:17). (b) One king over a united nation (1Ki 4:20; Eze 37:22). (c) Israel a multitudinous, powerful nation (1Ki 4:20; Mic 4:7). (d) Israel the chief among the nations (1Ki 4:21; Mic 4:8). (e) Gentile wealth flowing to Jerusalem (2Ch 9:23,24; Isa 60:11). (f) A greatly fertile land (1Ki 4:22-28; Isa 35:1,2). (g) The nations under submission to Israel (1Ki 4:21; Psa 72:8). (h) Israel secure and at peace (1Ki 4:25; Eze 34:28). (i) Jerusalem the center of wisdom (1Ki 4:34; Isa 2:2-4). (j) Jerusalem the center of worship (2Ch 9:23; Zec 14:16). (k) A temple erected under royal supervision (1Ki 6; Zec 6:13). (l) The work of building assisted by Gentile laborers and materials (2Ch 2:2,17; Isa 60:10,13). (m) Zadok the high priest officiates (1Ki 1:34; Heb 7:11,12). (n) Great building activity (1Ki 9; Isa 65:21,22). (o) "Satan bound" (1Ki 5:4; Rev 20:2). (p) Israel a blessing in the midst of the land (2Ch 9:26; Isa 19:25). (q) The king noted for his piercing, unerring judgment (1Ki 4:29; Isa 11:3).

Eze 36:12

I WILL CAUSE PEOPLE, MY PEOPLE ISRAEL, TO WALK UPON YOU. THEY WILL POSSESS YOU, AND YOU WILL BE THEIR INHERITANCE: The Lord would cause the people of Israel to take possession of these mountains -- and perhaps especially the GREAT mountain (the Temple mount, as in v 2) -- as their inheritance; and they shall never leave them again (cf Gen 12:7). The Edomites had formerly purposed to possess these mountains (Eze 35:10).

Eze 36:15

THE TAUNTS OF THE NATIONS: Cp Deu 28; 29; Lam 2:15,16.

Eze 36:17

WHEN THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL WERE LIVING IN THEIR OWN LAND, THEY DEFILED IT BY THEIR CONDUCT AND THEIR ACTIONS: Esp as regards worship of idols (cp v 18; Psa 106:35,36), and in general through lack of knowledge (Hos 4:6).

A WOMAN'S MONTHLY UNCLEANNESS: They resembled a woman during her menstrual period -- who was thereby excluded from the worship of the Temple -- and who defiled everything she touched (cf Lev 15:19-23; Isa 64:6).

Eze 36:19

// Deu 29:1--30:10.

Eze 36:20

THEY PROFANED MY HOLY NAME: Their dispersion made Yahweh look impotent since the nations concluded that He could not keep them safe in His land. The Lord had risked His reputation by driving Israel out of the land, but He cared about His reputation, which the Israelites had made common. We need to remember that how Christians represent God by our words and deeds likewise concerns Him (cf Mat 6:9; Luk 11:2).

Eze 36:21

MY HOLY NAME: The name of Yahweh is a strong tower of defense (Pro 18:10), a protection (Psa 124:8), a heritage (Psa 61:5,8; 69:36), a source of confidence (Psa 9:10); a means of rescue (Psa 91:14). It is a Name never to be despised (Mal 1:6), but to be exalted (Psa 34:3,4), extolled (Psa 68:4), remembered (Psa 20:7; 45:17), feared (Psa 86:11,12), praised (Psa 113:1-3; 145:1,2), loved (Psa 119:132; Isa 56:6), blessed (Psa 96:2; 100:4), understood (Isa 52:6), proclaimed (Deu 32:3; Exo 9:16; Isa 12:4), sung about (Psa 61:8; 66:2-4), expressed in prayer (Psa 140:13; 116:4; 80:18). "Extol him by his name of Yah" (Psa 68:4).

Eze 36:22

Vv 22-38: "In analyzing Ezekiel's doctrine of the salvation of Israel, the salient factors are as follows: (1) The preeminent motive in their redemption is the glory of God (vv 22, 32). (2) Israel will know ultimately that their God is the Lord (v 38). (3) There will be an abhorrence of their sins (vv 31,32). (4) Forgiveness of their sins will be realized (v 25). (5) Regeneration will be effected (Eze 11:19; 18:31; 36:26,27). (6) The gift of the Holy Spirit will be granted (v 27; Eze 37:14)... (7) Included is obedience to God's laws (v 27; Eze 11:20)" (Feinberg, cited in Const).

Eze 36:23

THEN THE NATIONS WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD: It was not for Israel, but in spite of Israel that Yahweh would act for them; He would deliver them for the sake of His own reputation that they had profaned (cf Eze 20:39). He would vindicate His reputation as being a holy God when He proved Himself such in the sight of the nations (cf Exo 5:2; 9:16; 32:11-18; Lev 18:21; 20:3; 22:31-33; Num 14:13-19; Deu 29:1 -- 30:10).

Eze 36:24

I WILL TAKE YOU OUT OF THE NATIONS; I WILL GATHER YOU FROM ALL THE COUNTRIES AND BRING YOU BACK INTO YOUR OWN LAND: The same Israel which was scattered will be regathered to their own Land. This Land to be cultivated after laying desolate (v 34). See also Eze 37-39; Jer 30:1-24; 31:1-14,27-34; 32:36-44.

Eze 36:25

I WILL SPRINKLE CLEAN WATER ON YOU, AND YOU WILL BE CLEAN: God will purify His people and cleanse them from all their former uncleanness (cp v 17; Eze 11:18; Exo 12:22; Lev 14:4-7; Psa 51:7; Jer 31:31-34; 1Co 6:11). Under the LM, the "water of separation" was sprinkled on a person to be cleansed from defilement by contact with a dead body (Num 19:17-19). It was also used to sanctify the Levites at their consecration (Num 8:7,21), and to separate and consecrate the whole nation to Yahweh (Heb 9:19). All these aspects have a future fulfillment: Israel is to be first of all justified by faith in the blood of their crucified and resurrected Messiah; then they will be set apart as God's special people once again; finally, they will become a true nation of priests, serving God in righteousness and holiness.

Eze 36:26

I WILL GIVE YOU A NEW HEART AND PUT A NEW SPIRIT IN YOU: God will give Israel new heart and spirit, and will remove their hardness of heart and give them soft hearts (ie, pliable minds: cp Eze 11:19; 18:31; 2Co 3:3-6). The heart stands for the whole person -- mind, will, and emotions (cp Eze 2:4; 3:7) -- and the spirit describes the motivation that drives thought and conduct.

The temptation to find the fulfillment of the "new heart" and "new spirit" of Eze 36:25-27 exclusively in Christian conversion in this age should be resisted. NT conversion is only a preview of the massive spiritual revival God has in store for all of true Israel in the near future.

Eze 36:28

YOU WILL BE MY PEOPLE, AND I WILL BE YOUR GOD: First spoken by God to Abraham (Gen 17:7), this becomes one of the fundamental promises of God for all time: Lev 26:12; Eze 11:20; 37:23,27; Song 6:3; Jer 7:23; 30:22,23; 31:1,33; 32:38; Eze 11:20; 37:27; Hos 1:10; 2:23; Zec 2:11; 8:8; 13:9; Mat 22:32; 2Co 6:16-18; 7:1; Heb 8:10; 11:16; Rev 21:3,7.

Eze 36:29

I WILL SAVE YOU FROM ALL YOUR UNCLEANNESS: "And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "'The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins' " (Rom 11:26,27; cit Isa 59;20,21; 27:9; Jer 31:33,34).

Eze 36:30


Eze 36:31

Cp Eze 6:9; 20:43. This will happen at the time of restoration: vv 24,28. Israel to be cleansed, forgiven: vv 25-27. Note: true restoration to divine favor is not possible without Christ: Rom 11:25-27.

Eze 36:32

Cp v 22n. This present announcement of God's gracious dealings with His people should shame them and bring them to their knees in repentance. "This context and that of similar accounts of God's restoration of Israel to her land, along with the historical perspective, make it clear that the return mentioned in this passage does not refer to the return to Canaan under Zerubbabel but to a final and complete restoration under the Messiah in the end times. The details of Israel's reestablishment on her land set forth above simply did not occur in the returns under Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah" (Alexander, cited in Const).

Eze 36:33

ON THE DAY I CLEANSE YOU FROM ALL YOUR SINS, I WILL RESETTLE YOUR TOWNS, AND THE RUINS WILL BE REBUILT: Future cleansing from sin and restoration of the Jews to the land and restoration of the land to fruitfulness would all occur at the same time. This shows that the Jews' present occupation of the Promised Land is preliminary, and does not truly fulfill these promises; they have not yet experienced God's cleansing for their sins, which comes with regeneration (Rom 11).

Eze 36:34

Vv 34,35: The desolate land = the land of Palestine: v 24. This will only be possible when the curse of Gen 3:17,18 is lifted. The earth to yield her full increase: Psa 67:6; Eze 34:26,27.

Plainly, the renewal of the Land of Israel is parallel with the renewal of the People of Israel: the one is a lovely picture of the other.

Eze 36:36

THEN THE NATIONS AROUND YOU THAT REMAIN WILL KNOW THAT I THE LORD HAVE REBUILT WHAT WAS DESTROYED AND HAVE REPLANTED WHAT WAS DESOLATE: People would marvel at the lushness of the formerly desolate land and at the strength of the formerly ruined cities of Israel (cf Isa 11:6-9; 51:3; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13-15; Rom 8:19-22; 2Pe 3:13; Rev 21:1-4, 23-27). The other nations of the world would recognize that Israel's God was responsible for this transformation.

Eze 36:37

ONCE AGAIN I WILL YIELD TO THE PLEA OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL: The Lord also promised to respond to the prayers of the Israelites to increase their population.

Vv 37,38: I WILL MAKE THEIR PEOPLE AS NUMEROUS AS SHEEP, AS NUMEROUS AS THE FLOCKS FOR OFFERING AT JERUSALEM DURING HER APPOINTED FEASTS: The Jews would fill the cities like the sheep used to fill Jerusalem during the feasts when the people offered large numbers of them as sacrifices to the Lord. These would not be sheep for slaughter but living sacrifices in God's service. This increase in the population in the Promised Land would also convince people of Yahweh's unique power and Godhead.

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